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Chillibin - one very old Noelex 22.


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Remembering how awesome the Noelex 22 class was a few years ago, (late '90s) when I was a part of it, once a mate bought one, I decided to take the plunge and buy one too.  

On june 29 2019 we bundled the family into the car and went for a little drive - this is us almost home.


She was of unknown origin, but built solid and going cheap.

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There were two complete rigs, almost. Two masts, both fully rigged, two booms, that matched the masts. Two Mainsails, one of which is pretty tidy.

Noticeably absent were any jibs, or any kites.

The rudder was there, but the timber blade had rotted inside the 'glass, and it weighed a ton!

The trailer looked ok, albeit a bit rusty, but nothing serious. More on that later.

Once home, the first job was strip both masts and booms, and make one decent usable rig.  job done.

A little research found that she was built by John Ashton boatbuilders in Dunedin. At some point in the past she had been set up for hard racing, but in a very 1980's way, with all the controls leading to a bridge over the companionway.

A secondhand Noelex 25 storm jib from Sailbrokers worked as a temporary jib, and at this point is the only one we've used. A secondhand kite was sourced from a Dunedin sailor, which has yet to be hoisted.

Following the first sail, which was a bit disastrous, a lot of the surplus cleats and blocks were removed, and the thinking caps went on, trying to figure out clean, minimalist systems for all the relevant controls. 

We've done a few casual races so far, but there's a long way to go before she's fully sorted, tuned, and proven. Waiting for parts to arrive from offshore in this covid ridden world is making things slow!


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I made mention of the first sail earlier...

Late November 2019, there was the inaugral Trailer Yacht Sprint Regatta, being held on the awesome pond that is Lake Ngaroto in Te Awamutu.

On the way there the gps sent me through some back country roads, and as we bounced along just after a one lane bridge there was a strange noise came from the trailer, which was immediately followed by a small round object passing the drivers door. Apparently the studs had cracked over time, and chose this moment to finally wave goodbye. 

Fortunately there was a farmer working right by said bridge, in a tractor, so he lifted one side of the trailer and we very slowly got the car and boat off the road. 

Multiple phonecalls were made, and shortly a local mechanic, and sailor arrived, whipped the hub off, and took it to his workshop, put new studs in, and brought it back. We were on the way again 😀.

Arrived in time to see the first few races, got everything rigged, and launched the boat. To our suprise, there didn't seem to be any leaks.

Perfect timing for the end of race 5, and the lunch break.

The breeze built to a great consistent 15knots, and we headed out to the start line. The boat was suprisingly well balanced, and felt great. Until we powered up for the start. We  came in on Port, tacked onto starboard just below the fleet, and headed for the line. We were just a fraction early so i pulled the bow down a touch, and the helm went really light. Apparently my ultralight high tech rudderblade wasn't quite up to the task.

"Lets try again tomorrow, shall we?" Off to Bunnings for  a piece of heavy plywood and some quick dry spraypaint. I spent the next few hours making a temporary rudder, which actually worked really well.


Sunday dawned bright and clear, and 5 races were planned.

Things went well today, no dramas to speak of, but with full family onboard, and totally untuned, we just sailed around the course for fun.

We did win a bottle of wine as the hard luck prize later that day, which was a nice touch.


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One year later, November 2020, and we're ahead of the game. Down to the lake early Friday, get the tent set up, airbeds in, all set for a fun weekend. Or so we thought. Just pick up the kids from school, and the boat, and we're good to go.

By this time we've towed the boat to manukau a few times, and she tows beautifully. Rock solid, not the slightest hint of drama.

We leave home, and get to Taupiri before having a discussion about leaving the front door open. Turn around, go back, and find we had in fact locked the door.

Take 2. Leave home, get to Taupiri, go over the railway bridge, and theres another strange noise, and the boat feels very heavy all of a sudden. This time the trailer had, quite literally, split in half. Call a tow truck, and abort the weekend. Again.

At time of writing, she has a brand new trailer. That's a story worth telling. Maybe later.

And I'm heading back to Lake Ngaroto in about 3 1/2weeks. What can possibly go wrong???





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Class minimum 726kg, + outboard etc.

Not obvious from those photos are the diagonal hull supports which cradle the area below and forward of the mast. The skeg takes the entire weight of the boat, rollers and supports just stop it moving around. Test drives have felt really good, and the builder following behind reported good behaviour as well.

