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Home / Newsletters / Newsletter May 2020
Home / Newsletters / Newsletter May 2020

Newsletter May 2020

GYHC Commodore's Logbook May 2020

Wow - I do realise that the last time I pulled together something for our monthly Newsletter was February 2020. So much has happened since then! Personally, life has kept me busy and on Saturday 29 February, I flew to Sri Lanka to undertake what became an epic yacht delivery, from Sri Lanka to Italy via the Suez Canal; well, that was the plan, anyway.

When I left New Zealand, the only consideration I had for Covid-19 was to purchase a highly price-inflated bottle of hand sanitizer for my journey, I actually missed that boat; as apparently it was in high demand. As the delivery trip unfolded, it quickly became apparent that the pandemic was gripping Europe at speed and one of my priority tasks was to assess the options for our ultimate destination. In simple terms, we (the yacht and crew) had a list of 'essential and desirable needs', and those needs were becoming difficult to satisfy, and included the ability to (1) change the crew, (2) have sustainable logistical support, (3) gain right of Entry into the host nation and (4) have the ability to leave that host nation, and so, changing the crew was very dependent on many factors. To cut a long story short, we eventually made landfall in Valencia, Spain and after some careful diplomatic level discussions I was permitted to enter Spain and allowed to fly back to New Zealand to encounter a nation that was in total lockdown, Level 4.

I reckon that I could deliver a presentation on this adventure, should the levels of interest demand the opportunity. Maybe a task for a Winter evening in the Club?

But that was then, and we are now in the now, and we're definitely coming out the other end - and there are clear skies after the front has passed through. I appreciate, many have experienced hardships along the way, and I was very thankful that Gulf Harbour was my port of refuge during the Lockdown period. And here are the jewels of the now, as last Saturday (30 May) saw the first race of a fleet of nine on the water, glad to be out and enjoying our wonderful waters. I must acknowledge the wonderful team who planned, procedurally prepared and executed the essential and regulatory processes to ensure the safety of our members and participating sailors on and off the water.

The trick now, is to maintain our individual and team self-discipline, by adhering to the current COVID-19 relaxations and restrictions and finding a way to make it all work as we figure out the new state of normal. I suggest that we must continue to actively shape our new normal.

I wish you the very best for the Winter season, and the forthcoming Summer season.

Best regards, John Butcher.

Commodore, GHYC

Sailing Committee News

Get ready to go racing

Sign up now for the GHYC/WBC Winter Series, a chance to get out and enjoy some exhilarating racing in the beautiful waters south of the Yacht Club. This year there is a 'no extras' category too.

The NOR/SIs are on the GHYC website and Series entries close Tuesday 9 June 1600hrs.

Until we are advised otherwise there are some additional Covid-19 related requirements that are also on the website.


The Winter Cruising fleet have already hit the water with more entries than last year.

Nine boats took to the water, sailing one of the new courses added in this year. Well done to Share Delight for line honours and handicap win.

Looking for crew?? We have new and prospective members looking for crewing positions. Some are experienced crew while others have some sailing but no racing experience. If there are skippers out there who can offer a place to one of these keen new crew, please email .

Mystery Location

Do you know the name of this bay?

Answer at the bottom........

News from the Social Committee

We are delighted we can resume Friday evening activities with quizzes, themed evenings, a music night, a pub games night and other ways to entertain you as we head into Winter. Monthly Sunday afternoon guest speaker get-togethers are also being arranged, including an always popular Wine Tasting presentation. More details will follow soon but kicking off we have:

Friday 12 June

QUIZ NIGHT - The perfect event when people need to be seated come as a team or join up with others on the night teams of 8 battle it out for 'brainiest' bragging rights. Entry $5 per person

Meals will be served at the tables and booking is essential, either phone or email your selection to the office

PHOTO COMPETITION display your best lockdown pictures of 'AUTUMN' and be in to win a $20 Club Voucher. Entries must have been taken in the last six months. Submit prints, minimum size 4" x 6" (100 x 150mm) at $2 each, to the office by Thursday 11 June. The winner will be selected by members at the Quiz Night

Friday 26 June - Matariki Dinner

Wednesday 12 August - AGM. Put the date in your diary now

House News

It is great to have the Club open for business again and it was really nice on the opening evening to welcome so many members for a meal and catch-up with friends. We were delighted to see everyone abiding by the new way of operating under Level 2 restrictions, and look forward to fewer regulations in the near future.

If everyone carries on supporting the club great things can happen!

During Level 4 the only visits to the Club were to check that everything was safe & secure. At Level 3 there were some repairs that needed to be completed and removal of some dead trees that didn't make it through the long hot summer. Meet our very own 'Straw Man' and the battle of Richard vs Nikau

Strawman aka John Allemann

Richard battling the palm tree

Sue, Sam, Emily & Ian came in to give a really good deep clean and tidy-up in the kitchen and bar, and Miles has prepared boats and buoys for winter racing.

Regular Club opening hours have resumed with contact tracing and the 'be seated' rule in place until we are advised otherwise. As a licenced premises we have to observe the three 'S's policy be Seated, tables Separated and table Service. Judy will be in the office on Mon, Wed & Fri from 1000 1300. For everything else please email

Welcome to new members: Mike McGlone who owns a C & C Landfall 48 named Aldabaran and Stephanie Lowe and her partner Bruce Hilliard.

