My Blog

sailing trips and adventures

The Final Chapter

The Trip: Gold Coast, Queensland to Tahiti, Oct 2021
The Yacht: 43' Custom trimaran

Now that I'm on a plane flying home, it's a good opportunity to reflect on this last trip and what seems to be a recurring theme with these sailing jobs that I take on. To those that might remember, the last sailing gig I had was to help take a client's yacht from Majorca to Gibralter and then onto Barcelona. That was a drama filled three weeks too. All I can think of when I come across these opportunities is it sounds good in theory but yachts (and owners) are capricious creatures and no matter how much due diligence you do prior, it's not until you step aboard and go sailing do you really find out about the boats capabilities.

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Finally Underway - Australia to Tahiti

The Trip: Gold Coast, Queensland to Tahiti, Oct 2021
The Yacht: 43' Custom trimaran

Well, finally a chance to provide an update and let everyone know who's been following my track what's been going on.
So instead of being off the top of New Zealand by now, I'm sitting alongside a wharf in Ballina. I spent 3 weeks doing repairs, maintenance and upgrades on the boat before leaving but obviously that wasn't enough. Getting properly offshore turned into more of another sea trial as one boat issue rolled over into another and then another........

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Not Your Average Sailing Gig

The Trip: Palma de Mallorca - Gibraltar - Barcelona, Oct 2019
The Yacht: 84' Palmer Johnston ketch

I was asked to skipper this yacht to help the owner check out of the EU after a two year refit in Palma.  The idea was to sail to Gibraltar, clear in and out and then sail back up the Spanish coast to Barcelona where the boat would spend the winter with the owners onboard. Sounds pretty simple doesn't it?

Well suffice to say, things didn't quiet go according to the owner's plan. It's a complicated story to do with Spanish Customs and a tax agreement called the TPA. I won't go into the ins and outs here but effectively to comply with the TPA, we had sail straight to Gibraltar to clear out of the EU.  Instead the owner had his family onboard and a more leisurely cruise was on his mind. We had a few mechanical and electrical problems which forced a side trip to Ibiza where the fun began. The Spanish Customs ordered the boat to the main harbour of Ibiza as we were no longer on our designated course to Gibraltar. This began 8 days of paper warfare and inspections so the authorities could work out why we diverted to Ibiza.

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Superb Sailing Around Corsica and Sardinia

The Trip: Private Yacht Charter to the La Maddelena Islands, July 2019
The Yacht: Bali 4.1

Nathalie and I enjoyed taking our guests to many beautiful places around all of Corsica and then to the northern tip of Sardinia. Our yacht was a superb Bali 4.1 catamaran, 3 cabin owners version. It was ideal as there was only 4 of us onboard. The west coast of Corsica is quite rugged and offers many beautiful beaches and anchorages. We spent a few days in and around Saint Florent on the NW coast. It was a prefect place to have a base to explore the area.

We then headed south past Port Vecchio and onwards to Bonifacio and then a short hop over to Sardinia and the La Maddelena group of islands. Some absolutely superb bays and beaches to explore. It's a place we will definitely go back and spend more time there.

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Private Charter in Greece

When I received the call to help with a private charter out of Athens last summer, it was a pleasure to organise a Bavaria 56 for my clients. The brief was to go sailing for two weeks, heading north to see how far we could get sailing along the island of Evia. Leaving Epidavros, Nathalie joined me and we sailed east towards Athens past Poros and out into the Saronic Gulf. A highlight was aailing past the temple of Poseidon, just south of Athens. There's very little left of this 6th-century temple but once it was a magnificent building giving sanctuary to fugitives and wrecked sailors. Apparently in the 18th century it was mostly dismantled and the materials used to build a monastery on Hydra.C'est la vie!

One thing about sailing in Greece though is you can't escape the history. We sailed past Marathon and you can't help but think what happened here thousands of years ago.

Beautiful Sailing on Fantastic Catamaran

It's not too often you get the call to help with a passage on a Catana 62 so the voyage from Les Sables d'Olone to Vigo in Spain was going to be an interesting passage. The owner Paul was a little light handed and so I answered the call to add some experience to the crew and assist him with the passage across the Bay of Biscay. Well after 4 days holed up in Ribadeo because of high winds offshore, we finally left this morning. There was a bit of excitement on board as the large swell looked like it was closing out across the bay occasionally. Heading out to sea meant a well timed run between sets.

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New Lagoon Owners in the Cyclades

As new owners of their Lagoon 380, Brian and Claire asked me to come onboard for a week to help with some sailing tuition. Claire had never sailed before and Brian was in his own words, "a little rusty" so I boarded the Why Not J in Lavrio and we have spent the past few days island hopping through the Cyclades, heading east towards Kos. It's been a great time and we've managed to get a mix of conditions which has been great for learning. I can see Claire's confidence growing with each day as we come across new situations and work our way through how to deal with them.

Today we sailed from Paros about 38nm to the little islands of Kato Antikeri and Ano Antokeri, our overnight anchorage. We approached the islands that are only separated by a relatively narrow channel and we were all pretty overawed by the surrounds and scenery, particularly once we entered the channel. Claire and I stationed ourselves on a bow each to keep lookout as we nosed up the narrows, making sure the depth ahead was ok. It was a great example of using the paper charts and chart plotter to seek out a wonderful anchorage. We spent some time finding just the right spot with good holding ground, only to see the channel open up on the other side to a stunning view towards Amorgos. It was stunned by the view that was spreading out before us to top off a great day of sailing and with new skills learnt.