Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The captains view on SOLO SAILING. :)

We all know about those intrepid sailors, mostly men...but occasionally women, many of whom circumnavigate the globe. This feat usually takes three to five years to complete. ( although we do know of one fellow ( yacht Sourdough) who completed his circuit this year after starting out 16 years and 8 months ago, his path wandered far and wide.)
But now do we have a new breed of solo sailors?? And this is my poser to set the mind ticking !!!!
The young man I fathered, who is also my wives son gave my crew member ( Carol) an IPad. For an avid reader this is great ......come bed time the lights go out and she reads on :(. But then this small pecs of equipment becomes a telephone for talking to NZ for almost no cost.....Even better....but wait....THERE'S and all that sort of invisible stuff fly into the IPad, somehow from somewhere ......
Next thing squeezed in is a GPS, which shows you where you are ...anytime, or or night. A sweet electronic voice can tell you your speed, your average and how many thousand of hours you have been going.
Now on CHARIOTEER we have paper charts and electronic charts, so we are in touch with where we are....OH NO , now with the IPad we can add, at a small cost, Navionic charts...with a small icon showing our position , how far we have come, where we are going :)
Not good enough yet, you say ...... these charts can be over laid with Google Earth views. If Father Christmas has this aid he will be able to see right down your chimney :)
What a marvelous gizmo....NO NO ...we aren't finished forecast six days ahead...anywhere in the world (Buoyweather) can find ships far enough away that you can not see them with the naked eye (ASIS)
Now where is this all lleading to.......I'm out there in the wind and cold tending sails, keeping a I call to Carol...( all snuggly and warm in the pilot house) " a coffee would be good"...... The hasty reply..." can you do it...there is an email I want to answer , and I'll have one also" !!!!!!!!!
I ( Brian) am a new age solo sailor :)

The crew replies....ah yes but the captain does enjoy reading or
and looking at the photos the family send, and the weather forecasts..........:) I just love being crew, who wants to go out into the cold to alter a sail........

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hilary harbour, west Coast Australia

On from there we made Hilarys Harbour Marina and third time lucky found a rigger to repair our wounded yacht. He checked all the rigging and changed the lower aft shrouds from 8 to 10 mil. After one week we we're off again amongst the ever present whales. Stops at Mandurah, Bunbury, Quindalup, and Hamlin Bay.
We had met a solo launch heading the same way so we moved along together. At Hamlin Bay it was a wait for conditions to get around the southern cape. Eventually it was a around to Albany. We anchored out by an old whaling station. whaling only ceased Australia in 1987 !!!!!
Next day we moved closer to the town. An old wharf is inside the breakwater, so we tied there for the weekend. Come Monday an official told us we would have to pay $AUS 7.50 per metre. that's $AUS700 per week.!!!!.....we could rent a house for half of that.
Our launch friend was at anchor in another bay, so we headed there. The entrance was shallow and narrow. With winds up tp 30knots, made things a little tense until at anchor :)
In this bay is an island now a bird sanctuary . In the early days local grew the vegetables here as it was safe from the rabbits. pelicans with their huge beaks and large bodies seem so ungainly. but in flight they ar so very graceful. Their flight is a mixture of slow wing flapping and gliding.....great to watch. At a fishing wharf here our friend took on 1200l of diesel, by tanker...and we filled containers with 100 litres. Prices vary considerably t ports. marinas charged up to .20cents a litre more than pump prices...but here was our best buy so far.
Our next sail was a 900 mile run across the AUSTRALIAN BIGHT.
We left behind a low so seas were a little boisterous at first, but we often exceed 9knot boat speed. Nights we were usually light winds, with our speed dropping at time to under three knots. After 962 nautical miles we anchored in a desolate bay for the evening...a couplemof day hopes and on to Victor Harbour. Our friend went into Coffin Bay and will stay there a while.
The leaking water pump on the genset was now putting more water in the bilge than out the exhaust. A bus ride to Goolwa and at the third chandlery , where owner Murray spent an age endeavouring to help us.
On the way across the BIGHT our haliyard again broke dumping our gennaker into the sea. Murray had a roll of 10 m spectra rope which was old stock, and as all the local yachts are considerably on the smaller size we purchased the rope at $ 4.00. :) Later Murray and his wife Denise, invited us to dinner at their place. Their property being thirty minutes out in country. On the way a gum tree across the road held us up while a local farmer, with tractor and chain saw cleared the way. Our hosts were in a thirty acre block in a really nice setting.
Shopping in Victor Harbour is great, with some giving discount when paying with cash. Fuel vouchers from supermarkets gave us 08cents discount plus the stations gave an extra 02cents for cash.
With our trolley we carted 120litres back to Chrioteer. Access to town was nice and easy...a dinghy ride to the wharf and then a walk along the causeway from Granite Island to the mainland and one was in the middle of town.....

