We have taken Ika Moana out of charter for the 2017 winter to use her for some offshore cruising of our own. She'll be back in charter for the New Zealand summer, starting November 2017 and will be better than ever before. Upgrades include a new mainsail, water-maker, lots of solar panels, integrated radar, charts and AIS on a touch screen at the helm, anchor windlass up/down controlled at the helm, cockpit drinks fridge and much, much more. She's currently at Category 1 for safety, so plenty of good stuff on board.
We're planning on leaving for Tonga on 6 May (weather permitting) and then on to Fiji. Updates will be posted through to the facebook page. We may be a little slow in replying to booking requests over May and June in particular, but we will get to it when we find 3G, 4G or wifi. I've attached a pic of us sailing down to Man-o-War at Waiheke at Easter to test all the systems before departure date. Happy times!
We had a great first season chartering the Ika Moana. The last of the Maritime NZ requirements were met, just before Christmas and then we had 5 weeks worth of charters over January and February. We took the boat back for further upgrades, but that is the subject of the next post. Everyone really enjoyed the boat and we've continued to make improvements to maximise the experience. The cruising season starts again in November 2017 and we've already got one repeat and one new customer booked in. I've attached my favourite pic of the summer. This is the Ika Moana and our own private vessel (a genesis called Extreme) during a changeover out at Pipi Bay in the Bay of Islands. This was just before she came back to Auckland for the rest of the summer.
The Ika Moana participated in the Chopper Cup on Monday. The Chopper Cup is a fundraising regatta, raising funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. It was a beautiful day on the harbour and great fun cruising/racing on the Ika Moana. The new dodger and bimini are now installed, so you can see Andy in the pic sailing shaded from the sun. Will be perfect for our charterers up in the Bay of Islands this summer.
We have just received the new NZ Certificate of Survey for Ika Moana II (which we often just refer to as Ika Moana). Under NZ maritime laws, a boat that is available for bareboat charter needs to have a Certificate of Survey. If the boat is sold, the certificate automatically expires and a new certificate is required. We bought the Ika Moana in June 2016 and have done a major operational re-fit. The rig has been out and completely refurbished, including new rigging and new halyards. We put a new engine in - Yanmar 110HP. All the bilge pumps, safety gear and safety systems have had a thorough overhall. One of the sails has been replaced and we've got new sleeping squabs. It's been hard work, but great to now know the boat so well and know that she's in tip-top shape. The certificate lasts until 31 October 2019, but there is scheduled maintenance and checks to be done during that period. Ika Moana II is licensed for up to 12 people within the Northland, Auckland, Great Barrier Island and Bay of Plenty inshore limits, which covers a large part of the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. For a comfortable bareboat charter on the Ika Moana, 6 is the right number of passengers. If you're thinking about a charter in any of those areas, feel free to ask about whether a boat relocation is possible. We love taking her for a good sail!
We had a great time on the Coastal Classic from Auckland to the Bay of Islands. Left Auckland on Friday morning in a beautiful sou-wester with the headsail poled out. With 5 ladies and 3 young girls on board, it was always going to be a fun trip, filled with laughter. We didn't let that detract from the sailing though - top speed of around 12 knots and into the finish line at 2.44am Saturday morning. No soggy sandwiches on the Ika Moana II though - we managed to sit down from a hot roast dinner on Friday evening - racing in style! Our story got picked up by the Paul Henry Show on TV3 and on the Sailing Anarchy website - http://sailinganarchy.com/tag/ika-moana/. Happy times!
We are busy getting the Ika Moana ready for the Coastal Classic yacht race from Auckland to the Bay of Islands and then a cruise back down afterwards. It'll be a great test for the boat ahead of the summer charter season and plenty of fun for the crew aboard.