A Study in Bottoms

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 15 Dec 2019 09:47

Position: Noakes Boat Yard, North Sydney
Weather: mostly overcast, warm

Last Friday I received a call from the yard manager at Noakes in North Sydney advising me that they would be able to haul Sylph out the next day if we would be ready. With haul out facilities at such a premium in Sydney at this time of year I did not hesitate to answer in the affirmative. So, on Saturday I motored Sylph over to North Sydney while Kate did some running around to pick up essential supplies for the intended work. We were on the hard by about 1330 and while Kate and I underwent our site induction, Sean Langman, the owner of the yard (and other businesses) gave Sylph a pressure wash. When we got back to Sylph we found that a fair bit of paint had been blasted off back to bare metal. Presumably the yard’s pressure cleaner works at a pretty high pressure though the real problem was the shiny metal that the paint was trying to adhere to. At least the hull was well cleaned and we had a good basis for getting straight into painting Sylph’s bottom.

Since then Kate and I have been hard at it. We have cleaned and primed the bare metal and just this evening finished applying the final coat of antifouling. So all in all it has been a remarkable turn around time and hopefully we will be back in the water tomorrow afternoon. With a clean bottom and a fresh coat of antifouling paint, Sylph will be able to meet New Zealand’s biosecurity requirements as long as we arrive with 30 days from tomorrow. Our plan at this stage is to leave Sydney on the 27th, the day after the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Allowing about ten days to cross the Tasman Sea should have us in New Zealand on the 6th of January.

While up on the hard here at Noakes I was intrigued at the very different styles of yachts, ranging from older hull forms similar to Sylph’s to Sean’s super mean racing machine.

Sylph looking a whole lot fresher, ready for the passage to New Zealand:



Something a little older in need of some TLC:


Kialoa II, a famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race in her day, taking line honours in the 1971. She will be competing again this year:


Something a little more modern:


Something a bit in between (blegh!):


RANSA member Alex Whitworth’s famous little yacht, Berimilla II:


And Sean’s hope for this year’s race, about as extreme as they get:


All is well.