Friday, November 25, 2011

Carnarvon, Geraldton, Port Dennison. West Coast Australia

We motored into Carnarvon .....tie up at a rickety old wharf and go to find Customs....of course one of the officiers had to be of the rude type..full of his own importance........Quarantine was based five hours drive away so our quarantine inspection was done over the a cost of $AUS 340.00.
It was with relief all round that our crew was able to get a flight to Perth that afternoon.
Brian was able to strengthen our damaged rigging a bit more, and rather than pay over $AUS 50.00 for another night tied to the disgusting wharf we left the next day.
We were able to refuel before we left....the fuel operator charged us $AUS 30.00 to walk 100 metres to the pump.
These charges came up time and time again as we sailed down the West Caost of Australia.
WE have seen so many whales on this coast it is almost a case of "look whales"....
" oh yeah whales....."
At Geraldton we met a lovely couple ...Ursula and Colin, who put themselves out to elp us source what we needed..... at $AUS53.00 to tie to the wharf we planned on staying for a short time...but look out comes Murphy again...our engine would not start....injectors on strike. Fortuately Ursula and Colin had a friend who was a mechanic and there was an injection specialist business just across the after another few days we were mobile again. And joy of joys charge for tieing to the wharf as it was an emergency :)
further south at the Port Of Dennison we tied up in an empty pen...the owner had his boat elsewhere and after checking it was okay for us to use the space at no charge. In the pen next door was a launch in the same colours as Charioteer. Conversations and a very enjoyable drinking session followed, with a breakfast on board Charioteer invitation and a dinner at their house invitation being extended...
During the dinner they presented us with the most amazing cruising guide for the South of Australia.....glossy colour photos, charts and sailing directions... :)

From Christmas Island to Mainland Australia

Straight Line to Carnarvon from Christmas Island...950 nm. We do our exit formalities and leave early in the morning....winds were always around SE, which meant we couldn,t head directly to our destination. No staysail really hurt our into the wind progress and though we changed three different headsails, it was like pushing jelly uphill with a rake.......After a few days our course was taking us no closer than 500 nm from the Australian coast...we could make it to Africa just fine !!!!
The winds strengthened , but the sea never got into that lovely easy long swell which meant we had to cross at an angle. Then early one morning...with a loud bang a lower shroud parted from the mast and whipped around on the deck. Quickly the sails were doused and the engine started...and what now.....The lower mast was gyrating so much with the swell that we swear it would of been able to hold up a hula hoop. A jury rig was made with the spinnaker pole and various ropes. With winds in the 30,s motoring with small sails was our only option...until the diesel ran out.
WE put out the drogue while we thought about things.

Our crew member had found it hard going ( two captains on one yacht DOES NOT WORK) At 79 years of age he was rather shaky and not open to suggestions, but he was to be admired for doing this at his age. He was was unable to cope with this situation and was all for using our EPIRB. Carol was pleased all our safety gear had been checked out earlier in the year, but she agreed with the captain...lets see how much fuel we can suck out of the tank before we call out the search and rescue planes.....we could sail...not to Carnarvon but either back to Indonesia or over to Darwin. With a drill pump going we were able to scavange the bottom of the tank and were overjoyed as the containers filled up. The weather was finally easing and Carol was supreme controlling the autopilot for best speed and direction (She did not want to go to Africa).
By the time we rounded an island in the bay near Carnarvon the wind was such we could hoist the Code Zero and sail in the company of whales to our destination. But MUrphy wasnt finished with us yet. The entrance to Carnarvon requires a daylight entry so we readied to anchor for the night...but Murphy had allowed the anchor chain to become buried in on its self and the winch would not work. So we motored in small circles as Brian untangles everything....and so to bed

