Showing posts from August, 2017

Airlie Beach - 20° 16' 03" S 148° 42' 59" E

Our time aboard Popeye has come to an end. 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 m

Hamilton Island Race Week - 20° 20' 46" S 148° 56' 58" E

Wild Oats X, with the Prince of Denmark aboard. XI is 9 metres longer! Racing IRC Passage Division 1 had us milling around the start with the big boys.  Wild Oats XI and Blackjack are the two maxi yachts competing here.  At 30 metres, they make Popeye seem like a dinghy.  Being able to wander down the wharf to have a casual look at the two boats was a treat.  The size of the lines and winch barrels, nevermind the amount of electronics and instruments, is impressive.  There are also some lovely double-ender yachts like Drumfire and Dorade , a 86-year-old american classic sailing yacht. Dorade under sail A upwind beat down Whitsunday Passage with a hundred other yachts tacking back and forward. Helicopters, Wild Oats X and XI, Black Jack and Fred (Crown Prince of Denmark). A loop around Lindeman Island, all fleets squeezing through the narrow passage and pop, out come the kites. Over two hundred yachts barrelling down to the finish under a glorious array of colourful spinna

Casuarina - 20° 20' 37" S 148° 56' 55" E

The rest of Popeye's crew has arrived on Hamilton Island and we have set up shop at a rented accommodation.  It is great to have so many hands to help with unloading the boat and putting it into racing mode. Clearing EVERYTHING off the boat Popeye is certainly a different thing to what we've been used to over the past nine months.  All non-essentials have been stripped off the boat - food, pots, pans, cooking utensils, all our personal items (clothes, souvenirs, etc.), cushions, the biminy, the kayak, boat manuals and books, tools, spare engine parts, extra anchor and 80 metres of chain, spare jerry cans of diesel - all packed onto trolleys and hauled up the hill to the garage of the house we are renting.  The six sails that were stowed in front locker of the boat have been unceremoniously dumped into salon.  The boat is literally thousands of kilos lighter and should just fly with ten or more knots of wind. Just after the cyclone hit. Hamilton Island was hit hard

Hamilton Island - 20° 20' 48" S 148° 57' 33" E

Thanks Richard! Dear Richard, Not the pleasure cruise from Cairns to The Whitsundays you signed up for but instead 911 nautical miles bashing into the SE wind and current from Thursday Island to Hamilton Island.  We thank you for your great skill on the helm, your willingness to take four hour watches at the deepest, wee-est hours and for keeping us fed. We could not have done it without you and greatly appreciate you joining us. Always remember your father's wise words - an adventure is better than a holiday! Leaving Thursday for Cairns Rough conditions heading to Hayman island Hamilton Island at last! Big smiles all round! Dinner with the welcoming committee

The Whitsundays - 20° 20' 48" S 148° 57'33" E

Dear Gordon, Wow! 1,753.9 nautical miles from Darwin to Hamilton Island. (That's nearly three Sydney to Hobarts!!) Despite the deceptively glorious crossing of Van Diemens Gulf, the problem-filled passage to The Wessel Islands, the seemingly endless bash across the Gulf of Carpentaria, the soul-destroying rounding of Cape Melville with 37kn of wind against us and one knot of forward boat speed, the final but surprisingly wild bash down to Hamo and having to deal with the Findlay Girls en mass, you maintained your good humour. We appreciated your competence at the helm, your problem solving skills, your wrangling of the main halyard and your wicked sense of humour. We are deeply thankful for your help. We could not have done it without you. Next time, we promise a pleasure cruise. Exiting the Darwin marina through a lock - very cool Leaving Darwin - how hard could this be? Beautiful conditions crossing Van Diemens Gulf Even time for a nap in th