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Quick Fix: 36° 37.4 S / 174° 47.2 E
July 31st
2014 (day 2,618)
Conditions:  Wind: 15/NW  

We try not to leave anything except sandy footprints behind us on our travels, especially in the quiet, idyllic corners of the world. These hidden gems are a rarity, they're paradise, and that's precisely what draws us. But if even our presence has the potential to change what we find most appealing about these destinations, could sharing it with thousands, perhaps millions, of people be an even bigger mistake? Should no one visit them? A little over a year ago we found refuge in a tiny boat yard in the heart of the South Pacific, the Carenage felt more like an exclusive rejuvenating tropical spa for crew and vessels rather than a working yard, so we wrote about the experience. The Lau family who own the yard are thankful for the press, but I sure hope writing about it doesn't change it.

Day 2,614 - New Zealand (36° 37S 174° 47E)
09:37hrs - July 27th 2014

For the first time in seven years of cruising we're going to skip this sailing season. While most boaties down here have long since left New Zealand and are now lost amongst the tiny tropical isles of Oceania, Dream Time is safety tucked-in for winter at Gulf Harbour Marina.

For the rest of 2014 we're going to focus on boat projects, catch-up with family and friends, and prepare ourselves, and the boat, for the second half of our world circumnavigation.

We've just finished remodeling our head, not the most glamorous of projects but a satisfactory one. We've got a swanky new Corian counter top, an under-mounted stainless steel sink and a shiny new faucet/shower combo. We've given the head a few new coats of paint, too, and our recently rebuilt Skipperhead II is surrounded by freshly varnished cupboard doors and gleaming bronze hinges.

We've also removed, sanded and varnished all the v-berth cupboards and bulkheads and even made a nice custom teak base for Daisy, a Marquesan tiki made from flowerstone.

Our next project is a big one: we'll be completely rebuilding our fridge/freezer - a project we've wanted to do for over ten years! With the help of Brin Wilson Boat Builders we'll be tearing out the old unit back to the hull, and installing new insulation, cabinetry, a custom-built stainless steel interior lining with shelves, new lids and even a custom counter top extension to give us a little more surface space in the galley.

Next year we'll begin our passage west to Australia, Asia and into the Indian Ocean, but before we do, Catherine and I will be taking a few months off to visit friends and family back in America, and to finally organize what remains of our old New York land lives - possessions we've squirrelled away in a storage unit for over seven years. It's time to simplify!



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Day 2,591 - New Zealand (36° 37S 174° 47E)
07:43hrs - July 4th 2014

After four weeks of separation Dream Time's bowsprit has been reunited with the rest of the boat, and we're happy to report that the surrounding deck and hull area has been properly reinforced/bonded, is in better-than-new-condition, and is once again pointing in the right direction.

In retrospect, evidence of the bowsprit's failure has been visible for years (since we've owned the boat), but the stress cracks were inaccurately diagnosed as just minor wear due to movement in the gel coat, and the bowsprit's glacial raise at the forward mount was so slight and incremental that it wasn't until we removed the forward caprail that the true extent of the inadequate construction was visible.

Of course we've done some hard sailing over the last seven years - 26,803 nautical miles to be exact, but the combination of wood screws for the deck to hull joint (rather than bolts), and an inadequate backing plate (that was not secured under the deck to hull joint) resulted in the forward bowsprit mount, along with a portion of the deck, peeling away from the hull.

In 2005 we completely rebuilt Dream Time's worn out deck and saturated core (read article) and reinforced our forepeak - the area around the windlass, deck cleats and aft bowsprit mount) with a solid fiberglass core, but regrettably we stopped just short of rebuilding our forward bowsprit mount, assuming, incorrectly, that it was properly reinforced.

But thankfully we're berthed in Gulf Harbour Marina where world-class facilities and services are all on site, including Brin Wilson Boat Builders, a company founded in 1952 and one that specializes in refits and restoration projects. They even repaired Gypsy Moth IV after it took a wrong turn onto a Tahitian reef. So we figured if Brin Wilson was good enough for Sir Francis Chichester's yacht, they're good enough for Dream Time. And we were right.

Thank you Brin Wilson and Gulf Harbour Marina!