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.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mini Refit

Sorry for the really slow posts on my blog.  It seems life gets in the way of me sitting and putting all this stuff down on the blog.  Since the last post I've been busy working in NZ for five weeks and have only a week ago returned to Spirit here in the Whitsunday Islands.

Route to Magnetic all done

Airlie Beach to Magnetic Island

It's been great getting back as there was a pile of stuff I needed to do to get Spirit ready for our Christmas cruise to Magnetic Island.  We plan to meet some close friends up there on there 49ft Cat and to do some sailing together, which has been a dream of ours since we were kids growing up together in Sydney.

After nearly two months of not cleaning Spirit's bum it was well and truly time to give her some love.  A job I thought was going to be nasty turned out to be pretty easy.  My father had some really great wide and flexible paint scrapers that we used.  And as there was a fair amount or more like a carpet it came off really easy in one foul scrap!  We had to be careful though not to scratch any anti foul off with the flexible blades but after a few goes it was easy.  After the scraping we gave her a quick scrub as well with a green doodle pad.

 B&G instruments being wired in

Consol surround all oiled and instruments nearly in

B&G's all done and looking great

Covers on for UV protection

Another of the big jobs was to install some new B&G 20/20's that I had bought from a great friend in NZ.  He had a few spare so I was able to pick em up at a really reasonable price, which made replacing them easier.  I removed the console that they're installed in and painted it along with the speakers.  We used Jotun Pengaurd high build and then did a top coat of Jotun Imperite 300 white.  Came up pretty nice considering it was a quick job with a roller.

 Organ oil on the aft timber surround

 I've also removed all the varnish I had onboard.  There wasn't a lot but it's such a pain to maintain so we now have oiled timber.  I'm using organ oil and it's real easy to apply and looks great.  I'll do a coat every month and see how it holds up.

The water-maker has been put back into the boat.  It's now installed in a much better spot under the fridge and the membrane is now under the sink area so none of it's in the way.  It's really hidden and makes more room on the interior now.

 Water maker membrane installed

There's two new solar panels on the floats where the old ones were.  I've used some 6 gauge wiring from a mate good quality stuff as well as he said I was using to smaller wiring for the long run we had.  It's great to be getting these small jobs done and things like the new solar panels and better wiring make all the difference.  Spirit will easily run off the 240 watts of solar we have onboard.

Port solar panel on

The panels easily run the fridge and stereo along with the autopilot while we are at sea.  Other small things we charge through USB like the iPad and iPhone are easily kept in charged.  We love being self reliant!

Speakers all painted

The autopilot connection was pretty crappy and needed a lot of attention so that's been upgraded and the two Bose speakers were replaced with new ones so we have some pumping tunes now in the cockpit ;-)

Aft net repaired

Prodder repairs underway

We cracked the Prodder a few months ago so have now removed the track that ran up it and also all of the metallic fitting that were bolted or screwed to it.  We'll now lash any fittings to the prodder and it'll be a heap lighter with out all the metal on it.  It's also going to allow us to tack the light air sails further out near the end as the track used to stop a good 20cm before the end.

New carbon sleeve being made

Next week we hope to leave for Magnetic Island and will try and do the 120nm run in a day.  I'll update again soon with new from how the trip up went.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Adventures in the Whitsunday Islands

Thought we'd do a little bit on the blog about one of my favourite places and to be honest of the best sailing and cruising grounds there is around, the Whitsunday Islands and a trip we recently did south to Keswick Island.

Spirit at anchor at Shaw Island

I've been fortunate enough to sail around this area since I was a kid.  We first sailed here as a family during 1989 onboard our 54ft ketch Japara.  The memories are still vivid and it was my first taste of true paradise and sailing as a kid so it has a special place in my heart.

Basic map of the Whitsundays

The Whitsundays are a group of 74 Islands that are located on the central Queensland coast.  Most people will know them that read this but some may not so I'll give some basic details here and will also put a few of my favourite spots.

