1994-1996

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1994

 

After launching, we had arranged to be in Cairns mid April, so a very quick trip ensued with long day sails every day for 2 weeks, but easily achievable with the trade winds at that time of year. After a couple of months work in Cairns it was off to Lizard Island, to become one of our favourite destinations. The trade wind blows non stop, often 20-30 knots, and because of the shape of the island funnels right through the anchorage. After 3 weeks there, it was time to head back to civilization, and south again. Other seasons, we left the Far North to head south much later in the year, at least October, and it is much easier, as the wind has usually eased, and there are some northerlies. It was in the Whitsundays that we first met Tony, Lorraine & Jeremy on Tactical Directions, also a brand new catamaran, and we have since met up with them in many and varied anchorages.

 

 

1995

 

After a few weeks around the Broadwater near the Gold Coast, we traveled up the Brisbane River for the first time. Anchored opposite the city on 6th February, Catchcry was struck by lightening. In the morning we found the wind instruments in the dinghy, and it wasn’t for a number of days that we discovered that one of the solar panels had been smashed by them on the way down. As we had no insurance, we had to try to have the electronic items repaired. The autopilot had to have several trips back for repairs, and the colour sounder took a while to sort it self out. In May we took Catchcry out for her one and only time on a slipway in the years that we lived aboard (usually we beached her), and painted on anti fouling over the copper/epoxy that we originally used. At least it was a good base, but we found that we had to clean way too often. Once again we cruised to Cairns, a bit more slowly this time. Working again in Cairns, we stayed until November, and once again sailed down to the Brisbane area for summer.

 

 

1996

We waited for nearly 3 weeks in Southport for slightly favourable winds to head south into New South Wales for the first time. At Broken Bay just north of Sydney we had a visit from Catherine’s brother Neil and family for a day or two, and then over the Australia Day Weekend we were inundated with 9 other multihulls out for a weekend cruise from Sydney. We even managed a “raft-up” of all 9 at one time. In 1996 multihulls were still in small numbers, so this was a real highlight, and of course, our friends Tactical Directions were amongst them. We by-passed Sydney Harbour and went into Port Hacking, to visit John’s Uncle John who lived in an apartment overlooking the ocean, and they enjoy a great view of the entrance and the “roads” for the ships waiting for entry to Botany Bay. Next was a 12 day wait at Batemans Bay for the weather to turn favourable for our crossing of Bass Strait. A short stop at Eden, and we left around 1pm.


Motoring, and then a south east change at daybreak the next day, and a good lively sail arriving at Babel Island on the North East corner of Tasmania just after dark. Unfortunately we picked up a “pot bouy” on one of the props just as we were anchoring, and this was the first of Johns “swims” in Tassie. We were able to return the buoy to the rightful owner the next day at Cat Island, and in exchange we received some lobsters. Our first. We traveled to Hobart, and made this our base with a cruise down Storm Bay to Port Arthur for a couple of days, and back up the east coast, through the Dunalley Canal, to Hobart, and also a cruise through the D’entrecastreaux Channel and back. This was in March and April, and we waited in Hobart over Easter for the end of the “Three Peaks Race” in which the designer of Catchcry, Robin Chamberlin, was an entrant on his own boat Excess. He came second that year, but has won a number of times since. We loved Tasmania from a cruising point of view, and hope to return in the future. The weather is definitely extreme, with 3 times having storm warnings in the forecast, but there are plenty of good sheltered anchorages. As the climate is cooler activities ashore differ from the usual beaches and sun, making a pleasant change. The evening of 30th April saw us off the north east corner of Flinders Island, and the only entertainment was listening to the fishermen having their weekly seaphone calls to home. Reports of some people being shot at Port Arthur were heard, and it was not until we arrived back in Eden a couple of days later, that we realized that this had been the first news of the mass shooting that had taken place there, killing about 30 people. We went into Sydney Harbour this time, staying at Birkenhead Harbour Marina for easy access to public transport for sightseeing trips to Taronga Zoo, Opera House and Darling Harbour. Catherines Mum and Dad also visited us at that time for a few days too. After a short visit to Tony and Lorraine of Tactical Directions at Pittwater, we continued up the coast. As this was now well into May, the southwesterlies had begun, and we had several days in a row of beautiful fast sailing on flat seas in offshore wind. Top speed 12.5 knots! We spent 10 enjoyable days in Camden Haven, near Port Macquarie, and one of the other stops was anchored in Byron Bay it was so calm.

 

We continued north, spending a few days in Burrum Heads for the first time, and a couple of days at Lady Musgrave, where the weather turned perfect, and the lagoon was completely glassy calm and turquoise blue. Finally at Laguna Quays in the southern Whitsundays, we spent 3 weeks in the marina (most unusual for us), but it was part of the Multihull Rendevous. We even did some racing, once again Tactical Directions were here and some spirited competition ensued. It was great being other like minded sailors, even if some of them were racers. After that was the Fun Race at Airlie Beach, which was a lot more harrowing, with a large number of yachts and sailing vessels of all shapes and sizes par-taking. We decided during this time to return to Brisbane for the start of the 4th school term and send the boys (Grade 2 and 4) to a regular school. Andrew, we decided needed some one else to teach him, other than Mum and Dad for both of our sanities. On the way down at Gary’s Anchorage in the Sandy Straits, we met up with “Midnight Blue” our sister ship.

 


School at Brisbane Central was a huge success, and because our boys took the school enrolments to 100, the classes were multi-grade. Andrew and Richard were in the same class with 2 marvelous teachers, and in fact, the same group of children, stayed together with the same teachers for the next two years. Catherine started brushing up on her computer skills, and had to attend TAFE to learn about Windows, Word and Excel, and these had all been invented since she last worked with computers (about 10 years). Eventually Catherine had a number of temporary jobs through an agency, and John was kept busy walking the boys to and from school each day, and doing little jobs on the boat with David who was still too young for pre-school.

 

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