A Kiwi couple's cruising adventures on America's Great Loop and around the coast of New Zealand

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Sea Solve

In my last posting, I said that I didn't have a "before" pic of the sundeck showing the "heap of stuff" piled in the corner of the sundeck prior to adding the deck box. Well, I have since found one and so here is the comparison now.


But one of the problems with having new stuff is that can make the old stuff in the same setting look bad.This is a case in point, with the beautifully stained timber deck box showing just how badly sun bleached and marked the existing teak furniture was.

It just so happens that the manufacturer of Noflex Digestor also manufactures a boat wash  called "Sea Solve"  that neutralises the salt from spray and cleans the boat without damaging the wax coating, as other salt removal washes can. I was sent some with my last shipment of Noflex and, with advice from a boat detailer from the West Coast of the USA who has been using it for some time, I have been trialling it over the last few weeks, particularly on my own equipment and I am very impressed with the results. It comes as a 1 litre container with garden hose attachment for automatic mixing at 200:1 for boat washing, but I also mix some in a spray bottle at 30:1 for other purposes.

Washing the boat with it prior to waxing removes oxidisation and makes it significantly easier to apply and polish. All you need to do is wet the surface, hose it on, give it a light brush, and hose it off. I was so impressed with the results prior to polishing the boat that I washed my old unloved Mitsubishi Van with it and, while it could still USE a polish, it no longer NEEDS one!

Diluted 30:1 I have used it for cleaning all sorts of surfaces - it is probably the best fibreglass shower cleaner I have ever used - and it will get tea/coffee stains out of porcelain cups. But the thing that caught my eye from the boat detailer was his advice that it worked well to clean teak.

So, I sprayed the deck furniture with the 30:1 mixture and gave it a light rub with a Scotch Brite pad, before washing it off. I hadn't taken a pic of the furniture "before" (other than the one above), but here is one of the same furniture from our deck at our apartment, and the stuff on the boat was in similar condition. It took about an hour to do the 4 chairs, and the timber came up like new when it dried.  I then applied a coating of linseed oil based furniture polish (much, much cheaper than teak oil!!) and they now match the deck box perfectly

The only problem is that, since the Admiral has seen it, I now have to do the same with the furniture at the apartment. It is a very big table.....and it has a 2ft extension in the middle.....and there are 6 chairs....and 2 of them have arms .....(sigh)

BTW we did go away for Labour weekend, although we waited until Sunday so we could watch the All Blacks thrash Australia and win the Rugby World Cup for the third (record), and the second consecutive (record), time!

Here's a couple of pix of what Oneroa looked like on Labour Day

Till next time

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Niggley Things

Niggle: (verb) cause slight but persistent annoyance, discomfort, or anxiety

#1 Niggley Thing

The two rear portlights on Loopy Kiwi (and I suspect on other aft cabin Motor Yachts  as well) are angled in such a way that, if it rains and they are open, water runs from the sundeck roof down the sundeck windows and side of the hull and funnels through them into the boat. It does not have to be raining hard for there to be a lot of water ingress that makes one hell of a mess to the woodwork and soft furnishings below. The one in the aft head is well positioned so that water ran down the inside wall to fall directly onto the toilet roll, which would blow up like a tampon - I have since repositioned the toilet roll holder. On the other side, within minutes of it starting to rain, water would cascade over the sill, behind the mirror and into the dresser drawers below. One night we finished up with the Admirals "dainties" drawer half full of water and wet knickers.

The same issue occurs with the pilothouse door, where the top angles inside the bottom, so rain runoff naturally falls over the step, seat and floor of the dinette. The four forward portlights are fine, as they are angled the other way with the flare of the hull and are also protected by the rub rail.

Now before anyone says "keep the doors and windows shut when it rains", it doesn't take a lot of rain to make a lot of mess, and sometimes (particularly at night), you don't realise its raining until its too late. We like having them open - there's not a lot of point in having opening windows otherwise.

The culprit

The result
After our summer cruise, where we had a couple of instances of this flooding, I began thinking that it may help to attach eyebrow shaped drip rails to the outside of the hull above the portlights to divert the waterfall to either side of the window, and the same above the pilothouse door, just like they used to have on automobiles. Having recently joined the Silverton Owners Club (SOC), I put a posting out to see if anyone had done this and, while no-one had done exactly that, I was led to a product that seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. It is a flexible PVC drip rail, made by 3M and came complete with stick-on backing. What's more it was available in NZ! The product is 3M DRW (drip rail white) and it is available from UES Ltd, 291 Nielsen St, Penrose, and was cheap enough to warrant at least trying it out. Accordingly, I bought 5 metres of it for around $40, enough to do the areas of concern, and applied it thus:

Not only does it look better than I expected, the results were just phenomenal. Since installing it in February, we have had plenty of rain and I have been able to keep the portlights open without any water ingress. In fact, it is only in windblown rain coming directly at the windows that they need to be closed for. The rail above the pilothouse door stops dew dripping down onto the dinette floor, but the door opening is just too big and angled for the rail to stop rain, so we still have to close it when it rains.