We did try to recycle, but ended up replacing everything, even the winch died. The old wheels are going to become a farm trailer in time.

It's been built with a possible brake system in mind, but as it stands, meets the stopping requirements with both our cars.

Also, designed to allow an extension drawbar if it doesn't work well on the first few tries 

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The trailer works!!

September 11, 2021.

Bundle the whole family into the car, hook the boat on the back, and head south.

An hour and a tiny bit later, we arrived at our destination, Lake Ngaroto in Te Awamutu. Boat and trailer towed absolutely perfectly, not a wobble, no clunks or bangs, infact at one point I forgot it was there, and cut a corner very, very fine.

Unfortunately, the racing wasn't quite as good, because bundling a bunch of kids into a car just after sunrise isn't quick. We Arrived in time to see the end of the first race, and after rigging, finally got on the water as the second race started. Unfortunately by the time we got to the start line, we were too late for that race, too. 

After the lunch break, there were three more races, in what could best be described as challenging conditions. Sun, showers, and winds from zero to scary. The bigger gusts would have been close to, if not over, 25 knots.

With only my 15 and 10 year old daughters as crew, and a completely new control setup, the first lap was difficult as we struggled to get things adjusted to the conditions. We finished that race between some smaller, slower boats. A few quick setting changes between races (like pulling the outhaul on properly, something I have yet to attack) and it's a very different story. 

The breeze is up at the start, and despite being a few seconds late, we were going the right way, fast. After about a minute we were leading comfortably, which we extended up the beat, and down the first reach. Sadly the wing mark was on the edge of the breeze, and the third leg was a drifter, as the wind stopped and swung left by about 90 degrees, and then came back about 30 deg, and filled in to around 8knots. This allowed one of the other designs (Young 6) to slowly overhaul us, and with no more real windward work, we couldn't quite hold them. We weren't running a kite either, as neither of my kids have ever seen one in use, let alone tried to hoist or drop one. Second over the line, 5th on handicap.

The final race of the day started in big breeze, a steady 20-25 knots.

The Young 6 helmsman made a slight error and ran down the line at the start, and we were forced to avoid a collision, as leeward boat heading for the line we were fully in the right, which he acknowledged, but he was also over the line, which gave us clear air as he bailed out and went back. We powered through the first 3/4 of the race while they played catchup. Then the breeze died out again, and our 45 second lead evaporated right before our eyes. We did everything we could on the final reach from the top mark back to the finish at the clubhouse, but they managed to pip us on the line by 3 seconds. Looking at the handicap times later, they beat us by around 30 seconds, with a huge gap back to the rest of the fleet.

And then, the boat pulled onto the trailer perfectly too.

All in all a fantastic day sailing, with fantastic company, and great food to boot.

There's a trailer yacht sprint regatta early in November at the same place. Anyone who can tow their boat with their car should come along. 

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One Year Later...

Saturday November 5, 2022.

Ngaroto trailer yacht sprint racing.

For over a year, I've been tinkering about, five minutes here, five minutes there, just trying to get the boat into a safer and faster state.

The old centreboard has been removed, chopped, welded, and reinstalled. 

The rudder has finally been finished, and fitted into place, just a few days prior to this day.

We have no indication of how it's all going to go, and have the whole family along for the ride.

We arrive on time, get rigged, and go to the briefing. 17 races planned, with a lunch break at 12:30.

Everyone gets launched, and heads out to the start. We do the same, and discover that the centreboard, which fits perfectly when retracted, will only go part way down, and gets jammed. Solid. So we wind the boat back onto the trailer, just to get the board up again. Launch again, raise the board to maximum, and release the winch. It swings all the way down, a bit further than ideal, and breaks the limit wire with shock loading at the bottom. At least it's down. I wind it up to the normal place, blank off the centrecase, and lower the rudder, hoist sails etc. By now, we've missed the first race, and the second is about to start.

The breeze was up too, quite shifty, and gusting to around 20knots.

We sail the morning under just working sails, as one of the children was screaming every time the boat leaned over a bit.

After lunch, we decided to try the spinnaker, which necessitated a switch of roles at the top mark each time. I would helm the start and the beat, then pass the tiller to partner or eldest daughter, while I sorted the hoist, trimming, navigation, and drop.

Although we didn't get any outright wins, and ended up last overall thanks to the two DNS's, we had moments leading the fleet, and were finishing amongst the other 22's.

Heres my favourite shot from the day. 


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