Thursday, 20 April 2017

Sailing Around Australia; Who Let the Cats Out.

Dux Anchorage, Gold Coast

April 2017

Who let the Cats Out.

With Easy Tiger back in the water for a week now, we have quickly got used to floating, anchoring and even more used to 5 o'clock drinks and socialising.

The main event during the week was the Down Under Go East and previous Go West Rally get together. This was held at the Southport Yacht club's Dux anchorage annexe which is just north of Tipplers resort, in Tipplers passage.  It's a pretty busy channel that runs off the Broadwater that runs north from Southport at the Gold Coast.

We arrived (with hundreds of other boats) on Good Friday. We anchored in between Richard and Dawn's "Por Dos" and a few hundred metres from Songlines which is John and Leanne Hembrow, the rally organisers. Within a few minutes of our arrival and dropping anchor, we had our first invite for 5   o'clock drinks.  

At drinks aboard Por Dos, we met Jo and Heidi from the monohull "Huck". These two have sailed from N'Orleans in the USA. John and Leanne Hebrew have sailed through Mexico and South America as well, so some of their tales were fascinating. Leanne and I were inspired. We keep thinking that in our general circle of friends, family and acquaintances that we have done things outside the box, but meeting and chatting with people like Heidi and Jo and John and Leanne makes us think that we haven't really got to the edge of the box let alone outside it.

As with all good 5 o'clocker sessions, we got back to our boat about midnight. No dinner required we went straight to bed for our first night on anchor in more than a year.

Next morning we declined the offers of breakfast at Tipplers resort, in favour of a bit of a sleep in. That didn't happen though as the adrenalin and excitement of being out here "doing it" was still with us and we were up bright and early to check our anchor, our battery levels and generally get into the groove.

Mid morning we went over to John Hembrow's boat for him to download the New Caledonia and Vanuatu "Rocket" cruising guides. I have to say, these are far and away the best cruising and sailing information guides I have used. Sad to say that the rest of the day after I downloaded the "Rocket Guides" was a write  off as I was transfixed with viewing images and looking at routes and tracks that we will be taking over the next 6 months. In fact I probably don't really need to go now as I have seen so much over a couple of days is spent glued to the rocket guides.

Sunday we had a bonfire and barbecue at the Yacht club's shed. Another late night, then Monday was John Hembrow's birthday. A big night was had singing and dancing at the Southport Yacht club's shed.

Quite a few boats  left the anchorage on Monday, as  a few more rally participants arrived at Dux. Skellum, the Albatross, Aqualibrium and More R&R added to the number of Catamarans in the anchorage, while Squander helped the monohull numbers.

Tuesday night was the barbecue for past and future rally participants. There is something nice about meeting people that share your apprehension, nervousness, anticipation, excitement and sense of adventure. It didn't take long for the party to crank up and yet another enjoyable but late night even did the Hokie Pokie at one stage. (It was that sort if night!)

We had  to be up at the yacht club shed for Leanne Hembrow's Yoga for yachties sessions. Leanne's yoga sessions were a really good way to stretch out the unused muscles. There's nothing like throwing a few downward dog, slinking cat, striking cobra and (my favourite) happy baby poses, to work out the late night cobwebs. Really great way to start the day but as a few Cat owners comment. feeling calm and relaxed doesn't help bring on the motivation to get jobs done on board. Each night at Dux had been a late night. I was one cat owner who was starting to feel like a cat, up all night and sleeping during the day.

Today we have retreated to Wave Break Island, near the Gold Coast Seaway. Most of the rally crowd have dispersed to all points of the compass. We are enjoying the calm before more gatherings of the Cat's and monhulls start in earnest early May.

You don't have to be crazy to own a catamaran, but it helps!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Sailing Around Australia; Throwing the toys out of the cot.

Dux Anchorage, Gold Coast, Queensland

April 2017

Throwing the toys out of the cot

Today is Good Friday and a very, very good day it is indeed.  Today we have thrown the lines off and departed the Boatworks dock to motor up to the Dux anchorage, where in a few days time we will meet up with several of the Down Under Go East Rally for this year and some of last years participants as well.

It was with quite a deal of apprehension that we let go of the marina berth, with it’s electricity, water and dry landing, the courtesy car, the assistance and the shops for any small forgotten item. I am not sure the dy will feel the same without a regular trip to the hardware store.

