End of January we returned to New Zealand and Nica. We started preparing Nica immediately. The sails came from the North loft in Auckland. All serviced and even our old A2 was redone. The tahiatian sailmaker had used green cloth instead of blue for the repair so the sail looked a bit messy with all the rips repaired in green. North really did a great job.
When we installed all the sails and lines the rigger found that corrosion had pushed some bolt of our halyard turning blocks out. Trying to get the blocks out turned into a major task. All blocks had to be taken off to get to the ones where the bolts were pushed out. With all fastenings corroded this was hard work for Rob and Rob, the riggers. They engineered special tools to get the job done. Luckily they succeeded and Harken was able to deliver new bases to save some money for the yard as that is still a warranty issue. At the time of writing the blocks bases arrived an half of them mounted before lockdown.
In October everybody was so busy preparing the boats down here that I unfortunately agreed to postpone the engine service to January. A big mistake. During the service Shay, the technician found out that our turbo charger was seized. Normally just a simple swap. But surprise, surprise, no turbo on stock worldwide. The service technician raised a warranty case, as the engine is under extended warranty. A boat designer I met was very helpful. He investigated through his channels and surprise- 6 turbos were on stock in Belgium, but not visible in Volvo Penta´s system. Ok now we’re waiting for the turbo to arrive after 1,5 month on March 20st.
Shortly after arriving in Gulf Harbour we went to the celebration of New Zealand’s national day, the day of the Waitangi Treaty together with our friends from Mango and Cabana. It’s celebrated with a big festival on the Waitangi treaty ground were the British and Maori signed the treaty in 1840. It’s a big thing and political too. Lots of maoris attending and a lot of Maori performances going on that day, It started with the prime minister serving breakfast at 06.30 in the morning. We made it there early and some of had their breakfast served by the prime minister. A special occasion as the last two years the prime minister wasn’t allowed to attend the festival due to political tension with the Maori. We stayed all day until 7pm and saw a lot of performances, dances, listened to Maori and “European” music. Seeing the big war canoes sailing on the water with 100 of crew paddling was impressive and you could imagine what a frightening view this must have been for Captain Cook, Abel Tasman and the other early explorers.
Still working on the boat we had visitors from Germany, Peter & Kathinka, who spent their holiday in NZ exploring. Jochen had told them where we were so they dropped by and we enjoyed a nice long evening together.
Just two days later Peter & Nicky from Chanto arrived and we had a great time together exploring a bit of Auckland, the Skytower, where we had a sunset dinner – just perfect – and the maritime museum.
Unfortunately Maren had to go back to Germany mid of February to see her family. So I was on my on for the time coming. Luckily a lot of friends are around and I took the chance to see some friends in Australia – at that time Corona wasn’t that much of an issue. The night before I left I met Orsten & Betsy in Auckland and we enjoyed a nice dinner at Beastys ( a very nice fusion restaurant ) and a had some nice wine watching Auckland sunset.
So I went to see Paul and Annie on the Gold Coast and Ken and Janice in Sydney. Ken invited me kindly for a sail on Resolute his 48ft Chris White designed catamaran. It was a great experience although the weather was really poor. But enjoying the deck saloon of a cat is a special experience – you get spoiled by that. Just when handling sail we quickly had to throw oilies on.
Felix, a fiend who sailed on Seaside arrived a couple of days later and we spent a Saturday together exploring Devonport, opposite of Auckland and met Udo & Heike from Endo2, who are stranded in NZ because their visa for Australia had expired. It’s so important to follow all the visa conditions otherwise you risk to be deported and reject a visa, which causes big trouble next time you applaud for visa in another country and the ask you „ Have you ever been refused a visa?“
Being back on Nica I ticked some of my jobs of when Patrik and Birgitta from mango invited me to join the WorldARC reunion on board Mango. I took the Fredy from Gulf Harbour to Auckland and another ferry to Waiheke, an island close to Auckland, famous for it’s wineries. That was quite a gathering. 16 people the first night on Nikitoo. It’s weird when we’re talking about other people from the Arc we use the boat names rather than the peoples names. Who was part? Mango, Cabana, Nikitoo, Tumi, TinTin, Nica.
Waiheke is popular by reason. The landscape is great, the wineries amazing, beautiful beaches and a fantastic sailing ground. We spent a whole afternoon exploring the Stonyridge Vineyard and the Te Moto Vineyard before we had another potluck on Cabana. The following day we sailed from Onearata bay to the Man o War bay to explore the winery at the beach. A very very relaxed time. The next day I took the ferry back full of energy.
Next article: Maren ´s return, self isolation and lockdown