10,000 MILES WITH TRUCE

Banging to windward all last night and today on starboard tack.  Getting to New Zealand is a battle, every mile must be won.  I am not complaining – some are still in the north waiting for a break in the weather and one yachtsman is sheltering at Raoul Island.

The daybreak this morning was beautiful and the day is sparkling but the wind is cool from the south west.  I am seeing more birdlife today, this morning we were visited by an albatross.  The bird circled a couple of times before flying alongside, looking us over with the beady eye of the ancient mariner.  What majestic animals.

This morning I was completing our voyage records and discovered that today Truce and I have just completed 10,000 miles together today.  We did 2,700 plus miles last year between Canoe Cove and Glacier Bay in Alaska.  This year we have done over 7,200 miles across the Pacific, from Canada to New Zealand.  I would say we know each other quite well although I still have much to learn.

Now less than 300 miles to Opua.  But we still have a calm patch and a gale to get through.  The maximum forecast winds for Tuesday have just increased from thirty-nine to forty-two knots.  Oh boy – I don’t fancy that.  I will hank on the storm staysail tomorrow.

WORKING TO GET SOUTH

It’s a good job I made muffins yesterday – it would never have happened today, conditions are far too boisterous.  The day started out with a rain squall and front just after midnight.  Then a strong south west wind and swell set in and we have been using it all day make our way south the best we can.  Our starboard bow is in the weather for a change, pushing aside the SW swells and sending a deluge of spray all over the boat.

We are still looking at an ETA into Opua on Tuesday.  Hopefully just ahead of the thirty-nine knot winds that are forecast.

I was thinking about the motion on board Truce today and realise she is very light compared to when we started the voyage up in Canoe Cove.  Then we had on board provisions for six months and the weight of cases of soft drinks, beer, drinking water bottles, tinned and bottles provisions – a great weight.  The fuel levels are now quite low and water is about half full – no wonder the movement is lively.

GREAT COMPANY IN HONOLULU

On Thursday, my daughter Jessica arrived in Honolulu.  On Friday, my friend Richard arrived.  So good to have company after being solo since San Francisco.  I haven’t seen Jessica since last December and Richard for a few years so we all have a lot of catching up to do.

Post Snorkelling refreshment. Photo Ray Penson
Post Snorkelling refreshment. Photo Ray Penson

On Sunday we did some boat maintenance in the morning and then set off to Hanauma Bay for some snorkelling.  What a beautiful bay and the water over the shallow reef is teaming with tropical fish.  The water was nice and warm – even I was happy to go in.  Of course, the sun was hot and after a while we had to depart for some refreshments.  We plan to do a trip to Pearl Harbour and hope to get out of town to see come of the north coast before Richard departs on Friday

Richard and Jessica at Hanauma Bay. Photo Ray Penson
Richard and Jessica at Hanauma Bay. Photo Ray Penson

Yesterday we did a mixture of shopping, eating, drinking and just hanging around.  We managed to find an acoustic guitar for Jessica to take on the trip.  I am expecting to be entertained with some music and singing along the way now.

I have been getting a small amount of water in the bilge recently and was at a loss to where it was coming from.  Finally, I found a pin prick hole in the bilge hose in the engine room.  The hole was probably started when the dripless seal was being installed in Canoe Cove.  Anyway, it was a relief to find the source of the water.  With Richards help we have run a new hose from the pump to the over-side discharge and the bilge in dry again.  So easy to do this kind of job with an extra pair of hands around.

Jessica and I plan to sail on Friday to Kiritimati, some twelve hundred miles south of Honolulu.  The boat is ready, we just need to do some final provisioning and top up water, fuel and cooking gas before we set off.  I am looking forward to the next leg south as Jessica will be on board to share the experience.

BACK IN THE USA

I feel exhausted, what a day – I am checked into the USA and have been granted a six month cruising visa.  This morning I departed Canoe Cove at ten in brilliant sunshine and a cold crisp air.  There was no wind as I motored out and across Haro Strait towards the US.  At just after eleven I entered USA waters.  An hour later I was visited by three US Coastguard guys in a flash rib, they had all the gear strapped on.  They were doing a boating safety check, very courteous and polite but they were very business-like.

Clear sky, bright sunshine and crisp air
Clear sky, bright sunshine and crisp air

At three in the afternoon we arrived at Friday Harbour and I tied up at the customs dock to check in.  After a call on the free phone on the dock I was invited to the Boarder Protection office in town.  Off I trekked with my passport and ships papers.  An hour later, after a bit of to and fro I was in possession of a cruising permit valid for six months. 

At each place I stop in the US I have to call in my position by phone and provide my cruising permit number, this is a bit of a chore, I suppose I need to buy a USA sim so I can comply.  The penalty for non-compliance is potentially life changing.

