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2018 Solo Tasman Challenge 01 Apr 2018
Start: 1300h Port Taranaki New Plymouth NZ
Finish: circa 11 April 2018 - Mooloolaba QLD

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sydney to Hobart 2011

What a great day at the races on Boxing Day! Walked the CYCA docks for a few hours and watched and listened to final preparations by the crews, checked out the competition between the older class of yachts similar to RW and basically soaked up the atmosphere. At 1100 h I boarded Majestic II, the CYCA chartered cat that was the only vessel (other than the start boat) permitted inside the exclusion zone. It was a beautiful sunny day with a good breeze for a beat to the heads. We followed the first start line to the first turning mark and managed to stay out of the way for the second line of starters....well mostly! Our skipper only had one indiscretion where he forced a yacht to tack early.....very colourful exchange from the foredecky who thought he was about to face plant a huge catamaran......not happy little vegemites. The pic below shows how intimate we were...I stopped taking pics as I need to peer over the rail to see if there stern cleared the side of our hull as they tacked!!


Hugo Boss was on the docks and looked magnificent. Goes to show though, Australia is also at the top of the ocean racing game with Wild Oats leading this grand prix ocean flier. 



Monday, December 19, 2011

Spectra Speed Core-to-Core Eye Splicing

I have never spliced Spectra Speed braid or any braid for that matter, only 3 strand silver or nylon mooring/anchor line. To date, the trusty old bowline has done the trick for just about any situation.

Now that RW is getting her makeover and the running gear is being upgraded to Spectra and Dymeena braid, I thought it was time to broaden my skill set just a tad, so onto the net to search for demo splicing videos. Southern Ocean Ropes had a great video on Core to Core splicing that was much more informative than their written instructions. So, tools in place I gave it a crack. A couple of crap attempts as I tried to get the measurements spot on.....short cover long core....short core long loose cover.. and so it went for about 3 beers. Finally, it all came together very well......mind you, my hands copped a flogging....who would have guessed looking at my soft office worker hands I was once a mechanic!

Once the splice was in place the hard part is milking the cover back in place. The trick being to exercise the cover before you commence the splice by sliding the cover back and forth (4-5 times) along the core for about 3-4 metres. This loosens the 32 braid cover and it is the difference between success and failure. The hard rubber mallet and 5kg dumbell are used during the milking process. After milking the cover over the splice as far as possible, beat the splice on the floor with the mallet then hook on the dumbell and shock load the eye to straighten the core.....milk the cover and so on until it all sits neatly just like this one.

 Donaghys Spectra Speed 10mm Core-to-Core Eye splice

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just a little faster....

My new Doyle Cruise Laminate and Storm sails have finally arrived! John from Doyles Sydney loft managed the project and the sails were made in their NZ loft. I just had time to hoist the main before the cruel norwester blew me off the water on the weekend. The main has three leech battens and two full length battens running on Ronstan Ballslide cars, a Cunningham and two large reefs. I need to do some work on the mast gate to accommodate the slides but otherwise she hoisted by hand very easily. Rowed out and snapped a few pics without battens and she looks fantastic sailing on her mooring.

To compliment the new sails I installed new dymeena halyards and racing braid genoa sheets. Still practicing hi-tech braid splices (there's a few depending on the product). Next will be reefing lines. I was able to reduce all my specified line diameters by using hi-tech FSE Robline Dymeena, Usacord Racing Braid and Donaghys Spectra Speed braid products.



The cabin sole is now 95% done with only the floor anchors and nav seat floor to go. As soon as I clear the cabin sole of gear so you can actually see the sole, I will post a pic or two. I am very satisfied with the transformation of the cabin. As soon as I replace my crazed windows and I know the damn things won't leak on the saloon bench seats, I will replace the foam to make it more comfortable and re-trim the cabin....well I'll see what a quote or two comes back with first and if horrified, will break out my Sail Rite sewing machine and have  a crack myself....hell, its not like I'm busy!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cabin sole upgrade


Spent Saturday in the boatshed (Relles garage) adhering the Lonseal Mahogany and Holly vinyl to the marine ply sole. Prep was straightforward, sand with 60 grit, acetone wipe followed by a wipe with alcohol. I then set about completing a test piece by spraying with Ardex AF152 Sheet Vinyl Adhesive, wait 2 hours for it to tack off, wipe the sheet with alcohol and then lay in position. Next was the 3 section, 100lb steel roller! Damn that sucker was heavy.....poor little Kia certainly knew it was in the boot. I am glad I hired the roller from Kennard Hire, as it without it there is really no way you can effectively get the pressure required to set the vinyl onto the adhesive. Once happy,  I completed the remaining pieces and she looked a treat.

