Off We Go…Yippeee

Friday saw us up early finishing the last of our boat jobs. The weather was finally cool enough to glue down our new solar panel and the Freo markets provided us with some nice fruit and vegies that should hopefully last us to Geraldton. After finally finishing the last of the boat jobs and returning my hire car, we cast off from Royal Perth annex and motored around to the fuel jetty to fill our tanks. Michael and Elaine had made their way from Melbourne a few days earlier and had managed to see a bit of Perth and Fremantle in between getting the boat ready.

Our fist leg was a short one from freo to mindarie. We motor sailed to Hillary’s with the wind right behind us (not good) and then got a better angle for a nice sail up to mindarie. No dolphins except at the fuel jetty. Tied up on the pub jetty in mindarie as the sun set to meet Claire and Cowe, Amanda and Cas. Had a nice dinner at the pub (well – it was close) and then had a reasonably early night as everyone was pretty worn out at that stage.

Next morning up early for a 7.30 departure along with Patrick on Blade Runner (who was heading straight to the abrolhos). Followed patrick out through the northern passage and his 1250 then left us for dead. We caught up with him again shortly afterwards as he stopped to pull in a Sampson Fish. Our fishing lines are out but no fish for us as yet.

A couple of hours out the wind swung to the south and up went our spinnaker. Took us a while to sort it out properly and mucked up a jibe but alls good now and we are currently doing 7 knots on a big gentle rolly sea – what a beautiful day out here. Everyone is really enjoying the sail. Two and a bit more hours and we will be in Lancelin. We are on our way….




Preparation, Preparation, Preparation…..

10 days to go and I’m well and truly immersed in a million and one tasks to get ready…

Just been down to Bias Boating and ordered 100m of chain, 2 new PFD’s (this time with built in harnesses), replacement cylinders for my other PFDs, a fire blanket, and yet another winch handle.

Roland from Tempo Spares is sending me over a new block for my halyard plus a new main sheet and a new mainsail traveller sheet (this time smaller 8mm spectra that doesn’t stretch). PS Cas still thinks Sheets are something that go on beds!

And my sail bag has been fixed and is ready to be picked up and re-attached.

Before my trip to Bias Boating, I had a rather frustrating morning trying to work out how to get the power from the new solar panel back to to controller where it can be pumped into the batteries. We had two or three different ideas, each of which were thwarted as we started to drill holes only to find they wouldn’t work. In the end we decided on a strategy but thought we’d retire for the day and sleep on it.

It all comes down to next week. Engines serviced on Monday, Peter from Maritime Electronics is on the boat on Wednesday to wire up the solar panel, fix the winch up/down switch and hook up my mobile booster. The Bias Boating order gets here next week as well and I’ll need to get the new chain and chain stripper installed.

Michael and Elaine arrive from Melbourne on Wednesday and my Mum goes in for her pace maker. Its all happening!!!

Just How Safe is Offshore Sailing?

For all those folk out there who are worried about what I am doing and think that perhaps going to sea on boats is not a very safe thing to do, here is some interesting stuff I found on the internet. Several studies have rated offshore ocean sailing just above golf, and much lower than contact sports, in terms of both injury and fatality rates.  The actual data varies quite a bit study to study depending on methodology but the ranking of the sports is quite consistent.

Injuries per million hours
Himalayan Mountain Climbing 120000
Skydiving 24752
Skiing 4225
Football 1900
Motorcycling 1692
Squash 1300
Basketball 1100
Rugby 844
Soccer 600
Scuba Diving 381
Swimming 206
Water Skiing 54
Cricket 52
Bicycling 50
Offshore Sailing 42
Golf 37
Flying (scheduled domestic airline) 29
Home living (awake) 5
Home living (awake + asleep) 3

Source: Risk Management associates

Now where are those golf clubs????

Safety and Sea Survival Course

Completed Yachting Australia’s Safety and Sea Survival Course on the weekend. Had a lot of fun doing it as it was a great course with a great set of other attendees. Chris, the instructor was excellent and was very passionate about the whole course as he’s actually relied on a liferaft to save his life. Wow!. Learnt heaps and have added a few things to my to do list.. The course was developed following the fatalitities of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race.  It was fairly intensive and ran for the full two days.  Saturday was all theory followed by an exam (which I passed!).  Sunday had us in the water in our full wet weather gear and lifejacket. We practiced huddling and a congo line in our lifejackets before  deploying and using  a life raft, flare detonation and using a fire extinguisher and fire blanket. Really enjoyed a couple of beers with everyone else in the Hillary’s Yacht Club bar with everyone else that did the course afterwards.

Camelot’s Back in Freo

The March long weekend was our swan song in Geographe Bay and boy did we make maximum use of the wonderful weather. We started early with Andy, Jane, Amanda and Lee-ann arriving on Thursday night. Friday we sailed to Eagle Bay but we had a north easterly and it was very rock and rolly. We retreated to Quindalup and spent the afternoon anchored up over a nice bit of green sandy bottom. Saturday, we sailed to Port Geographe and filled up with water and fuel. the front deck was respondent with bikini clad girls as it was a great day for a nice sail. That night we caught a feed of herring with Jayne and Leanne catching their first fish ever. I even scooped one up in the net. Sunday the swell had died to nothing, so it was off the Castle Bay – the only bay we were yet to visit. Lee-ann had departed for a wedding and Paul and Jenny arrived in her place to tell us stories of their pilgrams walk across Spain. It was one of those magic days with the water incredibly clear and lots of swimming and paddle boarding. Life doesn’t get much better than that. Back to Quindalup at 4.30pm to see Tracy – again anchored over a nice sandy patch and more swimming and stand up comedy. A Lagoon 47 was moored up next to us so we hopped in a dingy and introduced ourselves. Michael and Helene had owned her 4 months and for a 12 year old boat it looked superb.

Monday we decided to stay put on our nice sandy patch as by now the whole bay had glassed over. Another magical day in paradise. Andy, Jayne, Paul and Jenny headed back to Perth and Cas, Amanda and I headed off to the pub for a bit of pool whilst we waited for Peter to arrive by bus. Having left our sandy spot we headed over and picked up our mooring ready for an early morning start back to Mandurah.

Or so we thought. After battling northerly winds on our way to Mandurah for what seemed like hours and hours we gave up and instead turned right and headed for Bunbury. The change of heart impressed the crew no end. Got to Bunbury about 2pm and caught up with Mum and Dad, plus Kate and Steve. Amanda also managed to catch up with some of her friends at the Rose Hotel and Peter got some more fishing gear – determined to catch a tailor or two in Koombana Bay. Alas, poor Pete – all we got all night and all day was a single herring.

11 and a half hours to cover the 78nm from Bunbury to Fremantle (and no spinnaker) on Wednesday. Not bad going – especially since the wind was right behind us with limited opportunity to get a nice reach going. Hit 10kts a couple of times.

So here we are back in Perth getting ready for the next phase of our our excellent adventure! Roll on the 31st March when we set sail for Lancelin then the Abrolhos and beyond!!!