Jim & Aaron McConchie have gone Tropo...

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Departed Opua NZ
8th June 2003

Arrived home to HMB 
10th Nov 2003


Rampart departed Opua in company with two other boats on Sunday 8th June 2003 on an Island Cruising Association Rally to Kandavu, Fiji. The rest of the fleet were waiting for better conditions, we were just keen to get going.

The Crew were Barbara Pynenburg, Rod McIntosh, Aaron & Jim McConchie.

On the second night out at about midnight we were approaching a couple of sets of nav lights and the conditions were 25-30 knots with 2 m seas on the nose (motor sailing - doing what Ramps does best ) so got onto the VHF cahnnel 16 to check that we were not going between a couple of pair fishing boats. One was a yacht from our rally the other was the Tri "Tri Pegasus Tri" out of Auckland. They commented that they were all feeling a bit seedy and lo & behold Taupo Maritime boomed in to ask if they required assistance. They were so clear and we were 200 Nm off the coast - very impressive. They acknowledged that they were okay and we meet up with them in Musket Cove a few weeks later.

Aaron kept in touch with friends and family and these are published just as he sent them as "First Mate's Logs" along with photo sessions I hope you enjoy browsing through or trip. My daughter Leane maintained the web site during our trip and set up the narration.

We enjoyed it - but have since sold Rampart and swollowed the anchor.. till the next boat...!!!


If you follow this link you will reach the First Mate's Log - Chapter 1.

If you follow this link you will reach some photos Photos's.   

If you follow this link you will reach the First Mate's Log - Chapter 2.

Jim and Aaron survived their journey to the antarctic weather in Taupo and Auckland - got in a few days on the mountain and caught up with the "Smiths" at the family reunion.   Depth Sounder was fixed in Auckland (after a journey to Opua) and several bags of additional supplies returned to Fiji with them on the 9th of August.

Celeste flew back with them and from the brief report back, they have enjoyed great weather as they took Ramps up the Yasawas to Blue Lagoon.  Let's just hope Aaron didn't meet a Brooke Shields look alike - although we wouldn't put anything past him!

They have now returned to Vuda Point Marina (just out of Lautoka) to get a few more supplies and will no doubt be heading back to the $3 bar at Musket Cove soon.  We look forward to another update to the First Mate's Log ..... soon.

Rampart and its crew of two have left Fijian waters and are heading for Port Vila in Vanuatu as we speak.

At 6pm Monday evening they were at 17:50S 171:30E, heading 257 deg magnetic and are motorsailing at a speed of 7 knots in 10 knots of breeze coming from the South West.  Both little sailors are coping well and are enjoying the trip.  

The trip from musket Cove to port Vila is around 508 NM and at this stage they have travelled just over 325 NM since Saturday lunchtime so only have 185 NM to go.  They are expected into Vila on Tuesday afternoon - just in time for Jim to shout Aaron a big juicy steak for his birthday (not!).

They had an eventful last week in Musket Cove Week with over 70 other boats and early reports suggest that Rampart was one hell of a party boat!

If you follow this link you will reach the First Mate's Log - Chapter 3.

We have also updated the photos page and will be putting Aaron and Jim's progess to Vanuatu on the website from the 13th so check out the website then!

Of course, they are still not floating around in the Pacific Ocean - they arrived in at Port Vila around 6pm Tuesday evening having had a boring trip with the motor going pretty much the whole way.

However, they managed to pass a number of boats (that had no motors) which is a first for the old girl and crew. 

Rampart successfully won a trip for two around the main island and a pedicure - so Jim has arranged for the day trip when Christine is up there however has had to use the pedicure already (and got a manicure as well - very nice!) so we can just imagine that Jim is the height of style in the apres boating scene!

Aaron has also sent down a stack of photos which you can see on photos page 2.

Next update will probably be on Christine's return which is in a couple of weeks.  Ramps 5 1/2 month journey is nearing it's last few months - the boys are due back early-mid November just in time for a summer of sailing in Hauraki waters - just doesn't have the same appeal does it?

If you follow this link you will reach the First Mate's Log - Chapter 4.