Christmas Island

Indonesia requires yachts to have a permit to transit their waters. We chose not to follow that line, and we used the main shipping channels and not stopping. First we had to head NE for a day before clearing island and turning South. Sometimes sailing, sometimes motor sailing we were able to make good progress....had we known the future we would of sailed more and motored less !!!!!!!
Clearing Indonesia via the quiet Sunda Strait (we had heard horror stories about the ships here and the currents) We set course for Christmas Island.
Surprise, surprise Christmas Island eventually came into view along with an Australian Warship which came to say hullo and shadowed us to Flying Fish Bay which is the only anchorage on the island.
Customs, Quarantine and Immigration met us under the coconut trees on shore and were very enthusiastic that we had actually arrived with the correct visa !!!!!!Seems as if we were the first and only to get it right. All formalities went well, leaving us to wander around. Two other yachts were at anchor also. Internet coverage and speed was almost useless...but we perservered and were able to tell family and friends of our safe arrival and expected departure.
Supplies to the island are by airfreight...which adds $7.00 per kilo to a lettuce can cost $20.00, but ca packet of 20 cigarettes for $2.00 (two), and good whisky for $15.00
The local supermarket was had quite a lot of marked down/out of date stock....but they gave us cordial sachets they could not now Brian has 1500 litres of red cordial to drink !!!!!! :)

Relaxing on board it was noticed the inner forstay seemed rather weawatched it came slithering down to the deck.....when we had replaced the rigging Brian kept one of each of the original......but after six years he had no idea where in this HUGE boat it was stored....three day later we found it....hiding with a 20kg bottle of freezer refrigerant,the spare hot water cylinder etc etc....(god we have so much unesassary stuff onboard :(......) and of course all the stuff we took out would not fit back in again.
And now Murphys Law kicked in........the wire we wanted wasn't one of the ones we had kept, as the original was in too bad a state to save. :(..Crying didn't help...swearing sort of helped......

Danga Bay Marina, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Oh well , up anchor and do the night sail thing. Now, Singapore is a busy port in its own right, but it is also used for laying up ships not in service. Plus there are also huge tankers at anchor, from which smaller tankers refuel. It is said that there is excess of 1000 ships at anchor here and we believe it. Trying to recognise those ships at anchor from those moving is daunting. At one stage when we were almost around Singapore we got really confused...we ended up doing circles and reverses but we never hit the tugs and barges, or the oil rigs......Eventually clear, we anchored in a designated area and settled down for the night.
Next morning it was a clear run to Johor Bahru to Danga Bay Marina. Four years ago this marina was only a picture on a billboard. Berthing here is free, and consequently most berths are taken. We were staying long enough for a sailor fromNew Zealand who wanted to do a passage,to join us, and to aquire visas for our Christmas Island entry.
We took thje opportunity to connect again with Neeta and Simon, Michael and Phillip...a lovely family we had met four years ago, and withthe Australian yacht Gentle Lady, who we had met in Darwin.Frank and Vuma, a Singaporean couple on a motor yacht were extremely friendly and helpful.
Refueling was an interesting exercise as foreigners (in Johor Bahru) are only allowed 20litres of fuel per day. However on Tuesday and Thursday the marina staff do a fuel run and one was allowed 50 litres in two containers with your boat name on it.Of course all the boats shared and swapped containers!!!!!! so one could double or triple up the supply.
Now we were visa legal and stocked up with fuel and food so on a high tide we untied and motored to our first anchorage, to await and early start the next morning.

Miri to Danga Bay

Next stop was Miri where we were able to meet up with long time cruising friends Mike and Barb from S/V nice to be able to play crib again.
From Miri, it was either to Kuching or direct to Johor Bahru. Johor Bahru was where the winds sent us.
AS we approached Singapore, although the currents were giving us a boost, we had to use the engine to keep us out of the path of shipping. By about 5pm we dropped the anchor, thinking it was safer to wait for daylight to continue to Johor Bahru. An hour after anchoring we were approached by a Singapore police boat with a man onboard holding out a net on a pole, wanting our documents so they can book us in to the country. We explained we were just stopping until morning and didnt want to enter Singapore. Okay they said and off they went. But an hour later they came back ...either book in or move on!!!!!!!
Oh well...up with the anchorand do the night sail.

