Sunday, January 1, 2012

Log Entry 22nd September 2011

With Yolande and Helena in Nepal for a couple of weeks and me on recreation leave taking care of Johanna and Freya over the September holidays, one of our “to do list” things was an overnight sail with Phil and some of his clan.

Accordingly, as a result of a bit of pre-holiday organising, Thursday lunchtime saw us leaving Steiglitz with a motley crew comprising Phil, three of his kids, Genevieve, William and Sarah, and myself, together with Johanna and Freya. Lara herself underway with a dinghy and kayak in tow.

The wind was blowing reasonably steadily from the south-east at 10-15 knots as we motored sedately in a south-easterly direction towards South Stradbroke Island. Our original plan was to turn northwards into Canaipa passage and overnight at North Stradbroke Island. However our slow progress into the wind and tide saw us change our destination and stop at Horseshoe Bay at the northern end of South Stradbroke Island. The afternoon high tide allowed us to anchor close to a sandy spit and as we didn’t plan to leave until the afternoon of the following day our anchorage dried out overnight. This was the first time I have allowed Lara to settle on the hard. Fortunately the shoal draft keel allows her to ground at an angle that didn’t prove to be too awkward that we couldn’t clamber about in her, albeit carefully.

With five kids ranging in age from ten to thirteen years there was always a multitude of simultaneous activities going on including swimming, kayaking, fishing and just a lot of general mucking about type stuff. Consequently Lara took on a bit of a gypsy look with towels, togs, assorted clothes and fishing gear festooning the rigging and lifelines. The look contrasted sharply with the clinically clean tidy lines of the Baycruisers and motor yachts moored around us. I definitely prefer the gypsy look myself.

Feeding five hungry kids also took on a whole new perspective, and obviously Phil’s thoughtful wife Judith was well aware of this. She had provided a heap of tucker which combined with our supplies, meant the ship’s larder was well stocked and nobody went hungry.

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Friday morning was spent exploring and clambering about the sand dunes before lunch and a sedate trip home.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Log Entry 22nd-23rrd April 2011

Although the work refurbishing Lara isn’t finished, we used the Easter break as an opportunity for a two day family sail. These have been few and far between of late because of various commitments by one family member or another. Fortunately, the weather for at least the first two days of the break was fine and warm with light winds.

Being new to the lower part of Moreton Bay we decided to head further south into the upper Broadwater. Initially we sailed in an easterly direction between Kangaroo and WoogoompahIslands before turning south, sailing past the now closed Couran Cove Resort on SouthStradbroke Island. Deciding to overnight in the lagoon formed between Brown Island and SouthStradbroke Island we negotiated the narrow and shallow channel between Brown Island and its tiny unnamed neighbor to the north.

The lagoon is very well protected from the elements and in terms of marine traffic, very quiet compared to the Broadwater. This area appears to be a popular spot for over-nighting, particularly by houseboats. Don’t know the history around the partially sunk yacht, seemed quite a shame to see it looking so forlorn. Although that didn't dampen my desire for a bit of scavenging; not knowing the legalities of such things, (is ownership still recognized etc) I though it better not to plunder it for any remaining bits and pieces, particularly useful paraphernalia to do with rigging (turnbuckles, shackles etc) which a yachty can never have enough of!

Sail back to the marina at Steiglitz the next morning was pleasant and uneventful – looking forward to getting out on the water again soon.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Log Entry 26th February 2011

Spent another day undertaking some maintenance. The acetone worked a treat and all of the residual carpet glue is off the  floor. Got stuck into all the other internal glass work and although I’m probably only half way there, Lara is scrubbing up well.

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Depending on the severity I found that bleach and sugar soap removed mildew and other stains. I brought all of the wooden locker covers home with me to work on at my convenience. They are also covered in mildew and need to be cleaned and revarnished. I wiped the the remainder of the internal woodwork with undiluted tea tree oil. It seems to be a very useful cleaning agent and leaves the boat smelling much fresher.

A few other jobs to do before the cabin area is finished. I brought the companion way ladder home with me. I’m thinking about removing the carpet wrapped around the steps, it’s partly hanging off anyway, and I’m warming to the idea of nicely varnished rungs. Stove and gimbal has also been brought home for a thorough cleaning. the stove itself  has a fair bit of accumulated grease on it, particularly in the hard to reach places when it is mounted inside the gimbal.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Log Entry 12th February 2011

A combination of poor weather and lack of time has seen poor Lara sit sadly neglected and unused  since my last log entry. A visit last weekend indicated some long over due maintenance is required and I spent both Saturday and Sunday doing just that.

