Category Archives: New Zealand


Update from QUIXOTIC Refit Central

Ahoy mates!  It’s been way too long since the last update so here’s a short update on refit progress and some pics. Despite the fact that we were running out of money a year ago, somehow the boat is being treated to a full refit, while we survive on beans and rice… ah, priorities of the brainwashed bluewater sailors. Well, the good news is the boat is going to be sailing out of New Zealand in incredible shape!

Our refit policy is simple: anything we are replacing has to last 10+ years.  The 10 year rule is what changed my mind about rebuilding the engines. A rebuild would have bought us another 3-5 years but even if they were still running well, after that long I would have been constantly worried about when (not if) they were going to have a major failure. When I was in the engine compartment staring at yet another leaking seal on the saildrive I made the decision to completely repower.  I managed to play the exchange rate and take advantage of the strong dollar and also utilize our duty-free import status to source new engines from Australia.  We are replacing the entire power package from prop to saildrive to engine to control panel.  We are even running new fuel lines, exhaust hoses, intake hoses, strainers, anti-siphons, waterlocks, etc. The engine compartments are going to look amazing and QUIXOTIC is going to be an even more incredible and reliable catamaran. The engines were released from customs today and we haul out on the slipway this weekend. We plan to do all the work ourselves and utilize our boom crane for the engine swap.

I spent the past few weeks removing all our stanchions and cleaning up all the bases on the boat that were damaged in the cyclone. We have shipped all the stainless bow pulpits, pushpits and stanchions down to Auckland for passivization and electropolishing. We’ve been told they will never be “nice and rust-free” due to the Fijian welding tactics but we will try to get them into decent shape so they last a few years until we can afford to commission new stainless.

The past two days Alyssa and I have cut almost every zip tie on the boat and pulled every single last wire that was underwater during the cyclone. We have also removed all the old diesel fuel lines that were hard and cracking. New fuel lines have been run. New racor filters and control valves are in. The port side has all new electrical wiring with a simplified system that cut out 150 lbs of wire: we ran two 8-gauge wires to each cabin where we installed fuse boxes. From these fuse boxes we spider out small 18-gauge wire to all the LED lights and 16-gauge to the fans in the cabins. It’s an elegantly simple setup that we are pretty happy with.

We are on the dock this week so I removed the windlass and am doing a major service. It’s getting new oil seals, bearings, fluid, and the electric motor is being professionally serviced. Once back together it should provide many years of reliable service.

Let’s see, what else…the heads have all been rebuilt and the starboard side has all new plumbing. New Italian faucets in the heads. Oh, and something the Mermaid is extremely excited about: her NEW OVEN!  That’s right, her early birthday present was a new Italian ENO oven. See pic below for a happy Mermaid Princess.  I installed and painted a custom shelf below the oven. It looks incredible and should last us a very long time; not to mention it was arguably more a present to myself because there are going to be some amazing baked goods coming out of that bad boy!  We also ran new LPG lines and sensors back in Fiji so the system is completed now.

Ok, so that was perhaps not a “short” update but that should give you a good idea of what we’ve been up to.  I’ll post some pics of the pretty new engines once we get ‘em in.

Wish us luck on the swap.


Lewis & Alyssa

Opua, New Zealand

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Exploring Urupukapuka Island, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Another awesome sail to Urupukapuka Island this weekend. The bay was packed with boats out enjoying the warm weather on Boxing Day (26th). Although we found the weather refreshingly cool, the locals were in swimwear and all had a cold beverage of choice in hand. Alyssa and I dropped the hook off Urupukapuka Island for some hiking and relaxation. The bay was gorgeous and packed with boats, the hiking spectacular and the sunset stunning. I’ll let the pics below speak for themselves…

Christmas was an excellent day shared with good friends, amazing food and libations. Thanks again for coming over guys! 

Stay tuned for a few posts announcing the launch of our new charter website! Click on the link below for a sneak peak of: !  Book soon to lock in your discounted opening-season rates!


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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! and a Special Thank You

Happy holiday’s from Quixotic and her crew!  Hope everyone is taking some time to relax and enjoy being with friends and family. Alyssa and I are in New Zealand this holiday season and will be spending Santa day with some good cruising friends aboard Quixotic. Our tree is slowly dying so it must be almost time to open presents. Thanks to our family for sending us some holiday cheer to put in and under our tree!

