The Story of Gratis

‘A Cruiser’s Dream’


Built by Ken Campbell Brown in Queensland Australia, Gratis had a previous life, commencing her days as gaff rigged, pilothouse spray, Id.

Many thanks to Ken for this image of Id
Many thanks to Ken for this image of Id

Her construction began on the banks of the Brisbane River around 1980.

Living inland on his cattle station some distance from Brisbane, this saw Ken take to the air in his light plane of a weekend in order to see his dream come to fruition. Over the coming years his project gradually took shape, until 1982 when Id was at last launched.

The difficult and exacting work of moulding her solid glass hull, over an inch thick at the keel and tapering to a half inch at the top sides, was done to perfection; whilst his skill with woodworking saw the interior completed with an eye to detail: glossy laminated Oregon beams, traditional tongue and groove ceilings, select Queensland hardwoods throughout. Once inside, one could easily believe this was a fine wooden yacht!!

With such fine workmanship, which was evident both inside and out, he had every right to feel proud.

1982 saw Ken and Marge sailing forth for what would be a voyage that would last in excess of 20 years on the mighty seas. These years saw Id circumnavigate the world not once, but twice. Excitement was not amiss, as she encountered a bommy in the Red Sea and tussled with a tropical storm in the Coral Sea. Time and again she proved herself, but then, those who know the legendary Sprays would not be surprised.

The first circumnavigation completed, it was then that Ken made the decision to replace the gaff and rigged her as a Marconi mast head Cutter. Why, you ask? After all, Joshua Slocum sailed his gaff rigged spray around the world! Well yes, but he also ran a mighty lot of sails off his extremely long bowsprit, and he still had to add the aft Yawl mast for balance. The Spray is a fine vessel with any number of rigs: why not take advantage of the easily handled, more powerful rigs available today? (Good’n ya Ken, I say!)

At an age somewhere in his 70’s, Ken’s sailing days sadly came to an abrupt end. Still hale and hearty, back at his home in Bli – Bli for a break from world travelling, Ken was motoring into the nearby township of Mooloolaba upon his Enduro 1000CC motorcycle when he found himself abruptly wiped out by a passing vehicle. His right leg broken in five places, afterwards it was never the same, making sailing an impossibility.

Some five years or so after berthing ID in the marina at Mooloolaba, seeing the state of his beautiful girl deteriorating with the passing of each day, Ken made the heartrending decision to sell her. That is where ‘Yours Truly’ now arrived upon the scene, with the aim of continuing her seafaring life.


The Dream Unfolds

In 2006-7, my lifelong dream of living upon the sea and sailing the world was, as always, prominent in my mind with the desire to be out there becoming ever stronger.

As per usual, I was searching for that ever elusive perfect Voyager when I stumbled upon the good book,’ Alone Around the World’, by Joshua Slocum. I thoroughly enjoyed that biography: both the man and the boat hit a chord, and this was the catalyst that saw me commence researching the world of Sprays: the rest is history!

Discovering Bruce Robert’s book on Sprays, I studied his interpretations in depth, and liking what I saw, started my quest to find the PERFECT – in my eyes, of course – Spray available for purchase.

During late July, early August 2007, an advertisement, ‘Id for sale’, on Queensland’s Spray Society website caught my eye. Calling Ken, a short discussion – enough to keep my curiosity to high – took place and I promptly booked myself on a flight to Mooloolaba.

The August long weekend rapidly came around. Arriving in Mooloolaba late on the Friday night, Ken and I met the following day. A thorough exploration from top to bottom ensued, and liking what I saw we arranged a time for a Sunday trial sail.

Once out on the water, it took just an hour or so to realise that this was a solid, well – built ocean going yacht: sorely in need of a refit after a substantial life at sea, but absolutely what I wanted!!

48 foot overall, 42 foot on deck, 14’6” beam, a 5 foot draft – great for those shallow anchorages, 18 tonne displacement, solid fibreglass construction, lots of timber inside, a pilothouse for the cold nights and a masthead Cutter rig for power, versatility and simplicity. All that was required now was a handyman – handy with money, that is!

