IT’S EASY BEING GREEN

Modern engineering makes it easy to reduce boating’s environmental impact while saving money at the same time.

If there’s one thing that boaties value all over the world, it’s clean water and healthy aquatic ecosystems. Our love of the water and everything in it comes naturally, as can be expected for people who spend as much time as possible floating around on the stuff.

We like to think that we are a responsible lot, and collectively, we probably do have a greater sensitivity to clean water than most. But there are always things we can do to take even greater care of the resource. For even though boating is a low-impact way of enjoying the outdoors, new innovations and technologies continually make it possible for us to reduce our eco-impact even further.

Sound good? Then let’s dive in – and check out some all-new ways of checking our own environmental footprint on the water.

Vinyl wrapping is becoming a popular alternative to conventional anti-foul paint, and it’s pretty slippery as well.

BOTTOMS UP

While everyone wants to keep marine growths from fouling the bottom of their boat, no one wants to impact anything else in the process. That’s exactly why a number of bottom paint manufacturers have begun offering completely non-toxic alternatives to the traditional biocides. This stuff isn’t just healthier for the environment, it actually works really well to boot.

Traditional bottom paints work by leaching chemical biocides that kill marine plants and organisms they contact. Growths that try to adhere to a painted hull wind up absorbing a snoot-full of the stuff, and promptly fall off and die. Effective? You bet. Nice? Not so much.

Traditional bottom paints formulated with cuprous oxide and other similar copper compounds come in two basic forms: ablative paint, which is designed to wear off and constantly expose fresh layers of biocide, leaching copper into the environment in the process, and non-ablative paint, which doesn’t physically erode but also leaches copper into the water in order to work.

How much? Estimates suggest a 30-foot sailboat will leach about a kilogram of copper into the water each year, and that can lead to trouble when boats are found in concentrated environments like marinas. Copper levels can quickly build up the point where they exceed government toxicity standards.

It’s all about minimising your impact on sea life and the environment.

Each year in Europe nearly 150,000 tonnes of anti-fouling paint containing biocides are used.

FRIENDLIER PRODUCTS

Next-generation bottom paints like Ecominder and NS-1 from ePaint, which the company notes are used by the US Coast Guard on its aluminum boat fleet; Hydrocoat Eco copper-free bottom paint from Pettit; Pacifica Plus and Fiberglass Bottom Kote Aqua bottom paints from Interlux; and ColorKote, Monterey and Mission Bay bottom paints from Sea Hawk protect boats from marine growths without leaching toxins into the local environment. So, they don’t harm the nearshore fish, plants and invertebrates that are essential to the overall health of aquatic ecosystems.

Another option is to just skip the paint altogether and use tape instead. A Belgium-based company is hoping to capture a chunk of the anti-fouling product with a completely new approach that relies not on leeching poisons, but on making boats too slippery for marine growths to adhere to.

MacTac – the company that has lined kitchen shelves for decades and decorated millions of student notebooks with its peel-and-stick colored vinyl – offers a new, patent-pending antifouling barrier product called MacGlide that protects boats by making the hull so slippery that growths simply can’t adhere. Because it contains no biocides, MacGlide is said to be safer both for the environment and the boat yard employees who come into direct contact with it.

Sold in rolls, MacGlide self-adhesive film sticks to the hull like tape, and is applied on overlapping layers from bow to stern. Once the hull bottom is fully covered, a finishing varnish hardens it to form an armour-like seal that’s said to last far longer than traditional bottom paint.

Research the various options for anti-foul paint. Some are friendlier than others.

Growths can still cling to the hull when the boat is tied up to the dock, but once the hull begins moving through the water at more than seven knots, water pressure makes it impossible for the beasties to hold on, sending even tough customers like barnacles and mussels sliding down the hull to simply fall off at the transom.

“Thanks to its non-stick properties, MacGlide anti-fouling protects the hull from the colonisation of marine micro-organisms without spreading toxic substances into the ocean,” says MacTac business development manager, Daniele Perotti.

“It is 100% biocide-free. Each year in Europe nearly 150,000 tonnes of anti-fouling paint containing biocides are used. One square metre of anti-fouling paint contains on average 15 grams of biocide, and each gram of biocide pollutes 10,000m3 of water. Now consider that a 30-foot yacht has an immersed surface of plus or minus 25m2 and it's easy to appreciate the impact on marine life.”

As an added bonus, the product reduces friction, allowing boats to pass through the water more easily as a result of lower drag. This allows a higher top speed, while simultaneously reducing annual fuel costs by anywhere from five to six percent.

SINK THE ZINCS

Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal found on outdrives, shafts, rudders and other components that dangle under the boat. Yet anodes are pretty cool devices.