We wish you all well. Thanks for being our friends and helping us to accomplish all that we have this year. It’s been awesome to watch our dream of owning a catamaran come true inside of a year (I never would have guessed it possible). The work is far from over as we are still in the midst of refitting her, but we’re close and she is coming along nicely. Her port side now has new wiring, lights, fans, shower sump, new fixtures, rebuilt heads and some have even said it’s ready for guests. In early January I will pull her engines to strip, bore and carefully rebuild them.

I have also been meaning to make a post to thank all those who helped with bringing Quixotic back to life. We could not have done it alone and those who helped are greatly appreciated. Even those who were hired really poured heart and dedication into the project – thank you. We did it guys, she’s back, so thank you very much for all the hard work.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from beautiful New Zealand!

I want to say thank you to:

Alsace Miller and his awesome team of fiberglass guys: Rodney, Natani and the rest of the team. Guys – she took a beating and all the glass work held up to the southern ocean – you can all be very proud of the Fijian repair work!
Rotesh and Simi – our welders – thanks guys, the rig stayed up where it should be thanks to you!
Jolene at Waitui Marina in Savusavu for all her support, help and guidance. Sorry for being such a pain Jolene!
Savusavu marina – Robin, Layla, Benny and other cruisers there
Bruce Harbour (aka The Pirate) for tipping us off to Quixotic and all the help along the way. Thanks man; you helped make our dream come true. 
Ed and Nila for selling us their home of 20 years and believing that we were the best people to bring Quixotic back to her former glory. 
Chris and Monica Glubka for their financial support and friendship
Sanjay – for giving the port engine a freshwater and then diesel bath and getting it running initially after its two-week underwater excursion
Hans at List Marine in Sausalito for the diesel advice and parts list for bringing the port engine back from the dead
Jono and Jarnie of Encore – thanks for bringing us the critical foam core
Allan and Rina, Alyssa parents for bringing spares and the two weeks of Fijian labor of love and all their support
Danielle and David, my Mom and her husband, for carrying hundreds of pounds of spares to Fiji and all their love and support. 
Dave and Wendy of Elysium for their help fixing our watermaker and always being there for us
Rich and Charlie at CruiseRO watermakers for enabling the watermaker fix to happen
The guys at Husseins Hardware (especially Ratu) in Savusavu for putting up with us every day and getting us the parts we needed.
The Gokul painting team (Bob) for downing that milk and spraying all that two-pack paint on the interior and exterior. 
Mahendra and Mitun – our main taxi drivers for running us all over town every day
Binla – our taxi driver from Labasa for driving across the island to bring that critical drum of epoxy right when we needed it
Arun of Taste of Paradise restaurant for bring us dinner every other night so we didn’t starve while working late nights in the workshop.
Kurt Roll of Eleutheria “Ellie” for helping with the engine install and for buying Ellie!
Craig Chalker of True Blue V for helping with the engine install, the launch and all the support
Kay at Voyage Yachts for fielding all my questions and not getting annoyed at me
Jeff and Jose of Stravaig for the advice and guidance on the rebuild and for the support
Mark of Karma for looking over my shoulder and speaking up when he saw me making a potential mistake. Thanks man – the belts are properly tensioned now
Jim of Intention for being a friend and allowing us to buy all his spare fiberglass materials. His v-berth was like our west marine!
Brian and Liz of Pura Vida for hauling the engine parts for the rebuild all the way to New Zealand.
Our friends Glenn and Debbie of Beach Access for helping with the launch and bringing the much-needed margaritas!
And to the amazing blonde mermaid for her amazing support and all her tremendous help. She was never afraid to get grease under her fingernails while working on the engines or getting fiberglass dust on her arms while running electrical. For believing we could do it and for always standing by my side. Merry Christmas!
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Sailing & Hiking the Bay of Islands, New Zealand – Moturua Island – PICS!

The Bay of Islands is a spectacularly beautiful place and a sailing playground. There are hundreds of islands and numerous anchorages on each. White sand beaches fringe the coves and lush, forested, tall islands rise up from the green and turquoise waters. Dolphins visit our anchorage and also play in our wake while under way. The only sounds you hear are of birds in the hills and fish jumping. There are nature preserves to hike and rocky points to explore in the kayak. What a cool place we found to hide out during the southern hemisphere cyclone season!

