Sunday, July 9, 2017

New photo page.

As this blog has come to an end due to the sale of our loved catamaran I have started a photo page on Facebook. We now travel on land in our motorhome and although I tried writing a blog I could not put it together like the sailing scribbles, hope you enjoy.


The page is (please copy and paste):

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Sailing Australia North Coast Update

Please note the disclaimer on the main page.
The north has had an exceptional extended wet season this year (2016/2017), therefore many of the sand bars at waterway/river mouths have changed, so if you are using my notes as a guide please double check sand bars from local knowledge eg. some of the tourist vessels or lower a dinghy and sound the bottom. Also remember that many sand bars can only be crossed on spring tides.

Cheers and safe sailing.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Brisbane to Lake Macquarie - the final voyage.

Selling our beautiful catamaran Alana Rose was not the easiest thing we have done, this vessel has been our home, our safe haven in storms and has looked after us in many a rough sea. Unfortunately the time had to come, many a person had asked me how long we would live-aboard sailing for and my answer was, "As long as I can hoist the mainsail we will keep doing it". Well my shoulders are telling me that I can't do that anymore. I have torn ligaments, new and old, the old ones have calcified and I have arthritis in both shoulders. Many people have said get electric winches, besides the cost it is not only the fact off winches. Our last sailing here to deliver the boat has proven that, just holding onto things when the seas are rolling causes pain.
After being back in the water after hauling out in June/July we advertised the boat for sale, we looked at the market what people were asking for a similar quality boat and we undercut them by around $40,000. This brought the right results with a flood of people wanting to check the boat out. I think some were just tyre kickers just wanting to look but not ready to buy, but there was some genuine buyers some had to sell something before buying etc. The annoying part is those people that say this is just what we are looking for, I have to get finance before making an offer and it is a lot of bull, why not tell the truth just say nice boat but not what we are looking for, it won't offend anyone, it lets the seller know that you won't be back. We had one couple come look at the boat twice and said they would contact us and let us know if they were not interested and they did just that, and I thank them for that, it is the right thing to do. Well we finally had a couple that came liked and bought and I am pleased to say they are a lovely couple and we are pleased Alana Rose is going to such a nice home and nice people.
They paid the deposit organised the survey and the day of the survey the surveyor rang them gave them the all clear and an hour later the money was in our bank, good way to do business.
They asked us if we would deliver the boat at our leisure and I explained we had to get a weather window. Well the Gods must have been on our side as come the Monday night after the survey which was on the Friday we had a three day window. Jason the new owner or should I say half owner as his wife Alyson could not come due to work commitments, flew to the Gold Coast boarded late afternoon and at 1900 hours we set sail.
(Alana Rose after survey and fueled with additional cans on deck ready to sail south)

Although we had a three day window it was not all beer and skittles. We left with a light head on wind until the change that came in around 2200 hours so we motored until the change then we got the sails working and through the night we had 15 knot winds from behind but unfortunately another squall came through then we had little wind and it meant we had to motor. Fortunately we had picked up the East Coast Current which gave us an extra 2 knots. 
(First night at sea beautiful full moon although it did hide behind clouds at times)

(Sunrise Tuesday morning one of the few squalls we had during the night)
(One of the squalls)
(Fishing boat just south of Port Macquarie bashing into the sea)
(Jason at the helm rugged up for the cold)

(Jason caught a few fish along the way but only one worth keeping)
(The day settled with very little wind but a great day to watch the whales and dolphins and there was plenty to see)
(A Whale splashes in the late afternoon)
(Another moonlit night)

It was then a day of motoring until late Tuesday night when the winds came in from the north at speeds of around 30 knots, this got us sailing with little headsail at speeds of 8 to 9 knots this continued through the night until about late morning when a large black cloud came in from the southwest. Nancy being on watch had to yell out to Jason  and I as the front hit, we scrabbled up on deck to get the sail down, it was rather cool just wearing my undies. We then had 30 knots from the southwest for some time as we slammed into the seas. The foul weather stayed for around 90 minutes and then we had WSW to W  winds between 13 and 18 knots, we had the mainsail reefed to assist one engine as the wind angle was not good to sail alone. 
(Wednesday morning seas a little lumpy but from behind)
(The SW change that came through the arrow shows our location when it hit)
(Alana Rose heading into the front)