Metal corrodes in water as a result of naturally occurring electro-chemical reactions. Anodes are made from metals that have a particularly attractive electro-chemical voltage range, so these corrosive reactions tend to concentrate on the anode while skipping other adjacent metal parts. It’s like catering a kid’s birthday party by serving cake and broccoli at the same time – the cake gets devoured, while the broccoli escapes untouched.

Anodes have traditionally been made of zinc – to the point they’re universally known as ‘zincs’ rather than by their proper name. The problem with zinc is that it can be quite harmful when found in high concentrations, such around marina docks.

Exposure to elevated levels of zinc has been found to be highly toxic to plants, invertebrates and fish, for example. Worse still, zinc anodes typically include some amount of cadmium, which has been associated with serious illnesses including kidney disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

In boat-intensive locations such as a marina, the collective impact of zinc anodes can pose a threat to sea life – aluminium anodes are a popular alternative.

Fortunately, zinc isn’t the only option when it comes to protecting our running gear. Aluminum anodes, for example, are completely non-toxic and even more effective than zinc, which is why they’ve been adopted as standard equipment by every outboard and sterndrive engine manufacturer in the world today.

Beyond being more effective, aluminum anodes last up to 50% longer than zinc anodes of comparable size. Aluminum is also much lighter in weight, and what’s more, it costs less. There really isn’t a downside to it, which begs the question why anyone would use continue to use zinc.

For those who want the ultimate protection, magnesium anodes are an even more effective option for boats that operate strictly in fresh water. Magnesium offers an exceptionally active electro-chemical voltage range, giving it a substantial protection edge that surpasses that of zinc and even aluminum. The downside is a higher cost, being pricier than zinc and near twice the price of aluminum.

GO ELECTRIC

If there’s one thing sure to annoy your neighbours, it’s being that guy – the one running the generator all night long to power the air conditioner. You may be nice and cool, but no one else in the anchorage can sleep thanks to all your noise. And that’s fair enough since, in all likelihood, you probably can’t sleep over the noise either.

No wonder a growing number of boaties are ditching the onboard generator altogether and replacing it with an AC inverter and a bank of lithium-ion batteries. Today’s high-capacity lithiumion batteries are powerful enough to run the air conditioner all night long, and without any noise, without any fumes, and without any need to get up in the middle of the night to refill the fuel tank in your underwear when it runs dry at 4:22am.

Lithium-ion batteries blow away traditional lead acid or gel cells in every possible way, starting with run times that are two to three times longer – giving them ample capacity to run energy-sucking appliances like air conditioners for eight to 10 hours or more.

They also last around seven times longer. Where standard deep-cycle cells have a typical life span of around 500 charging cycles before they need to be replaced, lithium-ion batteries can last over 3,500 cycles before giving up the ghost. Although they are more expensive to buy, lithium-ion batteries last for many more seasons than lead acid or gel cells – saving money in the long run while simultaneously reducing the number of dead batteries going into landfill. Talk about a winning combo.

So who said it ain’t easy being green? Thanks to forward-thinking engineering and old-fashioned innovation, anyone can greatly reduce their environmental impact out on the water. BNZ

 


SECOND SKIN

ZHIK’S 2021 edition Z-Skin Top is one of the thinnest-ever skinfitting neoprene tops.

The perfect performance top for wakeboarding, paddling, body boarding or surfing, it can be teamed with a wetsuit, leggings or board shorts. The ergonomically cut Z-Skin Top acts as a protective ‘second skin’ during active use, shedding water, shielding the wearer from wind chill and providing useful thermal insulation.

The Z-Skin Top features an ultra-thin 0.8mm smooth-skin neoprene torso, breathable XWR™ four-way stretch, waterrepellent fabric in the shoulders and sleeves with high-stretch flatlock seams. The combination allows excellent mobility and provides UPF 50+ sun protection.

Zhik’s Z-Skin Top is available in black only, men’s sizes M–XXL. RRP is $279.95.

FIND IT @ WWW.ZHIK.COM

 


MAKE IT A MINI

The QuickX3 Mini Gyro made its New Zealand debut at the recent Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show, mounted in the belly of the new Tino Marine 770 AMPH amphibious vessel.

Just 42cm2 and producing an unmatched 3900Nm of anti-roll torque, this tiny gyro-stabiliser is ideal for trailer boats and small sport vessels.

The fully self-contained, air-cooled 12V DC X3 Mini Gyro fits into spaces other gyro stabilisers cannot.

Quick X3 Mini Gyro reduces rock ‘n’ roll on your trailer boat or sports vessel, providing safer, more comfortable boating and fishing fun, especially in open water.

FIND IT @ WWW.GINEICOMARINE.COM.AU

 


Yesterday's Charm

When Mason Clippers were advertised in Sea Spray magazine in the ‘60s the byline read: “The world’s finest powerboat – for those people in the position to demand it.” New Zealand, at that stage, was a nation that prided itself on being egalitarian and such statements were only for the bold or foolish.

