July 9, 2012
Marsden Cove, New Zealand
So, a month or so later than we originally expected, we splashed down at 0800 on Friday as planned – except it didn’t quite go according to plan…
Before we actually shoved off the trailer, Damian had to squeeze a gland to create a dripless seal (don’t go there – it was on the prop shaft). But it kept dripping…
We motored down river for a bit to see if it would sort itself out, as advised, but it didn’t, so we anchored in the river while we worked out what we were going to do. In the course of that, our friend Derek, who was on board with us, noticed a link in the stainless steel anchor chain was eroded about a third of the way through: not safe to swing on, considering we were expecting 30 knots over the weekend.
We had little choice but to motor upriver to the Town Basin marina. Our plan had been to anchor out in the river for a couple of days, but now we were faced with reverse-parking the boat, between two other boats, in a tight fit in a tiny little marina, having never even driven our boat before, much less parked it.
To put this in perspective, the boat is 15.8 metres (52 feet) long and over eight metres (28 feet) wide – it feels like we’re driving a tennis court. Standing at the helm station you can’t actually see the bow diagonally opposite.
To make matters even more interesting, as we were heading up the narrow channel, we met the dredger coming the other way doing eight knots, leaving us no room to move. We had to do a three-point turn (Damian at the helm), while avoiding a submerged rock pin-pointed by an isolated danger marker
Needless to say, there were a few tense moments…. but no major damage!
So we got the engineer in and he said that, since the gland was below the waterline, he couldn’t fix it – we’d have to come out of the water again…
We called the yard and scheduled to haul out on Monday, but the weather was shite over the weekend, so we deferred till Tuesday and of course then the engineer wasn’t available till Wednesday. So we spent yet another night propped up on the trailer but next morning, off we went, on our own for the first time!
We headed down towards the mouth of the river to Marsden Cove Marina, which is closer to the ocean and therefore enough room to do sail trials. We did some practice docking drills outside before heading in, but even so, parking the boat – which seems so huge and unwieldy – was totally nerve wracking (even though they had, on my begging, given us the easiest spot in the marina to get into!).
No-one appeared on the dock to take lines, which meant I had to jump…. Anyway, we did it, and didn’t hit anything.
Gotta count that as a win!
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