The Future

We have some exciting news. Mat has just come into a life changing inheritance which has rightly made him question what he is doing sailing around on ‘the old man’s’ boat.

Mat has decided to move on to an exciting new venture of his own, more of which will become know in due course. I think he is making absolutely the right decision despite the fact that it leaves me crew-less.

I still have my heart set on taking Last Vintage to the Mediterranean beginning the voyage later this year.

SO…….

I need to find a new travelling companion.

In a sentence, someone who would be prepared to take time out from their current lives to have an adventure. To experience something most only dream about.

How long? you ask. Well I don’t know, but two or three years is my best guess. While I have no fixed plans I do want to spend a couple of months in Asia doing some re-fitting work on the way from Australia to the Med via the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal. Once there I intend to spend three or four years exploring the Aegean, Adriatic, Tyrrhenian, Ionian and all the other seas in the area.

Who and what am I looking for? If you answer yes to most of the following dot points then it is most likely you!

  • Single & independent. Male or female
  • Likes the sea and sailing
  • Fit & healthy
  • Practical and inventive
  • Calm in a crisis
  • Flexible and patient
  • Able to read and understand manuals
  • Able to contribute to some of the voyage costs
  • Willing and able to undertake all sorts of maintenance and repairs
  • Must have a valid passport
  • Non smoker

If you think you might like to apply or if you want more information please leave a comment on this site with your contact details and I will be in touch.

 

Back to Mooloolaba

Last vintage is now back in Mooloolaba. We decided to come south to be well away from the tropics during the upcoming cyclone season. Not that there are any cyclones on the weather maps at the moment but…………….

We sailed back, yes all sails up with just the two of us doing 6 hour watches. A fantastic trip, weather was perfect, seas calm and tempers mellow.

So what now……????? I am working on a new post which will go live in a few hours, stay tuned.

Mooloolaba to the Whitsundays

We finally departed Mooloolaba on October 18th after 6 fantastic weeks. of sun, new friends and good food. A special thanks to ‘The Doc’ Michael Ryan and family and Hamish Thompson and family.

Departing mooloolaba - mouth of the riverOur departure through the river entrance was a far cry from when we arrived. A beautiful sunny day, no wind and calm seas. Our entry was at midnight on a dark windy night with big seas running across the entrance. Anyway we made it in and we made it out again.

This was the first time that Mat and I were the only crew so it was with a little trepidation that we set sail. (well motor actually).

Our track took us to Double Island Point at the entrance to Wide Bay just south of Fraser Island. We overnighted there and then set off early the next morning for the long trip up the Fraser Coast.

During the day we decided to continue on to Lady Musgrave Island. This meant that we began a four hour watch cycle. Our ETA was around midday on Thursday morning.The lagoon at Lady Musgrave Island

After an uneventful 30 hours we arrived at Lady Musgrave and entered the lagoon. Entering the lagoon at Lady Musgrave Island

Wow what an experience. A narrow entrance had been blasted through the fringing reef and from a distance it really did not look like we would fit! We actually had 5 to 10 meters on either side as we slid past the sharp coral into the most beautiful calm inner lagoon.

Entering the lagoon at Lady Musgrave IslandThere were quite a few boats at anchor but we had stacks of room. The entrance to Lady Musgrave

We spent the afternoon napping and getting ready to depart at dusk so that we would arrive at Yeppoon at around 8am the next morning when we were to collect Hamish, our new friend from Mooloolaba. Hamish had managed to contact us to say that he would like to join us for the trip to Hamilton Island.

We arrived at Yeppoon at low tide meaning we could not safely enter the harbour so Mat collected Hamish in the tender.

We headed north to spend the night at Port Clinton. A huge harbour with hardly a soul in sight. We departed early the next morning headed for the Percy Isles. Saturday was a magnificent day, calm seas, blue sky with a light sea breeze.Mat getting ready to hoist the foresail for the first time

We decided to hoist the foresail for the first time which required a bit of fancy bow sprit walking from Mat.