The first job was to pump and then sponge a couple of inches of rain water out of the interior. This has been an increasingly common occurrence after heavy rain and I’m not exactly sure why so much is getting inside. Until I do I will be covering the companion way hatch and cockpit area using the boom tent.

Just about every surface was covered in mould, the carpet on the floor was particularly bad so I have removed it. It was solidly held in place using yellow carpet glue, and while I managed to remove most of it with a paint scraper, the residual is proving difficult to shift. I tried using a nylon pot scourer with sugar soap, bleach and even some petrol without much luck. After a quick Google search to find out the best way to do this I have since bought a tin of acetone which might do the job. I’m not sure yet whether I will replace the carpet, if I can get the floor clean I’m thinking of covering it with some form of anti-slip floor paint – not sure yet.

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Externally the hull is reasonably clean and tidy, though I will give it a thorough wash with my trusty Karcher to get rid of the ingrained dirt on the ant-slip deck surface. The hull above the rubbing strake could do with a cut back and polish as well, I’m not sure why this wasn’t attended to when the previous owners had the rest of the hull so beautifully painted. I’m confident that it should clean up satisfactorily though with a bit of hard work.

Also on the shopping list is a flush mounted deck pump to keep the bilge and floor more easily clear of water. Hopefully will have the time to continue some maintenance next weekend.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Log Entry 23rd October 2010

Lara has a new home. After finalising our affairs at East Coast, Phil, his daughter Sarah and myself said goodbye to Manly boat harbour and set off to Woongoolba in the southern part of Moreton Bay.

Leaving around 4pm to take advantage of the NNE 10-15 knot breeze, we beat towards the Huybers Beacon, through the channel between King and Green Islands. With the wind on our port side we steered south on a running reach towards Coochiemudlo Island. Making good time in the remaining two hours or so of daylight, dusk saw Lara tracking nicely on the eastern side of Coochiemudlo, with Macleay Island to port.

As I had still not connected the newly mounted solar panel, and was unsure whether Lara’s battery had retained any charge, Phil had brought a spare along. Fortunately however the battery was serviceable and well up to the task of powering the depth sounder and navigation lights.

Using a recent edition of Beacon to Beacon as our guide, we began in earnest to identify the appropriate green and red flashing markers we would need to guide us through the many sometimes tortuous channels that characterise the southern end of Moreton Bay. It wasn’t coincidental that around 7pm a full moon rose over North Stradbroke Island to help light our way. I had purposely chosen this particular evening for the trip, to take advantage of a NE breeze and a full moon, a window of opportunity between morning South Easterlies and forecast storms the following day.

I fried some sausages in butter on the stove as Phil steered us south. Sarah, perhaps wary of my ability as a cook, could only be enticed to eat a single sausage on a slice of bread. Whereas Phil and I ate the remaining snags, chopped up and mixed into a can of “stuff” I can only describe as the meal eaten by the “fully loaded man”. You know, the stuff eaten by the guy who slides down a mountain side in a kayak, off a ravine cliff into a mountain stream. The ad is suspiciously reminiscent of the old Solo lemon job as it finishes with a moustached guy grinning wolfishly   while crushing the empty can in his fist. Phil didn’t say anything about the meal (he’s too polite), but I think he’d probably agree that fully loaded cans are best left to fully loaded men and hungry yachties should eat something more palatable!

Of course, unbeknown to us, we had misread key beacons at crucial channel juncture at the southern end of Russell Island and motored (the wind had dropped by now) inadvertently into Fisherman's Channel. Towards the western end we were overtaken by a string of jet-skis strung out maybe eight to ten strong in a long convoy. They looked surreal in the dark, each similarly lit by bright LED navigation lights, resolutely playing follow the leader. Clearly they were on a mission of some sort however I have no idea what it was. They disappeared in the distance as quickly as they had come.

At the end of the channel we instinctively steered south-east into what we later realised was Canaipa Passage with Cobby Cobby Island to our starboard and North Stradbroke to port. Rounding Stingaree Island we were confronted by the entrance to Jumpinpin. Although never having been to it in the past, its impressive width and open view to the ocean proper, silver and glinting in the moonlight, left us in little doubt as to where we were.

Backtracking west between Short and Crusoe Islands we steered south again into a narrow but well beaconed channel between Eden and Crusoe Islands to find ourselves again in more open water. A quick conversation with a group of part goers on a large houseboat moored off Green Bank confirmed we were at the eastern end of Tiger Mullet Channel. Having at last a clear idea of where we were it was a simple task to go about and head east past Kangaroo Island and north to Tabby Tabby Island where we turned south again at Cabbage Tree Point.

