At Sea

Finally Finished!

We’ve been working flat out on Bob for the last couple of months to get her ready for sea again. I’ll write more about that work in a future post, but here’s an overview:

– Thwart-ship deckhead support beams removed, re-laminated and re-installed.

– Windlass re-conditioned

– Lower shrouds re-designed and replaced

– Various overdue engine works

– Port water tank re-sealed

– New VHF antenna installed

– New spreader lights installed

– AIS transponder installed……. I think. It’s un-tested as yet

– Lots of varnishing and painting, and some interior woodwork

Wow, looking over it that looks like a really short list! I’ll explain why it took so long later, but for now I’m pleased to report that we are operational once again. As I write this we are about 200 miles North of New Zealand heading due North as fast as possible. It’s getting warmer day by day which is a wonderful relief, but there’s also quite a strong low pressure system creeping up behind us and the front is due to reach us some time around Sunday, in 3 days time. With that front come 30-knot head winds and probably lots of rain and lightning and other nastiness if we were to stick around here. There’s no wind at the moment so our faithful (knock on wood) old engine is being put through it’s paces once again and chugging us along at 5 knots. Looking at the forecast we might have to keep motoring for another twenty-four or even thirty-six hours. Then we might get fair winds for 12 hours or so and then the wind is due to back rapidly to the NNW and build ahead of the frontal passage. Bob’s not much of a beater so there’s a good chance we’ll just heave-to when that comes and wait it out.

Life on board is pretty relaxed at the moment. Of course, I’m always on edge (is that a new sound emanating from the engine, announcing its imminent demise? Or have I just never noticed it before?) but we’ve both managed to get two good nights sleep and have had plenty of time for sitting and doing nothing. We don’t even have to cook yet because we made lots of stews before we left and froze them for the passage. Beef tonight. The pot is bubbling away nicely on the hob, so I’m going to go over there and get myself a bowl.


  • Brooksie

    Good to get your news. Safe sailing to Vanuatu. Annabelle arrived yesterday for a two week visit.

    England are going to win the World Cup!


  • Joy Jones

    Great news. I am so enjoying your blog, Alex and Sarah. Alex’s aunt Vicky put me onto it. I am learning a lot as well as following your adventures with interest, and usually after reading a post I find myself googling strange birds, or parts of a boat, or islands I’d never heard of, as well as maps of course. (I grew up as a friend and neighbour of Alex’s mother, one of the Darrell girls in ShawWood.)
    Your comment about always being on edge reminded me of something my daughter Charlotte said about the skipper who just took her from Bermuda to Ireland. The catamaran they were on is his home, as Bob is yours, and she felt he was attuned to every sound and movement she made, always alert to changes, and never truly switching off until he reached port. It seems too that on-going repairs are part of the life aboard too. I read with horror about your loss of a rudder, and then with amazement about what you did about it, and she had a similar tale about how their steering cable broke after days in a gale, and what the skipper was able to do about that. So – long live that sixth sense you’ve developed! Bob is lucky to be enveloped by it. And you two to be living in / on Bob.

    • Alex

      Thanks Joy! Yes, it is handy to be constantly attuned to things but there are definitely times when I wish I could just ignore something and go to sleep! I’m glad you’re enjoying the blogs. You’re right that ongoing repairs are a part of this life. A common saying among cruisers is that the definition of cruising is ‘fixing your boat in exotic locations’.

  • Grahame Rendell

    Almost certainly you know about this but: New Customs clearance regulations require yachts to send an email notice of arrival at least 24 hours before entering Vanuatu territorial waters (200 miles). Fair winds etc. (after the Front – if possible).

    • Alex

      Thanks Grahame. Yes, we emailed them before we left NZ with our expected arrival info. I think pretty much all the countries on our route now require some sort of advance notice. Certainly Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and South Africa all do. Indonesia also require boats to be fitted with an AIS transponder so we’ve had to fork out for one of them. Haven’t managed to get it to work yet though…… electronics and me don’t really get on very well!

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