#2 Niggley Thing:

Loopy Kiwi has a fully enclosed sundeck with solid glass windows and plexiglass doors. The doors are in aluminium frames with a lower sill, like a bulkhead hatch on a ship or submarine.

The aft entry door from the swim platform has the same setup, with only a 3" landing on the outside at the top of the stairs and a 3" sill that you have to step over. This means that to get out, you have to step over the sill and then straight down 7-8" to the top stair, which is not easy, particularly if you are carrying anything. Getting aboard is even harder, as you have to step up over the sill from the top step, placing your foot well inside the sundeck floor, and then heave yourself through the door past the centre of gravity which is trying to topple you backwards.

Now this may be fine for 13 year old gymnasts, but not so good for geriatric folk with dodgy knees, like me and the Admiral. After years of thinking about replacing the door with something more user friendly and, after watching an 82 year old friend struggling to get aboard last weekend I decided that it needed to be done forthwith. I remembered seeing an earlier model 453 in Lake Michigan which had the same enclosure as ours, but the doors went all the way to the floor, so there was no sill. So I figured I would just cut off the lower aluminium frame and the "Star Board" sill, and it would basically be the same. So that's exactly what I did.

It wasn't an easy job, and it looks a bit odd..... but it worked.... and it makes boarding soooo much easier..... I wish I had done it years ago.

#3 Niggley Thing

There is a lot of room on a Silverton 453 and plenty of storage spaces inside, but there is nothing very BIG in the way of storage, particularly out the back of the boat. The result is that there was always an unsightly heap of stuff (Dive gear, gas bottles, buckets and BBQ's) in one corner of the Sundeck and I had been looking round for ages for something in the way of a storage box to tidy it up. There are no "before" pictures of this project (why would I take pix of something that unsightly?). I wanted it to double as a seat and be big enough to store all the loose gear, but had to be mindful of fitting it through the narrow rear door. This ruled out things like plastic deckboxes or chilly bins (eskies/Coolers...whatever) and I had been looking at kitset wooden outdoor storage boxes, which would also match the teak outdoor furniture on the Sundeck (and, d'ya know, I don't even have a pic of that!).

We happened to be in Australia a couple of weeks ago and on the last day, I visited a Bunnings (a bit like Home depot) to see if they had anything over there. It just so happened they did, and I considered buying one, but then considered the issues of transport (it was slightly heavier than my baggage allowance) and warranty - which was just as well as it turned out. I figured they might have them now in NZ, or at least I may be able to order one through Bunnings NZ. Turns out they were available here at roughly the equivalent price, so I bought one the following week and took it to the boat to assemble it. It was in a bulky flat pack and weighed 26kg (57lb), but I manoeuvred it onto the Sundeck and began assembly. It was made in Vietnam of eucalyptus hardwood and seemed to be of reasonable quality. However, as I fitted the first long (about 4") screw that held the back to the side, I heard the ominous sound of wood splitting after I got it past the halfway point. It wound all the way in, but you could see a crack in the timber where it was bedded. I finished the assembly with no further mishaps and the box looked great (the Admiral didn't even notice it when she came aboard - so it must have looked the part), but that crack bothered me all night, fast becoming #4 Niggley Thing. The next day, I decided it actually wasn't good enough (considering it wasn't a particularly cheap item), so I dismantled it to take it back. Not only was the crack worse than it looked, I found one of the other long screws had bottomed against screws holding another part of the box together and has stripped about 1" off its thread. It looked to me like the holes in the suspect piece had been drilled out too big, so they had been plugged and redrilled but this time too small - hence the splitting.

