While we are getting more and more accustomed to the heat again, we’ve certainly enjoyed being back in he tropics again despite sweating it out most of the day ;-)
Island living is what it’s all about...dipping into the tropical water for swims, snorkelling, surfing, paddling our kayaks and OF COURSE kite surfing when the wind is blowing! Not to forget feasting on yellow fin tuna and enjoying papaya smoothies on almost a daily basis - absolute bliss!
But of course we do keep busy with boat projects here and there and getting ready for our family visiting in a few weeks. Biggest job we’ve got done is making a new stack pack. This had the highest priority to protect the sail from the UV and while the main sail was down we made repairs and improvements so we can use the full sail again if we want to. Let there be some sailing!!!
Now that we are in ‘Island Mode’ I will try and keep the blog regularly updated and have now started to post little videos on our YouTube channel as well which I intend to do on a regular basis, so please don’t forget to subscribe to not miss out! Here are the links to some of our videos of what we’ve been up to, more coming soon!
Bula everyone - and is it great to be here in the sunny tropics where the sun shines each day and the water temperature is 25 degrees! Absolute bliss to Camara AND her crew :-)
We‘ve been here nearly a week already but as it goes after an ocean passage like that from New Zealand to the islands, the first day or two are taken up with formalities and reprovisioning, followed by days of sorting, cleaning and acclimatising!
Camara‘s ‘Maiden Voyage’ went well and we are absolutely thrilled with her sailing performance and more so the comfort she offers while sailing. As this was her first offshore passage after the refit, we kept our eyes peeled for an ‘easy’ weather window, meaning not racing big low pressure systems etc.
We knew we would leave with strong winds forecast to lighten up by the evening and as we were going downwind it wasn’t too much of a concern for us. As it turned out the forecast 30- 35kts where a steady 30-40kts with gusts up to 56kts. We ran with just a staysail up and were super comfortable while still making progress at 6-8kts. By the late afternoon/evening the winds calmed down enough to change to the genoa.
Unfortunately the winds got really light not long after, to the point of no wind at all - as beautiful as the ocean looks all glassy and calm...it wasn’t much fun in terms of sailing and slowed our progress right down. Furthermore we picked up an issue with our fuel tanks which meant motoring wasn’t the solution to our no-wind-dilemma. This was compounded by the fact that the sailmaker never added slides to the reef points on the main sail resulting in a nice tear during our light wind period and meant we had to have he main fully reefed from then on to avoid any further tears or damage.
Saying that, she was sailing nicely as soon as she had more than 8kts. Luckily the remaining time we had winds between 15-26kts in which she took off like a freight train averaging at ease between 8-11kts.
As it goes with long passages like that, you come across any issues there may be and one of those was how the play in the helm affected our autopilot. Despite the hydraulics only turning the rudder ever so little, as soon as it went through the ‘dead play’ in he helm it would just turn into a vicious motion on the helm. Our short term ‘cure’ was for whoever was on shift to literally hold hands with the helm to avoid the helm doing its thing. It meant we couldn’t just sit there and relax while on shift but it sure as hell beat hand steering! The solution is easy - we just have to set up a locking/disengage for the helm to use while the autopilot is on or while we are on anchor.
Over all it was a good trip, a shame about the lack of wind at times but much better than racing or sailing through low pressure systems, especially on our first offshore trip with her! It took us longer than anticipated but I kept busy cooking English breakfasts and delicious feasts out there which certainly kept everyone happy and content along the way :-)
Below is a short video of our trip for anyone keen or who hasn’t seen it on our Facebook page yet.
Stay tunes for more exciting updates in the coming weeks and months - so long xx
Yes it’s true - the countdown is on. Cyclone season officially finished on the 30/4, however we’ve been watching the weather closely for good reason! With a ‘late season’ cyclone just last week and another tropical depression which has potential to be named as yet another late season cyclone in Northern Fiji, we are in no rush to head off just yet.
This is very fortunate as we have an unexpected but important last meeting on the 28/05 in town and are hoping by then the cyclone season should all but be truly over! Fingers crossed for a weather window thereafter! We’ll certainly be ready for it!
The last month/months have been really busy but it has been fantastic to be away from town, living the cruising/sailing life while getting jobs crossed off the to-do-list. Our last earthly possessions have gone - no more car, trailer or anything other than what’s on the boat. Some would feel uneasy about it - to us it’s a step closer to being free again ;-).
We’ve just sailed back up into town on Saturday for a quick provisioning run of fresh supplies and to get a few more materials. We’ll be leaving again tomorrow to do a bit more test sailing for the rest of the week before we have to come back again for what should be the last time before we head off.
