Friday, August 15, 2014

Whitsunday fun

Not a lot going on here apart from working in Italy.  So to keep the days flowing while at sea here working there is nothing better than watching great memories on Spirit and turning them into movies.  So here's the latest which is a combination of the best times we had last season sailing the east coast of Australia. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Time fly's

Well it's been over three months now since I left Australia and Spirit sitting on the hard at the Whitsunday Sailing Club and time has flown by.  Hopefully in another six months I'll be back home with Spirit readying her for the water once again.  I can't tell you how much I miss sailing on her and being free upon the ocean.  Unfortunately we have to work occasionally and I can't complain my work is pretty cool.

Anchored at Peter Island BVI's

The Barth's in the BVI's a gorgeous place to spend a day

Here's a bit of a breakdown of how the last three months have been for us here.  I arrived in St Maarten at the start of February and took over the yacht I work on every few years when funds run low.  She's been here since coming down from the US east coast in December.  She's an 80ft ketch that was originally built for the 1979 Whitbread around the world race.  She was a little to heavy we hear and because of this she was turned into a luxury yacht.  She was then chartered around the Caribbean and sold to her present owners and my boss's in around 1984.  Since then she's been privately run and does the Mediterranean, East Coast US and Caribbean.

Sailing around the BVI's

So after I arrived we sat around St Maarten doing odd jobs and getting the boat ready for the owner to come down and enjoy.  We did a one week trip around the British Virgin Islands before heading to St Barths for a week.  We then did another three one week long trips around St Barth's before heading back to St Maarten where we had a week to recover.

Saudade doing a few laps after the St Barth's bucket, what a beast!

Saudade is a Bill Tripp design and beautiful

This is the sailing yacht Hetairos 66mt beast!

Sailing to Grenada in the company of dolphins

After a weeks rest we did another seven days around St Barth's and then dropped off in St Maarten again before heading directly down to Grenada where we did a two week trip around the Grenadines dropping off in St Vincent before heading straight back to St Maarten where we've been for the past week.  So with all that sailing and travelling time has just flown by.  As you can see we're really just a fancy bus on the water travelling from place to place for a week or so at the time.

Anchored in the Tobago Cays

Tobago Cays

At the moment we are getting ready to cross the Atlantic.  Our delivery crew are all arriving over the next few days and then we'll haul the yacht clean her bum with some new anti-foul applied we'll be fresh and ready for the crossing.  We're hoping to be in the Med by the first week of June all going to plan.

Sunset at Mayreau Island

Tobago Cays

Then it'll be a few months around Italy and the Amalfi coast before taking the yacht to Holland where she'l go into a yard period.  From there I'll be heading home to Australia and Spirit again.

Tobago Cays

Anchored in the Grenadines

I've put in a few photos of our travels around this part of the world.  We've been fortunate enough to see some beautiful places this year and we were also lucky enough to be in Bequia during there famous easter regatta, which was a blast to see.  Sorry again for the lack of updates and the length and quality of the text but it's pretty busy here at the moment.  I'll be sure to update from the Med once we get there with some news about the crossing.

Local boat racing in Bequia

Sunsetting over the Grenadines

Thursday, February 27, 2014

On the hard

We'll things have been all over the shop as normal.  Just before Christmas 2014 I was offered some work back in the Caribbean and with the wet season upon us in North Queensland I thought it sounded like a great idea to head back to work for a while.

Interior with everything removed

The next question was what to do with Spirit?  after a week of running around all over the place and ringing people and asking friends for help.  The Whitsunday Yacht Club offered to put her on their property just beside the yacht club.

Taking up most of the car park at the yacht club!

It was a great surprise and it all happened so quickly and easily.  I can't thank all those involved with Spirit enough.  One minute your worrying about what to do with your home and boat and the next thing it's all ok and you couldn't have found a better spot for her.  Actually a shed 50ft x 40ft would have been perfect but that's out of the question.

Couldn't have asked for a better fit

After a few days getting all the crap off the boat, mostly pots, pans, food, fridge, clothing and everything I could remove it was time to haul her out.

Sitting on the tailor ready to be wheeled over the old volleyball courts

Rupert King who owns Overdrive offered the use of his trailer and also his forklift.  Spirit fitted perfectly on the trailer.  After hauling her out we then drover her over to the patch of ground she was going to live on for the next eight months.

Rupert helped organise some tires and we bought four two ton concrete blocks for her to sit upon.  One being put under each float where the beam bulkhead is.  We then put the tires upon the blocks and also some under the main hull until she was sitting straight and steady.  From there we jacked one side up and removed the trailer.

Spirit's view for the next eight months

After that we removed the tires we placed under the float to jack her up and then lowered her down onto the single tires, which we had place upon the concrete blocks.  We bought some two ton straps and strapped her down to the blocks so at the moment she's holding fast to eight tons of concrete!!

Final resting place next to the yacht club

We had a pretty close call at the end of January when a cyclone crossed the coast just north of Airlie Beach in Bowen.  It just happened to cross at the same time as the years highest tide which brought the water level up to near where Spirit was.  There were a few days there where we didn't know how bad the cyclone was going to be or how Spirit would cope with the wind and water.

Sitting nice and steady

Thank goodness she came out ok in the end.  There was a bit of water damage to the ground around where the concrete blocks were but nothing too bad.  Spirit is all fine and with my parents living in Airlie Beach it's great to know someone is popping down regularly to keep an eye on her for me.  Along with a few local friends that have also been a great help.

Spirit riding out the high tide and cyclone
The day after 

So I'll be updating the blog from the Caribbean for the next few months.  We're going to be based around here until May when we hope to sail over to the Med and Spain and beyond...... who knows??

I'm now on a very luxurious 80ft ketch with ever mod con and more.  It's one extreme going from Spirit to this yacht Zanabe.  I do miss Spirit's simplicity and her turn of speed.  She has proven over the last three years to be a great little boat and a perfect platform to cruise on.  I can't wait to get back to her and have more adventures up and around Asia.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Magnetic Island

Over Christmas and New Year we spent a wonderful ten days up at Magnetic Island.  The weather was perfect and we found some great anchorages with the light north easterly breezes that we were lucky to have had.

Sitting on teens the whole way up from Airlie Beach

Sun awning up and just the middle chute and we were comfortable as

The water was clear and warm and the skies blue and cloudless each day.  Magnetic is a really understated place that doesn't get the mentions it should.  There is some beautiful anchorages and on the island itself there's also some great walks wit no around and this was the busy season!

Both boats rafted up in Horseshoe Bay

Have a little sail together with Tigerlily

Tigerlily with their new chute

Spirit trying to catch Tigerlily

I spent time up there with my very old and close friends on their Catamaran Tigerlily, rafting up most days and relaxing with a nice cold beer in the hammock.  We managed to get out and go sailing on both boats one day and I gave Tigerlily one of Spirit's old asymmetrical spinnakers for Christmas.

Anchored in Arthur Bay

She looked great with it up and made good speed with the main and jib only on Spirit we weren't able to catch her down wind with our angles being to great and her running way deeper.  It was a blast.

Beautiful anchorages all around

The sail home was fantastic we managed to break the "just fixed prodder" again in a different place this time and once we rounded Cape Bowling Green we had smooth seas and a beautiful light breeze from the east to north east that didn't even produce a white cap.  Spirit loved the 60 degree apparent wind angle and took off like a shot sitting happily on 8-15kts all the way home.

Roxanne taking the dogs for a walk

The sail home took fifteen hours, which compared to the just under eleven hours to magnetic was a little slow.  On the way up to Magnetic we managed an average of 12kts and on the way home managed 8kts.