Tony Mason was undoubtedly the former and paved the way to our current reputation for designing and building the best boats in the world. His clipper designs were about as regal as a trailerable powerboat could get. They were a status symbol for their pipe-smoking owners, and a well-designed one at that.

In 1951 Mason and his old Airforce buddy Cliff Sutton started Sutton Mason Ltd selling household detergent. After a year of that, they thought boatbuilding a better idea and began production of Marlin powerboats.

In 1957 Tony sold his interest in Sutton Mason Ltd and went back into the Airforce for a short time before forming Mason Marine in late 1959. Undoubtedly the most luxurious and outstanding boat in its class, the Mason Clipper 23 epitomised the elite end of trailer boating.

The Tony Mason-designed Clipper 23 was well ahead of its time – being a fast cruiser and a true weekender in every sense. If you find a Mason Clipper for sale today you have to be quick as they are usually snapped up smartly and have become collector’s pieces in a burgeoning classic boat market.

Some people have a perverse ability to attract beautiful things like classic boats. One of these is Whangamata-based master craftsman Harry Nordberg. He is the rare sort of person who gets offered Mason Clippers.

A toolmaker and furniture maker by trade, Harry certainly has the credentials, but there is something else that you can’t quite put your finger on, something in his cheerful demeanor that hints that he might also be a master serial boat restorer.

Harry’s just finished restoring a Mason Sports Clipper 23 called Raroa. He was offered the boat by Nelson boatie Glen Common as it had been sitting in a shed for 10 years – his intentions of having it restored never realised.

While Harry was returning to his Whangamata base after collecting Raroa from Nelson he stopped for petrol in Taihape. “As I cast my eye over the boat I noticed the front windscreen had popped out of its frame. Then I noticed the front stays of the cabin were rotten and that the whole cabin top was in danger of peeling off !” With visions of bits of a Mason Clipper strewn along the desert road, Harry strapped everything down to ensure Raroa made it to Whangamata in one piece.

Over six months of full-time work he set about her restoration. Structural members of the cabin were replaced and the cladding was strengthened with 4mm strips of solid mahogany inside and out. The extensive cabin windows were removed and new perspex windows rebated and sealed with Sikaflex to make them waterproof.

The deck was re-glassed and sealed while the glassed cedar strip-plank hull was given a new coat of Altex defender inside and out. Raroa was originally fitted with a 210hp Ford Interceptor engine coupled to a Paragon V-Drive. This was replaced with a near-new 230hp five-litre Mercruiser V8 with an Alpha 1 Generation 2 sterndrive.

The sterndrive made her more versatile for beach landings and hauling onto the trailer. A surplus trailer for a Mason Clipper 24 was modified to suit the 23-foot model and its twinaxle arrangement complemented by the Sensotronic braking system finished off the deal. This is Harry’s third restoration and when I asked him how it rated next to the others he paused briefly before saying – “they are all hard.”

To step aboard the Mason Sports Clipper 23 is to step back in time to the pipe-smoking, cocktail drinking and Jaguar XJ6-owning 1960s. This is no boat full of plastic gadgets – instead there’s elegant space and timber trim. There is the double happy effect of Tony Mason’s original design having been given the benefit of Harry Nordberg’s experienced eye and attention to detail and it is everywhere aboard.

Raroa has the classic 60s indoor-outdoor flow with the aft end of her cabin open to allow a seamless transition from the open aft deck to the protection of the generous cabin. Headroom is improved with a small step down along the centreline which keeps the cabin proportions sleek.

Seating is either outdoors on either side of the engine box or along bench seats inside the cabin. The forward end of these has fold-down seats for the helmsperson and passenger which are complemented by two sliding hatches above. This gives the option of a heads out, wind in your hair, tank commander style position.

At the aft end of the bench seats is the well-disguised sink and cooker arrangement hidden in mahogany-panelled benchtops on either side of the cockpit. Perhaps the defining feature of Raroa’s interior is her built-in cocktail cabinet on the port side dash. Harry even has an image of Tony Mason discussing the detail of the cabinet with the first owner Gordon Truscott during construction. Surprisingly, neither of them has a drink in his hand.

There is no mistaking Raroa’s Mason style as she hits the water. A flared transom and soft chines folding into a deep vee not only look good but make her ride like a waterbed. She is most definitely a launch rather than a powerboat and proves it by soaking up the leftover northeast swell off Whangamata with ease.

The throaty purr of the V8 only adds to the allure that attracts admiring looks from the surfers on the infamous Whangamata bar. Raroa comes from a time when style was comfort and she is a welcome breath of fresh air in a boating world full of aluminium and fibreglass. BNZ

 


The beauty of junk

There are books and then there are dangerous books. Dangerous books cannot be forgotten and can change your life. Sailor/author Annie Hill wrote a dangerous book called Voyaging on a Small Income and it’s up there with the Edmonds Cookbook for life-changing impact.

