Archive for June, 2022

The Hardest Part of Cruising…

Thursday, June 23rd, 2022

… is casting off the lines.

How true. We settle in. We love the area, the people and our nature is to stay, hang, party! We’ve been in Scarborough almost 30 months. It is time. Tanks are full, engine purs, we head out.

The sailing isn’t great. Cold weather had set in. But, officialdom is forcing our hand. Two things force/encourage us to move; weather and officialdom.

In Australia while immigration has acknowledged the circumstances surrounding Covid, Customs has not. If we keep the boat here longer than 3 years we are either locked down to one port or required to pay import duty on the vessel. As that duty would be to the tune of thousands of dollars we plan to leave. Besides, the world is a large place, there is more to see.

That and it is…. Cold here. We head N to the warmth!

We leave Scarborough about noon and head across the bay. There we turn N heading back through Wide Bay Bar and sliding up the inside of Fraser Island. Having done the reverse of that course to get here made casting off the lines easier.

This would also be our first overnight in a couple of years and it was cold. Once we turned N we were able to sail a bit. The winds were not great. So what. It was just time to get our sea legs out again.

Wide Bay Bar wasn’t that exciting. It could be. Boats have flipped and lives lost crossing bars in Australia. The goal is to have NO excitement. We checked with the Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) people on the conditions of the bar before crossing. They Green Lighted the trip. Sails down (we don’t sail during tricky crossings) we motored up the fairway and into the quiet waters behind Fraser. Gary’s anchorage looked nice and calm. It was. The following day we head up to Kingfisher resort.

Before Kingfisher was an active place. Now; after Covid and the shut down of a majoirty of the tourist industry here the resort was quiet. So quiet we didn’t even choose to go ashore. Dan (Captain on Vagabond) was there a day earlier and told us the resort; for the most part, closed. No more beach bar and the place was like a ghost town. Oh; there were things going on, a wedding and some people getting on and off the ferry. The vibe wasn’t all that good. So we gave it a pass.

Elysium with her favorite Sail plan

And the following day we scooted up to Bundaberg. The port we entered from. Anchored off the Marina for the first night and secured a slip for two more days.

There we ran into our neighbors from Whangarai, NZ. Brad and Gloria. When we first arrived in Australia we met up and now as we’re leaving we meet up again. That necessitated some story time and we made the most of it. On top of that bright spot they told us that Greg and Deb on Kaliope were here. We met them in Panama before we crossed the Pacific. Greg and Deb had just sold their boat and planning to do land travels. First in Australia and then back in the states.

Cruising for us is more about the people than the place. Although in some respects, they are related. We love connecting and reconnecting with people along the way.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long


Cruising Lifestyles

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

Cruising is a “lifestyle”. Like all lifestyles there are differences. There is the “Circumnavigating”, the “Tourist”, and the “Immersive” cruiser.

The Circumnavigating cruiser wishes to get around the globe. They want to test themselves, test their boat and see a bit of the world. Oh, they do see a good bit, and they miss much. Truth: no one can see it all no matter how much they try. Some cruisers sign up for adventuring through an organization like the World Arc. For a nice chunk of change, details are taken care of. Paper work (officialdom) is completed for you, ie immigration visa’s, customs paper work, canal transit details, and passage planning. All those cruisers need do is: follow the plan. There is a lot to be said for having another cover the details of cruising. We’ve joined two groups to make this life easier, the Puddle Jump and the Go West Rally. Both are the least demanding of cruisers wanting to do it their way.

Then, there is the tourist cruiser. They arrive at a port and want to see all the attractions. Life is a huge Disney World, minus many of the lines. Plus, they see the real deal, not a miniatururized plastic version with piped in music. They hop in a car, jump on a train or plane, and off they go.

And then there is the immersive cruiser. I don’t think there are many of us. We go slow. For the most part that is Elysium. We’ve been out 13 years and are only half way around the world. We plan on staying for long periods of time. We want to know what it is like living in various countries. How the people are, what the culture is like. To do that we must find a key for entry into the local’s world..

In Penrhyn it was Church. Even though we are not religious people, every Sunday when anchored off the town we went to church. No one actually said “you must attend Church. Intuitively we knew it. Church was expected. It was our way to get to know the people, to feel what they feel and live as close to how they live as we could. We joined their community clean ups on several occasions. I helped with 12 v electrical work, fixing machines that were not working properly, and repairing their swing set. We saved the town for a day when the belt on the town generator went out. Elysium had the needed spare engine belt in their inventory. Often we ate with them and I dove for Golden Pearls with them. Experiences like this one never discovers as they wave sailing by.

In NZ and Australia we joined tennis clubs. In Australia we have some tennis friends we’ve known for 30 years living in Brisbane. We played tennis and vacationed with them. We joined a local tennis club and shared in 4 social tennis outings every week. We met a tennis couple that loved traveling as much as we do. With them we made traveled to Cairns and Uluru. (We can’t skip all the tourist stuff 🙂 ) .

A lot of fun and yes, we know and love them all.

The most difficult part of being an immersive cruiser is saying “good bye”. I prefer… “until we meet again” because one never knows.

