Jon Sanders Update

While I do another Hobart race (unfortunately without Jon) he’s off nonstop from New Zealand to Perth. We’ll probably arrive about the same time as Linda and I complete our own Adelaide to Perth after the race If not a reunion in Esperance where Jon and I had such an incredible welcome at the yacht club when were there on “Perie Banou 2″ last year!

PS: He was confused below (it was “Froia 2″ I sailed and my S&S34 next year!)

15 December 2011

Now back in Auckland NZ after a two week stint in Perth to get my troublesome top fangs out. Colin’s teeth have been perfect. My top lot have been trouble from the start. Anyway Matthew will bang another lot back in when in Perth, towards end of January. (I hope). Needless to say Matthew is David’s age and mate. (Same age). At least he topped his school.

My run from Bora Bora to Auckland was as one might expect. Bulk off wind. Windy through the Cook Islands. Seems always in that region. In 1991 I was hove-to, in a tropical storm. (This same yacht).

To heave-to (My style). Is to have a high 3 rd reef in the mainsail. One has to persuade Western Australian Sail makers to put it high enough. (Except Dubbo of course – Hi Dubbo). Because the sail is hauled in, it probably needs the boom topping lift to help hold up the end of the boom.

Point the boat towards the wind, not abeam. Put on auto pilot , read a book. If no auto pilot, – most yachts will lie like this with helm tied. Abeam is dangerous and on the quarter very dangerous. Storm conditions wind astern one needs some sort of drogue. (A small jib tied with all 3 corners towed behind). Probably go bare poles. (i.e. Don,t want the boat to surf). 30 to 40 KTS down wind normal sea conditions SS39 SS34 with Aries self steeper runs like a charm. (With 3 reefs Mainsail only.)

Met Robin Knox Johnson in Durban a few years back. He reckoned he had never put on a storm tri, he has always had the 4th reef. More than a week out from Auckland fetched a SW Gale 30 to 40kts headwind so Hove-to. Moderated fairly soon to 30 knots and I slowly stooged in westerly direction for a day until the wind went south then south east. Then it was straight thru to Auckland. Tied up Westhaven Maria, they claim the largest Marina in the Southern hemisphere. Probably is. They have other large marinas NZ, plus Manly Brisbane is big. Africa and South America are not famous for their marinas. I should know – been there. (Done that).

Anyway Westhaven is nice. Water power and live aboard was $A22 per day. Cheapest so far. Owned by Auckland City Council. Near by is yachtsman corner. A couple of blocks all marine stuff, sail makers, chandlery, electrical. engineering etc. At one end of the marina near the bridge are four yacht clubs including RNZY Squadron. Built on land fill, Their problem is they do not own their own marinas, which is a source of income.

Coming into Auckland, close to midnight, I sailed right to near the secure customs yacht wharf, then lowered my sails and put engine in gear, very slow revs and parked the yacht. Slow because my top shaft (V Drive) had worked loose in the bearings again. In Auckland a mechanic has put new bearings in. He could not work out why it did it. I have two universal joints. As he put it “So do trucks”. But maybe the exit casing where the shaft goes thru not stable enough or flexible. Told me to take it easy.

The Customs & Quarantine. came down next morning. All was quick and easy because I picked up all their paper work in Tahiti and had it already filled in.

I guess I do not do anything like the flying Western Australian federal politicians do, or even Andrew Sanders. So one might think I seem to live aboard a yacht. I do, but it feels more like I live in aircraft terminals, Qantas Club and in Boeing and Airbus flying things.

In the last 5 months I Have made two Australian trans continental flights and 10 international flights, plus sailed from the British Virgin Islands, Caribbean to NZ via Panama (plus Bali Indonesia to MacKay Queensland in Bryan McMasters yacht). Hey Bryan congratulations Harbour Race win. – His other yacht. (Andrew and I were guests on the Balcony of the Maritime Museum, watching). Were so. (Kenny Ireland probably thought we were spying).

Sunday 4th Dec walking from marina to catch Cat type bus into town to use internet cafe. Raining cats and dogs. Was so. Big puddle across the road and only one narrow path. Gosh better hurry pass this bit or a passing car will drown me. Heard a car coming, cant help bad luck. But it went to the other side of the road and stopped. Lowered the window and said “I think you could do with a lift”. The car had RNZYS on the side of the car. So I asked him if he worked at Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Sure did, GM of RNZYS. Good friends of GM RFBYC- WA.

Paul Stratfold and Shiralee yacht is in Fiji, they are both back in WA working. My crew, (Brian Caldwell) Sydney – Hobart crew and Rio Race crew (well I do what they tell me to) has sailed his S&S 34 from Seattle USA to Bundaberg and his girl friend Linda two days behind him in a similar boat from USA, also to Bundaberg. Thanks to Richard Stainton and Maree everyone ends up in Bundaberg. As Paul and the Owen-Conway family can tell. Brian and Linda will be stealing my bedroom again. (They,ll be reading this). Brian was the youngest person under 21 to sail solo around the world until a certain David Dicks broke the record. You get that.

Brian has sailed with me in the last Hobart Race and the Cape to Rio Race. In 2009 after the Hobart and because neither brian or Linda had been across the South Coast Aussie, the three of us left Hobart in Perie Banou 11 explored the South Coast Tas. then the West coast incl. Port Davey, Bathurst Channel and Bathurst Harbour and an, inlet we went up until we went aground – great. Then we went onto Port Fairy, Portland and then Port Lincoln, Esperance. Albany and Fremantle. (More fun than my usual one or two stops).

My annual pilgrimage (sometimes more than once) to Bundaberg usually involves the Tilt Train or the Sunlander sleeper depending which end of Queensland I am coming from. The best part is Richard or Maree are are always on the platform waiting.

A low is due to pass over North Island Fri, so I will probably leave for Fremantle Sat. Maybe go straight thru.

Hear tell viewing great South Mole (ISAF). Specially the finishes. Good fun crowds. Congratulations Ian and all. I would like to have seen the windsurfers finishing’s. Probably because it is everything I cannot do. Ian Thorpe can swim. So can I, just not as fast.

It is thurs 15 Dec today. Rained all last night and today. Floods south. Would like to leave Sat – good weather but waiting for parts my Aries self steerer. They are are a bit worn and bit slack * (like me). But it still works extremely well. Even better in light airs. I think it best I replace some of those parts. Ordered and paid for, but they are not here. Made a mistake getting them sent Royal Mail. It would have cost $100 or more extra with DHL. That would now have been more sensible. Anyway I will hang on until next week in the hope. This is the 6th circumnavigation this unit [Aries Wind Vane Self Steering] has been used including David Dicks circumnavigation, plus 9 other crossing Great Australian Bight in my yacht for Hobarts and boats I have delivered. In calm conditions (now) I attach a Ray marine tiller auto pilot to the actual vane.

I wonder if they ever get a dry season in NZ.

Regards to all

Jon

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