Grateful for the generous kiwi spirit


After we decided to go back to NZ to repair our leak, we turned into the wind and for two days beat into some very strong winds 25-30 knots on the nose. The seas were 2+ meters and close together which made for a very bumpy ride and lots water over the deck. Some of it found its way below and definitely through into the bilge. We made landfall as the sun rose over NZ and as always it was very magical and we were glad to sail into calm waters. The smell of the land had greeted us long before we saw it and filled our heads with excitement. The landscape from our deck view of NZ is similar to Jurassic Park. Customs and the Department of Agriculture were kind to us and processed us very quickly. On our approach to the customs wharf, with the current flowing against us at a fairly good rate, I was shocked to find the linkage to the throttle cable had come adrift and we could not get it out of gear going forward. I made a quick u turn and after fruitless efforts to fix it with both the customs people on the wharf waiting, I managed to gauge the current and glide into the customs wharf as if nothing had happened. If only they knew…

We were able to get up on the ways that very afternoon after gliding down the bay with our good friend Tom Carpenter riding shotgun for us. After we came out of the water and were put in our stocks, a close inspection showed no smoking gun from the outside of the hull that would lead to any indication of keel bolt failure or the caulking joint between the hull and ballast being torn away or compromised. I unscrewed the keel drain bolt and released all the water remaining in the bilge. Both Claire and I were in fact very exhausted and Claire in particular after enduring the seafarers malaise for three days and finally feeling comfortable after four days just in time to come back to the stillness of the land. She did so very well and was able to help a lot on the final day coming back in particularly with our somewhat out of control landing. 

Tuesday morning found us getting our land legs and awaking to the sounds of a busy boatyard with sanders winding away and the travel lift ferrying boats in and out of the water and the pressure washers firing their water cannons to remove the growth from boat bottoms. Amongst all this ,I had to formulate a plan to first identify where the leak was coming from and how to solve the problem. I had of course, emailed Brent from Blackline Marine for his take on our situation and had already received the good and bad news.  

What I needed was an expert and someone I could trust. Fortunately an old friend, Mike Carere, with whom I commercial fished back on the west coast, and who has lived  in The Bay Of Islands with his lovely wife Deb (they run an amazing sail charter business on Gungha, a 65 foot sloop for the last 20 years). Mike knew what and who I was looking for.  A local legend  – Jim Ashby. Jim is enjoying his retirement but still comes down to the boat yard that was his for forty years before selling it to the local government. Here is a man who is one of New Zealand’s best boat builders and after a phone call he agreed to meet me and give me his opinion of my dilemma. It is hard to put a value on such a generous offer from such gifted man. Jim turned out to be a very gracious man with a firm hand shake and a gentle manner. He looked at the outside and then climbed the ladder and came below. West Wind II’s old fashion but beautiful lines were not lost on Jim. He asked about the symptoms of the leak and I told him what had transpired and like Brent, he gave me the bad news and the good news. The bad news was that if the keel bolts had failed and the keel had to come off and the bolts replaced, which in West Wind II’s case also meant lifting her engine (which sits over the keel bolts), it would have to come out as well, we were looking at a cost that was half as much as WWII was worth. I was aware and also afraid this was the case. This of course would mean WWII would not be saleable at all and would be good only for parts never to sail again.


scene of the crime

The good news was that it may be possible that the two bolts that were leaking were the only problem and that after removing the nuts and carefully re-bedding them and tightening them up that would solve the problem. I of course pursued the later solution with Jim and decided I would give that a try. I thanked him for his advice and candor and  set about figuring out how to remove the nuts. That afternoon I dropped Claire off in Pahia and thanked Mike for his introduction and he responded by giving me tools and material he had on Gungha that he thought would help me reach my goal. 

By this afternoon I had  two of the nuts off and one more loosened but the fourth was not going to budge so I have phoned a truck tire repair shop with a portable compressor and large impact wrench that will be here in the morning to hopefully remove the last nut. I’ll then start re-bedding the bolts. I am also, after talking to Jim Ashby again, going to try and put in a new keel bolt amidst the others which will give me some more security. After that, we will put her back in the water and cross our fingers. I have had several setback these last few days but with the help of many generous Kiwis, have managed to move closer to bring WW II back home where she belongs. Without this generosity of spirit, I am sure this situation would have turned out quite differently .


scene of the crime 2

One of the drawbacks of being out of the water and in amongst the forest of aluminum masts, is that I am unable to use my ham radio. I apologize to all for not being on the airwaves but as soon as I am back in, I look forward to catching up.

Cheers from Claire and I  



  2. You’re amazing Glenn — still smiling. They don’t call you Mr. Survivorman for nothing! It’s wonderful how you attract into your life just what you need to solve its challenges. We’re rooting for you, dear boy. Love to you and to Claire the intrepid.
    Jean and Michael

  3. Wayne tasker vk4xg says

    Glenn, just realised a typo my name tasker not tasked cheers

  4. Wayne tasked vk4xg says

    Thanks Glen for the great email I wish you every success with the repairs must be very difficult to work around the engine as I can picture some very long bolts maybe a day or two sailing around Russel etc would test things out ,maybe put in an extra bilge pump just in case…great to hear from you all the best to all the family kind regards Wayne tasked brisbane

  5. Santa Brussow says

    Good luck Glenn! I’m sure WWll will be ready and safe to sail soon! Great photo!

  6. Earl Gartner says

    I would like to see pics of keel repairs as work progresses. Are the bolts straight or are they J-bolts or L-bolts?

  7. Hi Glenn, here is hoping it is just the bolts…boats they cost a lot! Sonnish na Mara is waiting for a new motor so we totally understand your pain in the pocket book.

    Have a safe trip home and a great holiday season. Terry

  8. Pat and Fred says

    Good grief but you have patience in abundance. Me? Throwing everything overboard while using very bad language. Not so much a sailor methinks. Best of luck on the repairs.

    Pat and Fred

  9. Glenn! Great picture of you. Do you ever age?
    I am so happy to get to read all about your adventures again. I look forward to your posts every day. You are such a talented writer.
    Had a lovely visit with Marylou at the Duttons this summer but missed you though. She filled me in on everything Wakefields from A-Z.
    Safe ‘re-start’ into the sea again. Glad you have company this time! Jody Banister :)

  10. Susan Bassett says

    Happy news. What good folks are the Kiwis! Look forward to next update!

    A/E , E.

  12. A word of caution before you use an impact wrench on that bolt.
    I assume you have tried heat and a penetrating oil and let it sit overnight?
    If you go at it with an impact wrench you may unseat the anchor bolt in its lead casted base and in so doing unseat the anchored bond with the keel.
    Have you tried using a nut splitter? If you have access for an impact wrench you will have enough room to use a nut splitter. This will break the nut and its threaded bond with the bolt letting you clean up the threads with a chase on the threaded bolt.
    An impact wrench may rattle the old girl in the wrong direction.
    Good luck, Bob

Speak Your Mind