Home' Afloat : AFLOAT May 2015 Contents Take monthly with water May 2015 57
*John Quirk has been writing about
and illustrating the joys of messing
about in boats for over half a century.
He is the author / illustrator of Foul
Bottoms, published by Adlard Coles
and available from Boat Books in
Crows Nest and from Amazon.
Ph: (02) 9957 5123
Unit 4/1 Bradly Ave, Kirribilli, NSW 2061
Commercial & Domestic
Design & repair in ALL
Welding in ALL metals
All racing and cruising
sails and repairs
Unit 14/1 Bradly Ave, Kirribilli
Sydney, NSW 2061
Ph: 9925 0722 Fax: 9925 0082
Locally made for sailing yachts
Buy direct from the
factory and save.
Phone: (02) 4324 8088.
These classic Australian-built vessels
are now available NEW in stages to
suit owner builders or as complete
factory finished boat (BMT) packages.
Choose from inboard diesel, outboard
or gaff-rigged sailing configurations.
BUY COMPLETE or BUILD
YOUR OWN BOAT AND SAVE
Save money and have the satisfaction
of completing your own boat build.
Now Jason says he had sailed all his
life and ran a business as a sail maker
and in chandlery, so there has to be some
experience in there somewhere. But when
he announced he was sailing back to Oz,
his mother was alarmed and insisted he
take his 66-year-old inexperienced father
along ... to help.
They reckoned on a six to eight week
voyage cruising at 150 miles a day (about
the same as the fastest clippers in the
Great Tea Race of 1866). Head to South
Africa, bear left a bit and then along the
Roaring Forties to Perth, then home to
Port Mac. Hmm, yep, me too, the longer,
sunny Pacific route would have my vote ...
Jason says their departure was
governed by a couple of factors: they were
hoping to have the auto pilot installed by
Friday afternoon and they had to vacate the
pier to which they were lying by Saturday.
Why Saturday? Because the strength of the
massive blizzard that would be coming through
on Sunday may well damage the pier.
Now don’t you think that comment
might be important if you were heading
into the North Atlantic in mid-winter?
Not to these two. As soon as the
auto pilot was installed and no doubt the
warranty stowed in a secure place, off they
went. This was despite the urgent warnings
and pleadings by the Coast Guard, who it
seemed, lacked the authority to keep them
in port until after the storm, never mind
having them committed.
You remember Hoffnung’s bricklayer
(and Smithy’s incident with the wooden
canal barge) where one disaster followed
another? As soon as they left shore:
The engine battery charger failed.
The wind generator failed.
Therefore the just installed auto pilot
would not work. (Despite the warranty.)
They started the engine.
“ The engine just stopped itself,” said
So in desperation aboard this sailing
boat, they hoisted the sails.
“ Then the sails became torn.”
The EPIRB activated at 4.50am on
Sunday 15th February. That was just as
the storm struck.
“ The storm had nothing to do with our
problems,” shrugged Jason. “ We were dead
in the water when it arrived.”
Oh well, that’s alright then.
So it was at the height of the storm
about which the Coast Guard had warned
them when the MH60 Jayhawk chopper
took off from Cape Cod through 150
miles of 60 knot winds. They had to lower
some poor rescuer into 2°C water to save
the pair as the mast was arcing wildly in
those 8m seas. Appropriately, these two
basket cases were winched aboard in ...
Jason said he was working with his
insurance company to salvage Sedona and
send her back to Oz by ship. Of course, he
would have to find her first. Readers may
wonder who is this kind-hearted company
that gives cover on an eBay bargain for
ocean voyaging, starting in mid-winter.
The Coast Guard was even more
generous, not charging for saving the
lives of these two when setting off into
dangerous conditions against their advice.
Now I am not superstitious, as my
mother always said while groping for a
bit of kitchen laminate believing it had
the power of wood, but I do not believe in
taking ridiculous chances. Would you have
chosen the date on which these Darwinian
candidates set off for their epic winter
voyage ... Friday 13th? h
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