Tag Archives: working holiday visa


Sailing like a pro

So I worked up the courage to get the main sail out and give it a whirl. There were several things that stopped me doing this beforehand.

Firstly I wanted to get the hang of using the fore sail, tacking, gybing and getting used to the angles and trimming possibilities.

Secondly, when the boat heeled it would frighten me. I knew that the boat wouldn’t just tip over, but that didn’t stop it feeling like WAS going to tip over. I needed some time to get used to it.

Little did I realise until after using the main that all my issues would be solved.

I was having problems sailing to windward, the main sail fixes that making it a breeze to get decent speed when close hauled with minimum fuss. With a genoa alone the helm required was significant and was a bit of a fight.

I was having trouble getting the speed required for tacking in light airs. The main sail gives me that speed, and the jib can just be used for manouverability.

I was haivng trouble getting my hands free from the tiller to adjust the genoa’s sheets because Esprit would just head up into the wind immediately. The mainsail balances the helm wonderfully so I can tinker here and there.

All in all using the main sail is the best idea I had yet and after a bit more research I am confident that I can pilot Esprit safely even in moderate seas. The main is held to the runners in some cases by cable ties, true, and I am sailing with a permanent reef so there is no chance what-so-ever of me banging my head off the boom. This is a compromise I am more than happy with.

I may even replace the cable ties one day.

Here is the video! Under the harbour bridge and back. You can see the heel as I go upwind, and I kindly cut out the long boring tacks so the video is just one long, intense thrill ride. Hang on!



More things

The bottom scrape that I managed was almost two months ago! Means Esprit is long overdue some attention in that department.

There was nothing serious, some small barnacles and whatnot, and I managed to eject the sea squirt that was clogging the toilets intake nozzle…more on that story later…




Yes! Laughter indeed! I traded in my serviceable yet inadequate kayak for an inflatable dinghy and engine!

Nothing huge, 2.4m hull and a 2.3hp motor, but it means I can now travel safely in rough weather and not fall in again, carry gear to and from Esprit, and ferry fishing companions across.

I can also hoon around for no reason at all.

Totally going fishing sometime soon. Should really clear off Esprit’s butt gak before I try and sail again.

Anyway, enough jibberjabber! Here is the video!


Third sail, to Little Shoal Bay!


A much more modest mission today! My housemate and I took to the waves for a two hour ride to little shoal bay.

The wind was low to moderate for the duration of the sail, picking up to be consistently moderate once we passed under the bridge for the second time. I failed one tack because the wind was not strong enough to take the bow through the wind, but it was fine, I just turned it into a gybe. Tacking back and forth across ‘regular’ Shoal Bay we got some reasonable lean, enough to make Sarwan exclaim. This was his first time sailing.

I had my usual ambient terror, which ebbed once the day went on.

Third sail:

Things learned: 50

Shit yo’ pants moments: 0

Second sail, to Rangitoto!!


You can see above my approximate route. It was rather a hectic day and I think I bit off a little more than I could chew, but damn it! I chewed none the less!

Started out pretty chill, blowing a low to moderate south westerly and I cruised slowly under the genoa alone all the way out to Rangitoto. It took probably about an hour and a half. That was when the fun started… It was around two o’clock and I thought getting on home might be a good idea, the wind had picked up and I was getting hungry.

I would like to mention at this point that until now I had only ever actually completed two manouvres, which were the failed tack into a gybe and the successful gybe shown in my first sailing video. I was terrified to say the least, but I am of the opinion that if something is scary that does not mean it should be avoided, instead it should be bested, if possible.

So I started a series of close reaches, tacking back and forth across the mouth of the Tamaki Straight. The boat was heeling at some points until the gunwhale was skimming the surface, and I was terrified, but it felt under control, and when the wind gusted too hard I would turn off the wind to de-power a bit. I realised after a while that I was not going to be able to point high enough to get a decent angle on the channel, and there was no way I was hoisting the main, but I persevered thinking that it didn’t matter if it took a while as I was learning a lot.

As I was approaching the star marked on the map a stronger than usual gust hit, and I tried to turn off only to have the boat wrenched down at the nose as the sails caught the full force of the wind. The prow nearly buried and there was an awful groaning. I was terrified, somehow even more terrified than my ambient level of terror. I loosed the sheets, pulled down the sail and jammed it into the anchor well. Then I turned on the motor and blasted head first into the force five wind and waves for the 40 minutes it took me to get home.

