Sunday, 21 February 2010

Toroa rides again, again

Today Sunday was much like yesterday with light variable winds to begin with settling in to a sea breeze around 1.00. pm. Julie and I sailed out past the Rawene peninsula on port tack and headed for Motukaraka where there is a beautiful little Catholic Church on the hill.  There we shunted through to starboard tack and sailed past Rawene across the mouth of the Omanaia river. With abuilding breeze of around 12-15 knots we shunted again with the intention of heading back home. Unfortunately I got the shunt sequence wrong by failing to release the mainsheat from the old starboard tack position and got everything caught up. We very nearly got put aback before I figured out what I'd done wrong. Luckily I was able to unclip the sheet and uncross the lines. Once that was done the proa came back under control and we were able to set off again.
Lesson: Despite vast past experience, one over site  on my part and the whole system goes badly wrong.
I'll have to tattoo the instructions on to the inside of my eyelids. either that our set up a tape of subliminal shunting suggestions whilst I'm asleep!

I'll be working on Paul Bowker soon to convince him to come along with his little video camera and GPS for some vital statistics and footage.

Until then


Saturday, 20 February 2010

Toroa rides again

Today Saturday dawned bright and clear. The cyclone blew itself out and has now become a high pressure cell.
The sea breeze set in at Rawene around 11.00 am. Julie and I loaded our gear in the car and set off to the beach.

We paddled out and returned Toroa to the shore and I set about making the last changes and adjustments to the rig that I planned last night.

Once set up we caught the high tide and we set off up the Waima River on starboard tack in 10 to 12 knots of breeze.

 We put in a shunt which was trouble free and we set off up river. Toroa covers the ground very quickly now so it wasn't long before we were turning back.
Now I have enough confidence to have another go tomorrow.

I added a new endless shunting line which keeps the tack of the sail from moving about whilst I walk the rig from end to end.
I have managed to stay true to my goal of having no rotating parts all the control lines run through dead eyes and thimbles.

The mainsheet is based on the Kiribati style with a single and double purchase rigged to create a 1, 2, or 3 purchase sheet.
This system allows me to run only the one sheet for either tack, unlike Toroa's old twin sheet line set up. I have set up a clip to secure the main sheet dead eye block to either tack position on the lee gunwale with a light retrieving line tied to the centre cockpit scupper hole. That way I don't loose the end of the sheet through the shunt.

Toroa back in his element

Julie and I relaunched Toroa last week.

The outboard motor however would not run. After several hours of mechanical work I was still unable to solve the problem so I finally relented and took Julies advice. We delivered it to the Sail outboard dealer in Kerikeri. Tony diagnosed a blown head gasket! He assures me it will be ready to collect mid next week. The machine came with a bag full of parts which contained all the gaskets needed for the job which was fortunate.

Toroa's re cut sail looks very good and sets well.
I spent some time yesterday sticking non skid strips on to the decks to give me more reliable footing. I've added a tacking line and I'm experimenting with the shunting set up. I'm concerned that my mast, although sturdy is too heavy which makes the shunt a more demanding process than it should be. I may yet have to replace it with something lighter.

In the mean time Toroa patiently sits at anchor in the harbour at Rawene awaiting a day when there is less wind. Friday I took some time off work. Ironically for me, after weeks of hot settled weather the late summer cyclones have started forming. One has been moving south east down the East Coast of the North Island and affecting the pattern over the north. Overnight on Thursday the wind came in from the south at around 25 gusting 35 knots. I'm hoping for better conditions tomorrow Saturday for a trial sail.

I'll post some photos later.


Monday, 1 February 2010

Domestic sewing machine does the job!

I got down on the floor today and set up our little "Brother" sewing machine. It handled the coated nylon sail thread and Novathene fabric quite well.
I had to set up the industrial sized spool of thread on a rod supported by two saw horses above the machine but that was the only problem I encountered other than setting up the thread tension correctly.
Once I'd done some practice runs on some scraps of cloth I sewed up the seams. I only broke 3 needles!
Lastly I sat down to hand sew the two joins in the bolt rope with waxed sail makers twine.

The sail now only needs bending back onto the spars and then I can set up for another dry run.
I'm learning patience which does not come naturally to me.
I do love the process of sewing by hand, there's something hypnotic about the activity. The result is so satisfying, so strong. I like to think of the power this inanimate sail is capable of producing, quite magical.

Toroa by Harmen Hielkema & Mike Toy.

Header Photo: Toroa at Rawene by Julie Holton.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my father Roelof Hielkema who instilled in me the willingness to learn.
These pages are intended to inform and add to the growing body of knowledge concerning the Canoe Culture of the Pacific, past, present & future, from the Tupuna, the Ancestors of the Pacific cultures to the people of the world.

These pages contain Images and text relating to our two proas, Toroa & Takapu, some history relating to our experiments & experiences.

The dissertation that I posted on this blog in April 2008 "Takapu The Proa" was written by me in 1997 in response to an assignment that I was set whilst studying for my design degree. The dissertation covers many issues that a proa enthusiast may benefit from reading about.

Waka define culture as culture defines waka

Waka reflect the individuality and uniqueness of a society which in turn is governed by the geography, geology, topography, climate, location, resources, isolation, origin, flora, fauna, flotsam, jetsam, etc.

Waka are our link to the past, they have shaped our present and define our future.

Waka are the vessels of knowledge, physical and mental development, freedom of bondage to the land, key to our inquisitiveness, expressions of our ingenuity and courage, our love of shape and form, the seat of our power.

Waka are the source of our material culture, from which all processes are derived.

Waka are who and what we are.