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Badger

Badger
In Greenland

Iron Bark

Iron Bark
Under full sail

Fantail

Fantail
At Russell Boating Club's Tall Ships Regatta

Annie Hill

Annie Hill
Photo credit: Alvah Simon

Blue Water Medal

Blue Water Medal
Blue Water Medal

Books By Annie Hill

  • Brazil and Beyond
  • Voyaging on a Small Income

About Me

03 October, 2013

Several people mentioned my little stove, or 'pot belly' as Kiwis call them, regardless of shape.  I'm afraid you can't go and buy one off the shelf.  Mine is made of 6-inch rectangular-section, steel, with a thick plate welded top and bottom, and some holes cut out of it.  (The rectangular section, by the way, is square.  Engineers!  Go figure.)  At the top is a 2-inch hole cut out for the chimney.  With a larger boat, or a bigger stove, it should certainly be 3 inch, because it will soot up at the drop of a hat.  However, most of the year I don't need my fire and I didn't want it totally to dominate the saloon.  It's perfectly happy burning hardwoods or charcoal - and I would guess coal, although I haven't tried that - but it doesn't take kindly to Radiata: the pine generally available in NZ.

Towards the bottom, at the front, is a cut-out about 2 inches high for the ash pan, and a U-shaped piece slides along either side of this to close it off.  It also works as a damper if the fire has just about gone out and I didn't notice.  A couple of inches above this are 5 holes, forming a circle with a threaded one in the middle.  A plate welded to a threaded rod fits over this and this is the true damper, which works extraordinarily well.  The door, 5 1/2 inches high, is set down an inch from the top, and the plate that was cut out of the section has a flange all round it, to shut against the stove.  A handle was bought from the local stove shop.  The grate was also bought from a stove shop and cut to fit, and the stove is lined with thin fire-bricks.  It's very successful and takes surprisingly large pieces of wood.  With first-rate firewood such as manuka or gum, the fire can burn for an hour at a time.  On a larger boat, I would use 8-inch 'rectangular' section and a 3- or 4-inch chimney.

I'm still using my fire last thing at night and early in the morning, but by 10 o'clock it's warm enough for shirt sleeves.  We are now into daylight saving, which I love.  I know it's not rational - the days are exactly the same length, but even with my on-board life I am still part of society and need to know what time it is, if I have to go to the shops; and so I tend to rise and go to bed in harmony with those who live and work ashore.  Anyway, regardless, I love daylight saving and look forward with delight to six months of long evenings.

And with the more summery weather have come morning calms, than which are few things more blissful.  I love to sit in my companionway to watch the sun rise, with a cup of steaming Lapsang Souchong in my hand.  Or get up before the sun and drift on the tide down the harbour.  In the distance I can see the wonderful rocky outcrops on the top Whangarei Heads, and the Hen and Chicken Islands.


It was sailing past this beautiful landscape, when I was delivering a boat from the Bay of Islands to Auckland, that convinced me to leave Tasman Bay and to come north.  It's a decision I have yet to regret and every time I see these dramatic pinnacles, I rejoice once more in their fascinating and romantic shapes.

The calm mornings also give me an opportunity to  varnish around my toerail, which is a lot easier to do from a dinghy than leaning over the side of the boat.  I like varnish, and I like varnishing, but am astonished at not only how few people do, but even more, how many people seem to take it as a personal affront when I state my preference.  The vehemence with with my choice is opposed makes the objections that are made to my choice of rig quite tame in comparison.  But I think wood looks beautiful varnished and, even more, is protected by it.  The so-called 'scrubbed teak' (ie neglected teak) look is not something I find appealing and it also causes the wood to weather badly.  And wood stains are an affront to teak.  My toerail (really, a decorative band of teak between hull and deck) had probably never seen a lick of varnish since the day the boat was launched.  It had weathered very badly and I wonder what would happen if it had got much worse, so that it started to split.  It would be both difficult and expensive to replace.  However, because it was teak I could sand it back and varnish it, and now it will last as long as anything else on the boat.  It also looks a lot prettier than it did and gives me pleasure every time I row away from my boat.


1 comment:

joseph said...

annie,
you still write well.changing boats and countries has'nt reduced your ability to describe beautifully what you see.its's a pleasure to read.
keep well,
david g.(joseph)