Monday 21 August 2017
Well it’s been a while and I know a few of you have been waiting for an update knowing that we are back aboard “Morgane”. We have been a bit busy and haven’t had time for writing blog entries or much else except work for that matter. As well as working on “Morgane” we have both been working remotely on our land jobs.
To cut a long story short we flew back to Tahiti from New Zealand at the end of June.
We were met in Tahiti by old friends Carlos and Magdalena of the catamaran “Pratii” who had kindly agreed to put us up for a couple of nights and Wietze and Janneke of “Anna Caroline” who had a hire car for a couple of days and could give us a ride from Papeete to Taravo where we had left “Morgane”.
We all had dinner together aboard “Anna Caroline” the evening we arrived and the next morning Paula and I piled into the car with Wietze and Janneke to go and start work. First stop was to see the girls of Tahiti Crew who were doing some agency work for us and helping with the import of a big box of spare parts. Next stop was Carefour to stock up on cleaning products to deal with who knew what horrors lay ahead of us. “Morgane” had been sitting in a hot and very damp environment unloved for just over a year. We were a bit worried that when we opened the hatch we would be met with a curtain of mould.
On arrival we nervously climbed the ladder and unlocked the companionway to be met by a faint musty smell and the sight of just a few spots of mould and some discolouration on the painted surfaces. The deck was pretty black in places, the wood gratings in the cockpit had mostly turned to dust and any little spots of rust had turned into giant flakes! The dinghy was pretty faded and spotted with mould and when we turned it over the inside was very grey. Anyway all in all not too bad.
Paula and Janneke took all the cushion covers, and fabrics off to a laundry, Wietze attacked the dinghy with scrubbing materials and I got work hauling stuff that had been stowed inside out onto deck to give us some room to work.
It took us two days to get Morgane habitable so we had another night enjoying Carlos and Magdalenas hospitality. That night we went to eat at the famous food trucks just behind where the super-yachts dock in Papeete. Hardly cheap by international standards but excellent value for Papeete and very good.
A special thank you to Carlos, Magdalena, Wietze and Janneke you really made those first couple of days so much easier.
There followed a whole month of dawn to dusk toil to repair the ravages of neglect, make some modifications and upgrades and prepare Morgane for launching. The major jobs were:
- Chop of the wonky scoop and tidy up the transom.
- Remount the Aries windvane, replace most of its moving parts with an overhaul kit (from the original Aries company now operating from Cornwall, England [or should that be just Cornwall? 😉 ], and fit a new rudder lifting mechanism from the new Aries manufacturer in Holland.
- Lots of work on the engine and transmission including new mounts, realigning the whole transmission chain, a new head exchanger manifold, a new larger alternator and conversion to poly-V belts.
- The cockpit needed a complete paint job and the transom too after all the cutting and grinding.
- Serviced the wind generator and fitted new bearings. We also made a new larger tail as a major design fault with these generators is the undersized tail and the fact that the generator weight isn’t balanced over the pole. The photo shows the new tail in action.
- All the fabric covers that Paula had made in Chile died within months (good South American quality fabric) and we had brought new acrylic canvas to remake all of those.
- Another Chile job that had to be redone were all of the fuel hoses that we had put into the new fuel transfer system which had perished. Bought as fuel hose, obviously wasn’t.
- The dinghy needed a lot of rot chopping out and a lot of fibreglass repairs.
I have 42 bigger jobs on my list ticked off and of course there were numerous other little jobs ticked off that didn’t make the list. 42 is supposed to be the answer to life the universe and everything ! 🙂
Eventually on 31st July we were ready for “Morgane” to take to the water again. Yvan and his crew had put us on the launcher on the Friday so that we could use the weekend to chip and paint the bottom of the keel and anti-foul the patches where the props had been.
During this time we had only had a couple of half days off. Once when Dave and Evie (Dave is a mate from Pelagic Expeditions) called in to see us on the way back through Tahiti after charting a boat in the Leeward islands for a busman’s holiday. We took a drive, in their hire car, to the end of the road on the south side of Tahiti Iti and had lunch near the famous surf break at Teahupoo. On another occasion when we again took advantage of Carlos and Magdalena’s hospitality aboard “Pratii” in Marina Papeete so that we could go and watch once evening of the dancing and singing competition and festival known as the Heiva which occupies most of the month of July; look it up online, it’s spectacular.
With “Morgane” afloat again we were busy for another week or so before we were at all ready for sea. Eventually we were ready to head around to the Marina Taina area to fuel up and provision. We had a nice sail from Port Phaeton to Passe Taapuna with a good solid 30 knots blowing as we entered the pass. We flew downwind through the mooring fields of Taina with no chance of spotting a spare buoy let alone picking one up. Paula checked the route into a nice little bay near the Airport at Faaa and we nipped into the bay rounded up into a nice big clear spot smartly dropped the hook; all text book style.
Anchored just a couple of hundred metres away was “Taura” with Adrius and Jurgita aboard who we hadn’t seen since somewhere in Chile. After anchoring I went to set the anchor alarm and that is when we realised why there was a nice big clear spot in the bay. We had anchored in the guard zone around a submarine electricity cable!.. hmm that was silly. Careful checking of GPS, bearings etc. indicated that we had missed dropping our chain across the cable so we sheepishly lifted the hook and went and reset in a windier but legal corner of the bay.
The trip around had highlighted a couple of little tweaks to our systems, including the fuel pipe issue mentioned above. So a few more days of work and tweaking were required. We hadn’t had any response from any of the numerous emails we had sent to Tonga asking about a visa for Paula (and still haven’t) and as Tonga had been our planned destination for so long we now had to make a plan….. so Fiji it is then.
We finally got away from Tahiti on Thursday morning into a forecast that promised a brisk breeze due to a high to the south causing a squash zone and reinforced trade winds. Brisk it was, bloody brisk. We had a proper honest 40 knots. We jogged or fore-reached for a while but then the rapidly building waves made that a silly idea and then as work on the foredeck was tricky while we changed down a few sizes in jib (sometimes I would like roller furling!) I did something that I have never had to do before and trailed a warp with a heavy lump of chain on the end and bore off so that we could clear the foredeck of the bigger jib and get the storm jib up.
At one stage while we were preparing the warp a wave broke over us; while I was standing up and out of the way Paula was sitting on the cockpit seat and all I could see was the top of her head sticking out as water cascaded around her. Luckily in this climate that is just a refreshing dip, back in our usual latitudes that would be hypothermia inducing.
With the sail plan sorted out we were heading in the correct direction at about six knots and surfing at hull speed occasionally. Great way to get over first day mal de mer! The next morning things were somewhat more comfortable and we got the warp in and back into normal sailing mode. We have had a few hours motoring with no wind but mostly we are having a good brisk sail, in moderate to rough seas, with the last two days delivering 140 and 130 mile runs.
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