Returning to Adelaide, it was time to come to an agreement on cost. Over the following month or two we haggled until at last we arrived at a price that suited us both, and FINALLY she was mine!!!!


Journey to a New Home

(Itallic text: the story of the voyage as told by my mate, novice sailor Bob Dickson)


January 2008 rapidly arrived, and with the assistance of four friends, it was time to sail her around to our home port of Adelaide, South Australia.


Captain: The Wizard of Id, Bob Fantozzi

Crew:’The Id’ iots, Bob Dickson, Paul Dickson, Roger Standing, Craig Martin



The voyage commenced with my mate, Bob, asking his mates (the ’Iots’) if they would to join him in sailing his newly acquired yacht, ‘Id’, from Mooloolaba to Adelaide.

Informed that the projected journey would take a maximum of nine days, we jumped at the idea.

Paul contemplating
Paul contemplating

The arrangements made, Bob flew to Queensland early in order to prepare the yacht for her journey down the eastern and southern Australian coastlines. It was planned that we crew would arrive in Mooloolaba. One week later in order to sail her home.

Mooloolaba Yacht Club. Bob and Craig
Mooloolaba Yacht Club. Bob and Craig

Upon landing, we for discovered a storm front had roared through the township some days prior. The beach at been washed away and a large swell was racing over the breakwater. The result of this was a few extra days in town before departing.

Having been informed by Bob prior to our flight that the boat had ’been around the world twice’, once at the yacht club we were surprised when the only comment made by the locals was,” you must have got this cheap!” Upon closer inspection, she looked safe enough. If only we had known………..

The days were spent stocking Id with provisions and $1000 worth of grog, a much-needed commodity for a group of guys, and no, we weren’t mad enough to imbibe whilst out on the water itself: that would spell disaster! The delay in departure date, so a major restock in this department three days later.

It was a busy time on the day prior to setting sail, as Id was lifted, cleaned and ready for the journey to her new home.

At last, the day came for us to motor her down the marina to the dry dock in order to clean the hull and in inspect her: one of the several duties Bob was supposed to have carried out prior to our arrival. It was at this moment that we discovered Bob hadn’t done a thing!!!!!



Except enjoy the scenery, eat and imbibe that is!



Three days later, the time finally arrived when the swell had subsided to the extent that Id was able to safely pass through the breakwater into the open sea. At 0500, January 6th, the long awaited departure day arrived and we set sail. With me at the helm, off we went, the aim to sail at least 20nm off the coast before setting a course for Eden.



That trip was an adventure in itself: taking us 21 days, including a number of interesting breakdowns, and more than one southerly buster on our way south. Heading down the east coast saw us play a game of hide and seek with strong unexpected mid – January cold fronts as they roared through.

Just a day out of Mooloolaba, the arrival of the first had us ‘rapidly’ – in Id’s terms that was – running into Coffs Harbour for protection. There we remained for two days.



Not long after turning Id’s bow south, the wind commenced changing from a northerly to a south-easterly: bang on the nose!! As night approached, the winds increased from 20 knots to 30 knot when gusts; not a pleasant start for three people who had never been sailing!

Craig, with his three varieties of seasickness pills, dived down below where he downed them with a can of Coke; only to resurface some minutes later to decorate the sea. This practice became his way of coping with his seasickness all the way home: no matter how many times we told him to stay on deck, he stubbornly went below.

Spent and exhausted after a rough night at sea, we headed for Coffs Harbour.

As we approached the marina we sailed past three islands, the first upon which a lighthouse was situated just off the coast. With the effect of the moon’s light playing its usual tricks on the eye, time seemed like forever as we seafarers watched this seemingly close guiding light draw nearer in gradual increments.