Taiwan to Kudat, Malaysia

Its been a while since we updated our blog so here goes.

Whilst in Taiwan circumstances developed that meant we would have to fly home for a month or two. As Charioteer needed to be lifted out for new antifouling. we could leave her in Taiwan or head for Kudat, Borneo Malaysia again.Though it would be against the wind we opted for Kudat.
The weather was okay heading for the Philippines, but only for a few days. Just short of Subic Bay it became impossible to make headway so we took shelter in a large bay. Our new Air Marine (AIRX) wind generator is supposed to shut down when winds get up to 30knots. But it spit the dummy here and would not shut down. so it screamed away with winds up to 46 knots. We eventually made it to Subic Bay for fuel and marina rest.
The officials here have joined in the corruption big charging $USA 50.00 for each visit. This could come to $USA 250.00 plus the harbour board charge of $USA 15.00 for each harbour entry and exit. !!!!!!!!
We got away with paying $USA 115.00 and escaped early in the morning.
From there to Kudat was easy going, except for the last fifty miles.
Lift out at Kudat went well. We now learnt our New Zealand crisis was no longer a crisis and we did not need to fly home.
Oh well...clean and repaint the antifoul, repair a seal to the windlass motor in the hope it would help it continue to generate,and we were ready to head for Johor Bahru via Brunei,and Miri Malaysia.
Malaysian diesel was cheap so we stocked up, before heading to Brunei.

Brunei has a yacht club not far from the main harbour, but we understood a further yacht club was up the river near the city.
So off we went, getting right into the city and not finding the club.We flagged down a passing police launch, who gave us an escort back to a small dinghy pontoon by the Royal Brunei Yacht Club. Actually, its a Memembers Only set up, which happened to be closed for maintainence. However we could anchor and use the dock and use our bycyles to look around.
Diesel is cheap here.....30cents a litre, but for foreigners it cost .80cents. We were very lucky and did manage to get some diesel at the locals price.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Spelling mistakes

After I have typed out the item, I then check it for spelling mistakes.....
I have decided I absolutely hate these self correcting machines......yes I know it's user error......
But it is frustrating.
So in future I decline to be responsible for any errors:)

Taiwan 2011

This lovely country once again came up to our expectations.....
With our friends we circumnavigated Taiwan...but it was on land via train, bus and taxi..and so we do not think we can enter these miles down in our cruising log.
Since arriving here we have taken part in two sailing regattas.....the one in Keelung went quite smoothly but the one in Kaohsuing was beset with starting fiascos......but hey..we continued to follow the yachts we thought were sailing in the right direction and yep they knew where they were going at least we finished.
Www have just purchased and Brian has installed two new solar panels. Almost overnight our original panels stopped generating and upon inspection the sealant around the fittings going into the panels had broken down sufficiently enough to allow salt water to penetrate.
And today we had to purchase two more batteries......
Oh yes we also had to purchase a multi meter........hands up those people who knew that multi meters can NOT swim.......mmmm, yes and Brian now knows this also.!!!!!,!,
Tomorrow we hope to start heading south........the winds will be against us, but they seemed to be that way inclined when we came up and they were meant to be with us. so will just wait and see.
We have had a small but expensive change of plans and we will be flying home for six to eight weeks........and no it is not just to cool down.
Safe sailing