 Sunday was spent on my knees replacing the sole support strips that I previously treated with wood preservative so they would not rot away as they had done before. Laid the new sole and fitted a few lifting latches to make removal easier. after I change out the SS Keel Bolts and washers and paint the bilge with 2 pack. I can then install the PYI Floor Anchors - a quarter turn SS Zud style fastener that sits flush. I will then be IASF compliant for fixed floorboards.
 




Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Early Christmas!

The Jefa Alloy Tiller Lever and Autopilot linear drive have arrived and look to be quality products. The lever will replace the mild steel lever that was once epoxy coated but is now rusting away. The linear drive will provide better thrust and is far more robust than a wheel pilot belt drive. Best part is I can leave the wiring and fittings in place for the wheel drive whilst removing the drive mechanism so i can readily re-install if the primary linear drive ever craps itself. Third redundancy is the Hydrovane and fourth the Sea Squid!

                                      
The original 1983 rusted steel tiller lever showing the tie rod end  and rudder reference take-off.

 The flash new Jefa Hi Tensile Alloy Tiller lever, custom machined at no extra cost. Great service from Jefa so I bought one of their Linear drives below! The arm to the left is telescopic whilst the one to the right is fixed. The tierod pins all match the new arm so installation should be reasonably straight forward once dimensions are calculated.
My KISS HF counterpoise antenna ground arrived last week. This system replaces the need to run copper foil to a Dyna Plate though bolted to the hull and constantly immersed in seawater. Tuned lengths of wire run inside a 1" plastic tube and are connected to the auto antenna tuner and then run forward down both sides of the hull, reflecting the backstay HF antenna. Reports indicate the system works extremely well and exceeds performance of the ground plate system.......we shall see once the HF Radio has been procured and installed. I did find an old SEA HF (Oz compliant) on eBay, but went to dinner and could not get the last bid down in time.....it went for $580.00! (curry was too good to leave!). Probably fortunate really, as I knew the Offshore Racing Rules would require me to eventually have a DSC capable HF, but no one could tell me what year this would come into effect, so the SEA was a good, cheap stop-gap solution.

Well wouldn't you know.....Yachting Australia released new info the next day! All new installations post 01 Jul 2014 must be DSC capable and all yachts must have HF DSC by 01 Jul 2017. SATPHONE regs were also introduced and are welcome, as new technology can provide excellent SAT coverage and text messaging at minimal cost. The Notice of Race can now state if a SATPHONE can be used in lieu of HF. I prefer if every vessel can hear me if I am in distress so I will use HF and when offsore back up with an Iridium SATPHONE.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The list is getting smaller

It was a beautiful day on Sat but unfortunately it was another another busy weekend on the tools as I put the Whitlock Cobra steering back together with new bearings and tie rod ends. Nice not to have the slop in the rudder accompanied by the loud clunk! I also have a new Jefa tiller lever being manufactured and a Jefa Linear Autopliot Drive on order that connects directly to the new lever. My current drive is a wheel mounted S1 Wheelpilot drive. The Jefa unit is also much stronger so there should be not repeat of the stripped gearbox I experienced in a gale north of the Whitsundays last year. I will be confident the steering will be right for another 10 years.

Spoke with my sailmaker on Friday and the sails should be ready by mid Nov. I still have a fair chunk of work to do by way of installing the Solent Stay, a 6m trysail track on the mast and T-Track sheeting points on the cabin top for the #3 and Storm Jib before I can test these two sails. There is a bit of fabrication required to make sure the Solent stay is anchored to a strong point on the hull; in my case the forward bulkhead.

 Rogue Wave's cabin sole ready for a makeover!

 


The other job I have on (I like to mult-task!) is refurbishment of the cabin sole (floor). I have pulled up all the sole and will be installing a product I saw at the Sydney Boatshow. To face the sole with teak and holly is cost prohibitive so I needed to look at other options. Rogue Waves sole was replaced by her previous owner, however the laminate used was a light beech coloured woodgrain effect so it looks out of place. It is also slippery when wet! So the product I am using is from Lonseal and its a Mahogany and Holly non-slip vinyl and I think you will agree, it looks fantastic. It will certainly brighten up the interior. While the sole is out it provides an opportuinty to dry and air the bilge, replace some rotted wooden sole supports, and design a system to lock the sole in place using 1/4 turn fasteners. Busy times.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Whitlock Cobra 4 Steering Pedestal

Strangely enough, the frustrations of separating the dissimilar metal parts of the pedestal did not eventuate, and all parted company with a minimum of abuse. With the assistance of a three inch 2 jaw puller, some quality Australian made 'Bolt Off' penetrant, an impact driver and some persistence, she stripped down without a hassle. Patience is the key....spend a few days giving every bolt, screw, shaft and nut a little spray every morning and afternoon before taking out the tools - you will be rewarded.

