New Plymouth

Sometimes you just have to hold your hand up and admit you’re a pair of numpty’s. Both Dave and I did maths at school but it would appear we struggle with sums.

Why is this relevant? Well we keep track of our engine hours in a notebook. And likewise we keep track of diesel fills, how much went in each tank. There are no fuel gauges on Grace. The dip sticks for our two tanks are pretty inaccessible. These sums are necessary to keep track of how much diesel remains in the tanks. And until yesterday our sums were good. 

We set off for Nelson on South Island from New Plymouth on North Island. It’s about 140 miles. The forecast wasn’t for brilliant sailing wind so we knew we’d need to motor sail some of the passage to windward. Weather windows are fickle here in temperate New Zealand. The trade winds do not blow regularly from the east / south east as they do consistently in the mid Pacific.  

We were keen to get down south as we have plans to meet folks for Christmas and New Year. This may be the only possible window to get south. We were keen. Up at 4, out at 5, first light. 

Then around 11am the engine spluttered and cut out. Dave got into spanner mode. It had to be a fuel issue. Fuel filter was cruddy so that got changed and we swapped to the other tank. The engine started.  Unfortunately this tank didn’t have a whole heap of fuel in it so the decision was made to turn round and sail back to New Plymouth. 

That evening we were back where we’d started with an unknown problem in one of the fuel tanks. 

The following morning we opened the inspection hatch on the problematic tank. The evidence was plain as day. It was completely empty. No wonder, it’d bloody cut out. Somewhere along the line, we’d miscalculated the amount of fuel we had.  Maybe a digit wrong or a pencil scribble misinterpreted. On one level I was actually pretty happy. The fix was straightforward. Dig deep and buy diesel. Dave had talked about possibly having to clean the tank, replace fuel lines, look for possible leaking tank, all things which I knew would take time and involve grovelling around on the floor boards and in the bilge.

Time had ticked. We booked a fuel tanker and filled up. We sourced extra new fuel filters, just in case. And explored New Plymouth a bit more by bike and on foot. Tomorrow it’s take two.

We’re off to the Marlborough Sounds for Christmas. Likely have shoddy internet so here’s wishing you all a jolly holly Christmas. Thanks for sticking with me and my ramblings. Appreciated. 

10 thoughts on “New Plymouth

  1. Patricia Keller says:

    Safe journey! Merry Christmas. May all your wishes come true–maybe St Nick will bring you some sort of alarm to put in the fuel tank? Thanks for your posts–it almost feels like being there. Love to you both!


  2. skibreezy says:

    These are places that I have heard about. I am envious. Have a great Christmas and an amazing New Year. With loads of love from us both.


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