This continued through the night. Before going off watch on the Wednesday night I checked the weather again for crossing the Swansea Bar and got a bit concerned. It had changed from an 11 knot westerly to a 20 knot SE wind which could stir the water up and prevent us from crossing. So I went to bed concerned and did not get any sleep thinking of what we should do if we cannot cross the bar. When back on watch four hours later things had calmed a little we were now in amongst the large ships moving about and at anchor near Newcastle. At one stage I had to call one of the cargo ships as we were on a collision course, I identified it on the AIS on the internet site. I checked the weather forecast again and fortunately it had changed back to the original of westerly 11 knots.
We had arrived early so we sailed past the Swansea Bar a short distance until daylight when we contacted VMR and got the go ahead for crossing the bar. The crossing was the smoothest calmest I had experienced and I cursed because I lost sleep worrying what we would do if we could not cross.
We picked up one of the moorings near the Swansea Bridge at 0700 hours and booked an opening for 0900 hours this gave us time to clean up and have showers. Our dear friends Colleen and Brian were at the bridge to wave us in for the last time, Jason also had friends in a 47 Leopard catamaran on the other side of the bridge to welcome him in his new boat.
Jason was on a learning trip on the way down I remained skipper and he was very pleased with Alana Rose performance and we certainly had different weather to test her out. His comment was he knows now he will feel safe in this boat.
(Our last night on Alana Rose at sea with a brilliant sunset)

We motored through the channel to Lake Macquarie and when we had got through the drop off I handed Jason the wheel and said you know where your home is and you know the lake better than I take the wheel. We went across the lake to Dora Creek to Alana Rose's new home, the parking was going to be tricky so Jason asked if I would do that so he could see how I approached it, it is a very tight spot but going slow we did alright and Jason has the confidence that he would not have any trouble doing the same.
(The Swansea Bridge)
(Taking Alana Rose through the bridge for our last time, photo from our friend Colleen who has watch us go through this bridge many times)
(After going through the bridge and going over the drop off into the lake proper I handed Jason the helm and said you know this place better than I take her to her new home)

Alyson could not be there until she finished work so when she got home we sat in the cockpit with the champagne to hand over the boat officially.
We stayed with them for the weekend to assist in anything they needed to know, we moved off the boat into the house and I do not mind admitting taking my last bag of the boat there was a very large lump in my throat and a few tears fell. Nancy and I are going to miss this boat and the life at sea, it is in the veins, but we now know we have a new adventure waiting on our land ship, our new motor home.
(Alana Rose's new home which looks perfect)
(Alana Rose from the house)
(New owners Jason, Alyson and Joey, we had the bottle of champagne in the cockpit as the official handover, these people will love the boat as we have)

Well the end of an era for us, it has been a beautiful experience we have done a lot in the past seven plus years and met some wonderful people. I would like to thank those people for their kindness towards us and I would like to thank the people that have visited this blog to read my scribbles. This blog was started for our circumnavigation around Australia and I hope it has some useful information for those intending to do the same, we had no idea when we started that it would be our last big voyage but that's the cards we are dealt.

I have already been put on notice that I have to continue scribbling on our new venture so I have started a new page for this so for those interested here it is: (copy and paste address)



Monday, July 7, 2014

Boat Works - Where we hauled out

Boat Works was recommended to us by some of our friends that spent quite some time on the hard at this facility having some major works done to their boats and routine maintenance and we are not sorry that we went to this facility.
(Flagship Marine Service - Boat Works)
(One of the rows of sheds in the yard)
 (The sea lift getting in place to take us out)
(Lifting us out and getting a pressure wash)

The boat yard is huge and clean all concrete and well drained into a treatment pit, the staff are very friendly and helpful. The place caters for live a board people to the fact that they have just opened a newly constructed live a board ensuites that are very spacious shower vanity and toilet, combined with this is a laundry with washing machine and drier. I believe there will be a coffee shop opening soon. At present there is a food van that comes around 1000 hours and 1200 hours on week days.
(Live a board ensuites)

There are many trade contractors within the area to meet every need whether major or minor works, the outside hard stand area is large and this is surrounded by many work sheds if undercover work is required such as spray painting, sand blasting or other needs where cover is required.
Lifting in and out is done by two methods, the standard ship lift via slings or the sea lift which is a cushioned unit that easily and safely lift catamarans under the bridge deck.
(The Sea Lift in operation)
It is possible to do your own work or you can use some of the many services available.
All of this for very reasonable rates, at the time we were there they had specials running and I believe they have been running for quite some time, we had a lot of work to do plus as I get older it takes me a little longer to do the work so we opted for the seven day special, pay for seven days and get the next seven days free. I believe the other special was haul out on Thursday go back in Monday and the weekend is free. But that is not all, there standard rate is also very attractive, their charge per day for my 12.6m catamaran was $11 cheaper than I paid at Mackay two years ago. As the advert on the tele used to say but that's not all. Because we are members of the Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club we also got 10% discount on all charges.
Boat Works also have a courtesy car that you can book for a three hour per time limit free of any charges, with the exception of asking a donation to help pay for the fuel. I put $20 worth of fuel in it although I only used a small amount but the use of the vehicle was good for us and that is cheap.
(The ladies - A business is only as good as its front line staff because they are the ones dealing with the customer, all the staff are friendly and make you feel at home, thanks ladies)
 (These are also some of the front line staff that make you feel welcome and provide a good service, thanks guys)