We also decided it was time to try our luck with some fishing.

and…………….Mat bringing in his first tunaMat's first tuna Our first tuna!! Very tasty it was too.

We arrived at the Percy Isles around 9:00pm that evening and anchored off the beach on Middle Percy. Just beautiful! Must come back again and spend more time here.

Sunday morning we headed for Scawfell Island for our last stopover before reaching the Whitsundays.

After a beautiful morning the sky began to cloud over and as the wind began to increase we had a double strike with both rods screaming. After a lot of hard winding Mat & Hamish both pulled in a large tuna.A double hook up. Mat and Hamish working hard...... and then we got two moreShortly after the weather turned quite nasty with a strong southerly change. We approached Scawfell Island late in the afternoon in strong winds and rough seas. The anchorage on the north side of the island provided excellent shelter and was home to 5 other boats when we arrived.

Our first drama since leaving Sydney………

We were towing our second tender and as we were manoeuvring to set our anchor I ran over and cut the tow rope. A message on the radio from neighbouring yacht Captain Silver “…..do you have your tender on a long line?” prompted me to run out of the wheel house only to see the tender about 200 meters away! “……not that long” I responded as Mat and Hamish launched the other tender and went to recover the stray.

All good, no damage and we ended up having a a terrific dinner with our new friend Kim & Kim from Captain Silver.20161023_222054 We spent Monday at Scawfell Island as the weather was still unpleasant and as we were in no rush we used the opportunity to do some work on the mizzen mast. Mat spent most of the day up the mast installing our new wind monitor and a new anchor light. I ran an connected the new wires and as well re-wired the stern light.

Tuesday morning saw us well rested but a little hung over as we departed Scawfell. We decided to hoist all three sails for the first time and then in a modest south easterly breeze headed for the Whitsunday passage and Hamilton Island.img_0551On the way Mat jumped into the tender to take these pictures. It was a big surprise to us just how well Last Vintage sailed.

Under full sail for the first time - WhitsundaysWe had approximately 15 knots of breeze which meant that with the motor off we managed between 4 and 4.5 knots. Given that we know very little about sailing we reckon a ‘real sailor’ would probably get even more boat speed.

WE arrived at Hamilton Island quite early in the afternoon and anchored in a small bay not far from the marina. Hamilton Island marina - finally!Fees were prohibitive for a boat our length and anyway we are only 3 minutes away by tender.

We went in for a drink before having dinner back on board.

Hamish returned to Mooloolaba and we had a quiet day tidying up and doing some washing.

An interesting footnote: We have been running 100% on solar power since leaving Mooloolaba. The system is working brilliantly!

For bigger pictures click here

September update

Finally an update! We crossed Bass Strait in what were probably pretty benign conditions for that piece of water, however with the confluence of three swells we rolled about quite a bit on the two day crossing.

Berthed at Eden after crossing Bass Strait
Berthed at Eden after crossing Bass Strait

Stopped in Eden for a day or two then pottered up the coast to Sydney.

Sydney - view from our anchorage at Watsons Bay
Sydney – view from our anchorage at Watsons Bay

We anchored in Watsons Bay in about 20 meters of water and about 150 meters off shore. Magnificent views up the harbour and a lovely place to be ‘stuck’ for 3 weeks. Stuck???

Sydney - Anchored at Watsons Bay
Sydney – Anchored at Watsons Bay

Well it’s a long story but the short version is that I ended up in hospital where, after more tests that the Aussie cricket team and more blood and ‘other’ samples that a Russian athlete, the ….ologists finally diagnosed that I had a cyst on my pituitary gland and that I almost pegged out!

Thanks to a brilliant GP and a persistent and outward thinking cardiologist the correct diagnosis was finally made and a couple of pills later I’m as good as new. Better even!. I am sure the diagnosis would have eventually have been made but most likely during a post mortem…………

Anyway, after a gruelling four weeks we set sail again headed for Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast. As there was some quite strong easterly weather we decided to travel non-stop. It took us 72 hours and was’ easy peasy’. Hundreds of whales and dolphins accompanied us on the trip. The weather was good and all the boat systems worked faultlessly.

