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August 11th

Testing the Rig and the Bonds of Family

Posted by // August 11, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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Look at that.  We have been re-yawled!  If I hadn’t checked my bank account this morning, I’d never know the mizzen had been missing.  Now that the riggers have moved on to greener pastures (or more needy mains), we are ready to go.  The weather, however, has other plans; New Zealand is keeping us clasped tightly to her bosom via a never-ending series of lows passing over the north island.

Wind, rain, and more wind

Now, nothing says optimism like inviting guests who were sick all night the last time they came to stay. Who better to help test the new rig during a gale?  Aside from the fact that we always have a good time together, the added benefit of asking my cousin to sail with us is that, should anything go wrong, I would never, never, ever hear the end of it from my family.  The Papillon crew is keen on high beta manoeuvres.

We had had gale warnings all week, and so we were spiritually prepared for a weekend at anchor of drinks, snacks, and hyper children.  They came.  It rained.  It blew.  We ate pizza and drank beer.  The kids made crafts and watched movies.  We went to bed.  Day 1 summary: good company, no sailing.

Don’t worry – Mom loves cleaning up scraps of paper on the floor.

But right away, Sunday looked good. Not only was it unexpectedly sunny, but everyone had kept their stomach contents where they belonged all night long.  I’m not sure which was the bigger surprise.

Erik clapped his hands together.  “Right!  Let’s get sailing”

I am so excited, I can barely keep up this tough-guy look.
A rare photo of your correspondent actually doing something sailing-related – in this case, sheeting out the main.
Out we went.  Up went the mizzen, the single-reefed main and the jib.  And up came the wind.  Often when we try to take people for a day sail the winds abandon us and we try in vain to coax seven knots of relative wind into moving our 30 ton slab of aluminum.  But not this time.  We had steady winds in the mid-twenties, and it was glorious.
Little did we know, but we caused a bit of a stir in the area, as friends and acquaintances watched us put Papillon through her paces.  One of our riggers reported back to us this morning that he had seen us from the beach in Russell, and we put on a good show.  I think everyone was happy for us to be back in the saddle.
When the wind started gusting into the mid-thirties and the gale warnings came on again, we turned around and went back to the anchorage.  Even though we could have happily stayed out the rest of the day, it was the prudent move.  Again, the burden of being sensible.  After all, what is having to take flak from my family for the rest of my days for potentially dumping my cousin & co. into the water versus a few extra hours of sailing?  I know some of you are weighing those options carefully.  But we had lasagne and champagne waiting for us, so the day was hardly a loss.
And now, after so many months in New Zealand, we are actually on the cusp of leaving.  Along with a few other boats, we are hoping to leave Opua later this week.  We will keep an eye on the weather, and sail out when we judge it is safe.  It is time to get some sun again.  Oh, and a steady ten days of sailing along the way.

This article was syndicated from Sailing Papillon

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