Bunnings didn't seem at all surprised when I returned it and offered me a refund. I told them I actually still wanted one as long as it wasn't faulty like this one. I was a little taken aback when they said that they couldn't guarantee it wasn't faulty too, but we finished up unpacking one and checking the holes, none of which seemed to have been  "doctored". So I lugged the new one back up the pier and on to LK and began assembly. This time it was the second long screw that gave trouble - only this one wasn't too tight that it split the wood....it was so loose that it just kept turning after it bottomed. The eighth screw was so loose that it could be screwed almost fully home yet still straight pulled out with my fingers. I decided that I didn't want to play this game any more, so I dismantled it (again) and lugged it down the pier and back to Bunnings for a refund.

Bear in mind I had been looking for something like this for almost 2 years and was really pissed off to be so close and be let down by quality. I figured there was no chance of anyone else having something similar but, what the hell, I may as well check out Mitre 10 (Bunnings competitor) on my way home from the boat. Lo and Behold a very similar looking storage box made in Vietnam  from eucalyptus hardwood (Hmmmm - a different brand though), although slightly longer, wider and taller (which suited me) but dearer (which didn't).

The following weekend I bought one from the local store and lugged it to the boat (although it was also slightly lighter!), and assembled it without any problems!!!!!

Well that's got rid of 3 Niggley Things. Undoubtedly some others will rear their ugly heads before too long


Friday, 16 October 2015

Looking Back

........I see that I haven't been a good blogger lately. Its one of those things - the longer you put off doing something, the harder it is to do, so its easier just to keep procrastinating! To try and make up for it, I can either do a long "catch-up" post, or several in quick succession. I'll start now anyway and see how it goes later on which route we take.

In the post of December 1st 2014 (3 posts ago), I said that we were planning to go to the Bay of Islands again for our summer cruise- and this we did. One of the reasons that I didn't post anything at the time was that we basically visited all the same places, so any pix and maps would have been much the same as the year before. The weather, however, was significantly nicer and we ended up staying 56 days away. There were a few changes from the previous years expedition: we left home prior to Christmas and arrived in the Bay at peak holiday time, and we took our van up as well so we would have a vehicle to get around in and not be a burden to others for transport. Both were a mistake, and we would not do either again in a hurry.

Northland can be a funny place. It is one of the poorer areas of New Zealand and it relies heavily on tourism for income. For some reason though, many Northlanders have an antipathy bordering on dislike for visitors over the peak summer period, and particularly if they come from Auckland. They seem to like us to come and spend money, but would rather we didn't hang around and use THEIR facilities. This impression of being unwanted seems to persist from late December through to early February (coinciding with most people's annual holidays) and seems prevalent throughout the community. After then, when everyone (ie from Auckland) has gone home, they get much more affable and co-operative. Perhaps its because many Northlanders are ex-pat Aucklanders that escaped "the rat race" and want to keep their new found paradise to themselves....I dunno, but I sure will avoid going there that time of year in future. In the same vein, taking a vehicle was a waste of time as there is nowhere handy to park it unless you stay in a marina all the time (you can buy parking while you're not there, but it costs as much as the parking at Auckland International Airport). As a result we ended up leaving it with Charlie and Pauline, and they had to ferry us to and from it, which kind of defeated the purpose. Next year we will do the Hauraki Gulf and south to Mercury Bay and see if the folk down there are more accommodating....and we will leave the van at home

Enough bitching.......Here's a quick precis of the occasion, with a few pix thrown in for impact. Starting with a map of the route (much the same as last years, but a few minor differences:

The return was pretty much a repeat of the trip up

22nd Dec..Charlie and I left Hobsonville Marina at 0600 heading North with the intention of anchoring one night en route to Marsden Cove Marina, with the girls to drive up with the van the following day. Halfway up, at Cape Rodney, the weather was great the tomorrow's forecast wasn't, so we went all the way, anchoring at Urqharts Bay, opposite the marina, for the night.
The "Hen and Chickens" Islands and Sail Rock in Bream Bay

Urquarts Bay

Sunset over Marsden Point 

23rd Dec - 3rd January

Moved across to Marsden Cove marina and met up with the girls. Had Christmas day aboard with Charlie and Pauline, was visited by Lois and did a trip up harbour to the Whangarei Town Basin, and drove down to the family farm a few days later for our traditional New Years day picnic and Hangi. I have already written about Hangi in a posting back in 2012, but there are a few more pix this time, including ones that show we do actually bury it to cook.

Marsden Cove lock in use

Heating the hangi"stones"

Digging the hangi hole

Preparing the Hangi baskets
Nearly ready

Ready to go

Waiting for the final heat-up

Loading the stones

Fire in the hole

in goes the tucker

Covering it up

Burying the food and.....

