• Hiedi Clague

2017 Season Over & Back in NZ


So another season on AFB is over for 2017 and here we are back in the land of the long white cloud. We've had an exciting first season on our lovely new A Fine Balance, conquering the English Channel and some of the trickiest waterways along the French Atlantic coast. What we discovered is that a) she handles beautifully, b) we totally did the right thing putting the after market hard top over the top helm and c) the tides along the Atlantic coast are phenomenal!

We spent a beautiful last couple of weeks sailing from Valencia, where we left AFB for a short spell, up to where we decided to winter her over in a lovely little place called Roda de Bara close to Tarragona and Barcelona.

For those of you reading this that are looking for a great winter over marina and around that part of the world, check out Marina Roda De Bara, it's a lovely modern marina, situated in a charming village, close to Tarragona and Barcelona via train link and the prices are good! They lifted us out of the water with their travel lift and we weight 19 tonnes!

Before we left, we had a great time getting up to Tarragona with our friends Toby & Melissa onboard. We picked them up in Valencia, after a bit of an ominous sail through a rainstorm that created some pretty hectic looking skies. We waited it out a bit in a commercial port and when it blew over we headed straight for the port we'd spent a couple of weeks in prior in beautiful Valencia to collect our guests.

We'd met Toby last year at the Southampton Boatshow and Gav and he became fast mates talking about water makers and all things electric. Toby put our water maker on AFB and our inverter in April, he's brilliant and loves to sail so it was great to have him and his lovely wife Melissa onboard with us for a few days. We sailed from Valencia to Tarragona and along the way anchored up in a beautiful bay at Peniscola for the night. First time out on a paddleboard for Toby and he was straight up and tootling around the bay. It's a gorgeous place if you can ever get there, complete with a Knights Templar Castle up on the hill.

After our guests left, we had a few days to get up to Roda de Bara, so we took our time and enjoyed the last few sunny days swimming and finishing off the packing ready to depart for London on Nov 1. After a few days in RdB getting the boat and us ready to travel and exploring the lovely village, we took the train from Barcelona to London, via Paris. It was magic. We left early morning from Barcelona and by evening we were in London...no airport hassles and great scenery along the way.

We spent a few days in London with our lovely friends Rosy & Mick, George & Tusyan before heading back to NZ. Gav and the boys went to the rugby at Twickers and I hit Covent Garden for the afternoon, what fun! As in the past, our stay with Rosy was lovely and always fun to see G&T!


We left London in early November and are now happily ensconced at the 'bach' in the very picturesque Ngakuta Bay for a few months. Life's back to semi normal and we are busy with projects in and around the house.

To keep myself busy, I've been doing a bit of interior painting with our friend Marilyn and Gav's been busy with various projects, including building a beautiful Mediterranean wing on the deck in the form of a pergola, complete with hanging lights. It's a lovely place to sit out of the sun and enjoy the view across the bay and if the pesky possums stop eating the grape vines in a couple of months it may well look something out of Italy!

We've also had my sister Julia and her partner Allan with us for a few days and Allan proved a very capable assistant in the build - thanks Al! In between Al's building skills being put to good use and them both riding all the crazy mountainous tracks around here, we had an awesome time exploring the wineries and generally hanging out. We even got a personal training session thrown in for good measure. Now to put that to good use ;)

Gav's also been busy building a fully enclosed "beer fridge" out on the kitchen garden deck, which I really think is a conduit to a tunnel to a secret conjoined man shed ;)

We've also just celebrated Christmas and New Years, so if you're reading this we wish you all a very happy NY! Christmas was spent with Grub & Marilyn and NYE with Mike Chin and Maria and our neighbours Sean & Glenda and their tribe of kids and guests. All in all, it's been a fun Christmas season but we need to start putting that PT into action!


We are starting to plan 2018 and all that comes with it, with some new projects and travel, it looks like it's going to be a busy year. We are looking forward to Gav's nephew Alex (and his lovely bride Kit) wedding in a week from now in Christchurch and then some fun festivals and my birthday in February back in Oz.

We hope wherever you are reading this, you have a fortuitous fun-filled year and look forward to all that it brings...


Hiedi & Gav xo

#London #CoventGarden #TowerofLondon #LondonBridge #pub #peniscola #rodedebara #valencia #tarragona #barcelona

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