It’s certainly getting a notch colder now and that is certainly an indicator to head north to warmer destinations :-)
Before I know it it’s been a few months since I last sat down and updated the blog. Some of the major jobs during that time has been getting the mast & rig up, the boom on and the generator in. Here are a few pics if you don’t follow our more up-to-date Facebook page and Instagram:
But during that time we’ve also had to ‘move out’ of our shipping container which has been invaluable during this refit! Unfortunately it’s amazing just HOW much stuff you can fit in there so we’ve spent a fair amount of time sorting through and carting stuff back to the boat. Needless to say there has been chaos aboard for the last few weeks ;-)
Pete has been busy with the installation of the generator, plumbing in all the tanks properly, rebuilt the water maker system, repaired and installed fuel & water level gauges for the tanks, mast wiring and he list goes on and on...
Most importantly though we are both now focussing full-time on the last jobs to get her ready for the islands! There are still a million things to do and lots of test sailing to be done but we are back living the cruising life and the islands are just around the corner now - one last push to the finish now :-)
Check out yesterday’s magic in the anchorage after a nice downpour ;-)
I hope you’ve followed the launch via our Facebook & Instagram accounts. We were too busy prior to the launch to update the blog and once we were in the water went straight into ‘cruising mode’ for the holiday period!
WOW - what an amazing Christmas present we had this year with the launch of Camara!!!
Since we launched Christmas Day, we headed straight to one of our favourite anchorages down the harbour - Urquarts Bay. No leaks, motor purring along and the water temperature reading on the depth sounder showing us its warm enough to make the most of life afloat again. Swimming, free diving, snorkelling, kayaking, paddle boarding, kiting, fishing, hiking, fresh fish & scallops - Just pure bliss!!!! Here are some pics:
But after New Years we headed back up the river that Sunday because as much as we could have kept on enjoying life, there is a mast waiting to be put up again along with a few other jobs. Repaint the boom, paint the generator, put the rigging back on the mast, mast wiring and so on. But we’ve already made a good head start so far. The boom is painted, fittings going back on the spreaders and the mast:
Finishing the rig, getting the generator and boom ready, those are our main priorities over the next few weeks. We are getting excited to soon see the mast & rigging go back on!!!
I’ll be posting frequently on our Facebook page & Instagram over the next few weeks, so make sure you follow along. Of course I’ll try and keep the blog updated more frequently again as well with the holidays being over.
On that note - if you’ve missed the launch, here is the video again:
Wow - it’s been a massive few weeks, months and years but the final countdown until we launch is underway. At this point stress levels rise at the same time speed as the excitement, however some of the nerve wrecking moments, like lifting her with the crane and putting the keel back on are done and dusted already! I’ve shared photos of it on Facebook and Instagram but I’ve promised a video, so here it is.
Of course it wasn’t just a 5 minute exercise to get everything prepped or to put her back on her keel on the day. It’s been weeks and weeks of getting ready to move the keel, move the boat and then of course getting ready for the big day, organising the crane, making sure we have enough materials etc. So in other words, there were quite a few stages involved in this phase. The very first one was moving the keel on the Friday to the slipway and then prepping the keel over the weekend for the big day. Here are some pics:
We also spent the weekend getting the boat ready to move to the slipway on Monday. A huge day for us as she’d been sitting in her spot at the back of the yard for nearly 3 years. Many hours of blood sweat and tears to get to this point, so as you can imagine, to us, this was quite a huge milestone reached! Here are a few pics of the move:
Once the boat and keel were both on the slipway it was time to have everything ready for when the crane lifts the boat. Firstly, the crane lifted the boat, then the yard had to move the trailer out from under the boat. The keel was sitting on the cradle down the slipway which then was winched up the slipway to under the boat. The yard uses the loader which operates a big hydraulic winch system to do that.
While this was happening Peter started mixing the epoxy and the Norsand crew started spreading the epoxy on the keel plate and around the bolts. The crane then lowered the boat slowly onto the keel bolts, while we used lines off the bow and stern to help with the positioning over the bolts. Once she was sitting on the keel, chocked and the first few nuts were tightened, the crane was able to leave. Here are some shots:
This was obviously a huge moment for us and a part of getting the keel back on accomplished but the job was far from over! We had to wait for the epoxy to cure before we could do the sikaflex seam on the joint, sikaflex all of the outside bolts in (we had only used a few to help position the keel), backfill the keel bolts from the top with the epoxy, touch up areas we couldn’t prime or antifoul prior to moving the boat and getting the rudder back into place and the steering reconnected etc. As usual - a million jobs...here are some pics:
A special thanks goes to the awesome Norsand crew! Without them this wouldn’t have gone as smooth as it did! Thank you Craig, Neville, Rob, Muzza & Shane for the awesome work! A huge thank you to Kevin, the brain behind the slipway operation and an engineer of a kind, for working out all the logistics of the movement of the boat and countless valuable advice along the journey over the last few years!!! We can’t thank Jo &Murray and their entire team at Norsand enough - it wouldn’t have been possible without you!!!
Less than a week to go until we launch - so watch this space - it’s getting exciting!!!
