Sunday, August 27, 2017
Airlie Beach - 20° 16' 03" S 148° 42' 59" E
Over 7,000 nautical miles and ten months have passed since we met Craig in Krabi Boat Lagoon and accepted the responsibility for this lovely 47 foot Beneteau.
We now both intimately know the boat, having been hoisted to the top of the mast and down to scrub the bottom of her keel. We've dealt with leaks and creaks, battled the electrical system, maintained the engine, stitched sails, whipped lines, tried to sink her twice, ran her onto a reef, scrubbed her bottom, swobbed her decks and recaptured rogue halyards. We've pushed her through rough conditions and marvelled at her robustness. We have shed skin and blood on sharp, pokey things above and below decks. We have found and learned to avoid spots where you can stub a toe or catch an elbow or shin. We know where the squeaks are, how to stop them and if they need to be stopped. We can sail and motor, anchor and moor her double-handed, in light or heavy conditions. We can make our way up to the foredeck in three metre swells, hanging in mid-air as she drops into the next trough and dive into the rear lazarettes to turn on the water-maker. We have experienced amazing places, stunning sunsets and slept on her decks in deserted coves under a star-studded sky. Through perfect, blue sparkling days, ferocious rain squalls, Malacca Straits traffic, and the relentless Trade Winds, she has kept us safe.
Shortly after racing finished on Saturday, our eleven race crew made short work of the big job of reloading the cruising gear. The new delivery crew arrived and we felt somewhat redundant following months of being responsible for Popeye and keeping her afloat. So many nights we lay in our bunks, listening to every ping, creak, slap and rattle that came from above, below and around us. We learned to identify the dangerous sounds and ignore the benign. We were always aware of how she was secured - by anchor, mooring line or tied to a dock - ever conscious of the slightest change in the weather, tide and current. Something feels oddly missing to be sleeping in a bed without one ear open.
Sunday morning saw Popeye leaving Hamilton Island, bound for Pittwater (near Sydney) without Sean and Kate. Co-skippering Popeye was an amazing experience. Craig has kindly offered us 'Lifetime Use' whenever we want to take her for a sail.
Safe travels, Popeye. We'll see you again soon.
And Craig, WE DIDN'T SINK THE BOAT!!