The frustrations came when the search for parts came on a Sat. Only one bearing mob open and they had all but one bearing.....the main lower bearing. Oh well, probably needed a week off the tools anyway. Parts should arrive mid week and I hope to have the pedestal back in the boat next Fri evening. Won't hold my breath given the tempo at work at the moment. Will post again when she is back on the water.

This is the solid bronze pinion and the front of the pedestal. Great condition for its age and so it is for the bronze quadrant rack gear - don't see this type of HD enginneering much anymore without paying through the nose.  By the time I shim it all up she should be nice and light on the helm. The shaft is supported on two R16 ball bearing races. Replacement items are: R16 1x2x3/8" (open type) at around $22ea.


This picture shows the shagged lower bearing 9R24 (QTY 1 fitted). Some balls had turned to powder! Replacement items are: Lower shaft bearing (QTY1) R24-2RS 1-1/2x 2-5/8x7/16 (sealed type $31)
Upper shaft bearing 6205DU (orig) replacement 6205VV (sealed type $16).


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Knock Knock.....no sail this weekend

Just when you think all is well, Murphy lets loose with the old curve ball.
I heard a slight tap and had a bit of play creep into the steering pedestal somewhere off QLD early this year. As I made my way south so did the tap....which has finally turned into a loud knock! It is now a problem so the pedestal is off the boat to see if I can overhaul. A 28 year old pedestal with a mix of alloy and stainless should present some challenges on disassembly !
In the meantime I have fitted my emergency tiller until I can replace the worn components. The worst part is not having an autopilot which means no easy self tacking if solo. So apologies guys, this weekend is cancelled so I can get stuck into the repairs.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Rogue Wave off the Gold Coast QLD




video




Here's a short video of the final leg of my single-handed sail from Southport QLD to Port Stephens NSW that marked the end of 4 months long service leave and also the end of my Malaysia to Australia adventure. I departed Southport around 1600 h after several days port bound due to wild weather. The Gold Coast Seaway was pumping at around 4 metres and breaking right across. I have crossed that seaway hundreds of times and every crossing still gets the same respect as if it was my first. I left on the heels of the front to take advantage of the strong E to NE winds.



We punched our way out of the seaway at the top of the tide and bashed E through the 3 metre swell to get some sea room before I headed SE to round Point Danger off Tweed Heads. Great breeze on the beam provided swift passage all the way past Port Macquarie. After two nights at sea I motorsailed through the heads of Port Stephens at 0500 h to a great welcome home by family and friends.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

RW on her first Social Chase.....er...Cruise

It was good to meet a couple of keen crew in Daz and Danielle on the weekend when they dropped by to check out RW and her skipper at the Soldiers Point Marina. Unfortunately they couldn't sail on the weekend but there will be many more opportunities over the coming year.

Only one crew this week as JJ joined me as first time crew and first time yachty, but he does own a ski boat so its not all foreign. After the mandatory safety and nautical jargon brief we headed off double handed to hoist sail and follow the fleet from PSYC as they set off on the opening social cruise for the Spring/summer season. We had a nice breeze of around 10-12 knots and set off for North Arm Cove.....the opposite direction to the start line! I had not officially entered the cruise so the plan was to give the fleet room so we could chase and have no pressure at the first congested turning mark. I don't plan to break my crew .....at least not on the first few outings ha ha ....you guys are precious in this time poor world!

Well all went to plan, beer in hand, except RW overtook about four back markers by the first mark! We then goose-winged our way west away from the main pack that were flying spinnakers and headed directly for the next mark. Commonsense kept my asymmetrical kite in its bag until crew can work up to launching without bursting a pucker valve.! So by the second mark we dropped back to second last, hung wide to let others past and then we were back onto the building breeze. JJ was doing a good job helming RW as Skip played decky. We sped along at 8.1 knots and made our way toward Shoal Bay on one long tight reach hitting 8.7 knots at times. A role change saw JJ on the winches and trying not to macrame' himself with the sheets as we approached Shoal Bay! After rounding the mark and heading back to Soldiers point we had a wind shift that had us tacking all the way back to Peppers Anchorage in the narrowest part of the channel against an ebb tide. As the breeze increased, the temperature decreased and JJ once again helmed. After many tacks and alot of winching I remembered why I now Skipper..... The breeze hit 18 gusting 22 knots at times so we whipped in the first reef and furled in a metre of genoa to reduce the workload......after all, we are supposed to be cruising!!
We cross tacked with a large cat and and dusted off a smaller yacht as we fought both an ebb tide and wind on the nose. By 1630 h and under a very threatening sky, I peeled off course as we passed Peppers to take up my mooring in Salamander. A quick call to Relle and we were picked up and back home, warm and dry before the torrential downpour and hail. As always, a great day on the water.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Social Cruise Soldiers Point to Shoal Bay return