Just before daybreak, the lights of Coffs Harbour marina came into view. Pointing Id’s bow their way, the yacht was set on course. Sighting a light shining brightly upon the water and believing it to be a channel marker, Bob steered towards it. You can imagine our surprise, when only metres from it, we discovered the ’marker’ to be a couple of local early-morning fishermen puttering out. Irately the men informed us in no uncertain words how unimpressed they were. Fortunately, it was at that moment that the sun rose, thereby enabling us to realise the marina entrance was to the west of us. We turned Id and proceeded to make the approach.



Finally safe inside the marina, we moored the yacht alongside a Beneteau at the wharf. Exhausted and spent, we crew rapidly disappeared below, promptly becoming comatose for some hours before resurfacing to head out in search of a place where we could clean up and have breakfast.

Whilst there, we were introduced to the Beneteau crew. It turned out they had been through the same storm and were towed into port by the Coast Guard. They, who like us had never sailed, were talked into sailing their mate’s yacht back to Victoria. Exiting the marina, a large wave had washed over their yacht, taking the sail with it.

After one storm these men were ready to catch a plane home: both crews had a laugh about that. In their eyes, Lady Luck was with them when they informed the yacht could not be repaired for some time and a flight home was a much welcomed reprieve.

Discovering the weather wouldn’t clear for another three days, Bob procured a berth in the marina.

Manoeuvring the yacht through the tight confines of the marina to our spot, the wind played havoc with Id and we found it difficult to steer her into the space. After three attempts, we finally did a complete circle of the marina, and while reversing her ran into the marina jetty. We then proceeded to try again, only to be blown into the boat alongside us – no damage, thankfully.



A 50 foot yacht, with bad steerage as a result of the poorly designed rudder, was hard to handle in a good wind we discovered.



Coffs Harbour turned out to be a great place, with a fantastic restaurant and surroundings. Settling in and enjoying our stay, it was with great dismay that we received Bob’s news informing us it was time to depart: the unpleasantness of the sea was awaiting us.




Departing Coff’s, another day’s sail had us approaching Sydney Heads. We couldn’t believe it as a second front howled our way.


That night another storm hit us 50 miles off the coast of Newcastle. Gale force westerly winds with four meter waves forced us landward.

No need to change course, as Bob made the decision to head for Sydney and Id surfed the waves through Sydney Heads for a break.

Two hours from the Heads, Roger awoke from a seven hour slumber in the forehead cabin (the worst place one could be in these conditions) at the bow of the yacht, just in time to see the lights on the cliffs. Believing it was Eden, his reaction was one of great surprise upon hearing it was only Sydney. We couldn’t believe he could sleep through that storm and not fall out of bed!!!!!

Sailing through the heads at 1am in the morning was an awe-inspiring sight I will always remember: not many people have that opportunity!!!!

We at last motored to Manly wharf where, unable to find a vacant spot stop, Id was pointed toward Rush Cutters Bay Yacht Club and CYCA (Cruising Yacht Cub of Australia). Here we found a vacant outer mooring to which we hooked up and waited for morning. Off to sleep after another night of total exhaustion.


Awaking next morning, it was time to start the engine. That damn alternator wasn’t working!! It was now mid-morning Saturday, trade shops were closed and this meant a two-day stopover until the Monday. The part in question was easily replaced, but the grog bill for five thirsty sailors for the next two days at CYCA could have easily purchased a new engine!!!


Next morning came with great weather and we made the decision to continue our journey, but as luck would have it, during an inspection of the engine Bob brushed past a loose wire which promptly came off. It belonged to the alternator that was running at the time, and that is always a great way to kill them. Sure enough, it died right there and then. With no way to charge the batteries, we weren’t going anywhere until we could fix it.

Off to the club motored Bob in the dinghy. Returning with the instructions to park the yacht inside the marina, off Id motored. Past one million-dollar yacht after another, we commented to our mate,”why didn’t you buy one of those?” Having arrived at the opening to the berths, we discovered the area available wasn’t much larger than our yacht.