Quiz Number 5 : Questions Part 1

1...The wind direction is NE and it backs 90°. What is its new direction?

2...What does WGS 84 stand for?

3...How high should a distress rocket go?

4...What does LINZ stand for?

5...How often are Notices to Mariners published?

6...Where are 'small corrections' noted on a chart?

7...If you are serving alcohol on your vessel, what licence do you need?

8...If I load a weight on the (on deck) centreline of my boat, what happens to the boat's Centre of Gravity and Centre of Buoyancy?

9...When on watch at night you see a flashing light at regular intervals coming from the land. What should be your first reaction?

10...What do the letters EBL and VRM mean when using a radar set?

Answers at the bottom.............

Airflow below

By Mike Pignéguy

Flush fitting hatches started as a trend many years ago now and they quickly become very popular to the point that I have not seen a new boat built without one for a very long time. Sure, they do look good and sleek and are easy to operate, especially those fitted with an interior sliding blind and insect netting. And, when opened, they can really scoop a good volume of fresh air in as the vast majority of them are fitted facing forward.

All goes well until you get some spray on deck or it starts to rain. Then it's a quick rush around the boat to close the deck hatches and side cabin windows. Something we've all had to do on many an occasion.

Somehow the designers of these wonderful hatches forgot about spray and rain, but someone did remember as the vast majority of them are fitted with the opening facing forward, just to ensure that any wet stuff on deck very quickly found its way on to your bunk!

This is called 'advancement in yacht design'.

Now here's the bit about the 'good old days and when I was a boy'!

All the boats that I sailed on in the 1950s and 60s had beautiful wooden hatches that opened facing aft. Then two triangular side flaps fitted with hinges to the opening lid, used to drop down so that the lid could rest on them at an angle of about 20 degrees. The hatch could then be left open, especially when at anchor, without fear of any incursion by water and allowing a good flow of fresh air. The more expensive types were also fitted with a double coaming around the hatch opening, a further insurance to keep any water on deck from getting down below. There were also other fittings that could be fitted on the hatch lid such as a porthole and ventilator.

A very simple, effective, practical and good-looking design.

Our Beneteau is fitted with the aforementioned flush fitting hatches of course. It became very apparent to me early on as to how inefficient they were when we spent some time cruising in Tonga. Most days we would have absolutely beautiful weather of course, but on many occasions, these were followed by very humid nights with a good dollop of rain. So, in the middle of the night, there had to be a mad scramble to hurriedly close every hatch and side window to prevent everything getting a good soaking. As we were at anchor and bow to wind, the only opening that could be left open was the access to the cockpit. Meanwhile we had to sweat it out until the rain stopped. Needless to say that after a few nights of this I was longing for the hatches of my boyhood!

As I really did not have the necessary woodworking skills to build the hatches of old to fit onto Zuben's coach-roof, I designed an airflow unit that would fit over the top of the current flush hatches while they could left open.

While facing forward, it allows air, but not water, to enter the unit which then goes down the open hatch and into the cabin below. I built a prototype using a sheet of 8mm construction ply, a few short lengths of three-quarter rounds, some glue and screws. It was so effective that I just gave it more coats of paint and it became a permanent fitting. Apart from when actually sailing, the flush fitting hatch always remains open, and even in the heaviest rain no water has made it into the cabin.

I've only had to make one change over the years as Dee said that she missed being able to look at the stars while lying in bed, but with the airflow unit over the hatch that was not possible. So it was out with the jigsaw and I cut a hole in the top and fitted a clear piece of 'polysomething' over it so we can have a clear view of the night sky while enjoying a cooling breeze coming into the cabin.

If you want to check it out to see if it would be suitable for your boat, just give me a call on 027 33 88 248.

Cheers, Mike Pigneguy

Quiz Number 5 Answers Part 1

1. Wind backs in an anti-clockwise direction, so new direction would be coming from the NW.

2. World Geodetic System 1984. It is the US Department of Defence definition of a global reference system for geospatial information and is a reference system for GPS. To be fully compatible for accurate navigation, both your GPS and chart should be on this datum.

3. Up to 300m. Should be visible up to 10nm in daylight and 40nm in darkness. Should burn for 40-60 seconds.

4 .Land Information New Zealand

5. Every two weeks, in hard copy from licensed chart retailers, by email, also on LINZ website

6. Bottom left hand corner. 2016/33 would mean the 33rd small correction of the year 2016.

7. A Manager's Licence and Licence Controller Qualification (LCQ) issued by the Auckland City Council

8. The C of G (centre of gravity) will rise up towards the position of the loaded weight. With an increase in draft the C of B (centre of buoyancy) will move to the new geometric centre of the vessel's changed underwater volume.

9. Check the light's characteristics (by counting the number of flashes and time between them) and then identify it on a chart.

10. EBL: Electronic bearing line. VRM: Variable range marker

Answer to Mystery Anchorage : Miner's Head Cove on Great Barrier Island

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Last updated 09:19 on 20 February 2024

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