With 10 weeks and 703km of sailing behind us it’s important that we recognise the good and the ‘less good’ of the trip at this awards ceremony.
Nominations for the Sailor Jerry’s Rum award:
- Whitsunday islands. These are the most magnificent sailing grounds in the world, with beautiful sandy white beaches, the bluest turquoise seas, mostly clear blue skies, lush green islands, coral in a million colours and textures, and myriads of fish so pretty and inquisitive.
- Top Shelf. What a beautiful boat. She never let us down once, never felt unsafe in her, she beat a keel-yacht by a mile when sailing into the wind and she took us places we’d never be able to go without her.
- Weather. With temperatures between the low and high 20’s, only a few days rain, storms that mostly missed us, and winds that allowed us to sail at least 75% of the time, there can be few complaints about the weather.
- Ray, the autohelm. For his inaugural trip Ray was a wild success allowing us to sit back relaxing while he gently guided us in the direction instructed.
- Trailer. We spent a good penny or two on a quality trailer before leaving Brisbane for the 2400km journey. It towed like a dream.
- Norbert, who not only kept our car and trailer safely out of harms way at his home in Airlie Beach for 10 weeks, but also collected it from the Mackay marina and drove it to his home.
- Milk bottle showers. Just enough fresh water to rinse off the salt.
- Noodle covers. We used the legs of dark-coloured tights to cover the noodles on the cockpit safety lines. They were cheap and prevented sun deterioration.
- Boom tent. Erected every time we anchored. The tent and bimini covered the boat from mast to stern giving us beautiful shade. The guy who designed and built this for us deserves a medal!
- Stable tables. We took a small fold-up table, but the Stable Tables (trays with bean bag base) were perfect for meals in the cockpit, balancing computers, holding our ‘sundowners’ drinks and snacks, etc.
- Welding clamps instead of pegs. Fit over the rails of the bimini perfectly to attach towels, etc to dry with no chance of not holding in a breeze.
- No More Tears in the goggles. Brilliant! Stops goggles fogging up when snorkelling.
- Non-slip surface stuck to the round table in the galley. Have previously had breakages from unexpected swells rolling the boat, but not this time.
- Midgie screens. We had screens made of midgie (sand-fly) netting to in-fill the gap between boat and pop-top and also the washboard (ie the ‘door’ to the cabin). That, combined with our all-natural, DEET-free Mozzie and Sandfly atomiser and cream prevented sandflies being a problem to us completely. Interestingly, Hook Is is infamous for its March Flies – not this trip; rarely saw even one.
- Hand-held VHF radio was useful to use in the cockpit. Main radio is in the cabin.
- Two black towels. These lived in the cockpit and found a million uses – and never looked dirty.
- iSailor. Using this iPhone/iPad navigation app we planned our tracks every day, GPS locator showed exactly where we were all the time and it recorded our routes. It’s worth it’s weight in gold!
AND THE GRAND WINNER IS:
Pammy and Milton who house-sat for us. Keeping the grass and weeds in order, keeping an eye on all the birds, caring for our home, collecting our mail, doing our banking (which was no mean feat!) and leaving us worry-free to enjoy our trip. Thank you Pammy and Milton.
Unfortunately for every trip with highlights there are also lowlights, so now we move to the
Walk the Plank award nominees.
- The deflating tender. Too late we learnt that inflatable tenders built in China are held together with heat-sensitive glue which melts in our tropical conditions.
- The tender outboard. Mostly reliable, or is that a contradiction of terms. When sailing it’s 100% reliability or nothing!
- Drying out. We still have lessons to learn on how to do this successfully.
- Red rope on the rudder. Too hard to explain here, but suffice to say Steve is still having nightmares about the red rope that without fail jammed EVERY time the rudder had to be raised. To free it he had to have more than half his body hanging out of the back of the boat, head down. Not a happy chappy.
- Antifoul routine. We started too late and with less dedication than we should to keep the hull from growing marine life, even barnacles. We now have hours of painstaking hull cleaning in front of us.
And the grand winner is:
Fluffy Muffy. Do not jest!! This is the name of one of the chartered catamarans. Every day we’d listen to the bareboat charterer’s scheds for the weather, good anchorages, or anchorages to avoid due to them all heading there, and we laughed at Fluffy Muffy each time she called in. UNTIL the day we met Fluffy Muffy leaving Abell Point via the very narrow lane of the marina as we entered it. Heart in mouth as we reversed dodging pontoons, million-dollar boats and Fluffy Muffy as she passed.
Ideas for next time:
- Beach chairs – to sit comfortably on the beach.
- No table (stable tables good enough)
- No kayak. Too much hassle trying to inflate onboard, therefore not used as much as we’d have liked.
- Stand up paddle boards. Just an idea … saw plenty of people with them. They’re light, easily stored, ready to use in minutes and would replace the kayak. Just have to learn the skill.
- Seawater pump in galley.