Remembering our last effort, we attempted to come up with a solution for turning the yacht on its nose, and knew the only way of carrying out the manoeuvre would be to jump off the yacht with the rope and tie it to the pylon. This would secure the bow of the vessel and let the stern swing around to then align us up with our berth.

Bob calling instructions to our crew alerted the surrounding yachties to our dilemma: before we knew it there were many hands assisting. Throwing the rope attached at the bow to helpers, the bow was secured and around the yacht gracefully swivelled, making it possible for Bob to reverse in order to line her up then, without looking, he slipped her into forward thrust. I turned around just in time to catch sight of five guys standing with their hands outstretched ready to stop our yacht colliding into theirs. Faces filled with shock watched on as only inches from their one million-dollar palace, Id moved forward. If only I had had my camera: that look we got was priceless.

Safely moored, we headed into the club for a shower and breakfast. Breakfast over, we sat in the club’s deck bar and enjoyed an ale or three. Paul had struck up a conversation with the commodore and his wife at the adjoining table, both of whom would have been in their late 70s and were dressed to the nines: the commodore had on his navy jacket, sailor’s hat and white pants.



Finally, and eagerly I must say, it came time to depart for Eden, a 206nm journey. For the first time, exquisite weather prevailed and we enjoyed a rather pleasant sail south.


Much money spent over two days, a lot of laughs from watching how the other half lived, alternator repaired, we departed Sydney and set sail for Eden.


Unbelievably, or maybe not, only 19 nautical miles out from Eden yet another southerly squall arrived: right on the nose and with short lumpy three to four metre seas, it made for a long snail paced haul as it took 12 hours to cover the final miles; exhausted and spent, we successfully arrived at our destination where another break for two days also resulted.


As on our previous two legs, the wind changed during the day and we were hit with yet another storm. The entrance to Eden was visible in the distance. How time dragged as it looked about 12 miles away and took 12 hours to arrive: like watching paint dry!!!!!!

Nearing Eden, difficulties arose when pulling the last eight foot of sail down, so I suggested that a rope be tied to the top of the sail: that would enable us to use it to drag the sail down. Sounded like a good idea, but when the time for holding the sail down arose, it was easier said than done as the rope soon became entangled around the mast.

To his abject horror, Roger was the man elected to scale the mast and untie it. With the reaction of “oh shit”, up he went. Still at sea, the mast swaying all over the place, this wasn’t the most enjoyable place to be……….

It took a few attempts, but at last the rope was free. That mistake wouldn’t be repeated.

Having motored into the Bay of Eden, Id was tied to a barge in the bay. Knackered, we crew slept like the dead.

Waking next morning, the dinghy was lowered and, loaded with the five of us, headed to shore for provisions. Bob promised it was a short walk to town. Talk about exaggeration plus: it was 4 km uphill!!!!!!!!!!!

Rations purchased, the store owner overheard us discussing the dilemma of transporting them to the dock. Kindly offering us a lift, he proceeded to take us on a tour of the town before returning us to the dinghy. Aboard Id once more, the remainder of the day saw us partaking in the relaxing pastime of fishing: flathead for dinner was a treat.



All required now were favourable easterly winds, which arrived at last. Twelve days after departing Mooloolaba we five directed the yacht’s bow into the mighty Bass Strait where a strong north-easterly breeze of 20 to 25 kn was predicted. Initially all went to plan with a pleasant downwind run, however, by 4pm we had received a typical Bass Strait welcome of 40+ knots, which endured for most of the night – when else!!!!!!!



The weather report said north-easterly winds of 20 to 25kn, turning easterly and dying to 5 kn. Perfect!!!!!!

5am, off we, along with a further five yachties, sailed toward Bass Strait: all the while, Craig partaking in his usual shipboard activity – that of being seasick!

Entering Bass we sighted the first sand hill which reached down into the ocean and pointed the way to the exit from the harbour. Our course set for the last oil rig in Bass Strait, the weather prediction was short lived as the wind turns northerly and increased to 40kn plus.