Monday, May 2, 2011

Heading south

Island hopping was mostly good sailing and uneventful. Cows dining on bamboo, smoking, belching volcanoes,
To meet our friend who were flying in to Taiwan..meant we had to keep moving and we were slightly ahead of our cruising schedule.
Arriving at AWASE on the south west coast of OKINAWA was another one of the Japan Coastguard Keystone Cop routines.....offer to help and then not know what to do...we watch, trying not to laugh as they try to decide where we should go, why we should go here and not there.....much arm waving and discussion...eventually we go to the spot we had marked on our chart at the time of applying for our cruising permit.!!!!!
The next evening we had a call from the walkway..and a friendly American came to visit. his wife had watched us sail in......and so began another of those special encounters. In fact it was so special that instead of leaving Japan from further south (Ishigaki) we spent time with David, Annie and there army (actually only four) of neat kids........
Eventually we set sail for ITOMAN...only to find the Marina and fishing harbour we in league......first we couldn't stay in the Marina ....then we couldn't stay in the fishing harbour.....then www could stay on the marina...they only wanted two arms and one now we had spent three hours motoring from point A to point B...and were getting really pissed off.....
The very efficient and friendly Customs officers were able to arrange a berth for us in NAHA port so we t sail again and eventually ain darkness we tied to the wharf.
Departure day arrived...we were able to get duty free diesel, our forms were stamped and at 0600hours we left Japan for the last time.
Good sailing conditions for twelve hours was all we were to get. The wind did silly things and made life difficult but not uncomfortable.
Look out TAIWAN here we come

Still in Japan

We had a good sail to Kagashima Sendai. Our ropes were taken and we were tied to a small tug. One of The workmen was all excited as he remembered us from two years before. And they had a rule tied to the barge...they were expecting a tsunami...and this was the first we heard of the major earthquake that had hit Japan and was going to cause all the problems.
Our friend Gorgie was getting used to the fact that he was getting married in the next 48hours ( Internet dating is alive and well in Japan) and we enjoyed a lovely evening with him and his bride to be.
With gennaker up we left didn't last though. By the time we reached Kagoshima we had head winds, rain and very low visibility. Unable to find the customs office we asked for directions at a service thing we know we are in a car, being driven to the customs office. No one in the office had any English...but e entually we had our Customs document stamped, we were assigned a berth and before we knew it we were tied..stern to....amongst fishing boats.......
Kagoshima is a TUNA town...everyone is busy chasing, processing or cooking tuna......the smell from the fishing boats was disgusting.....and the town wasn't much better. But it was blowing a gale and we were stuck here so we just breathed shallowly........
We were being inundated with emails from worried family and friends...the tsunami and it's after effects were the main a global news story...radiation fallout.......
Once we were able to move on we were able to reassure everyone we were completely safe....I mean by now we were tied to a wharf just below an erupting volcano !!!!!!

Korea to Nagasaki

Korea to Nagasaki was a little under 200nm. We had completed our Customs and Immigration on board after a lovely dinner with Stephen.
Blowing a gale all night made for rough seas. We sat waiting for things to calm down but after a while we said "what the hell".. and set off..... wasn't he'll, but winds up to 43 knots made going uncomfortable, so we anchored up behind an island for the next thirty six hours. Finally the wishes were in the low 20 to 30' it was a case of "let's go"........we used our staysail and a wee piece of headsail. The seas were about 4mtr, so we rolled a lot as we were running with the sea........Carol did very well..until evening when the handy bucket came into use.
Prudently skirting a group of islands during the night we made good time . Even with our small sail we made Nagasaki by 1500hrs..averaging 6knots. One quarantine and two Customs officers completed their part of the entry procedures painlessly...then came COASTGUARD.......six men, no English= Keystone cops officers. They had to call the Customs officers back to help ....and the 'big' man was convinced we had not done the correct entry procedure they require.......but after waiting while one of them went back to their office to get the email we had sent we were given entry clearance........writing it down sound s like it was a minor event...but it wasn't. On one hand it was hilarious watching these supposedly intelligent, well educated men posturing, arm waving, on the other hand it was frustrating.....we we're only doing what they wanted us to do..but they just were unable to accept the use of email rather than snail mail.......(uniform on...brain out)
But eventually they were satisfied and the patiently waiting Immigration official drove us to their office, eye photos, finger print, passport stamped and we were once again officially in Japan.
The small Marina at Nagasaki was lovely and free for seven nights? We arranged our cruising permit and while waiting for it to arrive we did the tourist thing and viewed the Nagasaki A BOMB memorial. The city has a tram system for getting around easily and we made good use of it......

