Teddy Bear's Holiday

By Rob Kellock - Christchurch, New Zealand


It was summer time and the Teddys decided they would like to go away, not for just a picnic! They wanted to go on a real holiday, an adventurous holiday, a sailing holiday. Their owners weren't too enthusiastic until they discovered that they could take lots of photos of us having our adventure.

Loaded up at the garage

The 6 hour trip from Christchurch to Abel Tasman National Park was cold and wet and we didn't enjoy it much. All our owners could do was take photos of us in the back seat of the car. The windows leaked on the driver's side so we didn't like sitting there. The blankets helped a lot.

Us in the backseat

When we got to our destination we had to help bail out the boat which ended up with 6 inches of water in the bottom. Here's a picture of our owners bailing the boat out for us.

Bailing out

The next day we started early to catch the morning tide. My owner's Dad was concerned that we would arrive too late and miss the tide. We didn't care and we were right. There was lots of water to float our little craft and somebody who owned a Stevenson Weekender gave us a hand taking the car to the secure lockup.

Soon we were on the water. Wheee! Conditions were good. My owner's Dad even put up a poytarp jib to try and get some more windward ability. It worked too, but then he figured that we could get to our destination faster if we went around the OUTSIDE of the Astrolabe Islands because there was more wind out there. We did a big tack to more than 5kms offshore. The Dad even joked that if we kept going we would reach Nelson, but, as Marahau started to retreat below the horizon we got scared.

Heading offshore

Eventually the Dad tacked back, but either the jib or swell resulted in very little progress to windward and we weren't getting anywhere, so we took the sails down and fired up the Yamaha 2hp outboard motor. Now we were going places! We motored through a channel between the two islands and then up between the islands and the mainland. We had to get around an exposed headland to our safe harbour. The Stevenson Weekender had already warned us it could get rough there – he called it the Mad Mile. It certainly was. With the outboard at maximum revs we only just managed to overtake a double kayak! However the Dad has learned a thing or two since he's been sailing our Philsboat and every time he saw a big wave coming he would meet it at a 20 degree angle so that we didn't pound too badly. A couple of breaking waves nearly came into the cabin, but luckily they broke harmlessly on the foredeck and ran off. Just as well because we really don't like salt water.

After having to refuel out there we managed to get into Torrent Bay's estuary. What a beautiful place that was. There were a lot of other trailer-sailers there too, but we were by far the littlest as you can see.

Torrent Bay's estuary

The Dad had heard of a cool anchoring scheme that in theory means you should never get wet. He tried it out for the first time at Torrent Bay and it worked quite well, especially on a small light boat like Philsboat. We stayed in tents on shore, because there was no way six of us (Mum, Dad, two kids and two teddys) plus four days of supplies could all sleep on a little 14' 5” boat.

Anchored in Torrent Bay

We stayed in Torrent Bay for two nights and had a fun time. When we arrived it was raining, but we discovered that the 113 sq ft polytarp junk rig made a great kitchen tarpulin. We cooked under that while the other campers got wet – hah hah. Boat camping is great for us. You can take in lots of heavy gear and food that other trampers are unable to carry. If it weren't for the boat we would have had to stay home to save on pack weight.

Junk rigged kitchen cover

Next day we motored in the early morning up to Falls River. Our short length and shallow draft mean't we were able to go up the river as far as the swing bridge. Power boaties do this regularly, we believe, but we wouldn't like to try it in a 25ft trailer-sailer. In safe calm situations like this our owners like to sit up on the foredeck where they get a great view. We unfortunately have to stay in the cabin.

Falls River

From Falls River we ran with the wind past Torrent River to Observation Beach. The run was great. What had taken all day previously with outboard motor assistance, took less than two hours, with the wind behind us. We skimmed past an island that had seal pups lounging on it. The Dad got almost too close and we narrowly avoided hitting a rock. Then it was through the Mad Mile which wasn't nearly so bad today. The water taxis zoomed past us backwards and forwards and everybody gave us a friendly wave. Here's a photo of us entering the Mad Mile, with Seal Island in the background.

Entering the Mad Mile, with Seal Island in the background

Observation Beach proved to be a bit of a challenge for the Dad. It shelves very steeply into deep water and the tidal rise and fall was about 3 metres. Earlier commentators at Torrent Bay suggested that his anchoring line lengths were excessive, but at Observation Beach he used the entire 50 metre length to keep the boat off the rocky shore. The ropes securing the boat had to be tied off near the tents in the foreground.

Observation Beach

In this photo you can see the islands that the Dad thought he could sail around the outside of into the wind on the first day, instead of going up the channel like everybody else.

Observation Beach at Low Tide

On the final day we motored back to the haul-out spot at Marahau across tidal flats that had large stingrays resting on the bottom in crystal clear water. My owners sat on the foredeck, while the Dad sat right up on the upper deck and steered using a rope tied to the tiller with his foot. We don't think this is the best steering station location and we expect that one day he will get tipped off into the water, but we are surprised how stable Philsboat is with weight up high.

At the haulout a couple of water taxi drivers introduced themselves. It quickly became obvious that they had been keeping an eye on us. The first said “Did you enjoy your four day adventure?”. Of course! The second said “It goes pretty well doesn't it?.” The Dad thought they might have seen us motoring, so he replied with another question “Motoring or sailing?” “Both!” was the answer.

Cabin Interior

Here are some video clips of Philsboat sailing:



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