Hi everyone, well Rampart attempted to set sail for Tame island on Saturday however was met with 40 knot winds and 4 m seas - so they have opted to go back to Port Vila, Vanuatu for another pedicure and will attempt to leave at lunchtime on Tuesday 21st October.

Christine had a great time up in the islands with the boys - fabulous weather, easy seas but no photos - so unfortunately the photos that Aaron mentioned in his latest First Mate's Log - Chapter 5 have not eventuated - very slack considering they have nothing else to do.

Given they are heading off a couple of days later than expected they will not be going to Tame Island and instead barrelling straight through New Caledonia (oui oui - tres femme a la francais pour Aaron).

Now they only have about three weeks until they arrive back on our sandy shores - can you believe that it has been almost 5 months since they left?!?!?! and they soon will both come crashing down to reality and find real jobs!!!!!

Oh, well - will try to update once they get to New Cal - given it is only a three day journey there will be no riveting maps this time.

The boys have hit New Caledonia/Noumea after motoring all the way as there was no wind to start and then 20+ knots on the nose for the last night and day... However, they did manage to have a nice sail for the last 15 miles from the canal and arrived in Noumea at 1830 on Thursday 23rd October

For the most recent adventures check out the First mate's log - Chapter 6 and photos 4 .

They plan to leave Noumea on the 3rd or 4th of November with Rod and Lew (who are flying up next weekend) and should be home the folowing weekend!  Wow, five and a half months have sure flown by.......

We are hoping to track Team Rampart back down to NZ so keep an eye on the website every other day - hard to believe that it is only about 9 sleeps until they are home!!!!!

1 Nov 2003 - Well, it is soon time for the boys and Rampart to bid farewell to the french isles of Noumea and head home to NZ.  Rod and Lew, the brave extra crew, are flying out on Sunday to join up with Ramps and they intend to leave Noumean waters on Monday or Tuesday (depending on the weather).  Aaron has sent another e-mail so you can check out First mate's log - Chapter 7 and he has sent a special message down to say a big thanks to Kris Wilkinson for letting us use the underwater shots on the website BIIIIIG KISSSSESS, and she didn't even charge us, phewwwww, anyway thanks kris.

3 Nov 2003 - 22 16' 00" S  166 27' 00" E Dist to go  980.7 NM
They are off, text message received around lunchtime today to say that they are on their way home - only 981 nautical miles back to Half Moon marina.

4 Nov 2003 - 24 56' 00" S   167 24' 00" E Dist to go 812.9 NM
Well they are on there way and travelling at 7-8 knots in 25-30 knots of wind.  All on the boat are okay.  Will update again on Thursday.

6 Nov 2003 - 30 00' 00" S  168 03' 00" E  Dist to go 535.4 NM
Travelling 7.1 knots in 15 knot easterlies heading 128 magnetic with the wind turning to the north (so right behind them) tomorrow. 

8 Nov 2003 - 33 46' 00" S  172 13' 00" E  Dist to go 188.2 NM
All okay , travelling 109 at only 4.2 knots (running out of diesel but hope to make it into Opua to refill).  At 8pm they were one degree latitude north of Cape Reinga.

9 Nov 2003 - 35 19' 00" S  174 07' 00" E  Dist to go 110.0 NM
Jim called to say they were leaving Opua at around 6.30pm having cleared customs and filling up on Diesel and sizzlers.  They expect to be in at Half Moon Bay at around 4pm on Monday 10th.

10 Nov 2003 - Boys arrived at HMB at 1430 hrs

Chart Noumea to Opua

Noumea to Opua 960 Nm used 630 litres and took 148.5 hours at an average of 6.5 knots - had to motor sail as we had strong  headwinds on leaving Noumea and headed south west to pass to the west of Norfolk Island and catch some northerlies behind the high. Unfortunately these did not come to much so we just kept on motor sailing. Put spinnaker up at the Nine Pins entering Bay of Islands and turned the motor off to conserve fuel.

Thanks to Customs Opua for ferrying out a 20 litre  container of Diesel so that Ramps could motor into Opua Marina safely.....


To see a map of Trip up to Fiji click here