In the last week, since our return from Cairns, Easy Tiger was lifted to the hardstand where she had a nice new coat of anti foul applied to the hulls, sails out of storage closet and hoisted and engines cleaned, serviced and started.

All seemed fine with Easy Tiger as she was lowered into the water for the first splash in 14 months. Then I said it. Yes, I said to Leanne that all seemed good. My apprehension that something had to go wrong with a boat that had been out of the water for so long, had started to fade.

We had been almost twelve hours in the marina berth getting everything sorted when Leanne decided to do a load of washing in our on board washing machine.

The load of washing even went ok, until it came time for the machine to drain the rinsing water. No go. Error 03 it said on the panel. My first thought was that the line might be blocked or something had dried inside the drain hose.

So dangling upside down into the area where the hot water system is, I managed to undo the drain hose for the washing machine. I could blow through it and suck water through it quite easily. Damn. It seemed like it wasn’t an easy fix.

I drained the water out of the washer, spilling quite a bit into the floor of the boat. Now sloshing around in the washing water, I tried to get the machine to do another cycle and see if it had righted itself. No go. Again I had to drain the water manually, spilling even more on to the floor.

So, now it was time to ring the washing machine company. While I was doing this Leanne mopped up the spilt water and then put our de-humidifier into the spare cabin to dry things out.

To be fair the washing machine is probably two years old. The company said that they would send me a new drain pump for free which I was impressed with, but they would not pay for any labour involved in the repair, which I was not impressed with. The new pump arrived the next day, the day before Easter.

While this was being organized, Leanne noticed that the dehumidifier was turning itself off after only running for a few minutes.  I had just packed all the manuals, receipts and information sheets away after searching for the washing machine book. Now there was another frantic search for the dehumidifier book and another Google search for trouble shooting the IONmax dehumidifier. A call to the dehumidifier company revealed pretty much the same as the washing machine. It’s older than twelve months, therefore out of warranty. In fairness to the company, they are quite happy to have you send to Victoria, then charge you the technicians time followed by a charge to send it back. They were even happier to give a basic estimate of $350 for the repair of a $400 machine.

With the information we decided to throw the dehumidifier out and buy a new one. That will cost $389 delivered.

Meanwhile, back to the washing machine. With the new pump in hand I decided to tackle the job head on. Our washing machine is located in a very tight location under the bed in Easy Tiger’s rear cabin. I had to take the door off and then lift the 80kilo machine up on to the bed to then roll sideways to then lift through the doorway to install it. It would take a herculean effort to get it out but that had to happen as the pump is located in the bottom of the machine.

I rigged some straps underneath the machine and positioned myself on the bed with my knees up around my chin. Leanne then squeezed herself into the doorway so that she could do the twisting once I had the weight of the machine.  Surprisingly it slid out of its position quite easily and wedged itself between the cupboard and the door way. With several attempts accompanied by noises normally made by gold medal weightlifters, the machine came up onto the bed lying on its correct side for getting it through the narrow doorway. The problem now being that I was on the other side of the machine to the doorway with it resting on my lap.

With the twisting and wriggling that an Indian rubber man would have been proud of,  I managed to writhe out from under the washing machine and then squeeze between it and the cabin roof to end up face down on the floor, sweaty, smelly and exhausted.

To my absolute delight the drain pump took less than tem minutes to replace with the new one, which meant that I had only a short recovery time before again I was wrestling with the machine to reinstall it into the professionally crafted and exact fitting space we had paid to create for it. Again I lay on the floor pushing at the bottom while Leanne stood above me pushing at the top. After an hour or so of grunting, pushing, and levering we had it right.

Convinced that it was ready to go, I plugged it in and turned the dial to the shortest cycle. The machine burst into life, filled its bowl with water and washed for the next 5 minutes while we watched with baited breath.