Passing Steiglitz it was not long before we sighted the entrance to the Horizon Shores marina on our starboard side. Navigating to the guest pontoon, we tied up just after midnight. After a quick look around we pulled out sleeping bags and set about sleeping the remainder of the night. A bloody restless one it was at that, hounded by the incessant buzz of mosquitoes and silent but no less annoying sand-flies. It was with tired eyes (well I was tired) that we awoke early the next morning to formally organise a dry berth for Lara and arrange for Phil’s wife Judith to collect us for the drive home.

In hindsight the trip had taken a lot less time than I had thought and had we not strayed from Main Channel it would have been shorter still. In the end though it was all a bit of an adventure and a lot of fun We are certainly looking forward to exploring a part of Moreton Bay we are not familiar with.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Log Entry 3rd May 2010

The recent spate of long weekends finally gave us time to spend a day on the boat, albeit a shortish one. The forecast indicated a 10-15 knot SE breeze which is perfect for Lara. In such conditions she lopes along steadily and everything stays nice and dry. So it was a bit disconcerting to see as we left the harbour, streams of boats coming in. Once clear of the entrance we could see why, I was sure the wind was blowing well in excess of the forecast, and anything with sails either had them furled or were cruising with a reefed main or lone jib. Except for the crazy dinghy sailors of course, still racing in Waterloo Bay, one or two of them were capsized as passed them; however there is always a marshal supervising, we weren’t concerned for their safety.

We decided against sailing around the outside of Green Island and instead to have lunch in the lee of King Island, a much shorter distance. Unfortunately this course was also directly in to the prevailing wind, so I didn’t even try to raise the sails, motoring instead with the aid of Lara’s trusty outboard. Naturally we got wet bouncing of the chop, although it wasn’t cold.

Surprisingly King Island and its long spit to Wellington Point didn’t provide a lot of relief from the wind and we had two attempts at anchoring before we could relax. Lara wasn’t all that happy and swung to and fro on the end of a very taught chain while we ate hot-dogs, drank a bottle of wine and had a coffee.

As the conditions weren’t really ideal, and we had promised the kids a swim, we headed back to Manly early so they could play in the tidal wading pool on the Wynnum foreshore. Upping anchor, I hoisted the jib alone, which for a downwind leg was more than sufficient to take us home in reasonable time.


Interestingly, I checked the actual weather observations the following day to note that inner bay wind speeds were more in the vicinity of 15-20 knots, with occasional gusts in excess of 20 knots. Good weather if you want to hammer but a bit excessive for nervous kids.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Log Entry 21st February 2010

Due to a combination of commitments and unfavourable weather poor Lara has been left landlocked at least by us over the last couple of months. Unfortunately this was also compounded by the fact that Lara needed some work undertaken to her keel. I was aware from our last trip that something was amiss. This was confirmed by Phil who sailed her in our absence late last month.

Thus today found Lara sitting on East Coast's travel lift so we could inspect her swing keel. The problem was eventually traced to a worn out shackle, which secured the cable used to raise and lower the keel plate. The pin had worked loose and was wedged between the plate and the case, effectively preventing the keel from swinging down. We replaced the shackle and also the cable itself, which was badly kinked and whiskering in places due to its age and wear.

Phil's account of his January sail and his experience with the keel:

I had a good look at the swing keel. The keel is free but the wire from the small winch to the keel is stuck fast so the keel doesn't drop. It is locked up. I pulled the winch off and there are no problems at that end so the next thing is to pull the tube out. It is split in two pieces so the top half is easy. Not sure how much room there is under the keel when it is in dry dock but would be good to lever it down if no problems are found in the top half of tube. I think the wire has knotted and is wedged hard, and I think it is at the bottom of the keel. The wire has plenty of little kinks that would knot if they had the chance.

The kids really enjoyed the boat trip. A little rough on Tuesday afternoon but we made it to behind King island and nestled up near to the main land. It rained a little on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning but clear by 9:30am. We took our little 8 ft tender with us with its 2 HP motor. Hasn't been used for a couple of years and I don't think the cooling works as we would just make it to the beach and it would stop. But as with all trusty Mariner outboards, it would start again for the trip back to the boat after a cooling off period.

On Wednesday afternoon we sailed around St Helena Island at the same time the WAGS race was on so we had plenty of company, although we were slow towing the tender and the kayak. We sank the kayak near Mud Island as we turned to head with the following seas. That was fun getting a kayak full of water onto the deck of Lara.

We stopped at the jetty at St Helena for about an hour. The kids went for a swim and a quick look and then we headed back to the marina dodging the small rain squalls. We got back to the marina at about 6:45pm without using the outboard. Slept there Wednesday night and headed home Thursday morning so we could get to Harrisville on time.