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Had a call from my cousin Elaine (Nee Fulwood) and husband Geoff on Thursday 17th March ’05 and it quickly became evident they would like a sail on Tsunami.  They had both lived permanently onboard a power boat earlier in their marriage and were therefore `old salts’.  We met on the following Saturday and they accepted an invitation to stay overnight. 

* Cousin Elaine (nee Fulwood) and Husband Geoff ... they loved Pittwater. *

 An overnight gave us the time to sail around to America Bay on Hawkesbury River and on Sunday, to call on the rubbish barge and waterfall around the corner in Refuge Bay (not to be confused with Refuge Cove where the oyster operation occurred.) 

* Rubbish disposal ... always an on-board problem. The local Council did something to help! *

* Geoff ... Elaine and Lloyd. Hawkesbury River, 20 kilometres north of Sydney. *

I may have mentioned the `rubbish barge’ in earlier writings?  It is a Council/Govt installation which is a moored barge (about 3 by 6 meters) which carries 6/8 240 litre bins.  Boats in the area deposit their garbage in the bins and a Council workboat comes regularly to empty them. Haven’t seen anything like that in the West!

Elaine catered for the weekend in grand style and they were clearly both taken by the space and comfort of the Cat though Geoff did force Elaine from their cabin with his snoring!

* Friendly Pelicans ... Big Birds! *



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Later that day, I went to see friends, whom I made on earlier journeys to Pittwater, Cath and Roger Manning, (co-owners of a Seawind 1000 Cat, `Orca’).  They had invited me to call on them at their magnificent home overlooking Refuge Cove (a smaller cove than the `Basin’ and about 5 miles from Refuge Bay, Hawkesbury River and the waterfall.)  On arriving and pirating someone’s mooring it was great to have a meal with them and catch up. 

* Roger and Catherine on `SV Orca' ... the Basin, Pittwater, NSW *

 I mentioned to Roger the incredible amount of coral growth (barnacles) forming on the hulls of Tsunami … a bit like an oyster farm under there!  He suggested I beach the yacht on the sand flats in front of their house (it dries out at low tide) apparently the previous owner of Tsunami had done the same thing once!  Anything to try to save a few $$$, so, at next high tide, which was in total darkness just to make it more interesting, with Roger’s help, (he loves messing around with yachts) we backed Tsunami over the flats and anchored forward and aft (back and front – I know you knew that?)

* `Tsunami' almost high and dry in Refuge Cove, Pittwater, down from Roger/Caths Mansion! *

I had imagined Tsunami would rest on her two keels and the hulls would stand proud of the sand.  Wrong!  The keels and rudders sank straight into the sand/mud up to the hulls.  By the time this was evident, I had spent $400 on antifoul and brushes etc!  So turning to plan `B’ … scrape as many ‘oysters’ off the bottoms and polish with scouring brushes.  That took all of the next week to do, mainly because the high tides were getting lower … and the low tides were getting higher.  Each day less area of each hull was being left bare and it became necessary to work underwater. 

* Coral growth ... it loves to grow on anything floating on water! *

* When there's water in it ... Refuge Cove is beautiful and straight down from Roger/Caths house! *

Now I have done some of my best work in the dark, but underwater???

Tsunami went like a scalded Cat on the trip to Lake Macquarie, so I am convinced it was the oysters that had been holding her back before. 





* The magnificent outlook from Roger and Catherines balcony! *



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 Saturday 26th February ’05 … almost coinciding with my return to Sydney from Eden, southern NSW, Erica (my former wife) made a journey from Perth to meet me for a two week cruise around Sydney Harbour, Pittwater and the Hawkesbury river area.

* Erica ... getting the ship into shape! Heading under the Anzac Bridge to Roselle Bay *

I met her at Mascot Airport, Sydney and we (almost) went straight back to the yacht moored (again) at Roselle Bay, my Sydney home from home … as close as one can get with a private yacht/boat to the CBD of Sydney.  However, on arrival Madam announced she had not voted in the WA State Elections and could we find an office at which an absentee vote may be lodged.  Being a Saturday, it was something of a struggle, with luggage, (why can’t women travel light?) across town to the NSW State Electoral office, where I had been earlier that week … only to find them closed!!  Bugger!