The latter will enable you to cook like your grandma, while the former will leave you sailing a well-founded boat that fits like glove without the need to be enslaved to the almighty dollar.

I rate Voyaging on a Small Income as one of the more dangerous books I’ve read. It’s suitably out of step with our consumer-driven, post-Covid existence, but despite this, the message is simple and clear: LESS IS MORE.

The book was written when Annie and her then-husband Pete Hill owned a Jay Benford junk-rigged schooner, Badger. The boat was a finely-tuned living machine based on their principles of frugality that allowed them to sail a large chunk of the world on bugger-all money.

Solar panels across the stern tickle the batteries’ fancy.

Since 1975 when Annie started voyaging, she has covered over 165,000 nautical miles and in 2010 won no less than the Blue Water Medal of the Cruising Club of America. This journey has marked an evolution in the boats she has sailed. From a spartan Wharram catamaran to the intricately designed Badger there has been a basic premise to treat the idea of the cruising yacht as an unstoppable magic carpet.

After Annie separated from her husband in 2001, she spent seven years sailing with Trevor Robertson aboard the gaff cutter Iron Bark, including spending a winter frozen in the ice in Greenland, before purchasing an old Raven 26 from Picton.

Not content with the complicated marconi rig she set about converting Fantail into a modern junk rig. This rig configuration has appeared on the last four of her boats as it epitomises ease of handling and simplicity that has been developed and perfected for over 4,000 years.

While Fantail was a good boat Annie had something in mind that would suit her new-found cruising grounds of the Far North. The boat would have to be junk-rigged for easy handling and have a shoal draft so that she could dry out in the top of the many inlets and rivers of Northland. She also had to be a permanent home and be of a size that is easily built and handled by one.

A dome helps Annie dry when the weather's foul.

After extensive discussions with Canadian friend David Tyler, drawings for a 26-foot, shoal draft, junk-rigged cruising yacht materialised. “It took some thrashing out at times,” says Annie, “but I’m very happy with what we came up with.”

The working title for the boat was ‘SibLim’ (Small Is Beautiful, Less Is More) and a more accurate description would be hard to come by. A model was built with a Barbie doll as a skipper to give human scale and the construction of SibLim was started in a temporary shed knocked up at Norsand boatyard at Port Whangārei.

“I never thought I’d find myself building another boat. I’m not a clever woodworker, indeed I’m barely competent, but thanks to wonderful epoxy, good advice and the tendency of 12mm plywood to fair out any wobbles, I was able to build a beautiful and sound boat.”

The good advice bit came from Annie’s ability to draw good people to her. She even named them the SibLim Club and they came in all manner of guises – from local tea drinkers and scone bakers to the co-designer David Tyler himself, who sailed from Canada to help get Annie started on the build!

Minimalist but supremely functional.

The build process was a well-documented five-year labour of love for Annie and it was only a few months after the launch – where the boat was christened with her official name FanShi – that I got to visit Annie aboard. From the dock at the Russel Boating Club, there was no mistaking FanShi and her distinctive lines. With her forward-raked mast and her joyful colour scheme, she stands out as not only different but well thought through.

After purloining a dinghy to get out to her, the first impression of FanShi is taken in from her commodious cockpit. With Annie sitting there you soon realise this is not a generic production boat full of gadgets and built for six people for a weekend getaway. Rather, it’s a finely-tuned piece of art designed around the 5’ 1” frame of her owner and her desire to live aboard on the Northland coast.

Annie has perfected the art of living frugally aboard and the attention to what works is well-honed over 45 years of being afloat. The junk rig is ingenious, with no stays to clutter up the deck. The ability to handle and reef the sail without having to leave the cockpit hatch is a boon for short-handed crews.

Despite the multitude of ropes there are only four running lines and, blessedly, the complicated-looking sheet is a single line. The other notable feature on deck is the asymmetrical bilge boards which are simply raised and lowered on a purchase system depending on what tack you find yourself.

These, along with a long central keel, allow the boat to sit upright on the bottom and squeeze into 71cm of water. The rudders also support trim tabs for an ingenious, home-built wind vane self-steering system and nestled in-between is the Tohatsu 6hp outboard which provides enough grunt for closequarters manoeuvring.

Fanshi’s proud owner

Keeping an eye on it all from down below is easy with the rotating pram hood dodger which reverts to the bubble dome in inclement weather. Swapping wet weather gear for carpet slippers and a nice cup of tea has a lot to be said for it.

With a beamy hull, flush deck and clever design the accommodation is palatial for a 26-foot (7.93m) boat. The main saloon has a very social U-shape settee with a fore and aft galley on the starboard side. The galley is large for a boat this size and, as Annie says, “I sail my galley.”

