Friday, 19 March 2010

Flat Water Sailing

Sydney Harbour, 1997
I remember when we announced to our families that we were buying a yacht, my brother in law Peter said “Ley, you're in love with flat water sailing - wait until you find out what it is really like out there!”  Eventually I did ....

Crystal Blues came into our life in 1997, and we sailed her up and down the east Australian coast from the Whitsundays to Melbourne twice, whilst working to extricate ourselves from our business life.  On our second Bass Strait crossing we suffered a spreaders in the water knockdown.   I was on watch by myself, at night, and when I heard the roar of a rogue wave I grabbed onto the dodger as we were pushed over to port.  Water flooded into the cockpit, loose gear flew across the saloon.  Neil and cousin Glen came running up the companion way to check things out.  Quickly they re-trimmed sails, asked if I was okay and went straight back to bed.  The autopilot didn't miss a beat, all was dry down below and I still had a few hours of my watch to finish.  It was a frightening but empowering experience - definitely not flat water sailing !

Harwood Slipway, 2000
After a major refit in 2000 and our first ocean crossing to New Caledonia in 2003 (flat water again) we were ready to leave Australia and head into Asia in 2005.

On passage from Cairns to Darwin we experienced the best of fast, flat water sailing.  Hour upon hour, day and night we silently flew along inside the Great Barrier Reef. Around Cape York (with the MPS flying) we raced onwards, reaching Darwin in 8 days.  This year, after 16 months of refit in Phuket, we were really keen to hear water rushing by the hull and to feel the wind on our face again.
Sailing to the Andaman Islands in January we were not disappointed – scooting along at 6-7 knots in a light NE wind reminded us why we do love flat water sailing.

Off watch on the way to The Andaman Islands

Stretched out in the cockpit, our favourite jazz music playing, my orchid hanging under the boom and nothing but calm blue seas around, anyone would love this type of sailing.  Our passage to Port Blair was fast and smooth, and we spent three laid back weeks in the Andmans before returning to Phuket.  Flat water all the way.

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