Yes - that’s true, only a few months until the long awaited launch date and as you can imagine, we are keeping busy finishing things off left, right and center ;-)
If you follow on Facebook you would have seen the mast all topcoated. A very different colour to the previous yellow but as you all know we love the colours we chose and so we went with the same graphite grey for the mast as we painted the topsides. Here are a few pics:
We also had to shorten the boom, so firstly we moved the boom closer to the boat where we can work on it and Pete, being the smart and practical person that he is, went about cutting it and making sleeves to join it back together. We then moved it down the road to the welder we’ve been using for some of the jobs in the past. He’s been welding the join. We did this using trolleys and pushing it down the road and then back up the road - lucky the kids are old enough to donate some of their muscle power! The next step is prepping it for painting. Here are a few shots:
We also had to sort out one of the old repairs around the stern tube prior to moving the chocks on the boat. Re-chocking the boat was necessary in order to get to the keel join area. All of these areas have been reglassed, faired and almost all have a few coats of primer on by now. Lots of upsidedown grinding, glassing and painting but what a difference! Check it out:
Inbetween these kind of jobs we got, of course, heaps of other jobs going on. I’ve started cleaning and servicing our bilge pumps, so Pete can fit them back when he’s ready and Pete’s been building the shower & basin sumps, prepping and painting spreaders, making the transducer fairing Mount etc. Needless to say, we ain’t getting bored anytime soon...
So yes, I’ve been a bit slack updating the blog but mostly because we are keeping busy here with just a bit over 3 months to go until launch. But what an exciting deadline to work towards. Watch this space xx
As challenging as it can be with the weather at this time of the year, we’ve manage to move along with two of our last big projects. The repainting of the mast and prepping below the waterline.
One side of the mast has been through the usual motions of sanding, acid wash and spot priming as well as multiple coats of the primer. We’ve now turned the mast and been busy prepping for the acid wash followed by spot priming before we will put multiple coats of primer on that side of the mast. Pete has also made an improvement to the mast by adding a drainage system above the deck. This has been glassed and painted also.
Pete has also started on the hull below the waterline. He’s been preparing the fibreglass surface where required and has removed any obvious osmosis over the last few weeks. Now the glass is exposed and drying out before re-glassing.
But sometimes the weather doesn’t play along and so we keep busy on the rainy days with all the many little jobs like making extra shelves, hanging doors, wiring, plumbing and whatever else is ready to be mounted :-) So lots is happening all the time and we are both looking forward to a new shiny painted mast soon. Watch this space and Facebook for photos coming in the next few weeks...
First things first - one sure knows it’s winter when your deck looks like this in the morning...boy do we look forward to Summer and then the islands ;-)
While we try and keep warm in those wintery conditions, we are coming to an end on the interior. Pete’s been ticking off the last few jobs such as installing conduits and lights up forward as well as building doors, doors and more doors. At this stage they are all prepped and test-fitted and ready for resin coating and painting.
Upholstery work is in full swing, basins have been fitted, more flooring in the new heads (bathrooms) and other carpentry jobs such as the covers for the pipes in both aft cabins and the last cupboard doors amongst many other millions of little jobs. We are also still constantly fine tuning things and Pete has made new cup holders and shelves here and there wherever needed.
We‘ve also bought a windgenerator even though we tried to avoid it. In the end we’ve decided that the extra power, especially on the miserable but windy days will be worth it. We never had a power shortage on our old boat thanks to a windgenerator. It’s just the noise and look etc we tried to avoid but not being reliant on running the motor or generator to keep the batteries charged was more important to us. Between our solar panels and wind generator the batteries should be singing :-) Unfortunately no pics to show though as it’s raining again!
Next week will see us tackle one of the last big projects. Pete will be starting on replacing any of the rigging wire that needs replacing and focussing on the rigging which jncludes modifications to the boom. I will get started on sanding the mast, ready to get rid of the last yellow that remains :-)
I’ll be sharing more progress pics of the finished upholstery, guest cabins and new rigging project in my next blog update...so keep your eyes peeled xx
The last month has seen Peter build what feels like a million drawer fronts and cupboard doors. Of course it’s not only building them but also painting & fitting them. But it’s certainly nice to see areas being ‘finished’ off!
We also hit quite a big milestone a few weeks ago when we fired up the engine for the first time since hauling out. Quite a mission to fire up an engine that size while on the hard stand, hence the drum set up etc. BUT...all the hours Pete spent on the engine has paid off as she ran beautifully!
While the weather hasn’t been all that great we did get lucky for a few days in a row which saw us fit the last few new hatches fitted on the deck for the forward cabin. At this time of the year one certainly needs plenty of indoor and outdoor jobs - lucky for us we don’t have a shortage of either ;-)
While we are busy with finishings we got other projects moving forward at the same time. One of them was for the engineer to fabricate us a new shaft. There aren’t many jobs we don’t do ourselves so it almost feels like an added bonus to scratch that off the To-Do list.
We also started fitting the mattresses in the new cabins. Quite the process as each mattress needs to be cut to fit against the hull and around chains plates and beams. Finishing photos will follow in the next blog post but here are some of the various stages in the process.
More photos and updates coming soon xx