Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 21 Nov 2021 10:38

Position: Alongside RSAYS
Weather: Sunny, moderate SE winds, mild

According to my spreadsheet calculations we now have 96.97% of my calorific needs stowed on board for a ten month voyage, so we are getting close to having stored ship to the minimum requisite amount.

Apart from the daunting logistical tasks, other important jobs have also been progressed. Most importantly, the new boom-bag come rain-catcher has been delivered and fitted. This is going to be a critical piece of equipment for this upcoming voyage. There is no way I can carry sufficient water on board for ten month voyage so we are either going to need a water maker or a water catcher. A water maker is technical, expensive, and requires energy; whereas as a rain catcher is simple, relatively cheap, and requires nil energy apart from me shifting a few buckets.  To me the choice between the two is pretty straight forward.

Other tasks have included securing hatches to ensure they keep the contents of their lockers in place in the event of what I am assuming will be an inevitable knock down, if not a capsize. Of all the passages that I have read about in the part of the world into which we intend to venture, I do not think I have read of anyone who has not suffered at least one severe knock down, that is where the boat has been thrown over by a large wave to an angle exceeding ninety degrees. Personally, Sylph and I thus far in all our travels have only experienced one severe knock down in a gale off the Cape of Hatteras back in December 2008, but given the nature of this voyage, while we will do all that we can to avoid such an event, we clearly need to be prepared for it.

Apart from such serious considerations, today has mostly been a social day. This morning was the Squadron’s new members welcome followed by lunch. I felt obliged as a new member to attend and I am glad that I did. I already know quite a few of the old hands here at the club but it was good to be officially welcomed and to meet more of the new and old members.

Later in the day when I was back on board Sylph, I heard a hoy from on deck. I popped my head out to be greeted by a couple who asked, “Remember us?” I scratched my head and had to confess that I did not. They reminded me. It was Ken and Mercy from the good ship ‘Claire de Lune’ whom I had met on a North Queensland voyage in 2013. Once I had made the connection, the relevant synapses kicked in and the memories of our meeting flooded back. (It is a funny thing how memory works.) After a brief chat on board we adjourned to the yacht club’s 'Jimmy’s Bar' where we continued swapping stories and were later joined by Mark Sinclair, who had spent the day preparing Coconut for his voyage to France, and also the Club’s unofficial caretaker and official caretaker of feline Darcy. It turned out to be a very pleasant afternoon and a nice change from ship’s chores.

One piece of very sad news I learned from Ken and Mercy was that the beautiful ‘Claire de Lune’ had been lost on a reef off North Stradbroke Island. Now they were satisfying their adventurous urges by traveling around Australia in a four wheel drive.

Hopefully no such end is in store for Sylph any time soon.

All is well.