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Special People Korea

Many people helped to make Korea special...some people made it extra special

Friday, April 22, 2011

We know we know

Sorry all you followers, but we have been having far too much fun to spend time tied to our computer.
We are now in TAIWAN after successfully leaving Korea and Japan.......the terrible earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power station event in Japan did not impact on us at all. Fortunately we were too far away from the area.
We promise to spend time next week writing about our continued adventures.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Leaving Mokpo

Leaving mokpo at 2pm to catch the tide meant we didn't go far before anchoring for the night. Same again the next day. leaving the mainland islands didn't mean there wouldn't be any currents, so it was hard work to make a group of islands half way to Jeju. We had been told the harbours here wilder too shallow for our yacht and itnwould be best to anchor outside the breakwater . However the winds were strong and onshore, so we had a look inside. To our surprise it was showing at least three meters und our keel. Two attempts at anchoring failed, then a fishing boat indicated for us to tie along side......BONUS....fresh fish for dinner...... We stayed rafted up the next day as winds were still very strongly and of the wron direction . Early the next morning the fishings boats were with bleary eyes we left also.
We had been given good information about Jeju Island, but between coastguard, harbour control and radio Jeju, things became a circus....even the pilot boat took us to a wharf we could not stay at.
Eventually we were taken to a small marina....we tied up, customs and immigration visited ( why immigration?.....who knows....)woe were taken into the office, given coffee and told this was a private marina and staying onboard was nota allowed....but itnwas late so for one night we were given the okay to sleep onboard.
The next day we headed south toward Kim Nyeong Marina , fourteen miles away. It took us five hours beating intoma head get to this new six berth marina.....we were on our own.
Going tomthe wrong marina first had it's good points. Mr.Ra, ( the owner) came to check that all was okay. Then he tookmus to meet Fred, into his lovely new Mercedes and off to Freds.
What a character ..Dr.Fred built a Maze with many unique features..600,000 visitors each year attest to its attractions.
After a while of ' getting to know each other' a dinner date was organized at a lovely Korean Beef Stew off we went....Fred,Mr.Ra, Kenny Kang(. Marina developer, Benateau agent) Stefan and wife, office lady.......,the food and the companynwas fabulous......The next day was overcast but Welty cycled off to the World Heritage Lava Tunnel Complex.....being of a certain age we were given free entrance and also a volunteer guide with good English joined us. One kilometer of the tunnel is open to the public...iet is amazing.......the strata showing the path of over eruptions was amazing and beautiful....very impressive.
Frees amazing maze is on the same we call in to say hullo and enld up dining on cheese burgers and chips and supping on strawberry smoothies....yummy.......
Some time in between this Fred has told a retired priest about us. (father) Jerry came for a visit and invited us to have lunch with him. at the Retreat we had a lovely three course meal, wine and apple pie and ice cream...........
Tis cruising life does have it's hardships!!!!!
No tv interview this but we were interviewed by the Jeju News. Some people are disappointed that we are leaving so soon, but we are meeting upmwith NZ friends this April in Taiwan.
Before leaving for Japan we had dinner with Stefan and his wife in their lovely house that he built half way upmthe mountain...the outside appears as an ordinary two story brick bungalow...but what he has done to the inside is magnificent.
In return for all this hospitality we reciprocated by inviting our new friends for thank you dinners onboard.........



Tuesday, February 15, 2011


we are back in Korea and freezing is one of the coldest winters Korea has had for a long time, according to the news,. So we have been hibernating waiting for the storms and snow to pass. Charioteer is snow free, we have filled up with fuel and we will be heading south perhaps Thursday or Friday. Our first stop will be Jeju Island and then it will be goodbye Korea and Hullo Japan......

Monday, January 10, 2011

Home for Christmas

Cuddles, hugs, lots of kisses and that is from the puppy !!!!!!!
We are having a lovely time getting reacquainted with our grand daughters, and that includes lots of hugs and cuddles.

Once the racing at Mokpo was over we did more exploring around Korea, then after making sure Charioteer was secure we left for home.....
Sunshine, blue skies, clear skies, sheep, green grass, family...what more can anyone want.
We have had a lovely time and now our thoughts are turning back to Korea.
Once we get back to Charioteer we shall clear off the snow.....that's right at the moment Charioteer is hiding under a lot of snow !!!!!!!
and continue the adventure.
Thank you all who follow our adventure
May the coming year bring only good things to you all