* Could be the seafood meal ... but in fact it wasn't! *

Sunday was a day to visit the fish markets, Blackwattle Bay (a short dinghy ride just around the corner from the yacht) and to enjoy an excellent lunch of mixed seafood.

Next day we cruised to Darling Harbour, Farm Cove, (can be a little bumpy) alongside the Opera House and The Bridge (stunning) for lunch … and then on to Rose Bay for the night.

Rose Bay is the home bay for a flying boat business with around 4-5 ‘planes, one of which crashed into Rose Bay around January ’05 (damn, I missed it.)  Anything can happen on Sydney Harbour and usually does!


Erica wanted to see the Blue Mountains while here and we travelled by train to Katoomba.  Late that afternoon in Katoomba, the thickest fog I have seen for decades came rolling in and stayed through most of the next day. 

* `The Three Sisters' of the Blue Mountains ... approximatley 50 miles west of Sydney. *

* `Blue Mountains' ... 50 kilometres west of Sydney! *

* Erica and Lloyd ... `Blue Mountains Hotel' *

We went on the Skyway cable cars and railway to the bottom of the canyon adjacent to the 3 Sisters anyway.  Fortunately we were booked for two nights and the day we were due to return to Sydney the skies cleared to perfection.  Therefore, we gave the 3 sisters a glancing blow (a brief visit) on the way to a railway station.


Erica experienced her first and probably last sail by catamaran on the open sea … Sydney Harbour to Pittwater, about 15 nautical miles.  The sea was calm by most standards with 7-10 knot breezes, thereby ensuring the journey was a slow one of 4 hours … the price one pays for a relatively calm sea.  Erica’s comment was “I wasn’t afraid … although the shore did seem to be travelling past at a very slow pace … hooray for Quells!” 

* Erica practicing her rowing at Smiths Creek, Hawkesbury River, Sydney, NSW. *

* Hawkesbury River, 20 kilometres north of Sydney. *

My opinion is that you have a much more enjoyable and faster journey with 20 knots of breeze … and it becomes exciting with 30 knots!   I am glad, for Erica’s sake, the conditions weren’t that fast that day!

With fine sunny weather, Pittwater and the Hawkesbury River  guarantees an enjoyable, peaceful and interesting stay … Erica had fun I am sure. 


Put the girl on the train for the airport at Hawkesbury River station for her journey to the airport.



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I like Pt Hacking, about 20 miles south of Sydney Harbour; it’s a good anchorage, plenty of room to swing and a sandy bottom, less likely that your anchor will drag.  Opposite the anchorage, about 150 meters, is the Royal Motor Yacht Club and they welcomed me with an offer to use their floating dock, shower, clothes washer and dining room … doesn’t get any better than that!

* A good looking Power Cat at anchor! *

The weather was against me anyhow so a long rest was OK by this boy.

Took off early on Sunday 20th February as there was a southerly blowing again … after a giant thunder storm the night before.  Three hours to Sydney south Head and another 90 minutes to my anchorage at Roselle Bay, as close as one can anchor to the centre of Sydney.  Great!!

* Back in Sydney Harbour. Manley Ferry on the left ... Australian Warship on the right. They both went around me! *

Whilst sailing down the Harbour with mainsail and jib pulling hard, I promised myself that today was the day I was going to sail under the Bridge with full sail load flying!  Bugger the little ferrety 200 tonne Cat public ferries.  About a mile from the Bridge, all was going well … then, for some reason I looked behind me, as one so often does, and there, from out of nowhere, was a whopping great Australian Navy Warship about 200 meters behind, on the port side.  To top it off an 1100 tonnes Manley ferry was the same distance on my starboard side.  Bugger it … rules of the ocean are power gives way to sail, so I kept on my course and they both went around me. 

* The sailors lining the rails looked very smart in their whites ... but, nobody would wave to me! *

* Almost Home at Roselle Bay, Sydney Harbour. *

I waved at the warship, but nobody waved back … and the decks were lined with white clad sailors. 

Sydney Harbour … anything can happen and it usually does!



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Melanie and John left Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport around 07:00; 7th January ’05 … I’ll never forget it as it meant an early rise to get them to the airport in time.  That’s what Dad’s are for!   I’m certain they had a great break in Sydney and I’m equally certain, despite living onboard Tsunami, it cost them quite a lot of $$$$’s! 

