Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Tiare Tapporo III

Well, some of you probably thought we'd never sail and you'd never see the back of us and we were starting to wonder that ourselves.  However, the best weather window for weeks has finally shown up. Touch wood we should have fair winds for New Caledonia from Friday onwards. So, the plan is to leave the Town Basin tomorrow afternoon and go to Marsden Cove Marina near Whangarei Heads to top up fuel and clear Customs on Friday morning. Then it's off into the great blue yonder. We would hope to arrive at Noumea around the 10th-12th October.
Then our plan is to stay put for a while (maybe down to the Isle of Pines for a few days) and sail back here hopefully to arrive around the end of November. A very curtailed trip this year as it's turned out but it will be very useful for us to get used to doing ocean passages on Tiare.
After Thurs morning you will only be able to communicate with us on our sailmail address which is In addition we will be posting blogs on our website for your delectation and edification!
We hope everything is well and we'll look forward to being in touch as we progress.
Cheers and lots of love,
Jim and Jean (Gina)


Monday, 20 September 2010

Hi again,
Forgot to mention that last week, in order to give ourselves a break from all this pesky weather watching, we took off for 2 days and a night to Russell and stayed at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel. This is the site of the oldest liquor licence issued in NZ in 1840. That's probably a dubious distinction!! We booked it through Wotif for $100 - normal cost $495!!
However, we had  a pleasant time and renewed acquaintance with Stewart at Russell Radio. We had driven up via the coast road (i.e. not the Opua car ferry) and it is a spectacular drive with wonderful sea views of the wild rock bound coast just south of Cape Brett.  Didn't take too much longer than the conventional route up SH1 and over on the ferry and well worth it. And there's a wonderful cafe at the top of the Helena Bay Hill (nearer to Whangarei) which is run by a young German couple. We had the best croissants we've ever had anywhere - including France.
All in all a very pleasant interlude.
Now we are back in the marina and it's 0730 and we have inadvertantly allowed both gas bottles to run out so can't even make a cup of tea much less cook Jim's Kranskys! So it's off to the gas place to get some more.........................
Cheers again 



The weather is insane and unbelievable. This last weekend has seen widespread flooding and destruction throughout the country including the complete collapse under snow of the roof of Southland Stadium in Invercargill. This is a 10 yr old $10M building and is probably demolition material. The winds from between SW and NW have been horrendous with Gale Warnings out for the entire country. For us this has meant winds between 20 and 40 knots mainly from the NW which is the direction we want to go! Then, just as we thought things might have been improving, we see that the forecast for this coming Thursday is for NW (again!) 40 knots.
We had thought that we might go to the Bay of Islands to wait for better weather and then clear Customs at Opua but it isn't even remotely sensible to consider going up there in this wind direction. We hoisted the trysail today on the marina to make sure all was well with that as it's our heavy weather sail and might be needed! As this is being written (2200) we have just had a wind gust of 30 knots right here in the Town Basin Marina and you couldn't get a more sheltered anchorage than this. That would probably translate to 50 off the coast.
So, here we are and now starting to seriously run out of time to get up to Noumea and back before the cyclone season starts. If we can't leave by the first week in October then we won't go. This will be extremely disappointing, especially for Gina, as she hasn't yet experienced an ocean passage, much less visited any Pacific Islands. This is in spite of the fact that she has lived in Singapore and Hong Kong at various times and has travelled the world including 6 months backpacking in India about 10 years ago. It is especially poignant as we were all ready to depart late in May but then Jim's Mum passed away and we had all the estate business to settle. That was almost 4 months ago and we've been ready to go for the last 3-4 weeks but the weather has been our nemesis.  It's almost as if someone upstairs doesn't want us to sail offshore at all.
However, we can't control the weather and can only hope for a break soon. As always we'll let you know.
Jim and Jean (Gina)


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Finally about to leave

Hi everyone,
Well, it's now 2 years and 3 months since Jim and Jean (Gina) became an item (after having met at the Russell Boating Club before the Classic Invitation Yacht Race in January 2008) and work started on the refit of the yacht at the Norsand Boatyard, Whangarei. Jim brought the yacht from the Bay of Islands down to Whangarei in June 2008 thinking that it would only be about 3-4 months to have various alterations done but alas, there was so much wrong with the so-called refit that was done at Kerikeri ,that the work required, which included replacement of 4 hull planks and a complete rebuild of the mast and fittings plus a whole lot of other stuff that we won't bore you with here, took forever with a launching  half way through so that the hull wouldn't dry out. We eventually launched last November as a wholly rigged boat again and cruised north but found a number of teething problems and gradually worked through all those. The notable one that is still not fixed and probably will never be totally satisfactory is the freezer/fridge. This was due to shoddy manufacture at Kerikeri and although there was one attempt to fix it the effort has not been satisfactory so, unless we spend a vast amount getting another freezer built, we will probably just have to put up with it. The yard at Kerikeri doesn't have the expertise to fix it and probably wouldn't anyway.
Since the boat came to Whangarei we have lived in a variety of places. First, we babysat a rural property south of Whangarei at Otaika for 4 months while the owners were in Alaska running their salmon fishing business up there and then, because the boat was still uninhabitable at that stage, we lived in the flat at the Norsand Boatyard for another 5 months. During this time it was decided to change the yacht's name from "Reflections of Wellington" (she had been built in Wellington over 32 years and launched in 1979!) to "Tiare Taporo III" after the original Tiare which was a 110' trading schooner and which had been built in 1913 by Charles Bailey in Auckland for Jim's great grandfather for his island trading businesses in the Cook Islands and Tahiti.
Since then we have lived on the boat both in the water and on the hard while further work was carried out. Living on the hard was a somewhat unique experience with climbing up and down via a ladder with the deck some 12' above the ground. When one needs to visit the loo at 3 in the morning climbing down the ladder in a dressing gown with a gale blowing it up around one's ears and raining as well is a character forming experience!! The bathroom (head) on the boat cannot be used  when out of the water of course!
We launched again in May this year and berthed at the Town Basin Marina while completing preparations for our forthcoming voyage to Vanuatu and New Caledonia and in fact were within 2 days of leaving when we received the sad news that Jim's Mum had passed away on June 1st. in her 90th. year. So, we were of course then involved in all the things that must be attended to in these sad situations and have only recently been able to see the end of all this. Then there was the earthquake in Christchurch  a few days ago where Jim's youngest daughter lives with her daughter and husband. Fortunately their house appears to be undamaged and they weren't hurt but the damage is widespread with the repair cost estimated to be over $4 billion. The yacht has been ready for months but we are now only just ready too and are now waiting for a weather window to depart. Ideally we need to leave on the back of a low pressure system to get a lift from the southerly quarter winds which usually follow. The trick is to find a gap behind the low of around 3-4 days to give enough time to get clear of these southern waters but right now such a gap is looking very elusive. But we live in hope and next week looks promising.........!!
When we leave we will go down the harbour (about 12 miles) to the Marsden Cove Marina where we will top up our fuel, collect any duty free booze and clear Customs. Then it's a short distance out past Marsden Point Oil Refinery, around Bream Head and we will then be on our way. Because we are so late leaving, we have decided to just go to New Caledonia because we will only have 2 months available before we have to return due to the risk of tropical cyclones from about 1st. Dec. onwards. Course to steer on leaving  is 330True and we can't wait. The distance is under 900 miles so we should be there in 7 - 10 days depending on wind srength and direction.
We'll let you know when we are leaving and hopefully it won't be too long now.
With lots of love
Jim and Jean (Gina)