Our Tall Ships junket must have been the longest ever, starting well before the Tall Ships Regatta and, indeed, I believe that there are still junkies up there, sailing in company and socialising even as I write. My own effort to join in was looking to be a disaster, when the car that I share broke down the day before. A severe gale came along later in the day to give me a sleepless night, as I battened down the shed and then was kept awake by its shuddering through the night. The Friday before Tall Ships dawned blowy and wet, but I caught a bus up to Opua, persuaded my kind friend, John, to collect me from the car ferry and arrived to find that conditions had moderated sufficiently for me to get out to Zebedee, where I had been offered a berth for the night. He was the only boat I had the slightest chance of boarding, being in a more sheltered spot than most of the fleet! Conditions moderated sufficiently for us to be joined by several other boats and the mandatory pre-Tall Ships Race dinner was enjoyed by all who managed to make it.
Roger Scott took some great photos and here is one of Zebedee and Blondie storming along before the start line.
However, in due course, we were in less crowded conditions, and by watching another couple of canny boats ahead of us, I managed to avoid getting becalmed in the lee of Roberton Island. That's when we overtook Tystie. A tacking duel followed, in which we went faster and higher that she did on port, only to lose it all again on starboard. Sadly for Alan, there was a lot more sailing on starboard than on port, but we still felt that Zebedee had done really well for himself.
I had found a hole saw, the correct size for the cut-out (which struck me as a lucky break), but had also been put off by the dire warnings of the thing getting out of control while I was trying to saw the hole out. Big, heavy powerful drills can be a handful for most men and can certainly do a lot of damage in my hands. However, it had to be done, so I borrowed a more powerful battery drill than the one I own and set to. Apart from taking a long time (I used the slow setting), it was pretty painless.