Sunday, December 10, 2017
For some reason this photograph reminded me of a story written by the late Maurice Griffiths, yacht designer and long time editor of the UK magazine 'Yachting Monthly'. He had harboured for a number of years an ambition to spend Christmas day on board his small cruising yacht, which he did; in conditions not dissimilar to the above photograph. I must dig out the story - I can't remember whether or not he rowed out to his boat or simply walked across the ice - yikes!!
Monday, December 4, 2017
The hull colour black in conjunction with a grey interior and a 'tan-bark' coloured sail is a traditional combination of colours. I have an old tan sail that I can cut up and use for the sail.
My good mate and fellow Zephyr skipper Bernie came around today to see what I was up to and offered to machine up some new cedar floor battens and cockpit trim which will then tick the outstanding issues on 'Slipstreams' measurement certificate; leaving no obstacles in my way come registration and measuring day in February 2018 at the Zephyr Nationals at Worser Bay Wellington. The 'things to do' list continues to sort itself out in a timely manner.
Friday, November 24, 2017
Despite the fact that spending time in one of my favourite countries was an interesting and engaging time, as we returned from eight weeks of late autumn and approaching winter in the UK I could feel and almost hear the promise of a great New Zealand summer as the plane landed.
One of the first jobs I undertook was to give three coats of anti-fouling paint to 'Mariners' little work horse dinghy. This small six footer is permanently tethered to a pontoon and gets a lot of hard knocks and in the past has not had the protection of any bottom paint. With a bit of a scrub every couple of months the dinghy should stay barnacle free until the next round of painting.
'Mariner' herself is pretty much in sailable condition although there are a bevy of peripheral reconditioning issues to deal with - bilge pumps, compass, stove being the main ones.
With a very sailable Northland summer on the way, the Zephyr Nationals early next year and my desire to get the traditional 8 footer up and sailing, there is plenty to be going on with.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Little Salem (above) cooed his approval as he tried out his new blanket.
I have now knitted three articles of clothing. A scarf in the 1960s (When my mother taught me how to do those rudimentary purls and plains - A woollen jersey in the 1990s (yes really, and a pretty good job I did of it too he said modestly) - and now this triumph of large fat knitting needles and chunky wool in 2017.
With an average interval between knits of about thirty years I will probably be ready to knit something again in 2047 when I will be 96 years old - I can't wait, it's interesting what you can achieve when once begun, you stick to your knitting.
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Salem John Elliot Hawkins was born in Cambridge UK on the 13th of October 2017.
All new life is special and in Salems' case this is especially so because the road to his arrival has been a six year journey. His arrival was not without drama as he spent the first six days of his life in intensive care. But all is now well. He is the apple of his parents eyes, a wonder and a great joy. He is all this too for his grandparents who add the observation that: " There's only one thing better than having a grandson and that is, now, having two of them! "
The name Salem means; Peace, Wholeness and Completion. Salem is also reputed to be the original name for Jerusalem - JeruSALEM. His arrival has certainly encapsulated this meaning for all involved. Salems' grandparents will return to NZ feeling ... well.... Blessed!
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Monday, September 11, 2017
Despite the stormy blustery weather our Iris bulbs have sprung up from deep within the soil and begun to spread rumours of spring.
Thursday, September 7, 2017
So I sat in my little cabin and listened to the sound of the water chuckling against the hull, the thrum of the wind in the rigging and felt the gentle rocking of the boat as she pulled on her mooring ropes.
I sat and remembered some favourite lines from W. B. Yeats:
"And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings
There midnight's all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings"
It wasn't morning; I couldn't hear any crickets or see any linnets; but I think you might get my drift.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
My old yacht club - Pleasant Point Yacht Club - sited on the Christchurch estuary in the South Island of New Zealand found a high profile supporter this year in Grant Dalton who is the CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand who recently won the Americas Cup and bought it back home to New Zealand.
I really hope things go well for the PPYC and a new club is built on their new site. One of my goals for the future is to take my Zephyr class yacht 'Slipstream' back to the sailing ground of my youth and race again on those unique tidal waters.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Shipmates, I can hear some of you murmuring that God sent me a diesel engine of a particular character to help me to develop patience and you are quite right..... quite right.
A well designed small yacht is like a small flower - beautiful.
Saturday, August 26, 2017
I have always liked flowers, but in the last few years I have noticed their impossible beauty with increasing interest.
Friday, August 25, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
Friday, August 18, 2017
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Today I sat and worked on my excellent little work stool and put the penultimate touch to the keel.
The plan is to run the motor tomorrow and make sure everything is working as it should. Then a coat of anti fouling paint to the under water hull areas and it's back into the water. Then I will be able to motor my way down stream underneath the lifting bridge and go for a sail! Bliss.
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Tonight on 'Prime Rocks' we watched a documentary about Glen Campbells struggle with Alzheimers disease as he toured for the last time. It was a moving tribute to his musical talent, his courage, humour and the love of his family and friends that surrounded him at this most difficult time.
