Ania is off visiting friends in Australia, leaving me with all the fun jobs. Cruising is defined as ‘fixing boats in beautiful locations’ and whilst the Gold Coast isn’t as beautiful as many, its not a bad place to hang out. I’m not sure it was intentional, but the new crew is missing out on the ‘fun’ parts of cruising. It’s impossible, I would suggest, to fully immerse oneself into the cruising lifestyle without fixing at least one toilet. So whilst Ania is surfing on the south c
Back to the Gold Coast
I arrived back into Newcastle with 38kg of luggage including, as always, many boat spares. This time we’re starting on the replacement of the smaller hatch acrylics and some of the hinges (as the old design of the friction hinge is a bit ‘average’ as they say here - ie. crap). A few days later, Ania arrived. She’s joining me to sail the boat back to the islands where Amanda will arrive, hopefully recovered from the injury. Ania’s done some sailing before - more racing than cruising -
Sailing north, flying home
It had to happen one day - time to come home! It’s a bit pricey to leave Duplicat in Sydney for a month, so I sailed north up to Newcastle. It was a tricky trip - the prevailing wind is NE with a southerly running current, so any progress north is tricky and a question of waiting for the wind. However, I got stuck with another issue - TC Oma which was very much making its presence felt up in Queensland with some mighty fine surfing conditions. For me, it meant some reasonable large beam on s
Not got many decent photos of this, but the SailGP event in Sydney harbour was fantastic. The remodelled AC-45 catamarans are now the F-50s after much fettling in Warkwork, NZ - and boy at they fast! 34knots in 14 knots of wind was the record for the event. If the wind had been a bit faster, they may have cracked the 50knots mark. The online coverage was superb - using Oracle’s software from the Americas Cup, so the stats and overhead views with the course overlaid were all superb. We even ha
Tasmania Part 3
Tom had discovered that quite a few of the larger boats were planning on picking guests up at Kettering before sailing up to Hobart for the Parade of Sail, so our plan was to head down to Tom’s boat and go for a sail. Running Tide is just off the public jetty in Kettering, so we rowed out and watched some of them coming alongside to load up passengers, as Tom got the boat ready. We then headed out under motor to find some other boats also raising sail. After a while, we turned the engine off
Tassie part 2
Having done a bit of hiking, it was time to get under the water. Now to be fair, the weather in Tasmania is a bit changeable to say the least but we had managed to get the weather right for the appropriate activity - plenty of sun when hiking, saving the rain for the diving.And boy did it rain and blow. So much in fact that we couldn’t dive the sites we wanted - instead we had to dive off Port Arthur. This was a little disappointing as I had been looking forward to the spectacular kelp forests
Tasmania part 1
As we weren’t going to be able to sail to Tassie, due to Amanda’s accident - I was invited to stay with Tom and Christie - who we had kept bumping into since French Guiana. With the Wooden Boatshow coming up, it was too good an opportunity to pass up. We really packed the days full... I arrived late in the day, and drove down to Woodbridge (a few kms south of Kettering), and was welcomed by Tom and Christie. They have a gorgeous place right on the coast looking over the d’Entrecasteaux c
Happy Australia Day everyone - another excuse for Aussies to get out on the water and demonstrate just how crap they are at anchoring! I’ve spent the day on a mooring in Athol Bay, near the zoo - and we’ve had a stream of boats demonstrating an series of interesting approaches.Anchoring in 6m of water? How could you possibly need more than 6m of rope? The gap between moorings is fair game but if they’ve managed to put down a bit more scope, they’re now surprised by the different swinging
Happy New Year
Happy New Year to everyone - I hope 2019 is good to you all. We enjoyed the full on Sydney experience. The anchorage was rammed, with the late arrivals playing fast and lose with anchoring scope, which led to some fun in the storm that hit before the early show - but we all survived without bumping anyone, even if we did need the odd bit of engine to do so.
Not a bad view for New Year’s Eve
Nabbed a spot in Farm Cove. It’s a bit rolly (really rolly in fact) but we’ll put up with it if we have to :). Golden Glow are slightly closer in than us, and having been here for a couple of weeks already, no doubt have some good tips for us.
Leaving Gold Coast and heading South. Jadean not far behind us. We plan to be in Sydney for New Years Eve - a bucket list item if you have such a thing :)
Escaped from the boatyard!
After what felt like ages, but was only 19 days, we have escape from Boatworks - Australia's Greatest Boatyard. I have to say, that though the statement is marketing blurb, it really is the best boatyard we've experienced. Usually, when living aboard, its a fairly torrid affair, especially for us as our fridges don't work ashore. The heat is inescapable, the toilets are miles away and, for want of a better word, 'crap' - and the service isn't. What you get at The Boatworks is utterly different
Anchored near Jumpinpin
Sunset over the anchorage near Jumpinpin. We are headed this way to haulout at Boatworks in a few days....
All well onboard
We heard the tsunami warnings on the VHF, but didn't feel the quake itself. We didn't notice any tsunami-type effects. All well onboard, thanks for the e-mails!
