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Boat Heaven - Boat Heaven

Boat Heaven - November 2006

Revist a Marauder 27 yacht

November 30th 2006 18:00
I had an opportunity yesterday to revisit a yachting favourite, the
Marauder 27. I was acting as delivery skipper for the four new owners who had some but not a lot of sailing and boating experience. The day before gales had raged along the NSW coast with wind over 45 knots and seas and swells over 4.5 meters. It would be a challenge in a small yacht I thought.

I knew the boat quite well having raced against her at my club. She could show a set of heels to most boats around her size when the crew were trying and she had a clean hull. Only two years ago she was division champion in her class for the year. She was a racer but had been built quite sturdy in seamanlike manner. Solid fibreglass with attractive timber trim and lots of timber furniture and timber trim down below. Her past owner of twelve years had looked after her very well. She is around 24 years old and apart from some crazing of glass is some places which is only visual not structual the guys who own her said she was the best yacht at that size for that price they had seen in a year of searching. (Valued by the marine surveyor at $32,000 sold for $25,000)

Down below the usual combination of accommoation of 2 singles a fold out double and two short bunks in the bow. There is a pump out toilet there as well. A navigator's table, a decent small galley with sink and ice box good head room and a 12 hp Volvo that purred along very nicely. The cockpit has a portable table and by adding a timber insert athwart it gives comfortable seating or five adults. Sloop rigged with adjustable backstay and wheel steering, the helmsman having a timber seat behind him that folded up to give him a standing stool. A very good accommodation of space here! Quite narrow side decks, probably too narrow for my liking but as all lines for sailing the boat lead back to the cockpit there is not much reason to go forward often.

We left Toronto at 5.30 am and motored through the channel to the Swansea bridge about half an hour to early for the seven am opening. We spent that time rigging her for the sail down the coast as we picked up a curtesy mooring at the bridge. A good sized main on slides but no lazy jacks and hank on headsails. We decided to use the #2 but could easily have carried the big #1 genoa.

The coal seam bar did not look very promising but as we got closer we saw how the island at the entrance sheltered the bar from raging 3.5 metre waves which were crashing and spuming about the rocky island giving the impression of breaking on the bar. Wind was around 12 knots from the South West on a swell of 3.5 metres. With main and #2 plus the Volvo we were doing around 5.5 knots quite comfortably despite the biggish seas. We could have pressed her a bit more say with a bigger headsail but with those seas we wanted to nurse her along. We kept the motor running all the way as we were mostly sailing too close to the wind to keep up boat speed with sails alone. My belief in delivering a boat is as quick as possible as safe as possible.

We were surrounded by dolphins on crossing the bar and they followed us quite a long way down the coast. We did not see many recreational vessels about but some huge schools of bait fish being viciously attacked showed that anglers in the know could have done well for themselves. There was a touch of mal de mer on the way down but it may have been due to the quiet little drink the night before. We did have some very sloppy water as we sailed close to cliffs where the huge swell was being bounced back into itself as it surged on the unrelenting rock of the cliff.

Occasionaly we were able to get her up to around 7 knots just slightly off the breeze and I am sure with a well trimmed main and her big kite she would be a flyer off the breeze. Steering was easy and at no stage was the helm threatened with to much weather helm. This makes her ideal for long distance cruising and I could see her coasting easily with a couple on board, being able to visit most Australian ports and cruising grounds.

The new owners are rapt with their new toy and look forward to many enjoyable days cruising and racing.

Crabbing has been good again

November 29th 2006 16:20
Crabbing has been good the last couple of days. In fact only using two “witches hats” of the five I am allowed I have managed to top up my little freezer so I can’t fit any more in! I don’t know if it’s the moon phase or that it is just the right time of the year but blue swimmers seem to be prolific.

I have to check the traps “witches hats” every couple of hours as they can become badly damaged if the crabs are allowed to be trapped for very long.

This gives me an opportunity for a little exercise as well. Where I live on the water it is quite shallow and the motor of my tinnie ends up dragging in the mud or weed so I have to row about a couple of chain each way before I am in deep enough water for the motor. The crabs are caught in water of around two metres or more though I have hand speared them in very shallow water. The traps need deep enough water to take on their shape to be effective.