Then we heard a whirr and a clunk. We heard water being pumped over board. We high fived each other in glee, thinking the problem solved. Or so we thought. The machine had always drained the wash water and that was what it was doing now. We sat back down. We waited with trepidation. These machines seem to take an eternity to get through their cycle when you are sitting there waiting for them. At last with a click and a whirr, the moment had arrived. Drain. We waited. Come on, drain. Please …drain. Alas it was not to be. Even with a new pump and a cleared drain hose the washing machine would not drain. Cheekily it just displayed Error 3 on it’s red display screen. It just sits there daring you to drain it manually, to spill water all over the floor and to use the dud dehumidifier to try and dry it all up.  But it was late Thursday night, so nothing else we could do but cut the power and kill that annoying red error code. Now facing the fact that being a problem in the electronics and out of warranty, the washing machine may well be the next thing to be thrown over board.

But now it’s Good Friday, we have motored up to Dux anchorage and the washing machine and dehumidifier experience is temporarily forgotten, while we enjoy a sundowner with other boaties.We have all Easter to relax before we ring the company to haggle some warranty or repairs.

Fortunately, it’s only the toys that need to be thrown out of the cot, not anything critical to Easy Tiger’s sailing adventures.

The offending **&^#%86 washing machine

Sailing Around Australia; Cruisas Interruptus

Cairns Queensland

March 2017

Cruisas Interruptus

Its ow been 5 weeks since our great road trip from Western Australia to the Gold Coast to restart Easy Tiger's Sailing adventures.

With Easy Tiger having been in storage for a year, there were of course a number of jobs that needed to be done for for relaunch.

For example,  replacing a leaking through hull fitting and sorting new tie downs for the old kayak and now a new kayak.

Also, we decided that being nearly ten years old, Easy Tiger's inside could do with a makeover which we achieved in two short weeks. As we were whittling away our to do list, we were getting more and more excited about getting Easy Tiger back in the water and heading off wherever the wind took us.

Then our daughter called with some exciting news. No, not grand kids; but they had bought their first house. How lovely it would be for us to go to Cairns and help them move in and get settled. Arrangements were made and tickets were purchased for us to arrive in Cairns the day after their settlement.

Since we were going to leave Easy Tiger for another three weeks, we calculated that leaving her in storage at the boat works was the cheapest option we could find. Plus, on our return we could finish our to do list before antifoam application on the hard stand work area and then into the water she goes.

Then we got a call from our son. He was looking at buying a yacht and sailing for a year or so. He had found one that he wanted us to look at for him. It was in Cairns. So without further ado we were on a plane to Cairns to look at a Roberts 39 sailing boat on behalf of our son.

We arrived in Cairns two weeks earlier than expected. The only bummer about that was that our to do list for Easy Tiger remained. A day spent inspecting the "Alice" and a day spent packing stuff into boxes for our daughter and then back to the Gold Coast.

In the next ten days we installed our Iridium Go, which would give us satellite communications, We cut and polished both hulls, we fitted Nomad matting to our cockpit, serviced our Honda generator, repacked the storage compartments, had our life raft serviced and completed many 5 minute jobs all that took several hours each.

Then we locked Easy Tiger back up, asked the car (the mobile storage unit) and drove to Cairns. 

On arrival in Cairns we helped our daughter and her partner move the last items out of their house, scrubbed their old house from top to bottom and unpacked boxes of stuff at the new place. 

We also attended the survey and inspection plus lift out and hard stand of our son's boat "Alice" and commenced the clean up and odd job list for that. 

While we were doing this Cairns was placed on cyclone alert. So we had to tie Lukes boat on to lugs set int the concrete at the big boat shed, then strip everything off the deck and stow sails etc inside.

Fortunately cyclone Debbie bypassed Cairns and went to the Whitsunday Islands and Mackay instead.

After 20 days in Cairns we then flew back to the Gold Coast, boarding Easy Tiger at 1.00am on the Sunday. At 7.00 am on the Monday morning we were lifted, that afternoon the boat was prepped and Antifouled as I serviced the engines and sail drives, then at 12.30pm on the tuesday Easy Tiger got wet for the first time in 14 Months as it was lifted back into the water.

So now we can catch our breath. We are back in the water anchored at Dux anchorage near Tipplers resort. We have the phones turned off and are enjoying a bit of a midday nap. This is what we paid the dollars for, this is what we had dreamed of, so no more interruptions for a few days.

Lolling about in lovely anchorages on lovely days like these is worth all the rushing, hard work, helping others, spending lots of money and unplanned interruptions for sure.