Tea, anyone?

When people write about sailing, it’s usually about the dramatic stuff – storms, near-disasters, actual disasters, exciting or terrifying experiences. But in between those fairly rare events, sailing is a lot more comfortable and safe. Often there’s not enough wind, let alone too much. You’ve tried all the possible sail combinations to keep the boat moving and sometimes you just have to give up and start the engine. Read more »

Middle Percy Island to Scarborough, Qld

One of the things I’m enjoying about cruising down the Queensland coast, is the early dawn. After nine hours of night, which are very pleasant when all is calm and moonlit, but not so pleasant when it’s black, windy and turbulent, the discerning of a faint glow in the east is cause for celebration. 4am on a cloudless morning sees the eastern sky starting to pale, and by 5am you’re wondering where you left your sunglasses, because you’ll need them in another half hour.

We usually up anchor and leave by 5, and get a few good miles under the belt before breakfast. On a good day we can cover over 100 nautical miles, even sailing to windward as we have been so far. The conditions have been varied on the voyage – a lot of strong winds around 35kn and some heavy seas, but the boat handles it well (a lot better than me!) I’m not a fan of speed and strong winds, but I’m improving. I think. Read more »

Cairns to Middle Percy Island

I now understand that old sailors’ maxim: “A gentleman never sails to windward”, although I think they were more concerned about spilling the drinks. It’s certainly a lot more work sailing into the wind, requiring more tacking, hauling on ropes and grinding away at winches. My hands, gone soft and smooth after years of city living, have callouses again which appeared so fast I think they were just lying dormant under the skin.

Cairns was a welcome respite after the slog from Cape York. The genoa and staysail needed repairs, so the moment we tied up, we pulled the sails down and rang a number we found on the internet. Read more »

Cape York to Cairns

Entering Torres Strait

Lex and I sailed out of Darwin on 8 October, arriving at the Torres Strait islands after a non-stop seven day passage. The biggest discovery about the Straits was the wind! Rarely stops blowing, and had a lot of yachts hemmed in for a while. After exploring Thursday and Horn islands, we set off for Cairns on the 19th October…


31 October – Hooray, Cairns! We motored quietly into the marina yesterday morning just after daybreak, at the end of a 24 hour sail from Lizard Island. It’s been a long haul from Horn Island. Read more »

If someone remembers you, you’re not lost

I was tidying up my work space this morning and it got me thinking about the things I was picking up. Or more to the point, what wasn’t there. We’ve lived on a boat for the last six years, and my writing space is a bit small. Just part of the saloon table, where my MacBook Air sits. When we lived onshore, I had my own room to work in, a delightful, odd-shaped, attic-like place upstairs that held crammed bookshelves, an old Huon pine cabinet with wide flat drawers full of art paper and paints, a big table and a comfortable chair. Read more »