Our home for the next month or so is this beautiful yacht, Sapphire II of London – or “Sapphy” as she is affectionately known.
As far as Jeremy and I are concerned, this truly is sailing in luxury. Our cabin must be almost as large as our small spare bedroom at home and, joy of joys, I can actually sit up in bed without cricking my neck. There are electric winches, air conditioning (I have been complaining of being cold at night – you really can’t please some people!), a washing machine (no more 5-day-old sweaty, smelly clothes), a freezer, an ice maker and a beer fridge! What more could we want? We’re spoilt. How will we ever be happy to go back to “rough and ready” sailing?
We’ve had a few issues to deal with, which is to be expected in a yacht that has been laid-up in a marina for the past year or so. Probably the most concerning was a fault with the engine alternator wiring. But we had spares and a friendly electrician, so no worries. Who needs an engine anyway? … we’re a sailing boat. The watermaker needed a repair, the bottom needed a scrub (all clean now courtesy of Jeremy in his rented scuba gear), and the new rib needed the batteries sorting (the one it came with was definitely not powerful enough to start the 40hp engine!). There have been some stresses and frustrations but nothing that a Dark and Stormy couldn’t put right at the end of each day.
On Wednesday we had our Covid tests in Papeete. There was a bit of a panic when Simon went to get his and Helen’s passports from his jacket pocket only to find that the jacket was missing. He’d left it – and the passports – in the airport taxi. No one had added that to the list of reasons as to why we might not be able to leave. Covid – yes … lost passports – no way!
The Covid test centre was rather interesting: efficient but a little worrying at the same time. We were asked to take seats in the two rows of chairs labelled “voyagers”. No problem … except that these chairs were placed immediately next to two more rows for those people who were … symptomatic! Welcome to Covid Central! I would also say that never before have we had such brutal nasal swaps – the nurse had either had a bad day or been instructed to take small brain samples as well.
But here we are now, finally ready to leave. Everything has been checked (and fixed), provisions bought and stored, meals pre-cooked for most of the passage (what are we going to do with our spare time?), negative Covid tests received, and passports retrieved. Today we throw off the lines, say “goodbye” to Tahiti and start out on our next 2,200-mile passage. To be totally honest, I’m a little anxious as she’s such a large yacht and it’s nearly 15 months since I was last at sea, but I’m sure those worries will all fade away once we get back out into the vast open ocean and the starry, starry nights.
New Zealand: here we come… See you in 14 days or so.