Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Nanook

LOA: 6580 mm (21 ft. 7 in)
LWL: 5588 mm
Beam: 2185 mm (7 ft. 2 in)
Draft: 1220 mm (4 ft)
Displacement: 726 kg
Sail area: 190 sq feet
Ballasted plate: 114 kg

My boat name is Nanook, a 22-footer designed by Noel Honey and Alex Trethaway in Christchurch in 1968. There are two sets of moulds. One set, in Pakuranga has been sold to Australia. The other set is still in Christchurch where there are more than 200 racing regularly at Littleton harbour.

Nanook is quite easy to manage as a single hander. The mast is not too heavy for one man to raise. For recovery, I have a 10:1 hand winch on the trailer which allows me to recover the boat easily. Mostly, I sailed alone and have explored many of the lakes around Rotorua. I have visited Lake Rotoiti, Rotorua, Tarawera and Taupo; some more than once; also Karapiro, Arapuni, Tauranga, Raglan and Port Waikato. The furthest I have towed my boat was the Bay of Islands near Paihia. One day, I will sail the emerald green waters of Lake Wanaka!

At Manupira, Lake Rotoiti, there are natural hot springs which are great for keeping warm during the winter months. My boat does not have central heating and the cabin feels like living in an ice box! The summer months are ideal for cruising and exploring many NZ fresh water lakes and harbours.

I also participated regularly in regattas on Lake Ngaroto, my home waters. I have been a member of this sailing club for many years. The other trailer yachts are mainly Jokers 6.7M, Kestrels, Monachs, Tasmans and Hartleys. We have a fleet of Lasers, P-class, Starlings and Optimists which race regularly on Sundays during the summer months, starting at 10.30 a.m.

This is my trade mark: playing the bamboo flute as I steer the boat with my foot. This usually happens when there is no wind during our Sundays regatta at Lake Ngaroto. This photo was captured by Ross Wrenn, a fellow sailor at the Ngaroto Sailing Club, near Te Awamutu.

At 10 knots wind condition, I get the best sailing experience on the Noelex. The boat heels nicely to one side when reaching or close hauled and performs well between 10 and 20 knots. I seldom use my spinnaker, unless I was in the middle of a big lake, like Tarawera or Taupo and have long distances to cover under light winds.

It is also common to meet no wind on Lake Ngaroto on Sundays. On those calm days, I played my flute, walked around the lake for an hour or practised chipping with my wedge or 8 iron.

This is about 7-10 knots wind, the best condition for a relaxing Sunday cruise around the buoys. By joining the regatta I learned a lot about sail tuning and maintaining boat speed during rounding of the buoys. My boat weighs 726 kg. It takes a long time to accelerate such a big mass due to inertia; but once it gets going, all that I need to do is maintain boat speed and pointing higher.
Wind above 10 knots is the best sailing condition for this little yacht. The boat heels to one side firmly and there is a bow wave. In Christchurch harbour there is a fleet of over 200 Noelex 22. They have a very active club over there, with regular regattas throughout the year at Littleton harbour.

There are two sets of moulds for the Noelex 22 in NZ. The other set in Pakuranga (Martens Marine) has ceased production because it was sold to Australia! This is the reason why not many Noelex 22 are found on the North Island. Old boats retain their value so much that it is reasonable to expect to sell a Noelex at the same price we paid for it 5 years ago! Maintenance cost is not recoverable. Running cost is low because the wind is free!
This is probably the maximum heel angle for this boat with over 15 knots wind. The windows on port side are actually getting wet from the bow waves! I call this washing the windows. (Mabel thought that I was using soap!) The sailing becomes very exciting indeed. The rudder is partially out of the water. Wind starts to spill from the main sail as the boat heels greater than 45 degrees. When max heel of 45 degrees is reached, the boat stops heeling any further. It cannot be steered properly because half the rudder is out of the water. The yacht will automatically round up and point towards the wind. Heeling disappears and the rudder is fully back in the water again. We continue sailing by steering the boat in the direction we wish to go.  I have since learned to use the traveller to prevent the boat from heeling too much or rounding-up to face the wind and slowing down during a race (weather helm). I can also rig up a Cunningham to give my main a better aerofoil shape. The secret of success in a regatta, is maintaining the momentum of the boat (726 kg) at the start line and also when rounding the buoys. Reducing the total weight or increasing the sail area (raising spinnaker) also helps to increase boat speed when you have great distances to cover under light wind conditions.
I raised spinnaker when sailing from Linda's bach to hot water beach on lake Tarawera, a distance of 10 km. Quite often on Lake Karapiro I also used the spinnaker. On Lake Ngaroto, distances are too small. I hardly ever bother to use this sail because of the amount of extra work involved in rigging up all the necessary lines, just for 5 minutes use, sailing down wind.
On the left, I have furled the jib and lowered the main, rigged the boom tent, dropped anchor, raised rudder blade and secured the boat in preparations for spending the night on board. Yes, I carry a chemical porta-loo on board and I also have a small gas cooker for boiling water and cooking simple meals for short trips of one or two days. In fact a trailer yacht is very similar to a caravan but on water!

