Día Tres de Haulout 2014

We’ve just finished watched the early Vin Diesel 2003 film “A Man Apart”, and blistering barnacles, it was decidedly average. Full of unsubtitled Spanish speaking Mexican drug lords and their henchmen… Hence the title of this blog post.

How did Day 3 go?
Today my arms fell off.

We’ll, they feel like they have, at least. Today I sanded the topsides with a third-sheet power sander and my arms ache, ache, ache.

But the good wife and I got two coasts of undercoat, and the first cost if topcoat! Yay!
We were a little behind schedule for going back in Friday, but we made for lost time, and we’re back on track.

As they say in Spanish:
“No se puede superar el sudor de una buena mujer y el amor de un día de trabajo honesto!”

Run it through Google translate yourself, but I think I got it mostly right.

And doesn’t she look pretty:


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Day Two of Haulout 2014

We got stuck into the hull below the waterline today, scraping all the loose anti foul off first, cleaning out any daggy putty in the seams then caulking, puttying, and priming bare wood where exposed.


The white rings is part of our usual modus operandi; we walk around scraping, sanding and chipping away at paint, then marking the hull area with a circle in chalk so we know where the problem areas are later.

We got out five year putty thinned down and malleable again (mixing turps with it is the trick) and got the caulked seams puttied before the rain came through and called a halt to proceedings.

I hate being up on the hard when it’s blowing. It’s currently going 15 with occasional 20kt gust and the boat shudders and shakes, perched up as she is… It feels most unnatural for the old girl and I’m sure she doesn’t like it any more than I do.

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2014 Haulout – Day 1

We hauled out this morning at the DSS for the first time here, and the first time since the Tamar, two years ago.

We dropped the car off down at the DSS last night, then got up bright and sparky (before dawn!) to get the boat ready for the slip and sail the boys to school.

We got the boys up to school with 5 minutes to spare then had the good fortune to watch another boat being hauled, so we saw how they did it.

ERIK hauled easily in their big number two cradle, and she wasn’t in bad shape under the water, either…



We blasted off the mussels and two enormous oysters (no wonder we struggled to make 5 knots on the Christmas Cruise)

One thing we forgot was to put here up on blocks, off the cradle. Now we can’t get at the underside of her keel.

We’ll have haul again, a quick up and down, later in the year and get that bit.

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‘Twas the day before Christmas

Twas the the day before Christmas
And all across the bay
There wasn’t another boat seen
At the breaking of day

The boys are all excited
And running around
Guessing at presents
While the dawn chorus sounds

The birds sing their song
The sea eagle takes flight
The cabin fills with reflections
Of the sun’s early light

Today we will breakfast on eggs,
Christmas ham and toast
Sitting at anchor
In the bay we love most.

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Christmas Cruise

Every year, we have to get out the Marina for a couple of weeks over Christmas, to make way for the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race. Every year it’s a struggle to get the leave period sorted with work, get the boat provisioned, get Christmas shopping done, find a home for the car, etc.

What with Dad’s place lost to the fires, we decided to have a quiet Christmas this year, tucked into our favourite anchorage, the Duck Pond.

With blustery southerly weather forecast, we waited until an approaching low to catch it’s leading edge norther lies down the east yet and into the channel. Despite planning take the Friday off (didn’t happen, too much work, and even then I didn’t get it all finished!), despite last minute provisioning, fuel, water, Christmas presents, birthday presents, and clothes washing, we were ready.

And then this happened:


No rubber tip on the BBQ has feed line… Strewth and crikey, well it wouldn’t be an .Aussie Christmas with the bloody barbie, now would it!

Surprise, good friends won 4 tickets to see “Ender’s Game” at the cinema, and we had a legit reason to stay awhile longer to fix the BBQ that didn’t make me seem like some odd cross of macho alpha male and whiny cook.

Sunday, departure day, came around with the inevitability of a planet rotating on its axis, and we were up bright and sparky to catch the bus over to Eastlands. The movie was great, capturing the duality of the book nicely while being satisfyingly epic SF. Well worth the watch, and a big thanks yo our friends for donating the tickets!

We could the back into the city and trekked up to K&D for the rubber tip bits (got spares too, BBQ’s Galore out of stock), dropped by the pet shop on the way by popular request (“if we get a bigger boat, will it fit an aquarium?”), and down to the boat to cast off.

After a short delay required to discover we hadn’t quite untied all the lines before attempting to back out of our marina berth, we were off! The Christmas Cruise begins!

And then it started raining.

No wind… Just rain. We motored south, steering by compass in the fog and drizzle. IPhones really don’t cut it as a chart plotter in the wet.


My family abandoned me for the warmth below decks, and the good wife put a chicken on to roast. They boys fired up “Rise of the Guardians” for the umpteenth time, taking advantage of the engine running.

The breeze picked up in the channel swinging from a light sou’easter to a 20 to 25kt NE wind. By that time I was too bloody cold and wet to bother with the sails, but apparently not beyond a selfie…


Don’t I look all cold and wet to you?

We anchored down in the Duck Pond without drama, and we are the only boat here… The chicken dinner was awesome, thanks to my darling wife, and was just the thing to thaw out my bones!

All in all, a good start to the Christmas Cruise… I wonder what tomorrow’s 35kt SW change will bring?

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Getting a Guernsey

Bet you didn’t know “Getting a guernsey” was an Aussie phrase, did you?

