Cannot believe that this day has finally arrived – albeit a couple of weeks after we had intended but then nothing goes as planned when you are dealing with boats. Only 10 days ago Ian discovered a serious crack in the compression post which is the main component that holds up the mast. It was disappointing to find such a major fault but obviously it was good to find it before we set off rather than be de-masted mid-ocean I guess! The heavens opened last night which meant the glass didn’t harden off enough for the flow coat to be applied, so on the morning of departure Ian was flowcoating while friends were turning up for a champagne send off! It took a while, and our intended time of departure of 10am got pushed back to 3pm. In fact Ian was still reattaching the anchor winch and running cables right up until the last minute with a lot of help from friends. While the girls drank champagne, the guys sorted out the boat – Meanwhile the winds were building and the weather was turning cold and miserable. Our stress levels were hitting the roof! Never mind, we still wanted to leave that day to get a good start up the coast so we just kept on fixing, checking and tweaking and eventually we were able to go. Saying goodbye to our kids was really hard, and sadly they had to leave before we could sail so we ended up having our hugs and tears in the car park…
Our 5 hour delay meant that most of the hanky-waving contingent had to leave but we still had a great send off. Under reefed jib, in 20-25 knots SW we left the marina. Were we ready? No absolutely not but we were ready enough. It was sunny but cold when we pulled out of Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club – our second home for the past five years. Very sad to say goodbye to what has been a fantastic part of our lives. We have made such good friends here but we will take all our memories with us. As soon as we got past the heads, the swell died down and we were racing along at 7-8 knots in full foulies and beanies. Cannot wait to get to the heat again…..
We are heading straight up the West Australian Coast until we get to Shark Bay – about 450NM which should take us about three days non-stop. As soon as Indian Summer was settled Ian took a well deserved kip and I settled down to cray-pot watch. We were so tired that all I could muster for dinner was chicken soup and toast – not much for a weary captain and crew but it was hot and filling and did the trick.
With only six weeks to go, things are getting pretty hectic. I had no idea how much there was to organise before embarking on such a big trip. Ian is finalising the boat, still adding new cupboards, changing lines, ensuring everything is working and safe. I am sorting out all the rest. As we hope to be away for a number of years, we have had to literally put our land lives on hold. We have either sold or given away most of our ‘stuff’ and put the rest into storage – Accountants, financial advisers, lawyers, doctors, dentists, opticians, insurance, even the hairdresser. Visas, passports, Wills, Power of Attorneys, tax dept, vaccines, prescriptions, charts, downloading guides and books, radio courses, sea survival courses, photocopies – the list never seems to end. Then there is gathering the contents for the first aid kit, the grab bag, the liferaft, the spares kit etc. New computer with electronic charts downloaded, go-pro, printer, sat phone, AIS, Thank goodness for google – its amazing how much information is available out there. Much of what we need, especially spares, has been found on-line and it seems like a parcel is arriving every other day with another important item – the postman must be wondering what we are up to!
Then there is the matter of what not to take…….. How many towels, clothes, shoes will we need? and don’t get me started on the cushions! We keep finding new hidey holes to squash more things into and then we start questioning our weight. Catamarans do not like to be overweight as it affects their sailing ability. Do we take another roll of line, more tools, the kayak? I’m glad we don’t have books and CD’s – kindles and thumb drives are so much lighter. I imagine as we go along we will dump some things and wish we had taken others – all part of the adventure.
The Dream: When Ian was 11 years old, he read Robin Knox-Johnston’s book “A World of My Own” and decided that he would also like to sail around the world. We still have that original (now signed) book on board!
The Plan: So a 5 year plan was set in motion. The main obstacles were money, time and of course the boat. A catamaran seemed the best option for space and comfort and 40ft was a good size. So we set about looking on the internet for boats in our price range. We eventually saw what looked like a good deal in the Seychelles and flew over in June 2011 to see Indian Summer 1, fell in love with her and bought her that night. It took another 8 months before we could go back and bring her back to Perth. Some friends sailed her back as we were both working and couldn’t take time off. It was with very mixed emotions we flew out of Victoria leaving her behind. We wouldn’t see her for another 3 months but we had a tracker on board so we knew where she was all the time. She visited Chagos and Cocos Island and we imported her into Carnarvon. Ian flew up to Geraldton – about 400 km north of Perth, and sailed her back to Mandurah where I was waiting to welcome her to her new home. All we had to do now was work out how we could possibly leave within 5 years!
The Preparation: We set a estimated date of mid 2016. We sold our family home of 25 years at the end of 2014, moved in with our daughter, and Ian started working full time on preparing her for a circumnavigation. This was the big challenge! Below is a list of the modifications and additions:
A new fibreglass hardtop, together with hatches, rain catchers and bimini. This was built in our daughters garage and took up every spare inch…
New Watermaker – Stella watermaker, enables us to be completely off the beaten track.
New seating in saloon
All windows removed and resealed
All staunctions removed, reglassed and replaced
Replacement of all acrylic in hatches
All hatches resealed
Sinks and fridge resealed
New battery bank
New solar panels
New mattress in master suite
Shelving unit portside amidships
New holding tank
New cockpit cushions
New Boom bag
New wind generator
New folding propellers
New pulpit seats
2 x 12v outlets + one double 240v socket extra
New washing machine
We took a few weeks off last year to have a ‘pre-run’ and went up the West Australian coast into The Kimberley. We only got as far as Kuri Bay and will explore the Eastern Kimberley this year. The Kimberley must rate as one of natures marvels. The sheer beauty of the rock formations and the rich colours make it one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
Finalising everything now in preparation for the Big Trip.