REFLECTIONS ON NEW ZEALAND CRUISE

Now I am back home, sleeping in a double bed, no movement and no wind in the rigging.  I do wake up in the morning and momentarily wonder where I am, but that will pass.  Having not watched television for five months I find I am now strangely addicted, but that will pass as well.

Truce is secure, fore and aft, on a pole mooring.  Not as convenient as a marina berth as I must take the dinghy from the shore.  But the cost is less expensive than a marina berth so I will give it a try.

I am also back at work in the red shirt as a casual employee at Burnsco in Westhaven.  The first day back was good, catching up with the other staff and meeting some interesting customers.

I have been reading through my logbooks and reflecting on the cruise and the last few months.  Firstly, it’s clear I did not achieve what I set out to do.  But, back in January who expected a global pandemic would change our lives so drastically?

My motto for this cruise was ‘no hurry in life’.  I set that parameter before I started.  I wanted to avoid any situation where I was pressurised to meet deadlines.  In that goal I was successful and had no pressure to sail or take risks.  This made the cruise a much more relaxed affair and allowed me more time to linger in places I liked.

In the end it didn’t matter that I missed getting to Stewart Island or Fiordland.  I enjoyed seeing and visiting many other places.  A cruise to the South of lower New Zealand can happen another time.

Truce stood up to the cruise very well.  There were no major breakages and all the gear worked well.  The two failures to occur were the Raymarine ST2000+ autopilot and an engine shut down.  The autopilot failure was annoying but manageable until a replacement was sourced.  The engine shut down was self-inflicted, I used an incompatible fuel filter.  After sourcing the correct filter, the engine resumed normal service.  Throughout the cruise I carried out preventative maintenance and as usual with boats or ships, the more they are used the less problems they give.

Of particular merit were the solar panels, LED lights throughout the boat, Oil Lamps and Dickinson Heater.  The solar panels performed well and provided sufficient power to run all onboard equipment without resorting to the engine for charging batteries on all but a few very overcast days.  The use of LED lights reduced power consumption drastically.  As the weather turned colder, I lit one or two oil lamps in the cabin.  They provided sufficient heat to warm up the boat which is well insulated.  On very cold nights the Dickinson diesel heater was excellent, delivering heaps of heat and a nice cosy atmosphere.

A couple of things I would like for future cruises: –

  • A fridge, not only to keep beer cool but to allow the carriage of fresh provisions for longer. The downside being the increased cost, complication and power drain.  I would need to increase the solar and battery capacity.  I am also concerned about adding a layer of complication to a simple self-sufficient boat.
  • A light wind sail on a top down furler. I have a spinnaker that I do not use single handed, it is just too much effort to rig and set by myself, particularly when coastal sailing.  A hoistable top down furler would be easy to manage, provide drive in light wind conditions and be simple to furl and drop when the wind picks up.  Unfortunately, these things are costly.

Some of the highlights of this cruise: –

  • Whangaroa Harbour, enjoyed the many sheltered anchorages.
  • Abel Tasman National park, beautiful scenery and almost tropical setting.
  • Spirits Bay, remote and tenuous anchorage awaiting favourable winds on east coast.
  • Catching up with family and friends in Abel Tasman, Nelson, Lyttleton and Northland along the way.
  • Catching fish and the generosity and friendliness of commercial fishermen.

Some of the less pleasant events: –

  • 50 knot winds crossing the Cook Strait when only 35 knots forecast.
  • Hordes of cruise ship passengers in Akaroa.

Facts and figures for the cruise: –

  • Cruise Distance 2,732 miles
  • Cruise Duration 158 Days
  • Anchorages 55
  • Marina days 22
  • Total fuel consumption for cruise 439 Litre diesel
  • Total Engine hours for cruise 319 hours
  • Fuel cost $570
  • Fuel Consumption 1.37 Litre per hour

Finally, many thanks to Micky (wind vane self steering).  Mickey looks after all steering on board when we are under sail and sometime when under motor as well.  With the occasional drop of lubricating oil he performs without complaint, day in day out, sometimes in challenging conditions.  He uses no fuel or electrical power, just needs a bit of wind to keep him happy.  He does not complain and stays awake 24 hours a day.  The best crew you could wish for.

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