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.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Sailing just for the fun of it and trying to keep the water out

There is a risk, we have discovered, that we can sometimes forget to go sailing just for the fun of it. We tend to think in terms of making passages to get to the next port and then, of course, there's the list of boat jobs still to be tackled. However, in the past week we've enjoyed some wonderful, fun sailing and, yes, spent a lot of time maintaining Maunie.

A dramatic evening sky as we sailed north from Auckland to Opua
We finally left the waters around Auckland last weekend and had a lovely overnight sail for the 115nm passage back up to our mooring in Opua. The wind was blowing off the land so the sea was flat and progress was excellent until the breeze died at about 05.30 just as we arrived back in the Bay of Islands. We thoroughly enjoyed our month in Auckland but it was lovely to be 'home' - or a place as close to home as we've had for the past 3 years.

Back on our mooring we decided to tackle a couple of annoying little deck leaks on the starboard side. We think that the 18 year old sealant used to seal the various fittings which are bolted down onto the deck has become brittle with age and the challenges of the temperature extremes to which the deck has been subjected. So, two stanchion bases (stanchions are the upright posts of the guard-rails around the deck perimeter) and the track for the foresail sheet car had to come off. This involved 32 bolts of varying degrees of impossibility in terms of access to their nuts on the underside of the deck so we wondered what we'd started....

The track finally removed from the deck...

... and the deck masked off with tape for the application of serious quantities of Sikaflex sealant before the whole thing was bolted back into place 
We are delighted to have finished the 2-day job and Graham has just rebuilt the locker in the aft heads which had to be removed to give access to the nuts. It's currently raining hard so we daren't look to see if we have been successful!

As a break from this fun, we sailed out to one of the Islands yesterday just for the heck of it and had a great beat out. Di got a bit chilly, though, so tried to multi-task and put her hooded sweatshirt on without removing sunglasses and whilst helming. The result was a slight wardrobe malfunction and Graham wouldn't help until he'd got a photo:

Very funny, Graham. Now help me please!
We anchored off Roberton Island and had a slightly disturbed night as strong gusts whistled through the rigging. However this morning we had the entertainment of a new neighbour arriving:

A floating back-packers' lodge which does 3-day trips around the Bay of Islands

Plenty of sea toys aboard
Anyway a break in the weather gave us the chance to sail back to the mooring  before the next rain squall and, with a lovely 18 knot NE wind, we used it to try out a new addition to the boat.

A new 'snuffer' for our 'Irish Flag' spinnaker. The old one was hopeless and kept tying the sail in knots to the extent that we hardly used the sail; this one, from North Sails, has a much neater and smaller 'funnel' and the clever idea of the hoisting and snuffing lines being captive in the blue outer sleeve so they can't snag the sail
It worked perfectly and we had a cracking sail back into Opua. The eagle-eyed experts will note the absence of the foresail on the furler - we discovered a small tear so it has been taken off for a repair.
As we were setting the spinnaker, we suddenly had about 5 large dolphins surfing in our bow wave and the breeze built so that we had a very exciting sail up the estuary. 

We are now safely back on the mooring and preparing, guess what, for more boat work tomorrow. Joe the Fridge Man is coming to try to resuscitate our aft fridge which died again only a day after it was re-gassed just before Christmas. Fingers crossed he'll be able to do some magic!

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