Spirit anchored off Shaw Island

The Islands start just off shore from Mackay and run north towards Bowen.  The two largest and main Islands are Hook and Whitsunday.  These two are around 15nm offshore from Airlie Beach as prove to be the most popular with some of the best anchorages and beaches.  There is also some amazing walks to be had in the area as well.

Spirit on iSailor heading down to Shaw

We have been fortunate enough over the last few months to have some fairly calm weather with light northerlies that have hung in for days and even a few weeks.  Meaning we've been able to get out around the Islands to the south that are normally more exposed with the strong trades that blow in the area.

Our view in the mornings... not bad hey!

Last trip we did we made it down to Shaw Island just south of Linderman and were able to anchor just off the beach putting out the stern anchor and sitting in around 5ft of water at low tide.  It was awesome and with the dead calm conditions it was surreal to wake up in the morning to rich turquoise ocean of glass.

Spirit's location on google earth, stern anchor 
out and in about 5ft of water at low tide

From Shaw we sailed down to Cockermouth where we spent a nice night at anchor before heading to Keswick early the following mooring.  On the way down to Cockermouth we passed several schools of dolphins and also a mother whale and her calm slowly swimming south.  This time of the year there is so much wildlife around it's awe inspiring!

Passing a mother whale and her calf

Dolphins off the bow on the way to Keswick

There are moorings at Keswick that you can use but these group of Islands don't really have a great all round anchorage, they are really best visited in calms or when the winds are low and seas calm.  The water between Keswick and St Bees is deep and there is strong tidal flows between them so it can be a difficult and ordinary anchorage so making use of the moorings is best advised.

Beautiful evening colors as the sun sets

We spent a nice night down at Keswick visiting some close friends and having a nice lunch ashore at their home.  With the anchorage not being the best we only stayed the one night before sailing back to Shaw.  We had a nice light north east wind that went further east as we sailed north.  It was a great run up and Spirit sat happily on 8-9 kts upwind.  Just awesome flat seas where we don't get wet is the best when we sail to wind.  Anything above 15kts and we start to get pretty wet onboard.

Anchored in the passage at Keswick Island

We were the only boat at Shaw Island, well on this side anyway.  There wasn't another boat to be seen and we once again dropped the anchor in shallow water and put out the stern anchor to secure Spirit and allow us to get in closer to the beach.  We spent another two days here lying around and just relaxing, cooking, eating, reading, sleeping and paddling out SUP's around exploring.  

Another view of Spirit anchored at Shaw

You'd think you'd get bored doing nothing all the time but that's just it.  After a few days your body just seems to get into the swing of things and everything seems to slow down.  You seem to love in slow motion and your body clock adjust to the sunrises and sunsets.  It feels incredibly natural and healthy to live like this and one finds that the day fills with the little things like cooking and looking after oneself.  It's so nice to have the time listen to be able to hear yourself and to hear what's important to you and that you need to be happy.  I'm sounding a bit deep here but life is truly so simple we do need so little to be happy.  For myself it's just the ability to live freely and simple that I enjoy most and to have the ability to do things without the normal day to day rush.

Ready for some relaxation

From Shaw Island we headed north to Hamilton where we picked up some more fresh fruit and veg.  After nearly a week on our own at Shaw the sudden influx of people and things was intense and we quickly chose to get out of there and move onto May's Bay another favourite anchorage just south of Hook Passage.  It's a great spot as there's normally no one else there and you get to see an awesome sunset if the weather's right over the Molle Group of Islands.

Entering Nara Inlet

Next day it was off to Nara inlet.  This has to be one of the best all round anchorages within the Whitsunday group as it's calm in most winds and provides great shelter from nearly all directions.  We tucked right up in the end of the main arm where the water's flat and wind was just barely noticeable.  If it's blowing strong directly from the south it can have a little bit of chop enter but I've never seen it really bad in here.  We enjoyed a day here paddling, swimming and relaxing before we sailed back to the mainland.  

This group of Islands is a must place to visit and sail around and I hope this little story of one of our adventures here inspires you to do just that ;-)  I've also posted a few new videos on our youtube page so if you'd like to see some more of the area check them out.

Another beautiful sunset.... we never get tired of them