* John and Melanie ... Opera House, Sydney, Australia *

 They did the typical tourist thing of seeing as much of Sydney as possible, but added to this was the regular occupation of savouring the culinary delights of Chinatown, Spanish and Indian restaurants and what you can buy in the fish markets.   John is a supreme seafood chef (comes from skippering a fishing trawler and having to cook to survive) and cooked us many great meals.  Ingredients were high quality seafood from the Sydney fish markets (we were anchored only 500 metres from them.) For our New Years day fare, John mentioned he had bought 4 mud crabs and in a weak moment paid $170 for them!!  Something like $40/Kilo?  Mud crabs a great delicacy and it was worth it … (says he who didn’t shell out the $170.00)!)  Then came the prawns, scallops, oysters, etc.  Fortunately, Joe and Judy (friends of Melanie and John from Albany, Western Australia) subsidised the cost of that day’s seafood.  What a great treat!

* John with a large piece of art at the Olympic Stadium, Sydney. *

* Joe, Judy, Melanie and John at Darling Harbour, a `Fun/Restaurant Centre' close to the CBD of Sydney ... and Roselle Bay where Tsunami was anchored. *

Life onboard Tsunami seemed to calm down considerably after the departure of my guests.  All I had to do was to catch up on several loose ends. 

  1. Repair the electric anchor winch (as described previously.)
  2. Pick up a retrieval line and floats I left in Sale (Victoria) on the way across Australia (the supplier took the blame for this and mailed them to my friends in Pittwater.)
  3. Have the Yamaha Outboard given its first service. (Must mention here a new slant on marketing I have learnt in Sydney.  I priced an outboard motor in Perth before coming across; a 3 hp Yamaha would cost me $960.  Didn’t have the room, so decided to buy one in Sydney.  Went to a Yamaha Dealer in Mona Vale, Sydney, who priced the same model motor at $785.  Great I thought and did the deal!!  When lifting the motor into the Merc the salesman mentioned the first service was due at 10 hours – “Great”, I said.   “I assume that’s included?”  … “Negative”, said the salesman, “that will cost you $130!”     Somewhat taken aback, I said “So the real price I have paid for this motor is $785 plus $130, equalling $915?”  No comment from the salesman!  One could feel conned but I decided not to get TOOOOOO upset!  I am in Sydney!)
  4.  Have an ID name made for the stern of the yacht.  Cost $50 cash! 
  5. Get front brake pads for the Merc replaced, as the warning siren (part of the Mercedes safety system) kept screaming in my ear every time I touched the brakes.  Merc Dealer quotes $400.00 (too much!).  Had an individual mechanic specialising in European makes do it for $300.  Thought the extra $100 was better staying in my account!
  6. Buy a combination `life jacket/deck harness’.  This little number is a safety device for when at sea and has an inflatable mechanism which, if one should find oneself overboard into the H2O, is fitted with a small compressed air bottle … and on pulling a line attached to the bottle; it will inflate the jacket and therefore keep your head above water.  The second feature is a harness, which is a heavy duty system of webbing sown into the jacket, with a large stainless steel buckle located at the front of the jacket about level with one’s belly button.  One then attaches a two metre tether to this buckle (tether has two short arms at the other end, each with a substantial snap hook attached, with a large snap-hook to attach to the harness) and if it is absolutely necessary in a bad storm, you can still venture onto the deck, snap hooking your tether to the boat as you move along the deck.  The end result is to be attached to the boat if the boat should toss you overboard in very rough seas!  Cost $279.  Naughty Lloyd has not used it once … but, there will come a time?) 

As I do not have paper Navigation Charts for the Australian coastline (because they cost approx. $3,000 and because they are all accessible on computer) I have been researching a series of books containing miniature naval charts which some smart person has compiled.  (One book $61.00.)  The one which I need for this leg of my journey is out-of-print but I have another book researched and printed by another smart man by the name of Alan Lucas.  This is great for the cruising sailor, with most Australian yachtsmen having a copy onboard.  There are many such periodicals offered for travel along the East Coast of Australia and I think I have all I am going to need! 

