Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

A different kind of wind and a new Flux Capacitor

We sailors spend a lot of time thinking about wind and, to be honest, we're rarely satisfied with what we get. The perfect '15-knots-on-the-beam' conditions are all too rare and we're either moaning that there's not enough breeze, too much or it's from the wrong direction. 'On the nose' is generally no fun, with the boat heeled over and zig-zagging painfuly slowly towards our destination whilst 'blowing right up our arse' is only marginally better (the boat tends to roll drunkenly with sudden lurches down waves, just as your trying to pour boiling water into a mug in the galley).

Wind blowing the other direction from your arse isn't much fun, either, as we've discovered over the past week. The skipper has been feeling distinctly poorly and has been trumping for England (not to be confused with Trumping for America, which is a lot more serious). Easter weekend here was absolutely beautiful (and pretty windless, apart from on board Maunie) so we anchored out in the Bay of Islands and, despite feeling distinctly bleukish, Graham went for a swim. And managed two laps of the boat without moving any of his limbs.

One of the bays of Moturua Island
Anyway, back to Opua after the bank holiday, Graham booked an appointment with local GP, who's also a sailor as it happens. Dr Hoffer is Canadian and has a cracking sense of humour, slightly at the expense of a student doctor who attended the consultation. After listening to the list of symptoms and doing a detailed examination, he turned to his student and said, "Well, whadya think?". Student looked a bit blank. "Need a clue?... In Canada it's called Beaver Fever". 

"That's really helpful!" she replied, presumably never having been to Canada.

"I think its giardia." pronounced the doctor. Giardia, if you haven't met it before, is a pathogen that stays alive as a cyst in fresh water, is pretty much impervious to chlorine and is only killed by boiling the water; it's a pretty common issue in the developing world and amongst the outdoor adventure fraternity who drink water from apparently crystal clear streams. Not sure how Graham got it (Di is fine) but the fix was 5 sizeable pills taken all at the same time (with a strict no-alcohol warning) - hopefully he should be feeling better in a couple of days.

Life, in spite of this minor setback, has been moving along with quite a lot achieved. We're finalising lists of things to do and buy before we leave NZ in May (more details of our plans to follow in the next update) and checking the boat thoroughly. Last week's horrible weather meant that, for the first time in ages, the solar panels weren't keeping up with our electricity demands so we started the generator, only to find that the battery charger wasn't working. We checked all the connections and finally had to call in the help of the professionals - Mark the spark found that the generator was only producing 190v AC, hedging its bets somewhat between the US 110v and the UK 240v. 

We had immediate forebodings and thoughts of having to get the generator out from its locker (no fun) and ashore for (expensive) repairs but Mark came back with a new Capacitor (which looks like an aluminium drinks can and costs about $30) and, hey presto, we're back at 240v and the charger is working again. We should clarify that the faulty item was a capacitor, not a Flux Capacitor which was, of course, the main component of the DeLorean time machine in Back to the Future. In any case getting Maunie up to the required 88mph would have been pretty difficult, no how matter how much wind we had aboard.

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