Whangarei – Auckland (NZL)
“We can put on another layer of paint today”, Floris says drily while looking at the weather forecast on his phone. “It’s a going to be a sunny day.” Summer is in full swing, but rather than exploring our new home’s shores, we are doing boat maintenance. The weather forecast no longer dictates our sailing schedule. Instead, dry weather means eliminating rusty spots on the deck. But the paintwork is just one of the many items on our long maintenance list. Yet at the same time, we would like to document a new series of sustainable stories. And see something of the country. The question is if we can fit it all into six months, as that is how long our visas are valid. At first sight our goals for New Zealand – boat maintenance, documenting sustainable solutions, and cruising – seem incompatible.
First Things First
One thing is clear: while we work on Luci, we cannot take her out to sea to explore New Zealand’s shores. On the other hand, if we do all the boat maintenance first, we miss the summer months, which is the best time for touring the country. Ivar is the first to bring some structure in our thought process: “New Zealand allowed us to come to do essential boat maintenance, which Luci really needs” he argues. Indeed, sailing 29,000 miles across the oceans over the course of nearly five years have left visible marks on our classic steel lady. She brought us here through inhospitable corners of the planet. She defied ice, coral reefs, and storms. We are especially grateful to her for all those safe miles and want to get her back in top condition for the rest of our journey. “Let’s first remove the rust on deck and then reassess our options”, Ivar suggests and Floris agrees.
Removing rusty spots is a time-consuming job. We first mark the spots with numbers and end up with over 100. Steel never disappoints in that regard. One by one, we grind the spots down to the bare metal, then prepare it for painting, and finally put on five layers of primer and two finishing layers of paint. When the weather isn’t ideal for painting, we contact local tradesmen about the many other boat projects on our long list.