About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard Bravo, a Kelly Peterson 46 sailboat with homeport in Seattle, Washington. We headed south in 2010, destined for Mexico and beyond. Cheers, Adam and Cindi


"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Passage Notes: New Zealand to Vanuatu

Yee-hah, Bravo is back in cruising mode once again!!! Our under-7-day passage went very well, all things considered. Leaving NZ, it didn't take too long to get our sailing mojo back, though we both felt pretty damned rusty. (Hoisting the mainsail...no reefing lines are lead....oh, yeah, meant to get to those!!!)

Had a terrific 1st day of sailing up the beautiful coast of the north island in a perfect 15-20 knot westerly breeze. Felt wonderful to finally be underway, after nearly 2 years based out of NZ (and the 9 months in Oz). Things got a bit light on the 2nd day, winds had clocked right behind us at around 10 knots, and seas, though not too big at first, were on the beam.....VERY rolly conditions.

Finally started up the engine on the 2nd night, as the winds continued to drop into single digits, and seas stayed on the beam....yuchh. Wound up motoring through a 1028 high pressure system for nearly 60 hours....killed a heap of dinosaurs on this trip.

All of this time, all systems were working splendidly. The new charging systems worked fine, and the lithium batteries and bms were all behaving like champs. Sweet as.

At about mid voyage, on the 4th day, the wind returned, and we finally shut down the engine. Winds were still light and behind us, say 12 knots, but enough to keep the rolly boat moving along, and the peace and quiet were a serious treat. Had a few albatrosses join us, diving and skimming the water for hours on end.

And then things went a bit pear shaped. We turned on the generator to make water w/ the A/C powered watermaker, and top up the batteries. (We use quite a bit of power on passage, with all instruments running 24/7, and Otto our trusty autopilot getting his usual beefy boy workout.) Genset fired up normally, as did the battery charger. But when the switches were thrown on the watermaker, it started initially, then shut down pumps and lights. Ruh-row, this can't be good. I figured perhaps a breaker had tripped, but nothing looked out of sorts on the new AC panel. Genset voltage and frequency looked normal on all meters. But the AC breakers that are fed through the inverter/charger were dark. (includes all house outlets AND the all important watermaker) The other 4 were live (water heater, charger, and spares). And I noticed that the breaker for the hot water heater had been inadvertently been left in the "on" position. We were certainly overloading the capacity by running the charger, watermaker, and water heater all at once. Not good.

Serious business, in fact. For we now had no way to make water except off the batteries, making AC with the inverter. But this takes about 150 amps of DC, and will quickly drain the batteries. And we can now only charge the batteries w/ solar (its been cloudy....) or our main engine alternator, which is not large, only putting out about 75 amps. Double ruh-row

OK, that was our big mishap. Otherwise, a very decent passage. A bit frustrating, as once the breeze finally filled, we did the math and realized that in order to arrive in Vanuatu in daylight hours, we needed to start slowing down about 2 days before arrival. Just when the sailing was becoming amazingly good at last. Meant greatly shortening sail, once again creating VERY ROLLY sailing, with the reduced pressure on the rig. Ughhhhh, sleep was especially tough.

Arrived here at Aneityum Island at dawn today in a terrific 20 knot south easterly, nearly 7 days after departure. Felt wonderful to get the anchor down in this completely sheltered harbor (at least from this wind and sea direction). And the obligatory anchor beer to wash down the bacon and egg breakfast could not have been sweeter!!! We got the boat cleaned up, flying our yellow quarantine flag to await the arrival of customs and immigration folks. (we had received advance permission via email to clear in here, not a regular port of entry). There are 2 other yachts here, one British and one Australian who have already cleared in. They said if we wait until tomorrow, a cruise ship will be paying a visit, and the inspectors will come to the boat then. There's no real village here, so our other option would be to head to shore and ask around for "the policeman" who can give us temporary permission to go ashore. Think we'll catch up on sleep and wait until tomorrow's BIG EVENT.

So all in all, a very good passage. Bravo performed beautifully, in winds from very light to 30 knots. It felt wonderful to be on the ocean again, even if a bit rusty. Now, if we can just figure what is FUBAR with the charging system...

Sorry for the lack of photos. We have no internet here, and this post is coming via ham radio email.

Details:
Distance: 1010 nautical miles
Time: 6 days, 20 hours (inc 2 days of deliberate slowness for daylight arrival)
Fishing: WAY too rolly, with the seas, up to around 3 meters, on the beam nearly the entire trip.
Stuff broken:
Charging system, a biggy
Tiny chafe hole in our beautiful new mainsail, caused by our boom preventer touching a drooping fold in the reefed sail. Easy repair, NOT a biggy.

Cheers all....more to follow when we're allowed off the boat!!!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Passage NZ to Vanuatu - Day 1

UNDERWAY AT LAST !!!
We cleared customs this morning at the marina office. All went fine. Really felt terrific to get underway at around 10:30, though gotta say, we don´t yet have our sea legs!!! Funny how that happens.

Exiting the harbor, we prepared to hoist the main in a freshening sou westerly breeze around 15-20kn. Realized that when we put on the mainsail a few weeks ago, we didn`t put on the 3 reef lines.....uh, oh! Took a bit of flailing around in the soup to get all led, but all good now.