Once moored I ate an entire packed of chocolate chip cookies and drank some lovely warm tea. The sugar and warmth restored a bit of sanity, just in time for the winds to drop… Typical.

But now I know to turn INTO the wind to de-power.

Second sail:

Things learned : 200+

Shit yo’ pants moments : 2 (one lasted the entire day, and one was rather acute)


And now for something completely different!

Goodness me! Four months since my last post! But it has been an eventful time, for example I am in the other hemisphere now, probably exactly opposite my last residence should I discover a manner of drilling and traveling safely through the centre of the earth.

There will be more videos, pictures, blogs, and art forthcoming now that my life has settled down once again. I have probably hours of video that I need to edit and many many new drawings and ideas that I need to communicate. For now I hope you enjoy this video of my recent acquisitions 🙂

(note: The people featured in this video are my friends and flatmates, and in no way represent my possessions or acquisitions. Slavery is bad people!)



Thinking boating

Another week, another umming and aahing about boats. Thinking about boats, watching videos about boats, drawing boats. It’s a new hobby of mine. Soon I will actually get to sail a boat!
Can you imagine the hilarity if I end up hating sailing…

What was I thinking about? It was about my lovely little design for the Salmo 19′. I spent a long time looking at the plans for the boat, sketching out bits and pieces and working out how much it was all going to cost. Including any modifications that I would need to make to help it fit onto the most economical amount of plywood. Turns out I would have to reduce the sides by a hundred milimetres to fit all the pieces on the fewest plywood sheets.

Then I imagined living on it. Seems stupid that after all this time I never actually considered living on the boat I was hoping to build. Turns out I think it would be pretty horrible actually, like perpetually camping in the rain. Salty rain at that. With nowhere dry to go. It turns out that the most boat I can build for my budget is just not enough boat. Three thousand pounds is a lot of money to spend on somewhere I cant even sleep comfortably in (At least it seems a lot when I am trying to save it up!)

I want a boat that I could comfortably live in for months and months. I am just not going to be able to manage that. I think there has been another use for my hundreds of hours thinking about and drawing boats, even if I am not going to build one at the moment. Even the hundred or so pounds I spent on the plans and Junk rig book were well spent because I feel now that I have  a greater appreciation of what some of the different aspects of a boat actually mean.

I used to think that a boat was basically a little box with a sheet attached that got blown around by the wind. Now, after all that effort learning I can appreciate how little I actually know about boats. If it seems like a bit of a long way round to realise that you don’t know much then think again. If I were to think that I understood the full amount of anything immediately it means that, either it is really simple (and therefore hardly worth devoting effort to), or I have failed to grasp the subtleties of something that, in this case, cound actually get me killed!

Even though I will not be building a boat for the forseeable future does not mean the time thinking about it was wasted, because now I feel a little over prepared for the rather more simple task of merely choosing a boat to buy.

If only it were so simple….

I have been scouring trademe.com (The New Zealand version of ebay) on a regular basis. Turns out the turnover of boats is pretty slow, which is good for me if one catches my eye. Follow this link if you are interested.


My parameters are a yacht between 5 and 9 metres and up to $15,000. My actual budget is more like $6000 but there is not specific option for that. It is good to see that there are around fifty boats within my price range, so a good bit of choice. What I am mainly considering at the moment is the correct balance between condition and size. Within my price range there are the full range of boat sizes, but of course the larger ones are the ones that require the most work, and I don’t want to have to do any work at all.

So do I want a slightly smaller boat in excellent condition or a larger one that will need more maintenance?

I am leaning towards the small but sound option. I find myself a averse to complication (no doubt one of the things that makes me want to try this lifestyle in the first place) and I have absolutely no interest in gambling. A small, good condition boat with a swing keel and enough foredeck to strap a kayak or two to is preferable to roomy yet leaky (or one of the other potentially infinite repair jobs a yach throws up constantly)

My thinking is this. Plus sides: if the boat is cheap then I will have more money and be able to cruise for longer. If the boat is in good condition then it will require less time and money in repairs so will be cheaper so I will have more money to cruise for longer. If my boat is small (between 18 and 20 feet long) then it will be cheap and in good condition. You get the idea.
Down side: If my boat is small then I can fit fewer friends on it.
Thats the only downside as far as I can see it. Looks like ‘they’ might have to get their own boat…