With tigerwood, recycled kauri and a mini solid-fuel heating stove to warm the winter air throughout, the interior is all glow and glory. The systems that go into making the boat work are equally elegant in their thinking. Instead of water tanks, there are ten 10-litre and 6 four-litre jerrycans under the cabin sole. They are easy to cart ashore for filling and, as each one is removed and placed under the sink, it’s easy to track water use.

FanShi’s centre sections are squeezed by the bilge board cases so the area is dedicated to storage and the composting heads. Forward of this is the sleeping cabin with double bunk, bookcases and the chart table with extensive storage. Because the beam is carried right through the length of the hull (and the bow is the traditional Chinese junk style) there is plenty of room.

Under the cockpit is a large storage area for all the tools and materials required for a liveaboard life. Back in the cockpit is two-tier seating with commodious storage beneath and a ‘members’ stand’ seat that spans the lute stern from which the solar panels and davits extend. The longer you are aboard the more ingenious the whole boat becomes.

While Voyaging on a Small Income is a dangerous book, it is perhaps FanShi that is the physical manifestation of a dangerous boat. You could slip off the planet and go bush in Northland for years at stretch, like some Rip Van Winkle in a boat built like a piece of well-fitted furniture.

Today ideas like this are called “sustainable,” which is just another way of saying they are plain common sense for an unpredictable world. BNZ

 


TRUMPY ICON FOR SALE

Launched in 1947, an elegant motor launch designed and built by one of America’s best-loved naval architects is on the market after a three-year, US$4m restoration that’s recreated her original splendour. Her price? Half of that.

Now named BB (originally Seaplay) the 80ft yacht was designed and built by John Trumpy. His legendary creations were often described as the ‘Rolls Royces’ of American yachting. She was built for George Codrington, then vice-president of General  Motors – another in a long line of Trumpy boats commissioned by America’s wealthy elite.

BB’s new interior accentuates her history – period furnishings and glass light fittings – all offset by mahogany panelling, custom wood Venetian blinds, restored floor timbers and dhurrie rugs. And to get guests in the appropriate mood, facilities include a butler’s pantry with a fridge, coffee maker and ice maker.


There’s also a card room with a cocktail table and a large aft dining space with isinglass curtains that can be rolled up on warmer days, a curved banquette seating area and a dining table for eight. She has accommodation for six guests, with crew quarters and a Captain’s cabin. Navigation gear, though, has been modernised, and includes a Garmin GHC 20 autopilot and Garmin 8612 XSV MFDs.

Other modern features include a pop-up, flat-screen 48-inch TV in the master stateroom and an airconditioning system.



BB’s powered by twin (restored) 1961 234hp Detroit Diesels which give her a cruising speed of 10 knots and a maximum speed of 13 knots. Her range is 700 miles.

The yacht is currently moored in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more information visit Luke Brown Yachts. She is available for charter until she is sold. Visit www.nicholsonyachts.com. BNZ

TRUMPY HISTORY

The Trumpy shipbuilding legacy began in the mid-1800s in Bergen, Norway, where Casper Trumpy owned a shipyard. Son John grew up working there, and eventually secured a naval architecture degree in Germany before moving to the US.

He joined the John H. Mathis shipbuilding company in 1910, based at Cooper Point in New Jersey on the Delaware River. The yard built houseboats, tenders and yachts for some of the wealthiest American families, including the 104-foot Sequoia II in 1925. She later served as the Presidential Yacht between 1933 and 1977. After Mathis’ death in 1939, Trumpy became the sole owner of the company.

By mid-1942 the yard needed more capacity for government contracts, and relocated to Gloucester City, New Jersey, just downriver of Camden. In 1943 it was renamed John Trumpy & Sons, and in 1947 it relocated to Annapolis, Maryland.

Trumpy’s designs resonated with the increasingly wealthy Americans. His vessels featured a narrow beam and shallow draft – and were renowned for their speed. His graceful, architectural style was defined by a plumb bow emblazoned with signature ‘T’ scrollwork, vertical Pullman windows and a counter stern with canvas awnings.

His reputation had much to do with the high quality of materials, meticulous craftsmanship and the best construction methods of the time. The frames were of steam-bent oak, and the hulls were doubleplanked mahogany fastened with bronze screws.

A fire destroyed the Annapolis yard in 1962 and a year later John Trumpy died aged 84. The company continued under his son (John Trumpy Jr), but rising costs, a labour strike and the advent of cheaper fibreglass hulls saw the company dissolved in 1974.

A review in the August 1948 issue of The Rudder magazine described Seaplay (BB) as having ‘a well-blended combination of seaworthiness, sleek lines, good turn of speed, ease of handling, sturdiness, compactness with comfort, reliability, and the ability to go anywhere her owner desires’.


Caring for your anchor rode

When did you last wash your anchor warp? Not a common maintenance item, but something that may be worth considering, especially if your boat’s more than 10 years old.