This photo was taken by Priscilla when she came for a visit in 2004. I used it as my profile photo on all my blogs on Multiply for many years. It has been replaced by this new one below, showing me playing the flute. This has now become my trade mark profile icon on all my blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, group forums and Gmail etc.

This one photo sums up all my hobbies together. I like photography, sailing, playing a bamboo flute and also blogging. However, it took a while for me to have this photo taken because I usually go sailing alone as a single hander. The digital camera has made it much easier for all bloggers to illustrate our blogs with more meaningful images. In my earlier blogs I was using old Kodak prints. These have to be scanned first,  saved on
hard disk and then uploaded to our blogs. That is a very lengthy process; but unavoidable if we wish to add an old Kodak print to blogs. The definition or clarity is not so good. 

Since I started using a software called Picasa to manage my digital photos, I have finger tips control of every single image. On last count I had over 60,000 images saved on my computer. The modern digital camera is capable of taking very high definition photos which require increasing storage space. I have recently added an external hard-disk with capacity of 1 Terabyte (1000Mb) to my old desk top. This should last me for a while. Nowadays, the modern lap tops internal hard-disk already have close to this capacity in order to cater for gamers. Come to think of it, I hardly see any desk top computers being advertised for sale in the papers any more! Most lap tops have touch pads instead of a mouse. I love my mouse and I cannot use a touch-pad efficiently.
desk top computer
My new desk top PC is an hp Compaq Presario, series CQ3000, 2 Gb RAM, 500 Gb Hard disk, 23" monitor. It came with Windows 7 home premium softwares. It is also very cheap @ NZD764 from Heathcote Appliances, the Base, Hamilton. My previous PC was really ancient. It was a Lenovo desk top with 350 Kb RAM and 80 Gigabytes hard disk, running on Windows XP. I have been using it for 5 years and it is way over due for an upgrade. Delays were caused by my fear of being unable to transfer all my personal files and soft wares from the old Lenovo over to the new HP Compaq computer.

It turned out to be not such a big job after all (because I have an external hard disk of one Terabytes capacity). Basically, I [poured] all my files and documents from the old PC into the ext HD and then [poured] everything from that to the new PC and it was done. The only problem that I had was transferring the email service provided by Eudora from the old to the new PC. It took me 3 days to figure that one out; but I have lost all my archives of old emails on Eudora and also some digital photos which has gone AWOL on Picasa. Never mind. The new PC is much faster and more than made up for the small losses in some old files, definitely worth the change. Next to upgrade is my TV. I must be the only one without Sky or Freeview in NZ. With so many hobbies, FB, blogs and Google and FaceBook groups, there is hardly any time left for me to watch TV! Freeview can wait a few more months :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tarawera revisited

The Ngaroto Boat Club organized an outing to Lake Tarawera in 2008. Three trailer yachts and six dinghies made the trip. The owners of the trailer yachts slept in sleeping bags on board their yachts. The dinghy sailors lived in tents on site at Linda's batch. Some younger members shared the bach with Linda's mum. It was a 2 nights 3 days outing which included a race to Hot Water Beach on the first day and a combined regatta, on the second day.

with Owen Johnston

We rafted the trailer yachts at the jetty behind Linda's bach, spending the nights on board, using the kitchen and toilet facility of the bach. We enjoyed a barbecue dinner in the evening. Some energetic members tried the jet ski and some others used the kayaks.

 trailer yachts



dinghy sailors


Shane and Jamie




Peter is stuck in his kayak!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Guests on my boat.

