17 November 2007

The trip home

After 3 months in Hawaii we were ready to go, considered mad by some folks we met - you know, the kind that has been living in the marina for the last 10 years "working" on the boat getting ready for the big trip... We picked up a crewman who owned his own boat and had a little experience and moved to the Hawaii Yacht Club to clean up. The first trip under power was a little nerve-wracking, no sails to fall back on and we had to go outside the harbour!

While at the HYC I re-wired the boat, fitted SSB and VHF radios, finished erecting our hand-me-down dodger (thanks again Jeff!), added lifelines, built the stern pulpit, bolted a liferaft on and finished off a legion of little jobs. We had a couple of trial sails, a very good move as during the first one we found that the tack of the forestay was popping off the deck...

Eventually we could find no more excuses to hang around and off we went. The first leg was to Fanning Island, part of Kiribati. The expected NE trades were sadly more E - SE so it was 1004 nm on port tack, winds on the beam or just forward.

There was not much at Fanning, just a few good sleeps and then we pushed on. With no watermaker and with only a limited number of water jerry cans we were concerned about the 1600 nm trip to Tonga, as we could get no drinking water at Fanning. Fortunately, we were lucky when crossing the ITCZ and had a relatively smooth ride, no calms or squalls. Unfortunately, again the wind was on the port beam or just forward, so we were getting used to where the leaks were dripping.

Tonga was a welcome stop. Neiafu, the main port in the Vava'u group, is well known to us and certainly felt more like home. I was met by my partner Lisa and my son Will who were on a charter boat with friends, so it was the first chance for them to see the boat.

After nearly a week of relaxing and fixing things (nothing major), Vicky had decided to fly the last leg and that left the remaining 2 of us for the last leg to Auckland. Again, we were very fortunate as we had the perfect weather window for the trip, with a big fat high sitting over the northern part of New Zeraland, giving us, well, easterlies. Another 1300 nm of wind on the port beam or forward.... To break that momentum we did have a few windy days and had the storm jib out by itself one night so we could rest a little, jogging along at about 4.5 - 5 knots.

It was fantastic to arrive back in the country, I was really spaced out after going hard for 5 months. We cleared in at Opua in the Bay of Islands and took a few days to cruise down the coast. It was very cold for us (late winter in NZ) so the oven got a workout at night.

Arrival in Auckland was fabulous, good to see friends again and have a nice long hot shower.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey you! Aloha from Pauline & Stoney. Vicki just let us know of your websight. We are gonna make our way through the sight.