A recent trip out on my buddy’s boat we anchored in deeper water than usual, and it transpired his anchor line was slipping on the chainwheel. Instead of the winch’s teeth gripping the rode's sides, the hard, stiff line simply slipped over the chainwheel without engaging into the slot. Almost no holding power and, left unchecked, all of the rode would have slipped out.

This was easily dealt with at anchor – we simply put a few wraps of warp around the bollard – but raising the anchor did require some additional manual assistance. This is a risky business for fingers – we had to try and push the line into the chainwheel slot without snagging line or fingers. Luckily, we managed it while keeping all our digits.

Back at the marina we realised that years of sitting in the anchor well, wet from salt water and with the chain resting on top, the rode had become caked with salt crystals, pieces of rust and other random crud. What was originally a soft and pliable product was now stiff and hard. Looking at the splice on the chain end showed that this too was in poor condition, but with those hard fibres re-splicing it would be quite a job.

Buying new anchor line was the obvious solution – quick and simple if you have a modest anchor setup. But my own launch has 175m of 16mm braided line. A replacement would cost me well over $1,200 – not a pleasant prospect. Was there a cheaper (but still safe) solution?

Well, yes – the rope could be cleaned, as a quick Google search revealed. But after years of neglect it might be a daunting project. The first thing was to remove the rope, and in the process examine every metre of it and the anchor chain, and in particular the joins between components. In my case I decided the chain was too badly rusted to salvage, so I simply cut it off and discarded it for later replacement.

I also laid out the rope carefully and discovered a major abrasion about 10m along its length. There was also a splice just short of 20m along, which always caused issues when going through the winch. Since I had a long line, I cut off the troublesome 20m section, still leaving me with over 150m of undamaged length. But the rode was badly discoloured and very, very, stiff. Oh, and it smelled very fishy...

I took it home and tried to get rid of the salt. I left it soaking in a big tub of fresh water for two days, replacing the water a few times. Then I added some Salt-Away and left if for a further 24 hours, stirring every now and then. After this the rode felt considerably better, and there was a lot of silt sitting in the bottom of the tub.

WASHING THE LINE

The rode was still very dirty, so a proper wash was called for. But washing it is certainly not a job for a home washing machine. Apart from losing every brownie point I may have ever earned on the domestic front, it simply would not fit into the drum of our machine.

Luckily, many self-service laundromats have a range of big, bigger and mega-big washing machines. The one closest to us had a couple of super-big machines with a 28kg (dry) load limit, which easily accommodated the rope. Would they allow me to wash a smelly old rope, rather than clothes?

I chose a day and time with few people in the laundromat and went there loaded up with detergent. But I discovered that the Liquid Laundromats franchises have a special pet-blanket cycle on their very big machines.

This option has extra pre-wash and rinse cycles and indicated it could cope with large and smelly loads. The brown colour of the wash water revealed how much muck there was in the rode’s fibres. Fabric softener was added to the final rinse water, to soften the fibres.

The process was finished with a tumble dry on medium heat for 45 minutes, not trying to completely dry the rode but to get it touch-dry. You need to be careful not to use maximum heat, as the 87° hot air could seriously weaken the rode.

The line was now visibly cleaner and almost back to the original colour. Note: do not be tempted to add bleach during the wash cycle as this can also weaken the fibres.

At home I completed the drying process by looping the rode over the frame of the wash-line, and by the end of the day it was bone dry and ready to work with. It was now soft, pliable and would be easy to splice. The cuts ends had frayed slightly, but these were easily cleaned up.

With a dry rode I also had an opportunity to re-mark it. A common trick is to mark a strip every 10m along the anchor line with a different colour, indicating the amount of rode paid out. Paint only sticks on clean, dry rode, and you want to try and get the paint right into the weave so it won’t be rubbed off by the chainwheel.

With five different cans of spray-paint available, I used a different one until I got to 50m, then started again and made a double-strip for 60m, 70m and so on. At 100m I started the colours again with a triple band. I made a note of which colour corresponded to which length and created a sticker to place on my dash next to the anchor switch.

After buying a new length of anchor chain (one and a half times the length of the boat) to match my winch’s chainwheel, it was time to replace everything. Splicing braided line onto chain requires a special technique, but once again a quick Google search showed the steps required.

If you’re not confident doing this yourself there are a number of local suppliers who will splice your line for a modest fee. The important thing is for the connection to be sufficiently streamlined to pass through the chainwheel without snagging or slipping.

Back at the boat I used the opportunity to wash out the empty anchor locker, finishing with a scrub using the desk wash and a scotchbrite pad. I found a surprising amount of muck, not to mention a few wayward nuts and bolts...