I didn’t, especially as no one calls them guernseys anyway, we call them jumpers… But it turns out that on the other side if the planet there are two islands, one named Guernsey and the other Jersey. Both were famous for their knitwear and knitted cloth, such that a jumper, or sweater, as the Americans call them, was called by the Island’s name.


That’s four names for the garment, and there were two islands it originally came from!

Jersey made fine knitwear, usually of thinner yarn, and was later prized for its machine knitted cloth.

Guernsey made jumpers from thicker yarn, usually hand knitted. Both islands used a deep blue dye on their work that didn’t require the stripping of the wool grease from the fibres first. Guernsey knitters even added extra lanolin to the garment making it even more waterproof. Unsurprisingly, they were popular with the fishing folk. On mainland England, playing rugby in the winter months, you wanted to wear something pretty rugged and waterproof too, so they got knitted in the colours of rugby teams.

Now, out in Australia, even in the middle of winter, it can still be pretty warm, so rugby tops were tough cotton pullovers (that’s 5 names), but they were still called guernseys.

If you made the team, you got a guernsey, and that’s where the saying came from! Amazing eh? Learn something useless everyday.

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Tassie weather

So it’s a beautiful day today; gentle 5kt NW wind, blue sky dappled with cloud.

Yesterday there was snow on the mountain, it barely got into double digit temperatures and there was a brisk 15-20kt SW wind.

…talk about unsettled weather.

A few weekends ago I took a couple of days off work and we headed off down to Duck Pond for a break, a period away from it all.

We set off into a 20kt SW wind forecast to swing west and weaken. An hour into the 4 hour sail it strengthened to 30kts, still sou’westerly. Over the next hour it became 35, then 40. After another hour of singlehanded against the squall fronts, the sea had built and it was a steady 40 gusting 50 and we hadn’t made 10 nautical miles.

It had stopped being a nice get away for the weekend. The boat was a mess down below, things fallen out of lockers, broken on the cabin sole. The boys, still in pyjamas, took one look at the amount of water smashing into me at the helm and shut up the hatch. The dear wife was now hopelessly seasick on top of a rum induced hangover. Time for plan B.

Putting the helm hard over, I dumped the mizzen sheet to get the boat around on a run back to shelter. I couldn’t re-sheet the mizzen in the gale, so I dropped the halyard and wrestled it on a lurching boat in the slightly less howling wind to get it furled. Going from 2kts to windward to 7kts downwind meant that we lost a lot of ground quickly and were in danger of running out of water to float in too.

I got our home into the lee of a headland and considered my options. Docking in the tight marina was going to be tough in these conditions. Ralph’s Bay was horribly shallow and a very lumpy reach from here. Around then the Peppermint Bay tour catamaran came past. Close to us and even closer to shore. I watched them hug the windward coastline, keeping within two or three boat lengths of the cliffs all the way down and thought maybe that could work.

I have tried sailing close to cliffs in strong conditions before, and it’s not pretty. This time, to avoid being knocked about by the turbulence off the cliffs, I dropped all sail and motored very close to shore. How close? I kept our sounder at 5 meters or under all the way down the western shoreline of the Derwent. It was a bit too intense, I’m not sure I’d do it again, but we made 4 or 5kts and the seas were pretty flat.

Of course, once we rounded Piersons Point, we came out of the shelter and slammed back into the sou’wester again, but by that stage it had backed more to the south and “weakened” to a mere 30-35kts, and good old ERIK doesn’t mind that at all.

All up, it took us 7 and a half hours to do the 18 nautical mile trip. Once there we had a fine time… Oh, other boats dragged anchor, other dinghies got flipped (drowned outboards) in the gale force conditions and it was blowing so strong (in the Duck Pond!) that there were clouds of spray blowing through the anchorage… But we had a fine time!

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Winter is here..

I’m so glad I have a boat that doesn’t leak. First two boats we lived aboard leaked when it rained, and made life quite miserable down below. ERIK, on the other hand, is cosy warm.

Last night we got soaked through to the skin getting onboard and everyone got changed into dry clothes. Hanging up four sets of clothes in a 10ft long cabin made the place seem like a Chinese laundry!

Once in dry clothes, we got some hot food into us, and although the boat shuddered and heeled as the wind gusts caught her, we were all warm, dry and happy down below.


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We went down the Peninsula on the weekend. It’s not the first time since the fires, but it’s impact hasn’t faded.

People living in tents or sheds next to the burnt out rubble of their houses, the pervasive smell of burnt things in the air, the alien autumn-like browns and golds in the foliage; these things haven’t changed in the 6 weeks since the fires.

What has changed are the signs of re-growth. Bulldozers have left swathes of smooth brown soil in the removal of rubble. Native green grasses are sprouting in the burnt out forest floor. Bulbs in Dad’s garden have sprouted and bloomed.


It’s like nature has made peace with itself, and is moving in.

And so it goes with selling ERIK. Never mind the fact that we can’t find anything we like as much as ERIK, and never mind that its a crappy market to try and sell a boat for good money in, the simple fact is that I feel like we are just moving on from the idea.

Yes, the downsides are still there, but we are moving on. Time to start saving for more boat improvements!

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Keeping an eye out for someone

Don’t get orbital cellulitis… And if you do, don’t look it up on the web and scare yourself silly with it relevant Wikipedia entry.


Don’t worry, a week in hospital and I was fine!

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