 (All work finished)

(Ready to go)

 Getting ready to go back to the water, the guys are making sure all areas are supported)

(I am smiling because the work is done)

So I say thanks to Boat Works, it is great to see a smart business that is giving good service at a competitive price that also results in good business for them as the yard is nearly always full of boats, I think one of the boys told me June is usually a quiet month yet they had 130 boat movements for the month, that's good business.
 (Take me to the waves mate)

(Back to the water)


On site is Marine Trade Supplies, John Lance is a nice bloke that will get items you need if it is not already there in stock. John tells me that occasionally a customer will tell him that he buy some items cheaper at Bunning's, John's reply is that he only stocks good quality items that will do the job. John has a good supply of goods there and it is on site not far to travel only a short walk from the boat. John is very helpful and has good knowledge on boats.
 (Marine Trade Supplies)

 Check it out.      or
I would recommend these two businesses to anyone.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Catamaran for sale - end or our sea time.

Due to some of my health problems we have to look at changing our lifestyle due to damage and arthritis in my shoulders, we will continue to sail until the boat sells. It has been a hard decision as we both love the sea life and the great people we meet in our travels. We are currently hauling out to do the maintenance on the boat and prepare her for sale and will advertise it through Yacht Hub in a week or two.

When we finally sell we will start a new adventure of road travel going back to visit places we have seen whilst sailing around Australia, I am not ready to stay put in one spot at this stage.

Below is what we will put in our advertising and I thought I would first show this to my loyal readers of this blog. I thank you for following my scribbles over the time I have been totally surprised by the more than 43,000 hits this site has had over the last two years.


The lovely 'Alana Rose'
(Under sail on the way to Albany)

Leopard 42 Catamaran, which was originally built by Robertson and Caine, South Africa,
this cat was built for cruising it is strong and well designed for ease of maintenance. Priced to sell after owners have spent seven years solid cruising which included crossing the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans and since it has been in Australia many seasons sailing the east coast and most recently completed a two year full circumnavigation of Australia. Main reason for sale is health reasons otherwise owners would continue this magnificent cruising life. Prior to current ownership this boat sailed from South Africa to the Caribbean and spent five years sailing the Caribbean.

Boat Name ; Alana Rose
Registered; Australia and QLD
Model; 2002  Leopard 42
Launched;  October 2001
Engines: 40hp Yanmar.  NEW engines/gearboxes fitted 16/11/2009
Shaft drive, great advantage of having all mechanics above water.
New shaft seals fitted June 2014 as part of pre-sale maintenance.
Engine Hours; 1,900 port- 1,900 stbd

Electrical systems,  
110 volt wiring still in place not used other than hot water services.
240 volt system in Galley and Salon areas
12 volt system – 600 amp/hr AGM house batteries, each engine has a 90 amp/hr sealed start battery
Battery charge- Stirling 40 amp self program automatic multi voltage.
Solar Panels with Solar Boost 200E regulator 2 x 120 watt panels.
LED strip lighting fitted throughout.

1 kva 240 v Honda petrol portable generator
2 kva 110 v Honda petrol portable generator

Rigging :
All stainless steel (Dyform) replaced 2010 along with genoa furler.
Sails, mainsail good condition 5 yr genoa good condition 7 yr plus original spare genoa.

Fuel Tanks one each engine 180 litres new condition.
Water Tanks 2 x 400 litre each (Total 800litres).

Galley (Galley up). New stove Force 10 (Oven/Grill/ 2 burner top) NEW fitted 2014
Large fridge freezer in Galley (50 Danfos compressor) works on timer to take advantage of solar panel operation, fully serviced 2014.
47 Litre  Evakool fridge freezer under cockpit table.
Four queen size beds, two fwd cabins with island beds and two single berths each with own head/shower, however, starboard aft cabin has been used as storage for spares and equipment  and the head removed and shelves fitted and store 2.2 kg washing machine the head can be re-installed easily.

Salon has U shaped lounge and dining table.
 (Starboard forward cabin bed made and below unmade)

(Stbd Fwd head/shower)

(Port aft cabin)
(Port aft Head /shower)

(Passage to Fwd stbd cabin)



GME VHF radio and  ICOM  IC-M 802 HF Radio
GME Epirb
(Navigation desk and communications)
 Raymarine, autopilot, depth/log, wind and chart plotter plus a Garmin 550s Chart plotter both at helm.

Rocna anchor with 70 metre 10 mm chain. Spare and Bruce anchor.
Deck wash pump fitted.
Lofran s   Anchor winch NEW electric motor 2014 
Outside condition Hull  - Good

Hatches Lewmar, seals have been renewed, and hatches have been fully removed and sealed between the deck and hatch.

Dinghy, Redback 2.9 metre inflatable with alloy hull and 8hp Yamaha outboard motor.