Back in February, while having a few drinks at a friend’s place in Gracetown, the conversation turned to boats, specifically sailing boats and their benefits, as opposed to power boats. And so it went on- considerably cheaper to run re fuel, generally less expensive to buy for the same size vessel, ability to navigate around Australia or even the world if you are keen enough, etc, etc. Of course, I did have to interject occasionally with comments like, ‘way less fishing space on sailing boats’ and ‘having a trailerable power boat takes the stress out of having to monitor moorings or pay marina fees’. So one of the guys eventually pins me down to ask how much serious sailing I had actually done. Honest answer-minimal on large vessels. Sure, I taught students the basic skills in sailing 420 dinghies for ten years, know the difference between tacking and gybing, jib and main, sail setting for close to the wind, heaving to, running with the wind and can even identify the luff and the leech of a sail, but I have probably only had no more than a dozen day trips as crew on a sailing vessel over ten metres. Sheets
As talk centred around the discussion group’s previous experiences sailing islands, like swimming at isolated beaches, snorkelling coral atolls and late afternoon sunset drinks on the deck, I should have realised that a seed was being planted and I walked straight into the trap. My wife, Viv was very engaged in the conversation, because truth be known, she has little inclination to spend hours fishing on a ‘stink’ boat, smelling of bait, then cleaning the boat, cleaning the fish and all that goes with what is a normal day on the water for me. You see in her previous Sydney life, a boyfriend’s family owned a 60ft sailing boat that regularly did trips up the NSW coast. So before I could interject again, the group ‘skipper’ chimes in to mention that they have booked a 40ft catamaran to sail the Whitsundays in October and would we be interested in joining the group, as it would be a great way to experience sailing in safe waters, no need to buy the damn thing, just hire the bare boat and give it a go. Viv is saying yes immediately, while my mind is racing with thoughts like; be reasonable Wayne given our new powerboat is on order, October trip will be hard as we will only just be back from North West but in reality the best time to do it, can’t really afford it but with seven people makes it cheaper, do I really want to live with seven people on a boat for ten days and so the mind games went on before it was time to just shut up and say, ‘We’re in.’
Now given the dramas of returning home this year (read last week’s Inglorious Finish article for details) we had about two days to get organised, so the roles were clearly outlined. With the skipper, food/drink purchaser and water activities people sorted by the instigators, I put my hand up to be photographer and first mate bringing fishing gear, radios, bluetooth ‘doof doof’ sound system, along with a few other toys like boche for some beach fun. All of a sudden it seems everyone I speak to has done this trip already, raves about how good it was and so now I’m keener than ever.
Find us on seasoaringmarine