Showing posts from 2017

Exploring the Bay of Islands

We have spent the last five days exploring the islands. What a fantastic area to cruise around. It is all very sheltered and there are lots of anchorages in different bays and so there is shelter from just about any wind direction.
We started off in Oke Bay, a beautiful little bay with a nice beach and lined with trees. We then did a fairly big walk to Cape Brett which is at the southern end of the Bay of Islands. The walk was only 5km each way from Deep Water Bay, but there was a lot of up and down! There were great views from the Cape and it gave us an idea of what is to come as we head south.

We visited Paradise Bay, which lived up to its name. Although we went ashore here we didn’t do any of the walks on the island and so may have to go back. We then did an overnight in Pi Pi Bay. Although the snorkelling here was quite poor I did see a ray, which seemed to be getting cleaned by little cleaner fish.

We also visited Cook Bay on Motuarohia Island. The beach here turned out to be privat…

So who's idea was it to sail upwind?

Well we got here, we are now safely tied up in the beautiful Bay of Islands Marina in Opua. 
It was upwind all the way and although the winds weren't too harsh (15-20 knots usually) it did become very tiresome living at an angle of 30 degrees. We did a total of 1482 nautical miles in 10.6 days, an average speed of 5.8 knots. Our average speed was actually pulled down by slow progress in the last couple of days. Up until then we had an average of over 7 knots.

Giving Bob (our auto helm) a rest When we rounded Cape Moreton on the evening of the first day we had over 20 knots of wind and so put two reefs in the main for a conservative first night at sea.  We ended up sailing almost the whole way with those two reefs in! In fact we sailed the whole of the first week on a port tack and it was quite a shock to the system to go onto a starboard tack and find everything falling in the opposite direction.
For the first few days the seas were quite lumpy and the winds strong.  Gwyn was jet lagg…

Time to Go!

Well the day has finally come, the weather is looking perfect, the boat and crew are all prepared and once we clear customs this morning we will be off.

The last few days have been a bit busy. We flew up to Brisbane on Saturday and hired a car. Pat dropped Debi at the supermarket to start provisioning and then went off to get the watermaker which is now all fixed. Pat was only gone an hour but got back to find this .....

This was the first of two trolleys! Anyway it's good to see that there is plenty of health food in there.

Then it was back to the boat to dump all the groceries and then off to Julian and Julia's for supper.

Debi spent the whole of Sunday cooking meals for the trip. Amazingly she managed to cook eight meals in a day, vacuum packed them all and attempted to freeze them. The poor fridge was struggling and so Julian and Julia kindly lent us the use of their freezer. Note to self .... remember to pick up the food!

The rest of Sunday was spent rearranging the boat so th…

One week to go!

We are currentlyboth back in Sydney and X-Pat is having a rest in Brisbane prior to departure. The last week has been mainly occupied with filling out customs paperwork for departure from Australia and arrival in New Zealand. Debi has been busy finalising the menu and making a very long shopping list. This coming weekend she plans to cook twelve days worth of food! That should be entertaining. 
Pat has spent a lot of time this week studying various weather forecasts and alternative routes to make the trip as safe and pleasant as possible. At the moment everything is looking good for a departure on Tuesday 28th November, but that could change!
All of the paper charts arrived today. The one below shows that the whole trip can be fitted onto one piece of paper! So how hard can it be?
We'll be travelling up to X-Pat on Saturday (25th) to start final preparations (and cooking!).

Moreton Bay Shake Down

We have spent the last few days on board X-Pat in Moreton Bay having a bit of a shake down to make sure everything is working.We ticked the following off the list: Lift out at Scarborough marina and had the bottom pressure washed to remove marine growth;Sail to windward with new headsail: This went well sailing to windward in up to 20 knots of wind albeit is fairly sheltered waters;Check navigation and auto-helm following installation of new instruments: all seemed to be working fine;Check communication equipment: Our satellite tracking worked well and our track is visible on this site. Our weather reports via Predictwind and the Iridium Go! seem to work, but can be horribly slow some times;Test out our new “Seabrake” or drogue: Intended for heavy weather this device is dragged behind the back of the boat to slow it down. It certainly worked, slowing the boat from 5 knots to a standstill almost instantaneously. It is however, very awkward to deploy and retrieve, so having a practice to…

The Preparations Continue

Pat has been back on board for the last few days, servicing bits and pieces and checking systems. We now have shiny new LED navigation lights, the old ones were looking very dodgy and although they seemed to work fine, we were nervous that they may fail soon. The lifejackets have all been serviced and the MOB and EPIRB devices all tested. The sat phone system (Iridium Go!) and weather data system (Predictwind) have all been checked.
We have invested in a seabrake drogue to help control the boat should we encounter bad weather. Hopefully just an insurance measure!
Meanwhile Debi has been working out what we need to do to clear customs in Australia and in New Zealand. Provisioning plans are well underway and we have even bought a vacuum packing machine, to pack all of our prepared meals. 
We will be back onboard on board next week for a one week shake down in Moreton Bay. We are booked in for a lift and pressure wash of the hull next Friday at Scarborough Marina. That should make sure that…

Back on the Water

Finally we got back out on the water today and it was an opportunity to play with the new toys on Moreton Bay. Unfortunately the weather didn't play ball but we managed.
First up was to get familiar with the new Raymarine Axiom plotters, including one at the helm and the new auto pilot. Coming out through the Newport channel was simplified by having the plotter at the helm. We then went through the commissioning of the autopilot, getting the magnetic deviation calibrated and then successfully steered a course to a way point. Bob, as our autopilot is affectionately known, did a fine job of getting us to this initial waypoint and then steering us across Moreton Bay in a 30 knot south easterly! It's good to have him back onboard!
Next up, we got out our storm jib and hoisted it. This is not something that we are planning to use, but it seems mad that we have had the thing in the sail locker for seven years and never tried it out. From the look of it, I don't think the previo…

It's been a while!

Well it's a bit sad that we are now well through September and this is the first post of 2017. That is partly a reflection of our lack of activity on X-Pat due to other things and partly just being lazy. 
After arriving in Mooloolaba in December 2016, we basically just stayed there through until March 2017, doing a few day trips but not a lot else. On 6th March we waved goodbye to Mooloolaba and headed south, initially to The Boatworks at Coomera for the annual service and then back north to Newport Marina, just north of Brisbane where we decided to keep X-Pat whilst we were away on numerous land based trips. 
The trip between Coomera and Newport became a well trodden path after we discovered a leak following the initial service. To cut a long story short this turned out, to be due to poor sealing between the internal side of the hull and the engine tray onto which the sail drive sealed. The area was disturbed during the service, which included replacing the sail drive seal. We don&…