06 January 2013

The Plan, part 3

At this stage, part 3 of the plan is just a set of islands to visit and a loose timetable.

Plan part 2 ends in Raivavae, although I have some thoughts of carrying on towards Pitcairn Island instead.  I plan to be in Raivavae around late March or early April (2014), hoping to miss the end of the cyclone season (or staying south until it passes).

From there, the sailing plan extends through French Polynesia, mostly only stopping at Tahiti, Bora Bora and maybe 1 or 2 other islands.  From there to the Cook Islands where in particular I hope to stop at Suwarrow, indirectly named after the Russian general Алекса́ндр Суво́ров, famous in the early part of the Napoleonic Wars.

After that I basically have a choice of either or all of Samoa, Tonga, and/or Fiji.  I'm a bit tempted by both Samoa and American Samoa (Pago Pago), because I know that if I need parts from the USA they can be shipped cheaply to Pago Pago, but otherwise it's not the best destination.  Samoa itself seems like it might be a nice place for a stop.

The eventual destination for the cruising season (by November, basically, when the cyclone season starts) is Port Vila in Vanuatu.  Reports are that there is a cyclone safe land-locked anchorage there where I can hole up Chiara Stella for the cyclone season, although I will have to do some more investigation first.

I plan to put some more firm plans around this in the coming months, including specific stops, and approximate dates.  Dates will always be approximate because a sailing boat goes where the wind wants it to go, and not anywhere else -- if I have to stay longer in an anchorage or a port or miss a stop to take refuge from contrary winds then that is what I will do.

After that, part 4 will take me to SE Asia.

05 January 2013

The continued saga of the water pump

After twice rifling through my spare parts box and failing to find anything that would fit, I found a small opaque bag at the back of the box and lo and behold it contained a new water pump and gasket.

Unfortunately I had nothing (solvents required) to remove the old gasket with, so I patched it as best as I could, and put the new water pump in place with the replacement gasket over the top.  I will have to revisit that and change the gasket properly but for the time being -- no leaks.

The engine works well, no sign of overheating and no coolant leaking either from the heat exchanger or via the block.  I think there is a small leak around one of the coolant hoses so I will get them all replaced at the next service.  No compression issues so the head + head gasket are both good.  I am a bit suspicious about the timing belt, I think the last time I had it replaced was when I had the engine overhauled about 4 years ago so it's due for a replacement (fortunately I have a spare one of those).

So it's all good.  I didn't go as far as I had intended over the break, electing to stay between here and Broken Bay instead until I get a proper service done, but I did get some sailing done.

Next job will be to get together with Jeff and some of the Nemesis crew and get some photos done with the new sail wardrobe.  Since I had the last set of photos done (and nice they were too, thanks to Hayden and Tony), I have had a complete sail wardrobe change, with new headsail and staysail as well as a new cruising spinnaker.  I'd like to get some shots out on the water with all of that up.