Finally, it seemed time to deposit my wagon for storage with Sister Shirley and Merv at Windellama, N.S.W., roughly 100 Km east of Canberra and I spent a very pleasant two nights with them and their grandchildren Liam and Keira.  Merv then offered to drive me back to Sydney and I finally cast off from my land-mobile.  

* Sister Shirley and one of her woolly family! *

It seemed my exit from Sydney was overdue as it was January 20th 2005.  And I was getting stale with the City and my anchorage.  The incentive to leave Sydney, knowing I would be back many times … came from the curiosity and need, to experience sailing Tsunami in the open sea.  After all, that’s where I planned to spend a great deal of time whilst cruising the east coast of Australia.  So, this journey to Eden and back was a training run for me and the Seawind 1000. 




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* Sydney Opera House painted pink by fireworks ... NYE 2004 *

Every year Sydney, (New South Wales, Australia) stages a world class fireworks display, based around the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.  An estimated 1,500,000 people crowd the shorelines of the harbour which creates a huge open-air amphitheatre.  The fireworks are designed to a different pattern every year and floating barges are used to add to the spectacle of the display.  

* This is a small part of a HUGE fleet that gathers for the Fireworks display! *

 The ignition timing of the tens-of-thousands of fireworks are done by computer (how do they do that?) and choreographed to music, which is played via a local radio station.

A cool part of the evening is a mini-fireworks display at 2100 … for the very young that have no chance of being conscious at midnight.  And it’s a substantial display the adults enjoy!

Part of the spectacle and the best vantage point from which to view the fireworks, is via the deck of one of the thousands of vessels anchored in the harbour.  Tsunamiwas one of them and we had a great anchorage in Farm Cove near Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair (also called Lady Macquarie’s Chair) which is an exposed sandstone rock cut into the shape of a bench, and was hand carved by convicts in 1810 for Governor Macquarie’s wife Elizabeth.  The peninsula itself is named Mrs. Macquarie’s Point. It is part of the Royal Botanic Gardens.

* Mrs Macquaries Point ... A chair carved from limestone back in 1810! *

She sat watching British ships coming in and other goings-on in the harbour.

* Sydney New South Wales ... New Years Eve Fireworks ... 2004 *

Daughter Melanie and John, Jody and Joe were with me and I decided to stay at anchor until next morning.  Many boats do, as the mayhem of the huge fleet of vessels leaving the event and trying to be home first, creates a chaotic and dangerous area of water.  I’m sure the hysteria is fueled by too many, having too much alcohol throughout the night.

Best I let the photos do the talking!

* Sydney New Years Eve Fireworks display ... 2004 *











* Lloyd, Joe, Jude, John and Melanie ... Sydney NYE Fireworks 2004 *

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* Night of the 25th December Tsunami spent alongside RMYC Marina in Rose Bay, Sydney Harbour. *

Being afloat on Sydney Harbour, we were in a position to witness the start of a World Famous Yacht Race … the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race – 2004.  This race (sometimes referred to as the ‘Bluewater Classic’ in the Australian media) is hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYC) and starts, every year, in Sydney, Australia, on Boxing Day and finishes in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. 

* A very good schematic (Complements of Wikipedia) of the course taken by Race competitors! *

The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km) … and is run in co-operation with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. 

Melanie and John were with me and we anchored Tsunami in Rose Bay, adjacent to the start line at `Shark Bay’ in the Harbour, at 33° 51’02S … 151° 15’51E.  We witnessed the start of a spectacular Sailing event which we followed out into the Tasman Sea for a few miles.  They were much too fast for us though and we gave up the chase quickly. 

This race had a huge starting fleet of 116 yachts and to safely  accommodate them at the Start Line it was necessary to lay a second Start Line … the forward Line for the larger/faster craft and behind on the second Line, the rest!  They should have arranged a series of lines for the spectators as well … as they were climbing over one another.

* One of the 2004 competitors. ( I thnk?) *

Since the inaugural race in 1945, it has become one of the top three offshore yacht races in the world and it now attracts maxi yachts from all around the globe.

* The Sydney CBD as a backdrop to the Race Fleet start! *

This Race is also widely considered to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world and over the years there have been many disasters and even fatalities from those competing.  The 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race was marred by tragedy when, during a hurricane force storm … five boats sank and six people died. Of the 115 boats that started, only 44 made it to Hobart.

