Here is a quick update on the final bits and pieces on our Opua refit.
Code Zero (one of our sails)
For starters, the local riggers at Northland fabricated a new mount for our bowsprit and then mounted the new bowsprit that Troy and Maureen hand-carried to Fiji last August. We use this bowsprit to attach the bottom of the code zero to the boat.The mount consists of a flat stainless steel plate attached to a fabricated piece of black nylon with a curve that matches the curve of the cross beam. I think this is a better design than the original.
We also spent some time with Roger Hall from the local North Sails loft trying to figure out the best way to rig the sail permanently. The answer had been sitting right in front of us for the last 5 years!
We are going to run the continuous furler line sideways to one of our spinnaker guy snatch blocks on the starboard bow, and from there to the bow cleat. It gives us the perfect angle to keep tension on the line as we unfurl and furl the sail. We also have reconfigured how we run the line through the furler, using the correct set of line entrances and exits this time. We think this approach will eliminate all of the tangle problems we’ve had with the sail since we commissioned Sophie. We also decided that we don’t really need sun protection on the sail if we leave it out for a couple of days at a time during a passage and then put it away when we are in port. We’ll try this approach as we sail down to Auckland between now and Saturday.
The stopper block that holds the code zero halyard has not been working well, so we are going to replace it with a new stopper to make sure we have as much tension on the halyard as possible. This block has been giving us trouble since our Marquesas crossing.
Luckily, we have a spare.
We replaced our jib sheets. Too much chafe. Same color, size and material.
(And those of you with keen eyes just noticed Sophie’s Christmas lights in this photo. Yes, we are fully decorated, and yes, Jenna’s holiday photo bog essay is on the way …)
Unfortunately, the new heater’s combustion chamber did not match the fittings for our old unit, so I have to carry that part back with me when I return to Seattle for some stuff in late January. I don’t think I will disguise it as a pink purse, though. They also may not allow me to hand carry it onto the plane, given its shape and its warning label.
But we understand that April autumn mornings can be quite cold in Opua, and we are very happy about this repair.
We still have to bleed some air out of the lines, but I assume that this will all be working tomorrow.
We had the guys from a local boatbuilder dig out the sealant cracks around the salon panoramic windows.
Jenna and I then sprayed a jet of water at the repair area for 5 minutes, and not a single drop of water crept into Sophie. I think we fixed this one. A dry boat is a happy boat.
Sophie has a 4 zone stereo system (salon, aft cockpit, fly bridge, forward cockpit) that stopped working during our Pacific crossing. Too much salt and wave action were the likely culprits. In hindsight, this created a great deal of stress for us because it turns out that music is quite important to our lives. We wound up using a little, battery powered speaker attached to a phone for most of the summer, and it’s just doesn’t create the same ambience we used to enjoy when 40 people danced on Sophie’s decks during the Thursday night races back in Seattle.
Well, our stereo system is back in action and better than ever. I took apart all of the cabling, cleaned the connections, and then reassembled all of the leads going into the system’s main amplifier.
The speakers in the forward cockpit (also occasionally known as the makeout cockpit because it is a cozy spot for couples) were basically trashed.
It turns out that extended exposure to green water shortens the lifespan of stereo speakers. We’ve now replaced the speakers with new ones and they sound great. We are looking forward to having Troy and Maureen give us feedback on the space’s ambience when they return for a visit in February.
Aft Cockpit Enclosure
We had new sunscreens made here in Opua, and they are wonderful. We may wind up leaving them permanently installed for the next four years. The local canvas shop used the existing winter enclosure as a template, so the new screens map directly to the existing cockpit hardware.
But from the outside, people can’t really see in, giving us a certain degree of privacy.
We will be docked in Auckland’s Viaduct Marina over the next couple of weeks, and we understand that this is a popular spot where thousands of people walk the docks during the holidays. It will be nice to be able to watch them without having them watch us.
Getting Ready for a Busy Year
It now looks like we will be having friends and family visit us in February, March, May, June, August, and September. We love the company and the opportunity to share our boat and our lives with people who are close to us. With all of the additions and repairs we’ve made here in Opua, Sophie will be ready and waiting!