Bound Down in South Australia

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 22 Mar 2012 12:33

Alongside Port River Marina

I have spent much of the several weeks giving university a go, something I had wondered about for quite a while but I have come to the conclusion I am not in fact much of an academic. This is something I seemed to know quite intuitively when younger but perhaps age is confusing me, and I have been worrying about missing out on something. Well I am glad I gave it a go but after only four weeks have come to the conclusion that there is no way I want to spend the next three years in a classroom, even if the courses are quite interesting. So I have decided to withdraw from studies (a nice way of saying quit or 'drop out'). I never like to quit anything but on the other hand it is silly doing something out of pure pig-headedness. I used to wonder whether I was simply being pig-headed about my sailing around the world, but I guess it was something I had to do and now I am beginning to think about the next adventure. I have some ideas but it is perhaps a little premature to make them public yet. For now I have a lot of work to do on Sylph but between now and when we are ready to cross an ocean again I thought I would get my blog hand back in and introduce Robinson Crusoe, Sylph's new crew member.

I try to get the balance between preparation and getting out there. I have come across quite a few sailors who are always preparing and actually never leave harbour. I get the impression this type are actually too frightened or too firmly bound to the shore to ever escape it. Then there are others who I think are crazy to varying degrees, going out in woefully inadequate boats, without charts and the like. But surprisingly few of these characters seem to get into serious trouble, much to my amazement, but when they do they give the rest of us a bad name, like the guy who lost his boat down in Antarctica last year and is now down there again in another boat at the wrong time of year without any of the required permits.

My plan from here is to stay in Adelaide for another several months in order to give Sylph a partial refit. The main things I want to do before setting off again are to renew the rig and strip and paint the mast, and probably get a new heavy weight jib made up for the North Pacific. I also want to give the hull an audio test to see if the steel plates are sound in the areas which I can't get to from inside. If they are too thin then I will cut the thin plates out and have new steel welded in. This is one of the beauties of a steel boat, you can pretty much cut and weld anything and it is then as strong as new again. When I am happy that the hull and rig are seaworthy I will head up the east coast to either Sydney or Newcastle and there attend to the engine which needs either to be overhauled or replaced. There is a good marine diesel company which specialises in Yanmars, Sylph's engine is an old Yanmar 3QM30, a great engine but it is very tired. The company, Minards, is based in Newcastle so I figure if I base myself near there while I fix the engine I could save a fair bit in shipping costs, especially if I have to change the engine out. I will attend to other jobs that need doing, like replacing the acrylic windows, en route. So with this plan in mind probably won't actually be seriously underway again until next year, though certainly would hope to be away from Adelaide within about six months, but this will be good to spend some quality time with my Adelaide based brothers and sister while I can.

So for now I will endeavour to update my blog once a week, to keep the hand in and the blog ticking over.

The new crew member, Robinson Crusoe, has settled in quite nicely, though hasn't been to sea yet as far as I know. As mentioned in my last blog my sister, Jenny and her husband Colin helped me find him at a nearby Animal Welfare shelter. He is about three years old and was found wandering around the docks of Port Adelaide, so who knows maybe he is in fact a sea cat, but I doubt it. We will see when we eventually get to sea. I think by then I may well need to be re-acclimatized.

That's all for now.

Robinson Crusoe:

Squeak. I am not a mouse, but I don't do that meow thing, not my style. This is quite a nice place I have found myself. The guy with the beard seems OK.