Great to see the days are finally starting to stretch out a bit and it's now light from about 0630 until about 1815.
Although official Spring started on 1 September, true astronomical Spring occurs with the Vernal Equinox on 23 September while Daylight Saving commences a few days later on 26 September - bring it on!
Good to see NZ except Auckland going to Level 2 giving the impression the Government is committed to returning us to normality as soon as safely possible. Dare we hope that next week Auckland will go to Level 3 and a week later Level 2? Roll on the Level 2 day so we can get back out on the water and enjoy Spring! The on water boat show due to take place early October has been canceled – another casualty of the lock down which will disappoint the boating community and be a blow to exhibitors.
As we all know there are no qualifications needed in NZ to skipper a boat used for leisure. Personally I’ve never thought this is a good thing and that skippers of boats over a certain size – say 10 metres LOA or thereabouts should require some qualification, such as a Boatmaster Certificate. Nowadays there is a noticeably increasing trend towards much larger power boats and it’s not unusual to see newer vessels in the 20-25 metre range. Unlike displacement vessels, planing vessels of this length put up sizable wakes, particularly at slow planing speeds and we’ve noticed some skippers seem oblivious to this and the mayhem they cause at anchorages for example in the Rakino Channel. I was in contact with Maritime NZ recently who confirmed there is no requirement for any skipper qualification regardless of the vessel’s size if used for leisure. I must admit to finding this surprising as it means that somebody with no boating experience could potentially buy and skipper a 25 metre vessel and while it’s safe to assume most would act responsibly there will always be some that don’t.
We’ve started making our post lock down cruising plans including another trip to the Kawau area hopefully based around Labour weekend, another to the Coromandel Peninsula, Mercury Islands and Mercury Bay basing ourselves at whitianga marina, plus a trip of several weeks duration to Northland and the Far North. Before we finalise timing for the latter two trips we have to await a confirmed installation date for our new deck crane, hoping to have it plus our new RHIB by early-mid November. Even thinking about this gets us excited.
I also have a new writing brief for the annual Pacific PassageMaker magazine due out early next year - an article on what tools, spare parts and chandlery the well equipped coastal cruising vessel should carry. I've started researching this, finding it a very interesting subject and already adding a few items to my Rapport shopping list.