* Wild Oats XI under full sail ... a wonderful photo! (Compliments Wikipedia!) *

The current race record was set in 2005 by Wild Oats XI, which crossed the line in a time of 1 day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds.

* Part of the Race Start Fleet from `Shark Bay' ... 2004! *













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It was my first day Xmas Day away from my family, ever, I think!  So, they came to me!  Curiosity about my new home and lifestyle had nothing to do with it … yeah right! 

* Melanie, John and the Mistletoe! *

It was therefore great to have Melanie and John from Albany, W.A., who were staying onboard with me … and Sister Shirley and Husband Merv from Windellama, NSW (I little district NE of Canberra) visit.  Tsunami was anchored at Roselle Bay, Sydney, at the time and it was short 0.5 nmile journey around the corner to the Fish Markets in Blackwattle Bay, to pick them up. 

* Sister Shirley and BIL Merv (from Windellama, NSW) *

* Tsunami has a Xmas tree on-board ... it's just that the leaves and branches are flexible for storage? *

We then motored through the canals of Darling Harbour, under the Sydney Harbour Bridge … past the Opera House and anchored off from the Governors residence in Farm Cove … ashore, a private reserve for the NSW Governor.  We had uninterrupted views of the two/three greatest attractions of Sydney and the Central Sydney Business District … free-of-charge!

* John with one of his Seafood Specialties ... prawns and scallops! *

What a great Xmas celebration with all the goodies one sometime dreams of.  John is a Master Chef with seafood and did an excellent job for lunch.  And Shirley put her hand to a fruit cake magnificently decorated!

* Shirley is a `Master' Decorator of cakes! *

* Melanie and two of the famous Sydney attractions. *




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Returning to the `Spit Bridge’ mentioned earlier – it really is a trick!  It’s obviously a very old construction made from thousands of tonnes of steel and concrete … and it pivots from one end only.  It carries four lanes of traffic from central Sydney north to areas such as Manley, Dee Why and on to Pittwater and many other suburbs.  IT IS VERY BUSY! 

Through the working week its first opening isn’t until 10:15 and following that approx. every 90 minutes.  Of a weekend it opens earlier and more frequently.  

* Spit Bridge, Sydney, Australia. (Compliments of Wikipedia Images.) *

My first approach to this bridge was 16:30 on a Saturday afternoon, just as there was a small fleet of yachts coming in from a day’s racing.  Being a novice and polite I let all the other craft through first and followed on.  About 50 meters from the god-dammed-bridge the lights (there are red/green, stop/go lights, identical to road traffic lights) turn red. !!  Lloyd does a panic 180˚turn and heads back to sea (uttering a few curses that would change the colour of a rose) and looking back saw the operator had turned the red back to green.  Another 180˚ and back to the opening.  The fool of an Operator had been hasty in his switching of the lights and had seen the situation he had put me in and did the right thing.  I cannot begin to describe the backup of traffic … there were cars banked up out of sight! 

I have another story to do with me coming back through the bridge but that will have to wait til another time! 

I liked Middle Harbour and Bantry Bay, despite the ‘excitement’ of the Southerly.  The area is a lot like Pittwater and the Hawkesbury River … one can be in a bay and there is a feeling of total isolation from that mob of 4,000,000 people just over the hill!  As with much of the housing overlooking Sydney Harbour, most are multimillion dollar establishments

* Refuge Cove, Pittwater. Photo taken from Roger & Caths house. *

and many of them have multi-millions of dollars worth of fibreglass floating around in front of them.  There sure is a lot of money (or debt) in Sydney. 



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***  Double Click on photo to enlarge.

Was directed to a small, quiet bay called Bantry Bay, which is an offshoot of Middle Harbour, which is an offshoot of Sydney Harbour (Port Jackson as it’s officially known).  To gain entry to Bantry Bay, one must manoeuvre under a huge steel swing bridge called `Spit Bridge’.  More on Spit Bridge later! 

