NZ Land Logs 65, Year 2: Close Call
Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Weather Today: Sunny Morning, Overcast Afternoon
Location: Whangarei, New Zealand

Just when we thought we were all ready to go, we discovered something that was most disturbing. We were taking advantage of the fact that our bow is reachable from the dock to polish the stainless anchor roller. Mark was working on that when he discovered stress cracks in the chain plate that attaches the headstay to the hull. This was not a happy discovery. He immediately went up to the welding shop in the yard and Terry came down to the boat to check out the situation. The piece of stainless that has the stress cracks is two and three quarters inches wide by about three-eights inch thick. It is bolted to the bow of the boat with half inch bolts and is part of a huge stainless structure that holds the anchors on the front of the boat. If this piece of metal should break, we could lose our headstay and that would not be a good thing. When Terry came down to check this out, he gave us his professional recommendations. It was either take the whole structure off the front of the boat and replace it–very expensive and at least three weeks of work OR repair the area with the stress cracks by welding a piece to it OR do nothing. Each of the options other than total replacement has drawbacks. We then asked one of the local riggers to take a look and give us his opinion. Welding always weakens the metal just above or below the weld, and knowing that, the rigger opted for doing nothing. We took the middle road. We had the welder cut a piece of metal that can be welding on if the condition gets worse. We will have to watch this closely. The welder really thinks the stress cracks happened when the boat was built and that they have always been there. We will go ahead and leave tomorrow and when we get to Opua we will reconsider. If we feel that the piece should be welded on, we will do it there. This was a close call. If we opted for doing the welding here, we would have to wait until Thursday since tomorrow is a holiday. And waiting until Thursday really meant waiting until Sunday since the tides would not be right for leaving the river until then. We’re hoping that our plans to leave tomorrow have not clouded our decision making process. But we will have a chance to reconsider in Opua.

I have had on my TO DO list for days to wax the deck–not the teak walking deck, but the top of the cabin. I got it done, but it took most of the day. While I was doing this, Mark continued with stainless polishing. In mid-afternoon, Mark went to the pharmacy to pick up the travel drug prescriptions and I worked on our farewell letter for the Riverside Drive Marina book. What I didn’t realize is that the marina will be closed tomorrow for a holiday. I will ask Dianna on White Swan to put our page in the book, but I am really sorry that I didn’t get to say a personal thank you and goodbye to Ray, the marina owner. I am hoping that he comes in tomorrow, but if not I’ll just have to do the farewell electronically. I love technology, but it is not my idea of a way to say goodbye. If we are in Opua for a while, maybe I can hitch a ride down here to say a proper farewell.

The most important thing we did today was to talk with our grandson. Well, we didn’t really “talk” to him, but we talked and he watched us and listened to the computer screen. More importantly, we got to see him and listen to his cute babbling. We even got to see him smile. He is cuter than ever and is now trying desperately to suck his thumb or his whole fist. It was great watching him trying to get the right hand thumb in his mouth, and then his left hand thumb, and then both fist at once. It is amazing how such activity can be so captivating to grandparents. We could have watched him all day. Once we leave here, we will not have the internet capability to make the video Skype calls until we get to Opua. We will have internet there, and then not again until we reach Suva in Fiji. Suva is a large city, but we will be spending very little time there. Once we are in the out islands, internet will be spotty. Later in the season in vanuatu, internet is non-existent except in the main city of Port Villa.

So ready or not, we are leaving here tomorrow unless the weather report gets worse. Some nasty weather is headed this way by Saturday, but if that changes and the nasty weather is coming sooner, we might have to stay here. So it goes with sailing. The weather rules.

070424 Web Pics–Chain Plate–Close Call
070424 Web Pics– Last Tuesday Night at Reva’s