Unfortunately we arrived at the mouth of the Mooloolaba river a couple of hours after high tide and, as we draw just about the maximum for the river we had to wait until the next hight tide to enter. Problem was the next high was at half past midnight! On top of that the easterly had strengthened considerably so waiting in the bay at anchor was not an option. Being unfamiliar with the approach we did a dummy run and then pottered around the bay until the time was right to enter.

On the prawn wharf at Mooloolaba
On the prawn wharf at Mooloolaba

We had arranged a berth at the end of the Mooloolaba Fisheries wharf where we had berthed on the delivery voyage almost three years ago.So with some trepidation we approached the breakwater entrance at around midnight with no moon and a strong wind blowing.

On the wharf at Mooloolaba
On the prawn wharf at Mooloolaba

Again, easy peasy! we glided into the river, counted four red pylons, veered to starboard and nudged safely up against the wharf. Phew!!

We are enjoying Mooloolaba so much we have decided to stay put for a few weeks and enjoy the sun, seafood – particularly the prawns- and the great beaches.

Jules & Mat

 

Our voyage has begun………finally!!!

We have finally started our voyage. And what a start it was! An incredibly rough crossing of Bass Strait which included a 24 hour layover at Deal Island. Well incredibly rough by our standards but probably only a 4/10 by Bass Strait standards!

Sydney - approaching the heads
Sydney – approaching the heads

Anyway, we made it with little damage, to Eden where we spent a very pleasant 48 hours. We then pottered on up the NSW coast to Sydney where we are now at anchor. From Eden to Sydney we did what we always intended and that was to travel during the day and anchor somewhere comfortable overnight.

We saw heaps of whales and dolphins all the way up the coast which were really amazing to watch.

Last Vintage is now anchored in beautiful Watsons Bay. Unfortunately we will be here for a little longer than expected as Julian ended up in hospital with a bit of a heart issue.

Sydney - Anchored at Watsons Bay
Sydney – Anchored at Watsons Bay

Nothing too serious we hope! Released from hospital today and, hopefully with a clearance from the GP on Monday, we plan to continue north on Tuesday.

Sydney - view from our anchorage at Watsons Bay
Sydney – view from our anchorage at Watsons Bay

Julian’s son Nick, who came with us to Sydney, set-up a time lapse camera which is (hopefully) recording the voyage ‘in brief’. Now that I am out of hospital I will attempt to figure out how to load the vision to this website so you can ‘glimpse’ what we see as we travel.

Updates will be more frequent……………………..

July update

Work is progressing to schedule. We expect the port side re-build to be completed by Wednesday 13th. Rigging will then be reattached and hand rails reinstalled.

All that remains is to replace the anchor hawse pipes and make repairs to a small section of the forward port side bulwark.

While our brilliant shipwrights, Rudi & Sam have been working on the hull and superstructure Mat & I have been busy finishing off Isabella’s cabin, rewiring, cleaning & repainting the engine room, installing lights in the saloon & galley and getting the sails, winches and halyards ready for our impending departure.

We are expecting to depart Beauty Point some time between July 16th and July 24th.

Hull – During photos

 

Hull – During

There was  only one small area suspected of having worm damage so planks were removed one by one until no further damage was seen.

Shipwright cutting new Celery Top planks
Shipwright cutting new Celery Top planks

Hull00136

New Celery Top slabs were cut by a local saw miller and then shaped into planks by the shipwright. The new planks were fitted, jointed, caulked and sealed. All joints and butts were caulked and sealed. Oakum was used for all caulking.Hull00182

The false keel was removed at the bow but the rest was not accessible so temporary sacrificial planks were installed along both sides of the keel.

Continue reading “Hull – During”