31 December 2013

French Pass

We made French Pass, between d'Urville Island and the South Island today. Winds yesterday stopped Us getting through so we anchored in a small bay In a place called Croiselles Harbour about 20 miles from Nelson. Today we are sailing across the top of the Marlborough sounds and then heading south to Lyttleton. Pleasant sailing so far, wildlife count: 1 seal.

29 December 2013


Updated news for anyone following: the tracking link has stopped working, it appears to be a satellite phone problem, I have the phone company checking it out. Anyway, we are in Nelson at the top of the South Island of NZ at the moment, waiting for a tide and weather window to head to Lyttleton. That appears to be about midday tomorrow, which will get us to Lyttelton early on the 2nd January. So I won't be making any New Years Eve parties, except for maybe one on board.
Internet access appears to be a bit up and down, so I will hold off posting any photos until I get to Christchurch.
I have an NZ phone number in case anyone wants to call  -- +64221840918, carrier is 2 degrees which seems to be the one compatible with my phone.

18 December 2013

All set

All set for departure on Thursday morning with the high tide. We will probably reach Nelson just after Xmas. Probably in Lyttleton around the 30th of December.

16 December 2013

Lord Howe Island

We made it to Lord Howe Island after 4 days sailing from Newcastle. seas were rough, with the swell mostly around 3m or thereabouts. The island is lovely as always and we've spent the last week or so relaxing, and enjoying the scenery. The weather has kept us here as it has been mostly blowing from the south east for the week but we're looking for a change on Thursday.  Internet access is available only at the museum and is very limited so I will hold off posting photos until we reach New Zealand.

01 December 2013

I'm starting to document the things that I've done to Chiara Stella in all of the years I've had her.  Here are some photos of the newest work, and I'll list the additions and changes as I go.

This is the stern pushpit rail to which I've added a frame above the pushpit itself.  On the frame is a solar panel (200W) and an antenna for the AIS unit.  Between the frame and the pushpit is hanging a towed generator (100W) which generates electricity by having a tow line and impeller towing behind the boat while sailing.  Also at the stern is the box containing the gas bottles (Chiara Stella originally came with a kero stove) and the outboard for the dinghy.

That's a closer view of the panel and the towed generator.

The boom bag and lazyjacks got added a few years ago.  I resisted getting one but for short handed cruising they are essential.

The original bow rail was mild steel and quite rusty, despite my constant attention with chipping and paint.  So recently I had this stainless steel one fitted.

The original Profurl furler on the genoa was quite badly worn and the gears were jamming, so I had to replace it.  The original model wasn't serviceable any more.

I also added a furler to the babystay for the staysail.  Originally there were 3 hank up sails for the staysail -- a regular staysail, a staysail genoa and a storm jib.  That was just too much to carry for a sail that doesn't get used very often so I replaced them with a single furled sail.

New anchor windlass -- a Muir model to replace the original French built model which I had no identification for.

2 x 80W solar panels, of the flat/flexible variety, got added to the doghouse roof.  They put out quite a bit of charge, I've seen the current from them peaking at 9A through the controller.

The original Shipmate VHF radio wasn't working and I didn't have an AIS on board, so I replaced it with the combination of an Icom DSC VHF and AIS transponder.  They work quite well together, but be aware that the AIS units from Icom won't work with an external GPS despite what they say in their product literature and web site -- they require reprogramming to do so.

I made the mistake of fitting a Raymarine autopilot.  Although it works well some of the time, in light winds it fails to hold a course and completely gives up trying to do so when the off course alarm goes off.  I believe this to be a software fault, however after a year or more of going back and forth to the Raymarine dealer there was no resolution until I was finally told that since a year had passed and the unit was out of warranty no further correspondence would be entered into.  I would recommend Coursemaster as an alternative.

Also pictured is the NMEA interface for the Tacktick instruments.  These work quite well despite the fact that Tacktick is now owned by Raymarine.