I need some refreshment and feed, this evening I will head up the road and find a suitable watering hole.  After all I need to celebrate breaking free of Canoe Cove and starting my journey south.

READY TO DEPART CANOE COVE

Well, I am not really ready, I still have a heap of small jobs to complete before Truce fully is ready for sea.  However, all the big jobs requiring shore support or access to chandlery are complete.  The remaining small jobs I can complete as I head south.

Windvane Sail Rigged, ready to go
Wind vane Sail Rigged, ready to go

The rig has been checked over by a rigger and some minor repairs made to the headsail furler.  The new lifelines look good and strong with plain wire for both upper and lower lines.  I have made up new halyards and sheets, fingers are a bit sore from splicing.  Sails have been rigged and the outside of the boat is now looking good.  I need to rig new reefing lines on the mainsail in the next few days then its all ready to go.

On Tuesday I picked up the Viking 4 man life raft.  Its in a soft valise as I don’t have anywhere on deck to stow a hard case life raft.  Really a bulky item, is living in the quarter berth at the moment as it won’t fit into a cockpit locker.

My other main works have been electrical.  I have surprised myself with my success rate.  The new solar panel is installed and works well.  I now get double the power coming in to the batteries each day and so far have not needed any shore power at all.  The Icom M324G VHF radio is fitted and working well.  The Aussie Yakker Wi-Fi router is sending GPS and AIS data to my laptop to work with OpenCPN navigation software.  Three maintenance free flooded batteries have been installed and after taking the greatest of care connecting them together it all works correctly.

This evening I have topped up with fresh water and done the laundry.  A late morning departure should make for a good trip on the tide with an afternoon check into the USA in Friday Harbour.  I am looking forward to being mobile again.

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A QUIET SUNDAY AT CANOE COVE

I had a lie in until seven thirty this morning, the rain was dropping onto the cabin top so I decided to roll over for another hour.  After I dragged myself out of my bunk I applied the final epoxy patch to the fresh water tank.  It’s not easy when you can’t see what you are doing and applying fibreglass and epoxy upside down and by feel is challenging.  To see the results, I stick my phone in the tank and take a photo.  It’s not pretty but I reckon it will hold.

ICOM VHF waiting to be fitted
ICOM VHF waiting to be fitted

Then I spent a couple of hours fixing the stern light that had some corroded wiring, one of those simple little jobs that take forever and use every tool in the box.  Then it was onto the wiring of the charging station at the chart table.  From Aliexpress I got a 12 volt USB charging rig, only cost a few dollars but could be a great buy.  Charging laptops, phones, cameras etc from 12 volt uses much less power that using the inverter as I have been doing to date.  Before I can finish that job I need a switch.

Then I set about installing the VHF Radio, didn’t get too far as I need an antenna joint.  So then it was onto the cabin light, this I fixed but need a cable joint before I can box it up.  I then measured up to fit the new solar panel, I have the spot marked out and have drilled a pilot hole for the cables, but of course I now need 5 metres of cable to complete the job.  So I now have a heap of electrical jobs half-finished waiting on little bits to connect and join.  Of to the electrical supply tomorrow morning.

Getting fed up with electrical work and the brain power it takes, I spliced up a new halyard for the staysail.  We now have renewed halyards all round.  Truce is looking quite fancy with all this new rope dangling from the mast.

I am getting anxious to leave Canoe Cove now, the days are flying by and I am not moving forward towards my destination.  Of all the items I need only the electrical bits, batteries and headsail furler repairs remain outstanding, these are the must have items.

Everything else can wait.  Hopefully by the end of Monday I will be able to call USA Boarder Protection and give them 48 hours’ notice of arrival.

My Loot from the Marine Garage Sale
My Loot from the Marine Garage Sale

A RIGGING TYPE DAY

Glorious spring weather in Canoe Cove today, shorts weather with clear sky and bright sunshine.  The first day with no rain I reckon.

I stuck another epoxy patch on the fresh water tank this morning, the warmer weather is helping the epoxy to cure faster, I think one more internal patch tomorrow and we will be back in business with the water tank.

My mainsail turned up again this morning with the sailmaker.  I wanted some modifications made, handles sewn into the luff and nettles for lashing the sail to the boom when reefed.  We fitted the sail and it looks excellent with a good heavy build.

Next came the rigger to check over the rig.  Always a good precaution once a year or before any ocean passage.  It is also a blue-water insurance requirement that the rig is checked by a rigger.  The rig is good shape, just a few rivets to replace in the jib furler foil.  I will have new lifelines made up with plain wire to replace the old plastic coated ones.  I don’t like plastic coated wire, you never know what is happening underneath the plastic.