Normally I use fish cages or heads but recently I have been just freezing my fish whole (lazy me) so I don’t have much fresh bait. What I tried in the last couple of days with a lot of success was octopus. I know crayfish love it so why not crabs? Small imported octopus is available for around $4.00 per kilo and just two tied (I use very light gauge wire or fish hooks for ease of handling) to a trap will last an age. Small peckers the fish that chew off the bait find it to tough and the crabs are attracted but don’t eat to much either.

Crab Dianne: Chill or freeze your crab to keep it blue and kill it. I am not shy about chucking live crabs whole into a pot of fast boiling water but we need fresh uncooked for this recipe. I don’t like to shuck my crabs live. It works but I draw the line at that cruelty. When the crabs are dead. Shuck them by removing the carapace or outer back shell, Wash the dead man’s fingers, (one day I will tell the true story how they got this name) from the body and any roe, which can make a delightful sauce later. Cut the body in two length ways then again each half in half in the other direction. Remove the claws if the haven’t fallen off yet. With the back of knife or rolling pin crack the shell in as many places as you can. Don’t mangle it just light cracks.
Melt butter in a wok or fry pan and add an equal amount of oil, some garlic (and I wish I could use chill but not for this.) throw in the crab and move it about till the shell is nice and red. Add salt, pepper, Worcester sauce and when the pan is very hot a good shot or two of brandy. Let the brandy flame off in a huge whoosh, impresses the guests and kids no end. Add cream or sour cream to the sauce. It should remain quite thick. If not add some dobs of butter. Cut in green shallots and serve. Accompany with almost anything that mops up the sauce. Add the shells, dead mans fingers, the back etc to your burly.

Bay of Islands

November 28th 2006 18:04
The Bay of Islands

[ One of the great cruising grounds of the world, New Zealnd's bay of Islands has held an attraction for many years. Zane Grey, author of many westerns and adventure stories was a prolific visitor to the area and had a semi permanent fishing camp set up on one of the islands. From here he used his game fishing boat to scour the seas for big game fish and held a few world records for fish he caught here. he also wrote about the magnificent
area and helped make it popular with tourists and other adventurers.

I first called on the area in the early seventies when I was backpacking in New Zealand, working in the tourist hotel industry and chasing a lady love I had lost to a violin player. I remember the frontier town character of the area in those days. Much of this has changed now to show off a face of tourism.

I visited again in the late seventies with a bride and the hotel manager where we stayed went to great trouble to look after us. Finidng out we loved seafood he jumped into his car with appropriate dive gear and came back a couple of hours later with some huge crayfish he had caught and half a dozen oysters.
The oysters were huge! three almost filled a champagne saucer hardly leaving room for the spicy, picquant sauce. The lobster was broiled very simply with a cheese sauce to accompany. The bride has long gone but the memory of that meal and the enthusiasm and friendliness of the people of the area has not.

Being a great boating area of course means you should visit with a boat. Sail in with your own and stay for months or charter from one of the many charter companies and stay a week or more. It is possible to say charter a yacht in Auckland and sail up the coast via resort islands and mainland bays over a couple of nights and then leave your charter in the Bay of Islands and catch a bus or rental car back to Auckland. or vise versa if you prefer.

This was also one of the first areas settled by Europeans and it was here that the Maori Wars had their beginings. It reeks of the history of the Maori people and their struggle with (not all were against) and against the setllers who despite their guns and formidable armies did not have an easy time of it.

Still a great area for touring cruising and adventure.

Frigging in the rigging

November 24th 2006 19:15
in the rigging
Climbing the rigging

Climbing in the rigging has been a job for sailors since the first time a mast and sail was put on a boat. nothing we ever put aloft seems to stay the way we want it to and so its up to the poor sailor to climb up and fix or alter things. Jammed sails, frozen blocks, loose halyards, electrical gear that birds have sat on and bent.

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More on compulsory PFDs

November 23rd 2006 17:55
Personal floatation devise

Yesterday I spent all afternoon in the Lambton pool doing liferaft and PFD drills for the marine course I am doing. As part of the excercise we had to jump from a height ( we chose the 1.5m springboard) wearing our PFD.

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A celebration on board

November 22nd 2006 17:35
champagne sunset #2
I do enjoy a champagne sunset

A celebration an board:
I was lucky enough to have on of my landmark birthday celebrations on board a charter catamaran I was to skipper the following day. I had some premium wines left over in my very depleted cellar that were begging to be drunk, so I was happy to comply.