The last step was to service the winch, an often-neglected maintenance item. I removed the chainwheel and replaced the plastic stripper than cleans the rope out of the slot. Although this was still functional it was showing some wear, so this was an opportune moment to fit a new one. The various shafts were cleaned and lubricated and the chainwheel replaced ready to handle the clean rode and new chain.

REFITTING THE RODE

In the now clean and dry locker I used a bowline knot to tie the end of the line to the eye inside the locker. The choice of knot is important – a bowline allows the rode to be easily untied, without having to cut it, should we ever seriously snag the anchor. We can then drop the rode under a float to be retrieved later on. And a bowline is a strong knot that will not self-loosen.

I laid the rode in reverse sequence to the way it would deploy, creating big soft loops across the bottom of the locker. The chain too was stowed in gentle loops inside the rope loops, so it would deploy easily without tangling. The end of the chain was fed up through the hole into the winch and out around the chainwheel.

Finally – time to re-attach the anchor to the chain, using a swivel. Again, I first checked everything for rust, especially in the hidden recesses. Finding it all good, the anchor was attached and hung over the bowsprit. A quick test of the anchor functionality confirmed everything worked perfectly.

Job all done, and total cost around $250 including the new chain and winch stripper, plus $20 in laundromat costs. BNZ

 


SAFE ANCHOR

Burnsco's soft anchor bag is especially designed for personal watercraft (PWCs).

Easily stored in the front hatch, it won’t damage the gelcoat. Simply fill the bag with sand or a few stones and clip the floating line to the front of the PWC. This allows you to anchor just off the beach, so that wave action can’t damage your ski while you enjoy a picnic or a walk on the beach.

Made from hi-vis, heavyduty vinyl, the Anchor Sand Bag comes ready to use with float, line and clip.

FIND IT @ WWW.BURNSCO.CO.NZ 0800 10 20 41

 


SLEEP TIGHT

Kakapo Linen makes high-quality, customised bedwear for boats and RVs.

Born out of the founders’ desire for bedwear to fit the odd mattress shapes and sizes of their caravan, Kakapo Linen began creating custom designs for others in a refurbished home garage. Kakapo Linen now works out of premises in Rangiora’s Arlington Shopping Complex.

Custom projects included 16 mattress protectors, 24 sets of sheets and 54 pillowcases for Red Stag Timber’s new vessel Blue Stag, with 135m of fabric for the sheets imported from Georgia, USA.

The company regularly fits vessels and RVs with custom bedwear – its most recent design, ‘The Sleep Sack’, is perfect for cabin beds.

Kakapo Linen support the Kakapo Recovery Programme.

FIND IT @ WWW.KAKAPOLINEN.CO.NZ OFFICE@KAKAPOLINEN.CO.NZ OR CALL MARILYN ON 027 253 5005

 


KEEP ACTIVE

The importance of protecting your skin from harmful UV, even in cloudy conditions, is well understood.

Using a fine gauge, soft interlock weave, Zhik’s UVActive fabric is highly durable, snag resistant and antistatic. It blocks out 99.5% of UVA and UVB – far exceeding UPF 50+ rating – even when wet.

Ideal for boating and other performance activities, the shirts are breathable with excellent moisture wicking properties and also quick-drying.

Suitable for all sailing, boating and water sports, as well as shore-based activities, Zhik UVActive tops come in men’s and women’s sizes with long or short sleeves.

Shirts retail for $84.95 (long sleeve) or $79.95 (short sleeve).

FIND IT @ WWW.ZHIK.COM

 


COASTAL BEAUTY

GILL’S NEW Coastal Jackets offer coastal and inshore boaties superior protection against the elements.

Made from XPLORE twolayer waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric, coated with XPEL for increased water repellency, stain resistance and odour control, they are ideal for boating and fishing.

Other features include fully taped seams, quick-dry mesh lining, adjustable cuffs, hi-vis hoods and side-entry pockets.

Gill Coastal Jackets are available nationwide from Burnsco stores and online in sizes 8–16 for women and XS–XXL for men.

FIND IT @ WWW.BURNSCO.CO.NZ 0800 10 20 41

 


Bracing for winter

I always feel a little sad when the last vestiges of summer disappear and winter can no longer be denied.

In 2021, like last year, the transition took longer than usual, with an Indian summer of warm, mostly fine weather lingering into May. It meant that late summerautumn fishing patterns also lingered, with predators hounding anchovies and other bait deep into the month.

In one well-documented event in late April, baitfish threw themselves onto the sand at Rothesay Bay to escape kahawai, small kingfish and snapper, only to fall prey to hundreds of gulls awaiting them on the beach. This was doubtless just one instance of many.

Don’t forget about species like john dory.

Certainly, April provided some entertaining fishing in among the seemingly inexhaustible bait schools that were everywhere close inshore among the islands of the inner Gulf and along the east coast beaches from North Head to Whangaparaoa and beyond.