After the rigger had departed I set about replacing some halyards.  I should have replaced a couple last year but I pushed it to get another years use out of them.  I have also rigged a halyard from the masthead spinnaker block.  Not that I expect to be using the spinnaker this trip when single handed but just as an additional halyard.  Always handy to have a spare halyard available.  It was very pleasant sitting on deck in the sunshine splicing  eyes in the halyards.

The spider bite on my arm isn’t any worse, funny its not any better either.  I googled spider bites in Canada and a whole bunch of horror stories came up, I closed it down before I frightened myself.

BACK IN THE WATER

This afternoon Truce went back into the water.  A big sigh of relief all around.  The last days have been cold wet and miserable trying to get the anti fouling completed and living on board when the boat is out of the water is not pleasant.

Truce back in her natural element.Photo, Ray Penson
Truce back in her natural element. Photo, Ray Penson

Once in the water I had a good check all around for leaks,  Happily nothing untoward found and the hull is nice and tight.  The engine started on the second try and burst into life in a large cloud of smoke.  Once the checks had been completed I motored around to the lay-by berth and noted that the dripless seal didn’t drip.  It’s doing what its supposed to and if this continues we will have a dry bilge – or at least dry from the water coming through the shaft packing.

Once secured on the berth I went up the road and jumped on a bus to Sidney for some groceries.  I had just about run out of food and drink.  When I got back to the boat I flashed up the Dickinson Diesel heater and ten minutes later the boat was getting warm.  Such luxury to have a warm boat.

Tomorrow I will start working on the rig and cleaning the boat up.  The salon is full of sail bags that I will have to re-stow somewhere.

I am looking forward to a good nights sleep as we gently rock at the dock.

READY FOR LAUNCHING

Not a drop of rain overnight and the morning was dry and sunny.  After a quick cup of tea I was back out rolling anti fouling paint.  The second coat was finished by ten in the morning, just in time for smoko.  Then it was back out to get a third coat on the high wear areas.  By three in the afternoon I was finished and a few minutes later the rain started again.

Antifouling finished, ready for launching. Yacht Truce
Antifouling finished, ready for launching. Yacht Truce

Getting the anti fouling completed has been a battle against the weather. It’s taken me days longer than anticipated but finally its done.  Truce is now ready to go back in the water and what a relief it will be to have running water again and all systems working.

Last night I flashed up the AIS to check it was working OK, it is.  This morning I received an email from marinetraffic.com informing me that I had departed Canoe Cove.  They are jumping the gun a bit – but interesting to know that there is someone out there tracking every ship, boat and canoe with AIS.

So a big day tomorrow, launching at noon then checking out the shaft seal and new through hulls for tightness.  Canoe Cove is so busy they can only give me a berth for two days.  That’s not enough as I need more time to get the boat ready and equipment installed.  I don’t really have a plan ‘B’ at the moment but will wait to get tomorrow over before thinking too hard about it.

WET, WINDY AND COLD IN BC

It’s now a week since I left sunny NZ.  The first couple of days at Canoe Cove were not too flash, I caught some disease (United Airlines food poisoning maybe) and felt awful.  For two days I was pretty useless, feeling cold and miserable and couldn’t eat.  Luckily, I stayed at an Airbnb just five minutes walk away from the boatyard for four days so had a warm bed to return to each night.

A Cold Afternoon at Canoe Cove. Photo, Ray Penson
A Cold Afternoon at Canoe Cove. Photo, Ray Penson

Well its rained every day since I have been here, real spring weather, rain on and off.  When the sun comes out its glorious for a few minutes then the cloud and bitterly cold wind kick in again.  Not the best antifouling weather and it’s taken me 4 days to get the hull ready for the final coats to go on.  When I did the antifouling in Alaska last year I saved money by using Petit antifouling paint.  Well, cheap is not always good and I have spent a lot of time sanding and scraping the Petit paint down to a good substrate.  This time I am using International CRC paint and hope it will do a good job on its way back to NZ.

I just received a bunch of Pacific charts from Redwise ship delivery.  So kind of them, it will save me money and give me paper chart back up should my electronics fail.  Redwise is the company I do ship delivery for and they are a top quality outfit and very professional.

Looking back on the past week I don’t seem to have achieved much.  Truce is in a terrible mess, I have sail bags heaped in the salon and spare gear scattered all over the place.  I had a new shaft and dripless stern seal installed over the winter and want to leave the aft lockers clear for when we get back into the water so I can see if we have any leaks.  On Tuesday when we floating again I can start stowing things and getting shipshape again.

Tomorrow should see the first coat of antifouling finished – I cant wait to be finished with this job.