Our friends Brian and Liz are here visiting. You may remember that they bought our previous boat – Pura Vida. They are taking a break from their excruciating full-time jobs of sailing Pura Vida in Mexico. We are all having a blast and it’s been great catching up with them and taking turns exaggerating about our respective sailing adventures.

Alyssa has been playing Super Woman, New Zealand edition. By day she is working in a yacht chandlery (boat parts shop) and by night she is aboard entertaining us all and whipping up amazing meals. It’s exhausting just watching but somehow the woman summons up the energy and is loving it all. She even decided to ‘up the ante’ and in a couple weeks will start working at the local cafe for a couple days a week…..something about them letting her do some baking…

Here are some pictures of the past week. You’ll notice that the geography here is reminiscent of the California coast but with a bit of South Pacific beaches, foliage and sea-life thrown in – a combination that works very well.

Salud from the Bay of Islands, NZ!

- Lewis, Alyssa, Brain & Liz 

Anchored off Paihia. Maori war canoe paddling past and chanting during breakfast - very cool!
Anchored off Paihia. Maori war canoe paddling past and chanting during breakfast – very cool!
Brian; very happy to be back on a boat!
Brian; very happy to be back on a boat!

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Hmmm... I wonder why the anchor won't set?!?!....
Hmmm… I wonder why the anchor won’t set?!?!….
....and then we pulled up a shell - stuck perfectly on the point of the anchor!  We were dragging this shell through the sand!
….and then we pulled up a shell – stuck perfectly on the point of the anchor! We were dragging this shell through the sand!
Alyssa taking note of the awesome private estate tucked in the trees behind our anchorage.....we think we'll build a miniature scale model on our property in Fiji
Alyssa taking note of the awesome private estate tucked in the trees behind our anchorage…..we think we’ll build a miniature scale model on our property in Fiji
Brielle, (my Niece) look! Dolphins!!
Brielle, (my Niece) look! Dolphins!!

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When you need a xmas tree and there aren't any tree farms around you get creative... with a sawzall
When you need a Xmas tree and there aren’t any tree farms around you get creative… with a sawzall
Found it!
Found it!
The happy Mermaid gets her first NZ Cook Island Pine Xmas tree!
The happy Mermaid gets her first NZ Cook Island Pine Xmas tree!



Exploring Historic Russell – the (ex) Hell Hole of the Pacific…

After ordering the engine parts we decided to sail over to nearby Russell. We only had one engine which made leaving the dock an exciting experience. The wind and current were conspiring against us but with Alyssa in the dinghy pushing the port stern we made it off without incident. We motor-sailed into Pomare Bay and dropped the hook at the entrance to Oronga Bay in nine feet of water. The view was beautiful with green hills surrounded by tall pines with homes tucked away in the trees. The bay was not crowded and we enojyed some peace and quiet for the first time since leaving Fiji – quite refreshing. The next day we took the dinghy into Russell and moored at the Russell Boat Club. Russell has quite the history. It was once known as the “Hell Hole of the Pacific.” Thanks in large part to the drunken American whalers who frequented the bay to re-provision and enjoy the local Maori “talent.” It was also the first European settlement in New Zealand. We enjoyed walking the museum and learning all about the colorful past of this beautiful little seaside town. After taking in some history we strolled the waterfront and enjoyed a delicious seafood lunch at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel. We like Russell – perhaps we can make it a home base for the summer.

While enjoying lunch Alyssa got a call about a job at the marine chandlery in Opua. So we made our way back to the boat, raised sail, pulled anchor and slowly (one engine) made our way back up the river to Opua to drop hook behind a gorgeous little island adorned with pine trees. Legend has it that a local farmer planted one pine for each of his children; I count five. It’s a great view from our ‘backyard.’ 

We are looking forward to receiving our engine parts later this week. We should have two working engines by the weekend. Just in time; our friends Brian and Liz arrive this weekend. We plan to head out and explore the Bay of Islands with them – it should be a blast!

Here are some pictures of the recent explorations. Hiking near Opua; Q anchored in Orongo Bay; the cool town of Russell; and our current anchorage in Opua. Cheers

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