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Soaking bait on Lake Macquarie

November 21st 2006 18:19
BB wharf
My wharf on the lake

I decided it was time my tinnie had a clean up. She sits off my wharf on Lake Macquarie just growing weed and oysters on her bum and that slows her down quite a bit. I hauled her out at the local boat ramp, lay her on her side and set to work with a barbecue scraper and scouring pads. After lots of buckets of water thrown about, lots of swims in the lake to cool off I fanally had her hull gleaming. I took her for a spin and hit kneck snapping acceleration. Boy its good to get the horrible jobs on boats out of the way.

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Where have all the old coaster gone?

November 20th 2006 19:14
old steamer
An old coaster

I I wonder where all the old cosatal steamers have gone? It doesn't seem like so long ago that you could see them tied up to local wharves or ploughing up and down the coast puffing away as they steamed what seemed to be a regulation distance from the shore. Just half a hull under the horizon. I suppose the skippers had coastal licences and were required to keep within a certain distance.

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Officaly and old fart boating

November 19th 2006 19:03
sunset 60th
I do enjoy a champagne sunset

On the weekend I officialy became an old fart boater. I joined the ranks of those cronicaly unemployable and lecherous looking old men that can obtain man's most prized possesion, the Seniors Card. I will be able to get discounts and cheap rail travel to sooth my nerves at finaly achieving this milestone. Sure the pension card is slightly more efficient and gets you better discounts but that means you can't be employed any more. (Yes there are opportunities.)

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Learning the ropes part 3

November 17th 2006 09:41
Plenty of rope (lines) on board here

Did you take a turn on the helm was she weather helmed or not?”

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Learning the ropes # 2

November 17th 2006 05:32
Plenty of ropes to learn here

New chums are absolutely gob smacked to hear that they must tie off a reefed sail with a reef knot. “Gee I never thought about that” is a common enough reaction. Recently during an exam for a yacht master’s certificate I was asked to put in a reef and then an “earring” I was pretty stumped. I did not want to seem perplexed so I passed on the command to two of my crew who were very experienced seamen and they looked at me like I was mad. I have sailed on yachts that used hoops to attach the luff of the sails pre luff ropes and used hoops elsewhere. It was the only clue I could come with. (Clew here is the more obvious word) But I was on a pretty modern Benateu yacht! It turns out that what was required was a strop to hold the new reefing pendant in close to the boom. “A common term in the seventeenth century navy” my examiner told me. Gong, I guess I blew that one.

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Learning the ropes

November 15th 2006 19:06
Knowing the ropes
It is known without question that the largest contribution to the colourful use of the English language came from the sea. Seafaring was one of the largest, most daring, and most profitable and dangerous enterprises ever taken on by man. As an enterprise it also meant that in travelling from country to country and port-to-port sailors often took new ideas and language with them. It was in a way the “web surfing” of its day.

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Spinnaker runs

November 14th 2006 18:57
A quiet spinnaker run

A day out sailing usualy means setting either the least amount of sail to get the boat going and then sitting back and realxing as the wind blows you with a degree of comfort to your detination. Alternateivly there is the spinnaker set. Many skipper swill call for this and often it is in the middle of the champagne and chicken leg of the sail. (When the boat is sailing it's flattest with the wind abaft the beam. He is going to show off. The crew, or those that know what is about to happen groan and put away their drinks and food and rustle out the dusty old spinnaker sheets. Then they put up with being fussily ordered about by the skipper who is the authority on which block each sheet and kicker goes through.

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Another one pot meal on board:

November 14th 2006 03:49
I just love my food and by the size of me you can tell. I am currently doing a diet so I can't eat everything I love so I can write about it and maybe someone else can enjoy it.

Beef, lamb, pork or whole chicken pot roast. Cut away any excess fat and with the oil bubling in the wok sear the meat till it has some lovely brown colour to it. Add whole onions ( no need to go through that mess of peeling just chuck them in.) Similarly I use redskin potatos and they don't need peeling either. That is probably enough vegetable but if you have room for carrots, swedes or parsnip by all means. Shake it around get it all browning and then salt and pepper, cloves and whole black pepprcorns if you have them and some bayleaf. Add water so that it covers the meat by two thirds and the veges are floating about.

