Home' Afloat : AFLOAT March 2015 Contents Take monthly with water March 2015 45
ON THE WATER
with David Lockwood
Carpe Noctem. Seize the night. Better
still, Carpe Weekendum. And make
it a long one. Of course you can. In
this day and age of telecommuting and
connectivity there’s more scope than ever
before for working afloat. Catch-up with
your colleagues from the cockpit or saloon.
They need never know. Just don’t Facetime.
But for the clutch of craft swinging on
the courtesy moorings and anchors in the
upper Middle Harbour dormitories, the
few yachties in Manly Cove, and the odd
partygoer at Darling Harbour, there’s not a
lot of night boating going down on Sydney
Harbour these days.
Yet boating at night is transformative.
The difference is like, well, night and day.
It’s one thing to zoom around, take a dip
and sizzle some snags on a rail-mounted
barbie before calling it a day. It’s another
altogether to watch the sunset, see the
stars come out, slip into your bunk, be
serenaded by the water tinkering on the
hull sides and the shorebirds, only to wake
at dawn to do it all over again.
Night boating, sleeping aboard, and
spending weekends afloat makes you a
more complete and competent boater.
It helps to understand the weather so
you’re not on a lee shore when it blows
30 knots from the south at 2am. Before
sundown, you also need to demonstrate
polished anchoring skills that go beyond
those commonly demonstrated or not by
the day-boating armada.
Whereas the rushin’ runabouters
get away with thrice the water depth or
maybe even just twice that in rode, we
overnighters think five times is more like
it. With that much scope your swing must
be considered. Winds frequently reverse
at night, going from the convection-driven
sea breezes to offshore westerlies. So you
may well lay in the complete opposite
direction back near those rocks.
With the weather forecast and the
anchor down, with an alarm set on this or
that device should you feel so inclined, you
can soak it up. The ritual usually involves
sundowners on deck to toast the end of
your boating day. That coupled with the
vistas out yonder in the vermilion sky, the
fresh ocean air and the gentle movement of
your boat release an endorphin rush. You
actually don’t even need a champagne to
feel the buzz at this precise moment each
and every day.
At sunset, the fish always rise to
the surface just behind your transom,
especially after washing the dishes, and
they are wont to jump on a hook. With the
lights on, as you must with an all-round
white anchoring light at least, you might
find the squid rise to the occasion, too.
All this can keep the kiddies entertained
while you prep dinner.
A barbeque cooked on the transom
and a plate of something scrumptious
on your lap adds to the appeal of boating
overnight. Fresh air and water activities
drive a wicked, well-earned hunger. Fussy
eaters aren’t found onboard. The option
is to grab a visitor’s berth at a marina and
dine-out, comfortable in the knowledge
that your boat and a berth are waiting
But why leave your boat to pay for
the water views? You can save a motza by
making a meal of it aboard. A little pre-
launch prep with something marinated or
even precooked in a ziplock bag is easy.
At its most rudimentary, you can reheat
a curry on a $15 portable butane stove.
It never takes long to drift off to sleep
on a boat and ‘lights out’ happens before
you reach the end of the movie, book or
your repertoire of ripping sailing yarns. The
gentle rocking motion and lap-lap of water
playing lullabies on the chines creates an
instant soporific effect.
In the middle of the night, the fresh
air streaming through the hatch and
salty aroma add to the snuggle factor. No
barking dogs, burnouts or garbage trucks.
But early to bed means early to rise and,
on boats, you tend to wake not long after
sun-up to get ready to go play again. It’s
a great time to fish, of course.
There’s the ritual coffee, breaky of
bacon and eggs, a cast of the lines and a
slap of sunscreen before the sun and fun
return. You might decide to up anchor and
cruise from your bunking-down bolthole
or marina berth to a nearby beach where
the water is clear and the family can dive
Now is the perfect time to be sleeping
aboard. Give it a try. Make a weekend of
it. Reap the real benefits of float therapy
and be a real boater. h
Sunset at Store Beach, Sydney.
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