I had the pleasure of showing many of my friends how to handle a boat, running on wind power. For most of them, it was their first time on a sailing yacht which has no engine. If they can get used to the heeling of the boat, most of them can steer the boat within 5 minutes. My instruction was very simple: imagine that you are driving a car; but you are steering the back wheels!
David Jin

David Jin was a golf partner from the Narrows Golf Club. David was teaching Orrin to play golf when he was told about me hitting buckets of balls daily at the driving range. He invited me to play a round on the golf course with him and I have been there ever since. That was more than 5 years ago.
David Jin

Huang family
John Huang was another golfer whom I met at the Park International golf course. He was playing alone there for some years. Later he joined the Hamilton Golf Club where we met again in 2008. Together with Kevin Lee we formed a threesome which lasts until today. We have played over 380 rounds together.
Charlie and his angels

Charlie was a golfer I met at the Narrows. One day, I invited him and his two children to go sailing with me at Lake Ngaroto. They just loved it.
David Jin
Albert, Wen-wen and Ting-ting

Albert Chow is my nephew. He lives in New Plymouth, NZ. I always carry enough  life jackets for every one. It is always good practice to train kids to get used to wearing  them while on a boat.
Thomas and his dad


Sherina was the unlucky one. She came with me to Lake Ngaroto for a day's sailing. That day, the lake was like a mirror with not a breathe of wind. As you can see, the main was still furled around the boom.


Christine rarely came with me to Tauranga for sailing; but she asked to come along that day. I took her to Amokoroa where I launched the boat. We dropped anchor and stayed one night on the boat.
Alex Kraayenhof
Alex Kraayenhof

Alex sailed a Paper Tiger, a catamaran,at the Ngaroto Sailing Club. He just loved to run circles around us on the lake during race days on Sundays. One time I invited him to be my crew on the Nanook.
Ng Tsun Kong

Tsun Kong and I  went sailing at the Bay of Islands. I towed my boat to Auckland where I picked him up. We used the ferry at Opua to cross over to Russel where we stayed one night on the boat. The second night we checked into a back packer for a hot shower and a warm bed.
May and Margaret

May and Margaret were friends from Hamilton East. We met at the ESOL class run by Nancy Rounthwaite. I invited them to come sailing with me. Margaret was very brave because she was on crutches at the time.
Kevin's friends

Four of Kevin's friends from Malaysia paid him a visit at the Gold Coast. He brought them home to Hamilton. I agreed to take them sailing at Tauranga harbour for the day. They all enjoyed the outing very much because it was their first time on a yacht.

This guy stepped off the plane at 9 a.m. at Auckland. By 11a.m. he was crewing for me at Lake Ngaroto! He arrived from Brazil to take up a one year training position on a Waikato dairy farm arranged by Ross Wrenn.

One year all my relatives and in-laws came to visit us in Hamilton. Naturally I entertained them by taking them sailing in my boat.
This is Orrin, a young golfer from China.  He helped me to stop going to the driving range. It was a long story. If you are interested, you can read it up on one of my blogs. Orrin helped me to change from a ball hitter into a real golfer. I am very grateful to him.

As you can see here, I have tried my best to convert some of my golfing friends into yachties. As far as I know, no one has yet bought a trailer yacht. I wonder why none of the people I know are sailors. I think all of them have the wrong idea, assuming that it is expensive to play golf or sail. I have been sailing for over 25 years. The wind has always been free of charge. I sailed a dinghy in Malaysia for many years before I came to NZ. Apparently I was very lucky to have the right hobbies to blend in as a permanent resident in this country. None of my other Malaysian friends are interested to own a yacht or learn to play golf.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


One small Kahawai for dinner
smoked chicken salad for lunch

cooking dinner


boat ramp
On the Omokoroa trip, my wife Christine came along to find out why I like cruising. I dropped anchor and we slept in sleeping bags. The wind on the second day was good, at 10 knots. I explored the northern end of the harbour. The water was barely deep enough for my trailer yacht at low tide. In some parts, I had to raise centre board completely for a while. It was fun and the boat does not heel so much with the keel up. In some parts the current was very strong and my boat was moving sideways like a crab.