I now had a rather lengthy list of items to attend to before Honey and I could start on our North Island trip. The main items were to sort the genoa, the autohelm, mount the wind direction vane and the solar panel, but there were still many other items to sort – some breakages from the trip up from Lyttelton, and others that I had made the decision to delay until I was in the Sounds. Hopai Sports Day, a fun day out for many families in the Sounds, was on 7th January and I hoped I would be ready to leave soon after this date or at least within the week following.
Tim arrived in the Sounds on New Year's Eve and with Dad and Tim assisting I worked through some of the to do list. By the time Hopai Sports rolled around I had the spare genoa on the furler, and Tim had lent me his working gib from Treasure. The spare genoa is the original, dating back to when Honey was first built – it even has a South African sail number. It has a lower foot than the genoa that blew out, meaning I have no or very little view under the sail. Dad and I had also installed the solar panel – my wind turbine no longer worked and I had opted to install a larger solar panel in place of the smaller one instead of a replacement wind turbine.
With Hopai Sports passed, and the time I planned to leave fast approaching, I still had a heap to do so it was time to step it up a notch. The wind was not being kind – with several strong northerly winds bringing a large chop into the bay, making work on the boat difficult. One calm morning, Tim, Dad and Sam winched me up to the top of the mast to tap and screw in the wind direction vane.
Then I turned my head to the autohelm. The ST1000 had stopped working again and there appeared to be no power getting to the main autohelm controller. After identifying that power to the units was not a problem, we pulled both apart. Sea water had got into both units, corrosion to the main controller rendering it beyond repair (that would explain the beeping as I motored into Kenepuru Sound – I guess salt water was frying the unit). After considering options, Dad located an identical second hand controller on Trademe which I bought. While I waited for it to arrive, Tim and I cleaned up the ST1000 as best we could, took it for a test run, and it worked again. Great, this will make a good back up!
By the time the replacement main autohelm controller had arrived, I had worked through almost all the other items on my list – engine checked over with impeller and diesel filters changed, broken sail slides replaced, replacement bulkhead compass installed, hanks for stay sail freed up, bimini fixed, and the list goes on. I receievd and installed the main autohelm controller and it powered up, great! Now to test it... but the drive wouldn't work. After some nervous moments, we found the drive was working and although all connections looked fine Dad and I replaced them and after a test run I concluded that I finally had a working autohelm. Now I felt Honey was ready to go, what a relief!
It is true what they say that the preparation for sailing takes as long as if not longer than the actual trip. That has certainly been true for me and Honey, despite having already completed a circumnavigation of the South Island with her. It was now Wednesday 18th January and I had hoped to be on my way several days earlier. Tim had returned to Lyttelton and I was itching to get underway.
A quick trip to Blenheim to complete the final provisioning, and an overnight stay with Mum (my last night on terre firme for a while I hope) and I returned to Kenepuru to stow the boat, with the aim of getting away late in the afternoon after the weather bomb had passed.