Minerva to Fiji
The trip from Minerva to Fiji was fairly straightforward. Not enough wind, as usual, meant we were being careful about motoring but still making reasonable progress. It changed on Thursday night. We passed Koro island around 10pm with just a 25 miles to go to the reef pass that leads to Savuavu, our point of clearence. Amanda came off watch with the comment that it looked a bit black behind. I came out, and had a look - it was positively evil! We began to hear comments from friends on Blue Lil
What a last night! The wind didn't stop building until we had nearly 30knots at times. We abandoned plans to go into North Minerva and instead turned and ran towards South Minerva, timing our arrival for dawn. As we arrived, Amanda went up to the bow, and was getting soaked every other wave - but by this point we just wanted to get the hook down and get some sleep. We knew the entrance from overhead video - so came in slowly and once we were safely inside, we dropped anchor. Sleep did not tak
Finally got around to fixing the blog. It’s a bit behind, so I’ll be catching up slowly over the coming weeks.... Suffice it to say we have been in Fiji for a while having a great time. More of that later....
North Minerva here we come
Penultimate night at sea was a bit of a mixed bag. Some sublime sailing in light winds on flat seas, followed by lots of squalls with their wind shifts and wind holes. I ended up doing quite a bit of Amanda’s watch, so she let me sleep an hour longer for my morning watch. So we have 130nm to go, with a westerly setting current and some NE winds forecast. We are east of the rhumb line but possibly not far enough. And we don’t want to arrive in the dark (or much before 8am) otherwise it’s
Day 4 saw the end of the wind. We chased it around a bit but our course tended to French Polynsia, or New Caledonia, so we stuck the donkeys on. We have been motoring or motorsailing since early afternoon and all through the night. The seastate has been very light with a reasonably long period swell, so very comfortable onboard. Forecasts suggest we will be without wind until early evening, so another 10hrs of motoring or so. We get occasional excitement with the wind reaching 10-12 knots for
Really day 3
Yesterday was fish-mageddon. Not only did we get the lovely mahimahi first thing, later on we caught a 1.6m sailfish. This yielded over 3kg of meat most of which is in the now very full freezer. Fishing is banned for now! We are not sure on the legalities of taking fish into Fiji. Packaged meat seems ok if it has the country of origin labelled, but line caught fish? Fortunately it looks like we may be in Minerva for a while so could share a few meals with friends or give the fish away. On that
Making good progress. We covered 168nm through the water and got 157nm closer to the reef of Minerva S. Under 490nm to go. Looks like we get some wind today and part of tomorrow before we have to motor for 24hrs. We are trying to build a bit of east in as the wind is due to turn NE as we get closer so the angle will help. We won’t go too far in case the NE fails to arrive. Been caught like that too often :) Then it looks like 5 days to a week at the reefs (based on today’s forecast yada yad
Leaving New Zealand
Almost 7months to the day since we arrive, we hauled our anchor up out of Opua’s sticky mud and pointed the bows out to sea. We got hit by a squall almost immediately but it soon passed and we were sailing NE towards Minerva reef. We had a bit of fun with the gennaker but as the wind piped up we furled it and went back to genoa. Then we caught a lovely skipjack tuna. We loved our time in New Zealand. There are many highlights but meeting up with Colleen, hearing her stories and getting to kn
Not seen fog whilst on the boat for a long time, and this morning we wake up to a reasonably thick covering. Its clearing a bit now - we can see the next pontoon over. It was very lovely to have a duvet on the bed last night. Until we left the tropics, we’d just been using the cover, but as we came south from Tonga, we put the duvet back in but used it on our ‘pilot berth’ where the off watch person sleeps whilst we’re underway. Last night was our first night back in our proper bed and
Arrived, and cleared in
We are now legally in New Zealand. The complex and onerous procedures we’ve all read about are applied by thoughtful people with a nod to common sense - which means that all our preparation was greatly appreciated and we flew through the paperwork. We lost a few food items which we knew we would and had fished out for the guy. Mostly things that could grow (eg. popcorn) and fresh meat. Suprisingly all dairy was fine, as were our tins of fish and meat. We also lost our fresh fruit and vegetabl
My phone has just roamed into a NZ network. The first time roaming in 7 months due to EEs inability to sign roaming agreements. That aside it means we are very close. So close we've slowed down to arrive at dawn... More later..
All being well, we should arrive in Opua tomorrow morning. Ideally, early enough that we can clear in that morning and move into the marina at slack water, high tide. Nautilus and Vega should arrive on Saturday. They have a bit further to go than our 110nm. We are all lacking wind and doing some motor sailing to keep up or passage speeds. Our other task is getting ready for the inspection. Our freezer is almost empty, we have finished the honey and lots of other food stuffs. We will have so
The light stuff
We are definitely in the light stuff. Wind speeds are averaging 8 knots from various angles around south. This means we are having to tack towards NZ. This doesn't worry us as we've done enough upwind work to places like Guyana. The sea state is very nice indeed. The killer is the current! Just like when sailing from the Essequibo to the Maroni, the current here is pretty strong. Far stronger than I had imagined and it hurts our tacking angle considerably, especially with such light winds. It'
What a day!
It had everything. Champagne sailing downwind in blue skies and sun, upwind sailing in pitch black and rain. Parasailor hoists and drops, gennaker hoists and drops. Foredeck work at 3am involving both of us, 30+ knots of wind, 5. Knots of wind. So much water my life jacket fired. We've seen our first ship for a long time, though just on AIS. (Obscure fact: the great circle route from New Zealand to Panama is well south of French Polynesia and actually passes pretty close to Pitcairn! It explains
We finally managed to get across the high. We motorsailed from around midday and tried to sail from 5:30pm, but the wind was too inconsistent. We hung on until the speed dropped to under 2 knots and put an engine back on. At 10:30pm we switched the engine off and made slow progress. When I came on watch the wind had gone right behind us, so I gybed the gennaker leaving the main on the preventer. This gave us quite a speed boost and we carried on like that all night. At dawn we out the parasai