Gentle On My Mind (Great Guitar Break)
Thursday, August 3, 2017
- The big black object mounted on its very own stainless steel bracket, that looks a bit like a vacuum cleaner is the exhaust water lock. I think it provides a chamber where the engine exhaust gases mix with sea water from the water pump before being ejected out through the stern exhaust fitting.
- The big black hose is the exhaust pipe. The part of this large hose to the right leads the exhaust back to the exhaust pipe at the stern of the boat.
- The first small black hose to the left brings water from the water pump to up to the grey coloured anti-siphon 'U bend'.
- The second small black hose to the right take the water and ejects it as a coolant into the engines manifold. The water and exhaust fumes then flow to a connection at the base of the black water lock through the side of the cockpit well on the right hand side.
- The clear hose leading from the grey 'U bend' is the anti siphon hose. It provides a way (by letting in air) to ensure that when the whole system is loaded up (with water) and the engine is off, the exhaust system doesn't siphon water.
- The green hose in the above photo that is hanging down and looking a bit lost is a vent from one of the water tanks.
If you are still reading this and have not been put to sleep by my scintillating poetic explanations and by the gentle cadence of words such as siphon, U bend and plumbing then you have passed the test. Well done.
If you look closely you can see the bottom of the manifold exiting into the water lock in the cockpit locker. Water from black hose (center in the photo) ejects cooling water into the manifold.
The bright red air filter is a component I acquired when I was recently viewing a brand new Porsche 911. Sometimes if you look keen and gullible the car sales person tries to get you to take the car you are viewing home for the weekend. They know this technique usually seals the sale. In this case it was I who asked to take the car home; but the only part they would allow off their premises was the Porsche 911s' air filter (which I had to pay for) and it has come in pretty darn useful I must say - and I know again, you simply won't believe me on that one either.
- Large flexible engine mounts. These are twice the size of the previous ones and should smooth out vibrations more efficiently.
- Lower left in the photo - a draining tap from the diesel fuel tanks sump. I will be able to readily and frequently drain off any water or other contaminants from the fuel tank.
- Middle left in the photo - The tallish silver cylinder with the black tap on top is a remote greaser for the stern gland. A quarter turn of this after running the motor each time is all that is required to grease the stern gland and stop it from dripping.
- The new stainless steel engine bearers and their new cross bracings should provide less vibration in the wooden bearers that they are bolted to and won't rust in the manner of the old ones.
If you have been very observant you will have spied two rope controls in the above photograph. One is the motors decompression control (the motor starts on half compression). The other is the engines stop lever. I can hear some of you muttering the words 'Heath Robinson' under your breathe - cut it out right now - you know about the kiss principle (keep it simple stupid).
The only stupid, or more to the point, slightly alarming aspect about this whole drama has been my regular descent into the port cockpit locker to install the exhaust system. The entrance is so narrow I have to exhale the very last gasp of air in my lungs to squeeze my diaphragm through. It gives one the experience similar to one Pooh Bear Esq who after visiting his friend Rabbit and consuming a number of pots of honey got stuck halfway in and halfway out of Rabbits door - I know the feeling, it makes me exclaim "Yikes" with a slight squeak of the terminal consonants and vowels every time.
Saturday, July 22, 2017
On Monday the new propeller shaft with its new couplings will be aligned and connected to the gear box before everything is bolted in place. I have installed a new water lock exhaust box in the port cockpit locker and purchased most of the peripheral items that are required to allow the motor to work. These include, exhaust, fuel filter, drip tray, remote stern gland greaser, new temperature, oil pressure and engine hour gauges, engine controls, various fuel lines, engine cooling lines and electrical wiring. The alignment of the engine and the wiring will be completed by my diesel mechanic Geoff and his son Ben. I will complete the rest of the work.
When the installation of the motor is finished I will complete the fairing and fiber glassing of the keel. Despite having erected my protective transparent plastic tent around the hull I have been waiting for a break in the cold, wet and very windy weather to do this. It is Winter here in New Zealand and both Islands have been hammered pretty hard by stormy weather.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Now that it is the middle of winter in New Zealand and I have a some fiberglassing to do on the keel I have taped a clear plastic tent around the boat to keep the cold, wet weather out and enable me to work on 'Mariner' without weather interruptions. A good working temperature above 10 degrees is required for a successful fiberglassing outcome and the plastic tent does raise the temperature to that of a small tunnel house that a tomato grower might use.
The somewhat jigsaw like aspect of the work on 'Mariner's diesel is also piecing itself together in a slow but worthwhile manner. Hopefully the many simple changes that I am incorporating on the advice of my diesel mechanic Geoff will ensure trouble free motoring for many years to come.
Now that we are on the downward face of this large wave of work I am really, really looking forward to a nice winter sail - a windy, boisterous trip somewhere ending in a cozy, snug anchorage and the sound of the kettle boiling on 'Mariner's little stove - bliss.