New Plans, New Crew
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always click on any small photo in this website to view the full-sized
News on the Raven front! This year,
we're getting back to cruising the islands of the South Pacific, starting
with Fiji. And we have new crew aboard, too.
We spent the months of January and February in
New Zealand, met old friends and made new plans. The weather was poor most
of the time, even though it was supposed to be High Summer in NZ, but we did
get Raven back in the water and into cruising trim.
Raven Afloat Again
The old girl was a sad sight when we found
her, high and dry in the boatyard and looking forlorn. In spite of the best
efforts of the yard workers, she was dirty and in no shape to take anyone
cruising. But after a month's hard work we had her up and running again. We
must have had seven technicians and specialists on the boat at various
times, from refrigeration experts to riggers to electricians.
After her NZ refit, Raven has new standing
rigging and a rebuilt and repainted mast, new refrigeration, a rebuilt and
remounted generator, rebuilt watermaker, and lots of smaller jobs. We're
especially happy with our new all-stainless steel fridge and freezer boxes.
With new, more efficient insulation, they have cut our daily energy use
substantially, which means less generator run time. And the newly rebuilt
mast will allow us to carry our big reacher most of the time. (Remember when
we dropped it into the sea off Rarotonga?) Look for faster passage times.
the best innovation is our new boom "antlers". At least that's what they've
been nicknamed. Our mainsail is as big as a large apartment, at 1,000 square
feet, so it can be a bear to handle in a good wind. Thanks to friends aboard
Kela and Vision, we picked up a good idea for easier furling
and reefing: stainless steel racks on the boom. The photos show how it looks
under sail and how neatly the sail furls into the new racks. Not very
conventional, but we're very pleased with the results.
of the best parts of being back aboard Raven was that we found lots of our
cruising friends here: Final Straw, Kiapa, Mobisle, Tara, By Chance,
l'Eau Life, and Avventura. Not to mention our Danish-Kiwi
friends aboard Ekanta and Midnight Sun.
working sessions, we had plenty of time for
Cruising New Zealand
we did have time to cruise the North Island a little bit, and made it to the
Bay of Islands and Great Barrier Island, two of our favorites. January and
February are high summer, and the Kiwis combine their Christmas and summer
school holidays. Having a barbecue at Christmastime does seem strange, but
we think the kids here have the best of both worlds.
New Zealand is definitely a different place. It's at the Southwest
corner of the Polynesian Triangle, that vast span of ocean from here to
Island settled by Polynesian voyagers in their double-hulled canoes. Most of
the place names in NZ are Maori, and they take some getting used to. Some
favorite cruising spots include Urupukapuka, Whangaruru, and
Whangamumu, and our new marina is on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.
We get weather reports from neaby Tiritiri Matangi Island, right on
to the Hauraki Gulf. But after cruising all those islands from French
Polynesia to Tonga, we're pretty well used to Polynesian, and it just adds
to the charm.
then there are some other aspects of different. For example, NZ
payphones are much like back home and they offer a choice of languages:
English and Japanese, logically enough, but then they also have Maori,
Samoan, and Tongan! A large part of the population originally
came from those islands and others. And the supermarkets have lots of Asian
food choices, such as the one in the photo: Fijian Taxi Driver Chicken
Curry. We do enjoy just about everything in New Zealand.
February this year, the weather had deteriorated and we ended up staying in
the marina longer than we liked. The crowning blow was when the remnants of
Cyclone Ivy brushed by us, with winds up to 70 knots. Happily, none of the
boats in our marina were damaged.
New Plans - Fiji
more than a year in New Zealand, Raven is finally getting under way again.
At the end of May, we'll take her to Fiji for a few months' cruising. We
visited Fiji in the 1980s as land tourists and loved the land and the
people, so we've wanted to go back every since. It'll be a kick to anchor
Raven right off the beach where we stayed as tourists. Fiji is vast, though,
and even in two or three months' cruising we'll only be able to see a
fraction of the islands. The country, with its mixture of Fijian and Indian
cultures, is easily worth two or three seasons to really get to know it.
Happily, our friends on Kiapa went there last season and have
provided lots of tips on where to go and what to avoid. Watch for a web
update or two on our Fiji cruise.
that our granddaughter, Ava, is nine months old, we definitely want to spend
more time back home so we can visit her and her family. But we don't want to
miss cruising Raven in the South Pacific island. How to resolve the dilemma?
We decided to hire a couple to crew for us and take care of Raven.
recommended an agency in Auckland that finds crew for superyachts all over
the world, and we were surprised that they didn't mind helping a measly
64-footer. Turns out that plenty of Kiwis work on big yachts in the
Caribbean and the Mediterranean, but many would dearly love to work closer
to home in the South Pacific. So we were able to interview five couples with
professional crewing experience, "auditioned" two couples for a weekend each
aboard Raven, and finally selected Rod and Anouk, who have no professional
crewing experience at all!
experience they do have, though, is cruising the South Pacific for several
years in their own 50-foot sailboat, in the waters we hope to cruise aboard
Raven: Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and Australia. Rod is a Kiwi and
handles the sailing and technical side. Anouk is Dutch, has professional
diving instructor credentials, and is in charge of the domestic side.
They're both smart, cheery, and fun to be with. We're very happy with our
choice of crew and feel lucky to have found them. And Rod & Anouk are happy
to be going cruising in their favorite waters.
Watch this space for an update later this year, after Fiji.
Love . . .
Signe & Jan
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