This Saturday is the first social sail for the Port Stephens Yacht Club (PSYC) Spring/Summer race season and I have 5 crew spots available.
The cruise start is at 1300 h off Soldiers Point.
Rogue Wave will depart the dock at Soldiers Point Marina C Arm at 1200 h so we can do the meet n greets and become familiar with the boat. The sail is a cruise in company so we won't be racing......ok....there may be the odd overtaking manouvere and rare event of letting others past, but the idea is just to get out and sail!
Bring some lunch or snacks and a couple of beers if you like and some warm gear. Forecast is for scattered showers and 10-15 knts. If the rain stays away will be an excellent day on the water. Should be back by around 1600-1630 h. There is a get together at the PSYC at the end of the cruise so you are more than welcome to join in.
Send me a text or email if you are keen.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Port to Newcastle return

On Sat 27 Aug a mate and I double handed RW to Newcastle for her final bug inspection by AQIS. I am happy to report she has a clean bill of health and is now officially an Aussie - thanks AQIS, your service was excellent. It was great to sail with someone who has sailed and raced, as you can leave them to tweak and adjust for a change! Not much breeze however plenty of Humpbacks doing their thing breeching, flapping fins to attract males and generally have a 'whale of a time' pardon the pun! We left Port around 1000 h and finally managed to turn the green anchor off for a couple of hours. It was a very pleasant sail with √Čric the autopilot' earning his keep as we watched the whales with coffees in hand. The afternoon seabreeze had us sailing into Newcastle Harbour around 1530 for a well deserved beer at the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC).

While RW was in the NCYC marina John from Doyle Sails (Sydney) measured her up for her new suite of 'Boat Show Special' whites. I have some work to do to install a detachable Solent Stay behind the forestay so I can fly a hanked on battened #3 or a high aspect storm jib. The theory being as the wind increases and the furling genoa is furled from 135% to 100% then furled away completely, I then hoist the #3 that I would have positioned on the Solent Stay in readiness for the stronger breeze - safe, more efficient and therefore easier to maintain the groove.

The following Sat 03 Sep I sailed RW back with a couple of workmates, one of whom brought his two young lads. They were all first timers - both in a yacht and offshore. Glorious day saw us complete the mandatory RW safety brief and famil tour, before motoring out of Newcastle in zero breeze. Offshore we picked up some breeze and a 2m ground swell. As we headed NE the forecast 5-10 knt wind backed and freshened from E to NNE and then N, so off we headed ENE. By the time a few hours had passed we had the 2nd reef in the main, #2 rolled genoa, two crew down for the count and two dads grinning from ear to ear as they steered RW headlong on the long beat! The Sigma is a great boat to windward. We saw only a few whales this time, but they were only about 200m abeam when they broached, so it was a great sight for all on board.

The set onto Stockton Beach is quite strong so we headed ENE for searoom and pointed as high as my steerers could maintain. Great effort by the guys to maintain a good speed in these conditions. We had a constant 22 with gusts to 26 on a NNE swell of 2m with 1-1.5 m seas. I had the guys fighting for top speeds. We started off around 4.5 knts, then 6....7 to windward and ended up on a beam reach at with a top speed of 10.1 under white sails, so they certainly got the hang of it!

RW is back on her mooring and awaiting her next outing late Sep.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sailing Port Stephens

Its time to break out the beanie and come for a sail. Yesterday was absolutely fantastic on the water, plenty of sunshine and not much wind early on, but a nice 10-15 knot breeze late arvo saw Rogue Wave (RW) skipping across the bay into the sunset with wine in hand at 6.5 knots.

Our first crew familiarisation/safety sail is on next weekend Sat 13 Aug 11, so to those whom have showed interest and emailed me, RW will be at Soldiers Point Marina ready to cast off at 1100h and be back at the marina 1500h.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

RYA Yachtmaster course

Enrolled in the RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster theory on-line course last week. Received the pack in the mail and very happy with the quality. Works out much cheaper, and I don't need to take leave from work to do the 5 day cram course. I have 12 months to complete and then I can either do a five day practical or launch into the practical/oral exam. Perfect for my hectic lifestyle and supports my experience with world recognised qualifications.

Almost ready....

The list of jobs is finally dwindling in concert with the bank balance!
I am setting Rogue Wave up for IRC/ORCi and at this stage will start with a core crew of six. Being very safety minded I need to ensure my gear meets the required AYF standard. Outfitting to CAT 1 safety is an expensive process to say the least. Some of the quality of these so called approved items leaves a lot to be desired, so I am selective with my purchases.
PFDs will be Burke manual Inflatables with integral harness and tethers fitted with SOLAS approved automatic lights. This should provide piece of mind offshore.Only a few more safety items to go to be CAT 3 compliant and then onto the most expensive...HF radio for CAT1.

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