Anyway I made it to the bay late afternoon, Saturday 27th November and being a weekend all the public moorings were taken and many boats were at anchor (a nautical term you will recognise.)  Nearly all water around Sydney Harbour is deep … as though the many bays have been gouged out by glaciers a long time ago.  As I motored down the bay the average depth reading was 13/14 metres (“metres” you may ask, “thought you were at sea Lloyd and everything was measured in nautical miles/feet?”   I don’t know; guess my gauges are calibrated to read depth in metres!!  Since you are going to be so pedantic I will read the instructions tomorrow and find out!) 

Anyway, 13 metres is about 40’ which is way too deep for me to anchor Tsunami.  When in a narrow channel with other boats around the rules say – “for every metre of depth of water, one must let out 3 metres of anchor chain/rode (rope), minimum”.  That would mean I would have to drop about 40 metres of chain, all I have in my closet and when the wind changes, which it does all the time, Tsunami the yacht would be swinging on approximately a 40 metre (120 feet) radius!  Now you can imagine what would happen in a bay 60 metres wide?  Go on, draw a sketch to scale!  Added to that, most of the other yachts in the bay are tethered to moorings which have a swinging radius of, say, 5 metres!!  Add that variable to your sketch. 

So I carried on up the bay until I was in 5 metres of water … and I dropped the pick (nautical slang for anchor) … reversed back on the anchor/chain (which is always mandatory to make certain the anchor is holding well) … it can be disastrous if the anchor was to drag, particularly if you’re asleep at the time.  Add that possibility to your sketch … if you’re very clever! 

Well the following day both my thermometers on board read 41 degrees Celsius … and I spent a good part of the day swimming, the first time I had been swimming for about 15 years … true!  

I had a set of goggles and snorkel Melanie had given me so I christened them and immediately noticed how much grunge was growing on the bottom of the two hulls (it’s a catamaran you see!)  This discovery upset me a little as two weeks before I had paid a thug, called `Aquaman’, AU$100 to clean both hulls using an aqualung!  His name is now mud amongst the yachting fraternity of Pittwater. 

* Bantry Bay, Middle Harbour, Sydney, Australia ... Photo by Steve Bennett ...*

Late that afternoon I called across to a chap on the next yacht to join me for a beer … he brought his own bottle of Red wine (poison to me) and we immediately started swapping yarns … including me telling him about Aquaman.  I had already been impressed by this guy when I had watched him climb his mast to attach a VHF radio antenna (VHF is short distance ship/shore two way radio, which all floating units have to communicate their offshore movements to a Coastguard Station … a great service!) 

* This is the VHF radio on Tsunami ... which has a `range' of about 30 miles. *

There we were yarning away, with him explaining how he had looked down on my yacht when he’d been on the top of his mast and calculated my anchor had been placed in a perfect `centre point’ to allow the yacht to swing through 360˚ without hitting anything, including the mudflats to my north! 

But then, wham.  Without any warning, a bloody Southerly hit … and before we could say `Holy Cow Batman’, Tsunami was broadside onto the mudflats!!  BUGGER!!  (For those that don’t know, Sydney has a very nasty wind they call a `Southerly Buster’ … much like our `Fremantle Doctor’ in Western Australia, only much stronger.  When it arrives it does so with a solid front of 35 knots.  One can be enjoying a 5 knot northerly, when out of the blue the `Southerly’ slams like a steam train out of control.

* This is how Tsunami would have looked whilst `hard aground'. It's just that this is-not Bantry Bay! *

My friend of 30 minutes, David, had an instant plan … motor in his dinghy to his yacht, which was swinging from a mooring, that not even a cyclone would move (I think but you know you can learn to doubt your judgement) towing a 40 metre line (rope), which he proposed wrapping round his winch and pulling Tsunami to deep water.  Sounded like a great plan, possibly because it was the only one we could muster … so I dug out a 40 metre line (spare anchor line … yes I have a huge spare anchor on board) and away David went in his dinghy.  The line was 10 metres too short!!  Dived into the anchor locker for another line to attach to the too short line and we were in business.

To cut an already long story short, David winched Tsunami back into deep water and I motored to a mooring which had been vacated.

Bought David a special bottle of WA wine for his effort.

My lesson is to pay a lot more attention to how well the anchor is holding by mercilessly backing up on it well beyond the point where I already think it is well dug in!



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