Just as in any harbour, there are boats here in Opua straining at their moorings, just aching to go out to sea, out into their proper environment rather than sitting, tethered, waiting for their owners to pay them a visit.
An ever, though, there’s a fairly large proportion of boats that get out maybe only once or twice a season and, unfortunately, a few that look as though they’ll never sail again.
We thought you might like to meet some of our neighbours. First the not-so-fortunate boats:
|This is 'Lindy', a once-lovey little wooden cutter|
|..her cockpit gives just a hint of what she must be like below. A forgotten and abandoned project it seems.|
|Another boat in similar straights. So sad.|
|Even the relatively modern, racy trimaran looks unloved when close up..|
|The 'Titi Nui' now seems to be just a roost for seabirds|
|From a distance it's hard to see what she was|
|Closer up and the remains of the deckhouse can be seen, slowly drooping into the water|
|What tales could this ship's wheel tell if it could speak?|
Happily, the deserted vessels are in the minority here and there are some very interesting boats around us:
|An old day-sailer, probably a traditional fishing boat for the Bay of Islands,has a very distinctive bow...|
|...which also features on this pretty wooden yacht.|
|She may have a startling paint job but 'Blazing Shadz' shares the same bow shape|
|...and a funky modern version of a schooner's rig (the rear mast being taller than the foremast).|
Some boats are less attractive than others, it must be said...
|The 82ft superyacht Houbara|
|We loved the token greenwash of the two tiny wind generators! which probably just abut power the bar fridge.|
But others are very pretty..
|The beautiful American yacht Nirvana|
|and a smaller, New Zealand boat|
Opua’s place as a main port of entry and exit for boats travelling to and from the Topics means that there are a lot of ‘live-aboard’ Blue Water cruising yachts here and people are getting ready for the annual migration north; it typically starts around the end of April. These world-girdling boats are usually fairly easy to differentiate from local, coastal-cruising yachts.
|Not quite sure why this boat needs so much power!|
|The South African 'Sheer Tenacity' built by its owners Rod and Mary and looking sparkling after a repaint and new sail covers. Note the cockpit tent to give shelter from wind and sun and the extra fuel tanks lasted to the rail.|
We’re pleased that Maunie’s internal storage space and her pilothouse main cabin mean that she doesn't carry many of these cruising ‘extras’ to spoil her lines, though the solar panels and the Windpilot self-steering gear at her stern clearly show she’s a Blue Water thoroughbred.
|Now we may be biased, but we love Maunie's lines!|
Meanwhile, a few thousand miles away from this tranquil place, the very different Volvo Ocean Race boats (65 footers built of carbon fibre and using the very latest in boat technology) have just rounded Cape Horn. Well, four of them have made it so far. Dongfen Racing have broken their mast just a day before reaching the Horn and have limped into the Beagle Channel to dock in a Chilean port whilst the girls on SCA lost power to all their instruments and had to slow down substantially until they eventually found the cause of the problem and repaired it. There is some fantastic on-board and helicopter video footage of the boats at Cape Horn HERE - it's very different from our kind of sailing!!