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In the beginning...

We've owned NV for over 6 months now and I've missed out on writing about a lot. There was our first night onboard, listening to the waves slap against our new gigantic flat hull. Or the time we had help from a fleet of friends in dinghies to load onboard the 16 sails, 2 coffee grinders, tuff luff, 2m carbon bow sprit, 4 more pipe berths, 2 anchors and more that we'd collected from the previous owner's container. Thanks Antje for driving us with your trailer! We had our first party onboard for Timo's birthday tied up to the Opua Cruising Club dock and our first few sails in the bay with friends, hoisting each of the 6 gennakers!

We spent weeks sailing around the Bay of Islands (in thick jackets and woolly hats) and up to Whangaroa, our 4.2m draft causing us to keep a nervous eye on the depth, especially with no working depth sounder! Anchoring also kept us on our toes, as we found NV sailed around so much on her anchor that we dragged all over the place. When anchored outside Russel, we'd often drag across the channel to Paihia and one particularly blustery evening anchored at Roberton island we deployed 3 anchors to stay put! We finally resolved the issue by switching our main anchor and swivel system (most likely the culprit) to our CQR.

All boats come with a to-do list and we began to tackle some items on ours, replacing a broken wheel bearing, installing running backstays, and painting the carbon and exposed parts of the deck to protect it from the UV. Perhaps the biggest task was cleaning her giant bottom. Having been sat on a mooring downstream from an oyster farm in Opua for over half a year, you can imagine the delights we found clinging to her rear side. In mid winter in New Zealand this was breathtaking work, and most of the credit goes to our friend Phil on Liberty X. What a difference that made to the performance, thanks Phil!

With our plan to sail to Fiji in mind, we changed the mainsail to the delivery main (which took multiple days and many hands) and installed more pipe berths for the 5 other crew we'd accumulated (Timo even made a double pipe berth upper bunk for the other couple!).

Finally our registration arrived and it was time to set sail for Fiji! The clearance procedures involved more bureaucracy than usual due to Covid and we were required to use an agent and do a Covid test, but with so many countries still with their borders closed, we were just grateful that Fiji's 'Blue Lanes' had opened.

I'll write more next time about our passage and adventures in Fiji; racing in Musket Cove, hauling out in Vuda Marina and getting the mast down just in time before cyclone Yasa hit!

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