Saturday, July 9, 2011

Con Jobs?

Yesterday I decided to go and see what it was the sailmaker was worried about with my sail and for which he recommended a repair costing nearly $500. I took the bus int Papeete and then had a long walk through the Port Industrial area to API Yachting and I met the guy, Christophe who showed me how the Leach Tape was degraded and cracking and would easily split when he bent it. (The Leach tape - as I have now learned - is the tape, about 3cm wide, sewn over the trailing edge of the sail) This was another of those situations where I simply had to accept what the presumed expert was advising me - but ti cold easily be one of things that someone else would look at and dismiss as something to watch in the future! However I do recall many a time between NZ and Rurutu being glad I had accepted the advice in Opua to get the keel taken off and properly re--attached! So I just bit the Bullet and urged to him to get on with it.

After that, I walked back round into the city, where I was loudly hailed by a guy playing Pool at an open air Pub - "Hey, you're a sailor aren't you?" he said in an American Accent. Yes, I said and he then asked me to stop and have a beer with him as he was a sailor too, he said we could talk sailing shit and play pool and have a beer! So I did, and it was more beer and pool than talking sailing shit, but it was great just to have someone to chat to for once in English, and he had a surprising story to tell. He was more than half way through his second circumnavigation (ie round- the-world trip) after nearly ten years, in a 41 foot yacht. He introduced me to his crew, a girl called Sasha who was sitting nearby, doing some Crochet, but she was hardly noticeable, as she was only 10 - his daughter! Six years before her mother had been killed in a car crash in the States, but they continued on. The dad, Deano he called himself - made Documentary films of his travel! Sasha was quite remarkably level headed and sweet, wise beyond her years and uncomplaining, but devoted to her Poppa as she called him. In fact though he sounded like an American he was Swedish, and Sasha told me her mum was a Russian but she had been born in Colorado where other relations still live. She also said that sometimes they get an extra crewmember but when their Electric autopilot broke down between the Tumotus and Tahiti, it was only her and her dad so she steered the boat for a total of 27 hours. Amazing kid!

This morning I met two more English speaking people - Stephen and Heidi - they rowed over to Sapphire to talk, Stephen having reconised her as an EastCoast 31, a yacht he had sailed in for several years in Sydney, and which his father had raced in the 70"s. They are heading back to Australia via NZ having already sailed from Australia a few years ago to Canada, Heidis homeland. They plan to visit more or less the same places I am going to, except from Tonga they will head for the Bay of Islands, so I hope we will run in to each other along the way and swap info. Their boat is a Brolga 33, similar vintage to Sapphire, same type of yacht as Berrimilla, a well known Sydney yacht that has circumnavigated twice via the Horn and recently sailed from the Pacific to the Atlantic over the top of Canada as the summer ice is melting and opening up the Northwest passage, thanks to Global Warming. Berris crew are two remarkable men in the 60"s who maintained an exceptionally interesting Blog of their voyages. (Google them if youre interested)

After Stephen and Heidi left I took my 4 empty Diesel containers into the Superyacht dock to refill with diesel. I could have done this a week ago as I had emptied them all into the tank, but waited till now because I have paid my Bond at last, and this entitles me to Tax free diesel. But would you believe it - you can't get it if you're putting the diesel into containers unless they're on the Yacht. I was gravely advised that people might sell the diesel later and make a profit! What stupid Bloody Bullshit!
So I just paid the normal price - I wasn't going to up-anchor, and motor over to the dock and back just to save 2000Francs ( $25)

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