Well I say - let anyone check except Dopey.
We all know what happened last time he played with the computer.
All the emails were lost.   So anyone can check except him.


Well how are you?   It seems like only the other day - that we wrote to you - and here we are again.   I'm going to have start apologising though, to a few friends - that I owe personal letters to - here and across the world - and I hope you'll just be patient with Penny and I - until I can catch up.   You can see that it takes quite a while to 'throw together' an email like this - and sadly both Penny and I are chasing our tails (and she's got a better chance of catching hers) - but I promise - that sometime soon I will write personally to everyone I owe a letter to.
And as you all know - my biggest problem is not replying - it's keeping the replies short - which I just don't know how to do - I always like to write a proper and special letter.
Excuses - excuses - we don't want excuses - we want action.   So come on Penny 'act'.
Sorry - she's still sitting in front of her new heater - and refuses to budge.
It was a pretty cold and overcast weekend - Saturday was quite breezy - and the usual small group of racers were zigzagging across the bay and through the 'fleet' all day.   These sailboats are unusual in that when they get going - they lift completely out of the water, riding on a hydrofoil fin - and literally 'flying' above the water.
But come Sunday - while still pretty cold and overcast - it was very calm - and there was little excuse for not doing some plating around the hull - which has been aborted due to inclement weather or visits - for quite a few Sundays now.   So - young Johnno the 17 year old shipyard apprentice - was on standby - to see how the day appeared - and I SMS'd him at 9 o'clock - that it was AOK for plating - and to be at the shipyard dock at 10am.   In the hope that if the bay stayed flat - we might be able to get a couple of the 2m long stainless belt plates on the hull.
How he got started smoking, I don't know - but as a 30 year smoker - now 3 years given up - myself - you can imagine that I have given him all the advice I can about the evils of getting hooked on smoking.   There is no way that he can afford (money or healthwise) to be smoking.
And then another one of my 'thru the binoculars' shots - of exactly what we saw.
Now I said to Johnno - 'Remind me to get some photos of putting on the plates - so that people can see I'm actually doing something' - and what have we got to show for it - NOTHIN - not a single photo was taken during the days work.
One of the main problems being - that once I start down in the runabout to put a plate up on the side - then my fingers and hands become covered with Sikaflex sealant and the loads of Turps that I use to clean up all the Sika from around the bolts and plates for an hour or two - and there is just no way I can possibly handle the camera at all.   But I never once thought - after I'd gotten started to tell Johnno to grab the camera - and take some shots.
And then - after the plate was done and finished - I decided to go right around the yacht and scrape off all the weed growth and barnacles that have already grown - right along the inches of the waterline area - while Johnno taped up again over any of the still exposed bolt holes where plates haven't gone on - and the tape has blown off.    We then removed a couple of small steel plates that were bolted thru the hull - where ropes are tied the length of the hull for me to hang on to - and replaced them with SS eyebolts.
The end result was one plate on - and a number of outside jobs done.   I can't believe - that in just 9 months since the yacht was anti-fouled - and lauched - there is a cover of small barnacles and larger clumps too - over almost the entire underwater hull.    The yacht will not be slipped until who knows when again - if ever.
It is too big for the yards here, weighing 76 tons - and would have to go to Sydney Harbour or Wollongong - if it had to ever come out of the water.   The most practical thing at present - is for me to scuba dive the hull - and using a special 'Rodney designed' patented scraper - to spend a day or 2 - underwater - cleaning it off - probably in the warmer days of summer.
This is what I did about once each 12 months with the previous yacht while I was cruising and living on it.   I remember doing it for an entire day in Truk Lagoon - where it was overgrown with mostly soft tropical weed and sponge - before I headed off on a big ocean passage.   And then I also did it in Hong Kong Harbour - before I left to sail to Thailand - and on that occasion it was entirely covered with huge thumb sized barnacles - because of the dirty harbour water.   Which is probably the very reason that these barnacles are growing here so rapidly - the water is too - back bay 'nutrient rich' - and not ocean clean.
Now you will immediately recognize Penny's Rabbit
and this is the subject of the remainder of this report.
Penny behaviour - and yacht discipline.
For the last 2 days the rabbit has been confiscated - and taken from her.
And she has not been very happy about that - let me tell you.
Yeh - that's a likely story - we know exactly who did it.
I even had to pull the stuffing fluff off her whiskers
so there's no point blaming 'night time pelicans'.
All things considered - it's really lasted a very long time - since the last repair job - a couple of years maybe - because I did it with canvas and leather patches and sail thread - so, even now those sections are still OK and it's only the original 7 year old rabbit material she's finally chewed into.   She doesn't actually ever appear to be trying to destroy it - because if she wanted to she could tear it to pieces in no time.   You will often see her just sitting for ages with her jaws around it almost like exercising them - and hardly moving.
There's no doubt it's hers always - and every evening - on the bedtime signal from me - she will go and find it upstairs - and then she religiously carries it all the way down from the cockpit in her mouth - negotiating the hanging screen, her ramps, the lounge, the steps, around and through the passageway to the back bedroom, and finally her several steps, up onto the bed.
She has had the Rabbit as her companion, property, and plaything since I first picked her up (the friendliest puppy in the litter - she picked me - I think) - and brought her home for Mum on Mother's Day in 2000.   A short 8 months later - Mum was gone - and I became the full time barge slave to the little poser - and apart from the few days recently when I had to go to hospital - we have never been apart.
And so it starts all over again.