Before we left the states we had a christening party for the boat. In NZ we had a get together with our tennis peeps before leaving and we did the same here, in Australia. People we’ve met; land people, were always curious how we lived and what our “home” was like. Rather then having 50 different visits we put together plates of goodies (another of our great tennis friends- Lynn helped), some refreshments and a chance for them to see Elysium. Richard (the General Manager) at Scarborough Marina reserved the cruisers lounge for us. Two of our fellow cruisers boys – great kids, Louis and Ollie – great kids, escorted the guests through the marina gates, to the boat and back to the lounge. We added a slide show on the lounge TV of where we’ve been and commiserated how much we would miss them …all of them. And to be honest, we do miss everyone of them. They were all kind enough to share their lives and stories with us making us richer for the experience. We hope it was a fair exchange.

These cruising groups are not exclusive. There is movement in and out of them. Everything depends on ones available cruising time.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long


Getting There

Sunday, June 5th, 2022

The project inside the boat is finished. The rain has abated. Time to get some color on.

Before the rain hit we washed and scrubbed the bottom. It was clean of loose paint. I paid one of the yard companies to grind off the Aqua-Coat at the waterline and to deal with the blisters. That bill topped $2k AUS. Sadly, more blisters appeared after they finished. Like all cruisers, cruisers help each other. I borrowed a grinder from s/v Vagabond and we repaired another dozen blisters. Grind, clean, fill with epoxy mud, sand, add barrier coat for preparation to paint.

Simon was off in his numbers!

The most difficult task was adjusting the water line on the port side. Simon (our painter) thought he had it right on when we had the boat painted in NZ. I tried to tell him it was low but he said he had his numbers taken when the boat was first hauled. It wasn’t worth arguing more, the line would be close. It wasn’t close enough. It was low. Slime formed higher on the hull than we wanted. Also I couldn’t convince him to make the shear stripe at the bow wider so visually it would have been the same on the water.

Thus, we had two changes to make. I needed to move the water line on the port side to have it fall where the water actually is. And I needed to widen the top of the line on the bow; both sides, where the boat stem fitting is.

After a good deal of consternation and some eyeballing by us and other cruisers we were now in the ball park. I used the bottom growth mark to get the waterline correct on the port side before we had cleaned it off. After which we measured and attempted to get the wider sheer at the bow to flow back into the normal width midships. This process took several hours. Laying it out, checking it, moving it, laying it out again. and finally, adding the barrier coat.

Tape remove, paint, re tape. Repeat.

Once the barrier coat was on, we added the white line under the sheer, then the brown sheer. And finally, the vinyl clear top coat. Over all, we were both happy with it.

Between all this we needed to service our AutoProp. While at our fiends home I was able to clean up the bronze and lubricate the prop. There is a special fitting for re-greasing each propellor blade. On the Autoprop each blade swings

PropSpeed is a two part Silicon based coating to reduce growth and save fuel.

independently. This independence allows a perfect pitch every rotation. With our new grease gun I lubricated each blade. That completed it was time to install the propeller at the boat. I don’t remember if I mentioned it – the key on the propeller had begun to wear. We needed a new one. And since we are a US boat it was an imperial key.

Luckily, Ian, the machinist that made our Groco part, could make a duplicate key. He measured, cut and trimmed a new SS key. To get the exact width he used a very cool machine to take a part of a hairs width off. It was now an exact replacement key. I put some anti-sieze on, put the key in place and slid the prop on. To finish I attached the special nut and set screw.

The final prop job; apply the PropSpeed. While PropSpeed doesn’t last forever, it is better than coating the prop with simple bottom paint. Bottom paint rarely lasts for a month of cruising. PropSpeed is designed to save on fuel (reduced friction) and keep marine growth at bay. It is a silicone based coating that is completely removed before re-coating. With the prop on and painted I bag it. The final step: we begin painting the bottom.

Slap it on. We are not a race boat. The important part is to have complete coverage and as thick as possible. We used about 21 liters of paint. Twenty of Black and one of Red. The first layer of the bottom is red. Where we had the blisters and where some of the red has worn off we recoated. In general, when we see red that tells us we are through the bottom paint and it is time to haul out. Once dried we apply the black.

Stir / pour / paint. We do this every time. We must keep the paint stirred as the Copper (the real antifouling ingredient that does all the work) will precipitate to the bottom if not stirred and not be evenly distributed. Paint would go on with zero Copper to do the work. W/ painted the lower areas while I did the waterline and mid section. Again another cruiser came by and helped loaning us a roller extension. Wow! That extension made the job easier and the application of the paint much quicker.

The only issue was the water line. Tape would not stick to the Vinyl Aqua-Coat. At the waterline we used a brush and took extra care. One coat on today, another tomorrow, launch the following day. Any extra paint was a waste in the can.We were not going to take it with us. Extra went on the waterline, the rudder, and the keel. We saved a bit for the the spots we could not get under the boat stands and the keel.

A job we didn’t like doing. But all turned out great!

Launch day arrived. The yards travel lift ambled over to lift Elysium. They lifted the boat and let it swing for an hour. We used this time for painting the last bit where the stands had supported the boat and where the keel rested. Twenty liters of paint ($900 AUS approx) is now on the boat.

I asked the travel lift operator what Elysium weighed. This is the first travel lift with a reliable scale. 17 metric tons. To the pit (the place they slowly lower the boat into the water) we went. Max speed; about 2 km / hour. 15 minutes later we were hanging over the water. Once immersed and before she is freed from the straps, I checked all the seacocks to ensure there was no water ingress. Perfect. Even the one I disassembled and re-assembled was dry.

With the slings released, and the tow attached, we slowly made way to our slip.

One huge step is now completed.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long