Sailed east for an hour or so before we could jibe and clear the heads. Since then we´ve had a fantastic sail north along the gorgeous NZ coast. No fishing yet, as the freezer is too full!!! All is going great, hoping for a great night sail in 15-25kn breeze, broad reaching at 7-8knts.

Cheers!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

New Zealand......so long, it's been GREAT to know you.....


"There is nothing  --  absolutely nothing  --  half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.  In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter.  Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it.  Whether you get away, or whether you don't;  whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular;  and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not."

-  Spoken by Ratty to Mole in Wind in the Willows, a children's book by Kenneth Grahame


Well, it's been quite a hectic past couple of months (sorry for lack of photos, just hasn't been time!!!).  We arrived back to New Zealand from Australia in March, to find all was good aboard Bravo, much as we'd left her.  Felt like a castle after living in the rooftop tent atop Tojo for the previous 9 months in Oz !!!  We figured just a few projects to wrap up in the boatyard, and we'd be good to splash and do a bit of coastal cruising around NZ.  Funny how it happens, though.....one project seemed to lead to another, we enjoyed the camaraderie of friends in the boatyard, and the next thing we knew, it was early May.  The southern winter is now nearly upon us, and it's nearing our time to depart this fantastic country.


Heading back to the water
So we launched one lovely autumn afternoon, waited for the tide to rise sufficiently, and slowly made our way in the fading light to the Whangarei's Town Basin Marina.  Figured just a bit of shakedown of systems on our complex (perhaps overly so) little starship, and we'd be waiting for a weather window to depart for Vanuatu.










Alas, we were quickly reminded once again that boats are happiest when in the water.  Bravo had been on the hard for nearly 2 years, (save a 2 week romp in the Bay of Islands) and the testing of several systems requires that we be afloat.  Water-cooled refrigeration compressors, generator, watermaker (desalinization machine) re-plumbing and pump, engine cooling, lithium battery system tweaking and monitoring, start battery charging system, even rewiring the running lights would all now clamor "me next" as the Bravo crew engaged in a daunting game of system Whack-a-mole.  Seemed as soon as we'd fix one issue (oh, say, tearing out the entire refrigeration system and installing a whole new one when the old Glacier Bay system unexpectedly failed us.....an expensive and several day long project), another would take it's place demanding attention.  We couldn't get the time, as the rest of the cruising yachts were doing around us, to simply work on voyage preparation.  Rigging, charting and route planning, stowing gear, provisioning of food, spare parts, and basic maintenance tasks like filter, oil, and coolant changes would all have to wait.  And this with our 2 year T.I.E. (Temporary Import Entry) expiring on May 31 (already extended for 6 months due to Cindi's accident).  (Means either take the boat out of the country, or pay the taxes and duties to officially "import" her into NZ.......$31K in Bravo's case.......Ruh-Ro).   Stressful?????  You betcha.


Bravo tugging at the docklines to head back to sea


We missed a major weather window for departure about a week ago.  Twenty boats from Whangarei and over FIFTY from Opua up north left for the tropics last Saturday.  Customs had 'em stacked up like cordwood waiting to clear out.  But at last earlier this week it was time for us to take another baby step.  We sadly bid our goodbyes to many friends in the Whangarei area, and turned Bravo down river for the two hour motor to Marsden Cove marina.  All systems were working beautifully, and we tucked into our slip here at Marsden with a bit of a feeling of melancholy, but also a sense of accomplishment of a major refit and refurbishment of our home.  A boat is always a work in progress.....there's always "The List".  But Bravo's never been better, and knock-on-wood, is ready to go voyaging again.  Hopefully the same can be said for her crew, who are feeling a bit rusty in the ways of the sea!!!

Leaving New Zealand is proving to be quite emotional.  With the exception of our 6 months in Fiji and 9 months spent recently in Australia, NZ has been our home for the past 4 years, one of the longest times that either of us have spent anywhere in our 60+ years.  We've done a fair bit of exploring, including a couple of trips down to the south island, some great hiking, wonderful opportunities for photography, and, yes, a huge amount of boat work.  We've faced some really trying times here, especially around Cindi's injuries (which have fully healed at last!!!!!).  But most of all, we've had a great time getting to know the Kiwi people.  We've made several close friends here, and have found the people of this small island nation to be some of the most down-to-earth, capable, and easy going folks anywhere.  Frequent calls of "git 'er done", "she'll be right, mate", and "if man can build it, man can fix it" kept our spirits up when they sagged a bit.  We can't say when, but we're sure NZ will have a place in our future.

But for now, we're sitting in Marsden Cove marina, waiting for our weather window for the 7-8 day passage to Vanuatu.  The low pressure systems just keep sweeping across NZ from the Tasman Sea.  Although it's raining donkeys and blowing stink outside right now, it looks like we may get a window to depart tomorrow.  Will be wonderful to be at sea again, especially without the constant internet reminders of the shameful shitstorm underway in the US, led by the SCROTUS and his slimy cronies.

The plan at this moment is to spend the next 3-4 months in Vanuatu, then a month or so in New Caledonia, before sailing down to Australia and exploring until around June 2018.  After that?  Stay tuned!!!

We'll try to post to this blog while at sea via ham radio email.  You can hopefully also follow our progress by checking in at        www.yit.co.nz   do a search for BRAVO

Cheers, mates.......