Bait schools were also common inside the Waitemata Harbour, extending up past Kauri Point, tailed by kahawai, snapper and a few kingfish. April and early May provided good fishing for those who knew how to target predators keyed-in to feeding on small bait fish.

Considering the feeding frenzy that goes on every year when the baitfish schools are thick in the inner Hauraki Gulf in autumn, I’m surprised some fishers struggle to put fish in the boat, but I see it playing out every time I’m on the water.

Anglers anchored up and fishing baits on dropper/flasher rigs (the most common method), as well as those fishing larger stray-lined baits, can struggle when most of the fish are chasing schools of moving bait. Sure, bites will often come in flurries, usually by chance when bait schools (and their predators) move closer, but for much of the time anchored boats are fishing water devoid of any fish.

In autumn in the inner Hauraki Gulf virtually all predatory species – snapper, kahawai, kingfish, trevally and others – are associated with the bait schools, rather than spread out over wider areas and feeding off the bottom. The key to success is finding the bait and fishing around it.

Lure fishers, especially soft-baiters, can do really well when baitfish are thick, provided they follow the action and fish close to it. However, with all the natural bait around, feeding fish can be selective when it comes to lure size, so downsizing your soft plastics sometimes pays dividends when fishing around anchovies.

           
Kaipara Harbour winter gurnard;  Preparing berley chunks

         
Inshore winter school snapper; A selection of squid jigs.

Five-inch (13cm) baits usually get bites, but larger seven-inch (18cm) models may not – after all, most anchovies are only a few centimetres long. Change down to 4-inch (10cm) baits, however, and the strike rate improves markedly; 3-inch (7.6cm) baits can be even better, but It’s hard to find jig heads suitable for 3- or 4-inch soft baits.

To look natural, small soft baits should be rigged on small, short-shanked hooks, but the smaller, lighter jig heads are really meant for smaller fish such as Australian bream, targeted on much lighter tackle. When fished with heavier snapper gear, the hooks straighten or break. Small jig heads also tend not to weigh enough to be very useful on snapper.

When selecting jig heads for small plastics, look for heavier gauge hooks. There are a few small jig heads in the 1/16th to -1/8th ounce range with suitably heavy gauge hooks – ¼-ounce and heavier are harder to find.

Fortunately, when fishing around anchovy schools, head weight is not super-important, since a slow fall is what you want from the soft bait. So don’t be afraid of using light jig heads. Nearly all the bites come as the bait is falling through the water column – when a bait ball is being smashed by hungry predators there are lots of dead and dying baitfish sinking slowly towards the bottom. A lightly weighted soft bait looks exactly like one of them – sometimes an unweighted plastic is the best option of all. Just make sure it sinks because some unweighted soft plastics float.

Sadly, the sort of autumn fishing we’ve enjoyed so much the last few months is now history and a winter fishing pattern is settling in. That means a change of focus from chasing bait schools to seeking out areas that hold snapper during the colder months, as well as directing effort towards catching other species that are more prevalent in winter – trevally, for instance, and gurnard.

          
A good- sized shallow water winter snapper taken on a soft plastic. (left)
Winter snapper fishing out wide among the work-ups can be excellent. (centre)
Bait fishers should consider using smaller baits in winter. For instance, cut pilchards in half. (right)

In northern parts of the country fishers are able to fish all year round. The weather dictates when they can fish, but seldom shuts down fishing opportunities for long. And there are always plenty of fish to catch. Kahawai is available all year and snapper fishing, especially out wider in the Gulf among the workups, can be very good too.

A few snapper, kahawai and john dory can usually be found inshore. Fishing rocky shores and reef areas with bait and berley or soft plastics works well, though bite times can be short. I usually enjoy fairly consistent winter fishing for snapper right through winter fishing worm beds, open coasts, inshore reefs and broken rubble in relatively shallow water.

And winter fishing turns up some surprisingly big specimens as well, even in areas that see plenty of fishing pressure. For me, most winters yield a big snapper or two among the usual run of average-sized fish. And while kingfish are scarce inshore, kahawai cruise the white water and current lines around rocky coasts and trevally are relatively common.

Squid are not fish, but they are a welcome winter bycatch. Occasionally we’ll deliberately fish for them, but they tend to be accidental catches. If there are lots of squid contacts, we might toss out a squid jig and try our luck. Even an unattended squid jig trailing behind the boat as it drifts along a rocky shoreline can result in a tasty meal of squid, which makes a welcome change from snapper.

In general, winter fishing is harder going than spring and autumn fishing, but slowing down – slower retrieves, making repeated casts to prime areas and fishing each area more thoroughly – should do the trick for soft baiters, while bait fishers should exercise patience, use berley (but not too much) and consider employing smaller baits.

They might have to brace for the elements, but for patient anglers winter provides rewarding and satisfying fishing. BNZ