After a short sleep and taking in some rehydrating solution, I set about starting to dry out and clean up Honey. Where to start? At Port Taranaki, visitors pick up a swing mooring so I could not get all my damp gear to land easily – damp squabs and clothes ended up in the cockpit to dry. There was water throughout all the bilge so I started with the compartments under my bed (fortunately the bed itself was not too damp). It was slow going as I was so tired and when things are removed out from their storage locations, it doesn't leave a lot of room to move about on the boat. I also needed to get the crack in Honey's deck sorted, and started making enquiries for a boat builder or fibre glass repairer. The crack had been caused by the tension on the inner forestay which was attached to a fixing on the deck and not secured to a bulkhead behind it as it should have been.
After a pre-prepared hot dinner (savoury mince – thanks Di!) and a good sleep, I woke up feeling a lot better, half human again! I contacted the commodore of the New Plymouth Yacht Club – Jason – who was fantastic. He arranged for an assessment of the crack to the deck for the following morning and offered to assist with anything else I needed including to pick me up and take me ashore to get fuel if required. I chose to stay on board Honey that day and focus on getting her cleaned and tidied up. It was a wet afternoon, which made it difficult as I couldn't put anything outside to dry and was continually moving cupboard loads of stuff around the cabin. I systematically went through all the cupboards – drying out and restowing everything and checking all bulkheads to be sure there was no other damage. On Tim's suggestion I even removed the in built cabinet in the bathroom so that I could check on the bulkhead below the mast (most of the bulkheads are covered with timber panelling or fibreglass moulding, so checking the bulkheads involves looking behind the cupboards with a torch). By the end of the day Honey was looking a lot better and I was satisfied that there was no other structural damage, only the crack to the deck – whew!
Jason and Nigel (who manufactures surf boards and does a lot of the fibreglass repairs for the yacht club) came out to Honey the next morning. They were surprised at how tidy Honey was after the weather we had come through (the last two days of cleaning up had made a difference). Nigel concluded that Honey is very well built – the crack in the deck was solely due to the poor fixing of the inner forestay, and she was not structurally compromised. He proposed a small fibreglass repair to stop the crack from getting any larger and keep her watertight – a small job that he would do in the next day or two when it was forecast to be calmer.
Then I got a ride to shore, a much needed shower and Jason drove me to get diesel and to the laundromat so I could deal to all my wet clothes and towels. Jason also arranged a short-term marina berth for Honey with the marina manager, and a few of the guys at the yacht club to assist with getting Honey into the berth. I enjoyed a stretch of the legs, checked out New Plymouth, gathered a few provisions and walked the Coastal Pathway back to the port. When I arrived back at the port at 4pm, Jason had arranged for Nigel to complete the fibreglass repair the next day and had gathered three others to assist with berthing Honey – Jonathan on board with me, Allan at the marina and Jason and Ben in one of the club rescue boats. I didn't think we needed this number to berth Honey, but we certainly did! It was blowing a good 20 knots in the port, with a bit of a chop and I wanted to berth stern first into the pile mooring and there were no ropes in place to pick up. Honey does not have great steerage in reverse and the wind kept taking the bow around and off course, but after quite a number of attempts I got Honey into the berth and we got ropes in place to secure her there. That evening I caught up with Jason and his partner and a mate for a drink at the local sportfishing club – a very well patronised and welcoming club, it looked to be a busy night but they said it was quieter than usual.
The next day I finished the rest of Honey's clean up, Nigel did a great job with completing the fibreglass repair, and I walked to town to pick up some equipment and final provisions before getting underway again. As a temporary measure, if I needed to raise the storm gib I had decided that I would attach this just behind the main forestay with the furling jib – the attachment at the stem had a space to do this. Nigel suggested I call in to see Craddy who could provide me with advice on the inner forestay fixing. Craddy was well worth a visit – he is a character who has grown up on the sea, fishing, skippering and now runs a chartering business – he has a lot of stories, a 'man-cave' as he called it with all his sea-faring memorabilia on display (jaws from sharks he has caught, pictures and photos, nets, floats, etc) and a heap of local knowledge.
With both Honey and I recovered from our previous leg, it was time to set off again, and with the weather looking favourable – and light winds which would be a nice change – I made plans to leave first light the next morning.