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Boat wash problems

November 12th 2006 17:27
[[COLOR=Lime]The problem of wash:

While taking a slow journey down Dora Creek in lake Macquarie to pick up the papers and milk, I had plenty of time to think about the problems of a no wash zone. There are international collision regulations to cover all aspects of ships meeting and avoiding collisions. Though they don’t work 100% they are a very good set of rulesThe best we have. Why then are we forced into a second set by state and federal governments. Do we really care about wash? Am I that concerned about someone loosing a bit of their waterfront due to my boats wash? The waterways are the least regulated of all traffic areas and I believe should remain so. If a person has their sleep or quiet time disturbed while on board their vessel at a mooring or wharf so what. They are in a boat after all. Boats in general, are not supposed to be used in mill ponds. We have bridges strung across our water ways with the promise that they will not hinder boat traffic and that more than adequate access will be given. Ha Ha what a joke that is. Except for major bridges like the coat hanger, Gladesville and so on we have huge access problems. Whether you are a recreational or commercial boater you should have unrestricted access to the sea

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women on the water

November 11th 2006 19:33
Some women on the water

Women on the Water.
What are your feelings about women on the water? They certainly add to the nautical picture, don’t disturb the natural scenery and make great eye candy on a boat. But their overall role has changed over the years. From the time the first sailors smuggled them on board and disguised them as men (very successfully), they have become an integral part of many crew. Quite a few have eclipsed the sailing careers of male skippers by showing great feats of seamanship and many hold records that men are yet to conquer.

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Boating this weekend?

November 9th 2006 19:04
What boating do you have planned for this weekend? It looks like it could be a cracker. My plans are rather dull probably in comparison to evryone elses but I have to do what must be done. I keep two boats permanently in the water and they need to have their bums rubbed.

Firstly there is my tinnie. It is around 14' long and has a 15 hp motor. I use it a lot to tender my yacht and also as a fishing boat. It also acts as my "Aussie Ute" as I live on the waterfront or on my boatand it gets me to places on the water which is easier than driving the car. I don't have antifoul on this boat so it is not long before the bottom is weedy and covered in shell. This slows the boat down a lot and adds to the fuel bill. I can't just use ordinary antifoul on the bottom as a lot of the paints contain metals that would react with aluminium and ruin the hull. Of course one day I will find the right paint (or be able to afford it) and that will settle that.

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Catching crabs

November 8th 2006 18:29
Malle with a fresh crab
What a catch!

You have just found a nice secure anchorage for the night. The barbecue fuel is catching alight and it will be twenty minutes before you put the shishkebabs on to cook. What to do now? Instead of taking the top off a stubby of VB why not put out the crab traps? At 5 for $20 they are cheap and each person "fishing" is allowed five traps.
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How is the fishing?

November 7th 2006 19:35
How is the fishing? One of the most often asked questions as we cruise past an anchored or drifting boat that is festooned with rods and hopeful souls.
Everyone wants to know if you have a good fishing spot. Are you scoring. It is a question that is asked even by people who would not be seen dead touching fishing rod. Often the answer is a casual opening of the upturned palms, indicating nothing, ziltch, zero. But on occasion a hefty looking body is hauled out of a bucket to be admired by all.

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A scarey Trip

November 6th 2006 18:27
I had to drive my 4 metre tinnie from one end of the lake to it's new home at the other end. A trip of about 12 nautical miles. I had checked the weather and though there was a strong wind warning for the day it was very early in the morning when I had decided to do the delivery and the lake was still looking glassy.

I loaded the neccesary gear on board and as it was misty with a hint of drizzle, wore my wet weather gear. I had my hand held VHF radio but it was still to early to call in any of the volunteer rescue organisations to advise that I was on the water. The tinnie permanently carries most of the safety gear required so I had the rest on board quickly. I pulled the starter and throttled up and headed off.

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Thai Chill Squid on board

November 3rd 2006 20:26
Thai Chilli Squid on board:

Lately squid have been all but committing suicide off the back of my boat. All that is required is a squid jig and the right kind of retrieve to bring them to the surface and a scoop net to land them. They make great bait especially for kingfish but they are not what I am targeting so the squid must go in the pot, or wok in actual fact

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Hand steering a boat

November 1st 2006 22:49
hand steering a boat
Dale at the helm

For many of us the image of boating is a clear blue sky, a sturdy boat and us on the helm with the breeze ruffling our hair while we carry a nonchalant bemused look that conveys our
importance and competence. Be it a canoe on a lake like a mill pond, an offshore racing power boat or a tiny yacht in a big storm, steering is not so easy.

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