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 by Cyclone Debbie less than four months ago.  Most vegetation on the island was stripped of their leaves.  The inhabitants and workers on the island have worked hard to clean up all the shredded vegetation and get it presentable.  The rallying cry was "Raceweek is coming.  It has to be ready."  They have done a marvelous job.  Almost all the shops are open, with a fresh coat of paint and other enhancements to give the illusion of business as usual.

"Business as usual" is a very Disney-perfect world of clean footpaths, manicured gardens, hills lined with expensive-looking condos with huge balconies, all facing out towards a marina filled with shiny, white yachts or the emerald-green sea of the Whitsundays.  The owner (yes, there is just one family that owns the WHOLE island) has gone to great lengths to make those with money feel comfortable and safe here.  All non-commercial vehicles are golf buggies.  There is an airport with direct flights to Sydney.  Shops are all high-end products and brands.  The pools at the resorts are open to everyone who visits the island - not just the guests of each specific resort.  There are two main tourist strolls: the east island side Reef Beach, where the big hotels are located; and the west island side Front Street, where the marina and shops are located.  All in all, it works together to create an antiseptic tropical holiday environment.

Just up from Popeye's berth
Greenery coming back to life.  Looking west towards the marina and Front Street

"Anything for us?"

Keeping Popeye light and race-ready means sleeping ashore, in a rented house.  The view from the ample balcony is amazing, as is the avian visitors we get every morning while having breakfast.  We get up, have breakfast, prepare sandwiches and snacks for the day, head down to the boat.  Once there, lines and sheets (fancy names for the ropes) are run on deck and any repairs/modifications to last day's setup are put in place.  Once all the crew is on board, we leave our pen and head out to the start area.

Wild cockatiels are quite tame ... and hungry
Sandwich production line work at the condo
In our pen, getting ready to sail
Leaving our pen to go for a day of racing
Joining the procession to the starting area
A lunch break before starting
Richard trimming the main
and the foredeck crew on standby
Lots of beautiful spinnakers ... behind us!
Underway, with main sail and spinnaker up


  1. Spinnakers behind - good place for them to be. Hope that is the same class and not just a later start catching up.

  2. That's the problem with a bigger boat - more crew and sandwich production becomes just that... a production. On a four or five man crew sandwiches were a kit; pack of cheese, mustard, mayonnaise, pack of meat and pita wraps made between races by whomever.


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