...digging it up 4 1/2 hours later....

to eat it
As usual, we over-catered for the number of people, and the contents of one basket were sufficient to feed them all. Rather than waste the second, we covered it back up again and left it in the ground until the following morning, when we dug it up and ate it. For any germophobes amongst you readers, the heat remaining in the stones keeps the food sterile but without cooking it any further - we have done this a number of times and no-one has died yet!

2nd January - 2nd Feb

After a sumptuous hangi breakfast, we returned to Marsden Cove Marina, and the following day Charlie and I departed for the Bay in LK while the girls (again) drove up. We stopped at Whangamumu Harbour on the way, as I had been promising to do for many years, and found it as stunning as everyone says it is. Well sheltered and inaccessible by road, it used to be a whaling station and is just gorgeous. Although we did have a run-in with a whining yachtie who complained we were anchored too close to him, even though he had to row over to tell us to move!!!! But it was easier to move than argue.
Whnagmumu Harbour

The next month was spent tutuing around the Bay of Islands, interspersed with visits from family members and Charlie and Pauline retrieving us and/or our van. Here's a bunch of pretty pictures that show pretty much what it was like weatherwise over that time

Charlies mate, Norm. I had just swapped him a feed of scallops for a sample of Noflex Digestor

Nephew and Family and a pod of dolphins

2nd - 15th Feb

The Admiral and I departed the Bay leaving the van parked at the Opua marina (out on the street to avoid the horrendous parking fees) for Charlie to collect later and bring to us at Marsden Cove marina. Before we left, we saw a bunch of tenders filling up with provisions which turned out to be going out to "Hemisphere", the largest sailing catamaran in the world (44.2 metres -145ft), which was anchored off Russel.
One of Hemisphere's tenders BTW That is a "Cruisers" 4450  alongside it - 45ft long

It doesn't look very big, until you realise the "dinghy" behind it is the tender in the pic above

We went right around Piercy Island and got a good look at the famous "hole in the rock", but there were big swells and waves leftover from an Easterly blow a few days before so we didn't even consider going though - not that we would anyway, since the local Iwi now charges for the privilege, apparently.

Piercy Is looking South

Looking North
We stopped for a night at Whangamumu on the way down (no tosspot yachtie this time) and had a good ride down, staying overnight again in Urquharts Bay, before crossing to Marsden Cove the next day. There C & P bought the van  the day after, and stayed with us for another couple. We drove back home for 1 night (only 1 1/2 hours by road) for a couple of appointments, and then returned to Marsden Cove, departing in the evening of  13th. We stayed in Urquharts again that night, and the following day we headed for Kawau Island, the wind picking up as we arrived in Bon Accord harbour.

Bon Accord Harbour, Kawau Island

Heading for home the next day was the worst voyage of the whole trip. The wind was 15 -20 knot E which combined with the swell gave a 2-3 metre (6 - 9ft) beam sea all the way across Kawau Bay. Our first attempt got us about 5NM out, but the complaints from the Admiral and Woody had us turning W and running for shelter behind Moturekareka Island, where we stayed until the wind "moderated" as it was supposed to do in around midday. It did slightly but was still big seas when we decided to run for it at 1500. Further out, the waves were as big, or bigger than they were earlier, but we took a heading that gave us a more bow-on sea, even though we were heading at 90 degrees to where we were wanting to go. After about 40 minutes, we were abeam the entrance to Tiri Passage (where we had to go), so we spun round to run with the following sea and cranked Loopy Kiwi up up 18 knots for the 5NM run to the entrance. And she fair flew - I once looked round at the Admiral - she was grinning from ear to ear and said "this is more like it". 9 knots is OK for fuel economy, but it's good to have the grunt there when you need it! Once through the Passage, everything calmed down and the rest of the trip was a doddle, arriving home on the evening of the 15th. We stayed aboard another couple of nights before going up to Whangarei and retrieving the van from Marsden Cove marina and going home.

And that's about it - last summers major voyage in a nutshell. 

The rest of the summer consisted mainly of weekend trips to Waiheke, sometimes with guests aboard.  Easter was pretty much of a repeat of last year, with an extension of the holiday to 8 days, and a visit to Coromandel, so not a lot of point in dialogue and we didn't take many pix. Queens Birthday weekend, considered the end of the boating season, was spent on Great Barrier Island where I had a gig at a fundraising "Degustation Dinner" in support of their St John's Ambulance station there. We went over on the vehicular ferry and stayed with our son at Tryphena, so still a boating holiday, of sorts.

This post has gone on long enough, so I will do further updates separately - and I promise to be a better Blogger in future.