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Black Panther

Black Panther's excellent adventure

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I promised Matt a run down of the Fiji trip.


There were a number of goals

1)     A mental health break for the skipper. This has turned out to be highly successful until about four hours after I returned to work.

2)     A family get together. My family all live out of NZ and they flew to Fiji to spend 10 days with us. Had a ball and promised to do it again in 18 months or so.

3)     A holiday with my wife. Angela uses a lot of her allotted time off to visit her family in Fl and the Caribbean which means we don’t get as many holidays together as we would like. After the family left she stayed on for a couple of weeks and we had a wee honeymoon. You are not getting any more details on that.

4)     A test run for the boat. This was pretty successful too. I have a work list of about ten items, plus a few changes I wish to make. Freeedom (who sailed back with me) said he gets a bigger work list doing the Coastal. Only real failure was the autopilot motor which, as per Sod’s law, died the first night out after 20 years of faithful service.


The trip up was good. Had Sthn Jeff and Dambo along (to help with the steering!!!) Waited at Marsden Cove for a blow to pass through (during which time the crew were entertained by "cards agsainst humanity") then took off on a 25 kn Southerly. It slowly went SE then E, We didn’t tack or gybe till less than a mile from the reef. Good food, good company and a full moon.

As we weren’t “adventuring” spent most of our time in Fiji around Lautoka as a base, Musket Cove and the Yasawas. Overall loved Fiji, a great cruising destination. We found the Fijian people we met delightful, and that is what makes or breaks any destination. A lot more “short timers” out these days but I suspect they would thin out as we got further off the beaten track. And the boats are soooo much bigger than they used to be.

The pineapples were superb.

I described the trip back as driving home on a wet Sunday night after a long weekend. Had Freeedom and a mate from work along but the weather decidedly average, being on the wind a lot and sloppy sea state. We learned that slowing down to 7kn or so made life a lot easier.

I’ll look for some photos.

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The joy of waterline. The boat is pretty comfortable reaching up to about 11kn. Upwind we can push it over 8, but I have an internal stress meeasurement, if i can't go below and sleep comfortably we are going too fast.

We were exactly 7 days getting up there with a (very) dirty bottom and a couple of days of doodling along in light airs. Coming back took about 18 hours longer but wasn't nearly as pleasant.

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