Ever wonder what it would be like to have an endless summer? We decided to find out by spending the northern summer on the U.S. East coast, then fly south to enjoy a New Zealand Summer. After three years without winter we find we miss winter. Problem is, when the weather is wonderful and everyone is out celebrating, sailing, camping picnicking and partying, Larry and I do not feel like settling in to writing projects. Instead we want to be out with everyone else - laying on the beach, swimming...I also miss those long cold evenings when it feels good to be inside by a fire reading a long book, hibernating and storing up ambitions for summer time.
As we searched for photos we came across this bit of nostalgia. It was taken in 1979 by the late Walt Gleckler (he created the cruisers series at Orange Coast College). Here we have joined some amazing people for the first slide show we ever gave in the U.S. after circumnavigating on Seraffyn. Next to Larry is Lyle C. Hess, Seraffyn's designer. Then Miles Smeeton of Tsu Hang fame, Lin, Dwight Long, one of the early writers of cruising books, John Guzzwell with Maureen Guzzwell standing next to him. He circumnavigated in 21 foot Trekka - he was my hero and his book definitely sent me on my way. Seated on the floor is Gingerlee Field of Newport, Peggy Slater - who raced Valentine into California fame and Beryl Smeeton - an amazing mountaineer and rider before taking up sailing.
I feel an ingrate as I say this as we've had grand times the past months. Favorite memories include the four day Mahurangi Cruising Club rendezvous. We beat 12 miles south of our base at Kawau in 30 knots of wind to get to the regatta start line. Jonquil is, as we have mentioned in previous newsletters, an open boat. Lay her over too far and she could fill with water and sink. As this was my first time out in her in winds like these, my imagination was a bit wild at first. We had a young man (15) from the island sailing with us. He took over as mainsheet trimmer and was quick to let the sheet run as each heavy gust hit. So once I got used to the feel of this very sporty boat, once I felt comfortable that her high powered main was reefed deeply enough and could be de-powered quickly, the sailing became just "exciting".
When we reached the regatta, we asked Thomas to stay on as crew. He wasn't too interested until our regular crew showed up. Long haired, elegant, exuberant 15 year old Sybil charmed him as she had charmed us. So with enthusiastic crew we set off against a fleet of 64 classic boats and in winds gusting 35, managed to snag the main trophy of the day. I am reluctant to include the name of the elegant ships bell trophy that currently graces our cottage - but since there is no denying it, we are the old gaffers that won the "Old Gaffers" trophy.
For three more days, we sailed in company with a dozen boats in weather that turned indescribably wonderful. From the quiet of the Mahurangi river, to the anchorages of the tine islands that dot this gulf, we shared fish, scallops and mussels, cockles and wines at evening barbecues on shore and sun-drenched cockpit parties afloat.
This was the first time I have cruised without the convenience of a complete galley. I enjoyed the simplicity and lowered expectations of feeding crew and guests with only a portable ice chest for food storage and a two burner stove and plastic washbasin plus cutting board for food prep. It is amazing how we still had enjoyable eating, nice things for guests to share with almost no fuss, muss or dishes to do. I think women who live on cruising boats over-stress themselves and try to entertain to Washington D.C. society expectations instead of relaxing to casual standards.
Here's the front cover of the yearbook for our favorite cruising club. The reason I like the club so much is shown by the by-laws:|
1. This club can never own a building or capital assets.
2. Racing can never be serious enough to allow for protests.
3. All events will be formatted to include pleasurable experiences for all members of the family.
Summer had us also taking time to visit with friends in the city. Auckland has developed into a European style center, with outdoor cafes and a variety of exotic food choices. Dozens of place serve fine Sunday brunches with live Jazz and of course there is occasional excellent overseas entertainment to add to more local acts. My favorite this year was the Cirque du Soleil, a blend of absorbing music, excellent circus acts, no animals at all and some of the best lighting I have ever seen. We attended with several friends who are involved in the America's Cup racing and of course spent a lot of time talking about that event. Though it is another two years before racing starts, you can see boats out practicing on the Gulf - Team Oracle, Team New Zealand, the French, many of our Kiwi sailors have been lured to foreign teams by high cash offers. On the other hand, the sheer camaraderie of the low budget Kiwi home team has lured several interesting people from overseas. One of our favorites is our neighbor, the young American computer whiz, Christopher Miller. Chris and his lady Cath, met when he took off from earning his cruising funds by inventing a special computer program in the U.S. They cruised the Pacific for two years on board Seaplusplus, and decided to find a home in New Zealand when Chris came to miss the mind-games of programming. It was only a matter of days before Christopher was introduced to someone who knew someone and soon he was working with Team NZ to solve the problems of Sail shape imaging that other programmers have been stumped by for three years. He and Cath are definitely enjoying the society whirl of the Cup Village, and the quiet of their island home, with their boat as the perfect go-between. As we have often seen before, cruising folks seem able to find interesting ways to work just because they are out cruising.
We did actually get some work done this summer (southern summer that is). We added a new introduction and two new appendixes to our book Cruising In Seraffyn. I had a grand time looking through old photos and new to put together a 16 page color section for this 25th anniversary edition. I am eager to see the final printed book which will be available June 1st. Larry has really made progress on the first section of book two of his Details of Classic boat Construction project. We have also made lists of pros and cons for each of several sailing designations we have in mind.
In early May we will be back on board Taleisin in Virginia. on May 19th and 20th we are having a rendezvous of cruising folks at Yeocomico Creek where we will be outfitting our new Fatty Knees dinghy, and preparing for an ocean passage. Be grand to be back afloat again.
Lin and Larry Pardey