Seas rose to a frightening height. Watching the waves come and go is something I will never forget. You think this is your last moment and then they pass under the hull, only to be replaced by another. In a way I was glad night time came for then I couldn’t see them coming, but that meant steering in the dark down 6m waves: I’m not sure what was worse!

A deluge of rain soon followed and Bob was given the all-night job of steering us through this nightmare.

I was in charge of the navigation and providing Bob with a drink every 30 minutes. Around midnight, he asked me to replace the tell-tales (these assisted by showing the wind direction) on the mast support in order for him to keep the yacht Square with the waves, plus tape a light to the cable so he could see them.

The torch and drink in hand, I made my way down the side of the yacht with nothing to hold onto, no life jacket on and no rope around me – not the most brilliant of decisions to make. Managing to secure a string and torch I inched my way back. Got to Bob just as a mix of swell and wave hit the boat, leaving the yacht in position top of the wave where anything could happen. Next morning he informed me Id could have broached at that point: thank God I didn’t know that at the time!



For a split second, the timing of the waters was such that Id found herself resting atop the crest of a wave. Both rudder and bow left floating free in mid – air, this was the kind of situation a sailor didn’t want to find himself in, for once the wave commenced its downward roll the boat could end up either sliding side on to the waves: the result? Side on to the waves could mean a knock down, or worse still: a capsize.

Gybing Id at 3 AM in 4 to 5 m with 35 kn + and a novice crew always makes for testing times. Id was fortunately a very stable vessel and exceptionally forgiving! Having a 6 metre foot, even with one reef in, the main is a formidable size and generates huge power (at 35 kn and first reef, the pressure is around 1.5 tonnes). Anyhow, we had four strong pairs of hands, so what could possibly go wrong?

We had one man letting out the working preventer, one ready to pull in the new starboard preventer, one man at the mainsheet and the skipper on the wheel. Id was not the fastest responding vessel I have ever steered, so trying to time our gybe to wave trains was fun. It took four goes, but we managed, sending a shuddering vibration throughout as the boom hit the mast stays without bringing down the mast (but only just).



Battling on through the night we were about 60 miles off Flinders Island when Bob decided it was time to tack back to Victoria. With the wind still around 35kn plus all five crew made numerous attempts to push the boom – with the sail up – from one side of the boat the other. On our fifth attempt it finally passed across: at last Id was back on course. As morning approached the wind dropped to almost nothing: buggered, Bob and I retired to bed. (separate ones!)

When we awoke, the sea was calm with a 3 m rolling swell that, in tandem with the engine running and a small amount of wind in the sail, pushed us along. Toward day’s end, as we approached Refuge Cove at the bottom of Mornington Peninsula the weather turned to rain.

The opening to the Cove wasn’t visible until we were almost upon it: initially we were unsure whether we were heading in the right direction. Upon entering the calm protected waters of the Cove it was like heaven: what a relief it was to the crew that we had safely arrived.

Refuge Cove was a heart-shaped Bay nestled between the hills with an entrance about 50 m wide, and only accessible by sea or foot. With two beaches that were only visible on low tide, just 10 metres from the sand you will find a rainforest nestled between small eucalyptus trees. On the western end was a creek that flowed into the Bay and upon the banks of this creek a camping ground with toilets and rain tanks provided. At the entrance to the campground was a Permapine slatted fence upon which were placed plaques and etched carvings of yachts and names of all who had managed to sail there. Searching the beach, we found an old piece of oregan on which we etched the boat’s name. Having burned the wood over the stove in order to give a character we screwed it to the fence.

Ready and raring to go, numerous times we sailed seaward for an hour and checked the direction from which the wind was blowing, before retreating back into the Bay. No more storms for us!! Time to relax instead.




On departing Refuge Cove, one last breakdown occurred as the propeller shaft coupling bolts sheared off and left us with no engine propulsion. Returning to the Cove, I let Id glide in to the anchorage, until at the right spot we dropped the anchor and let plenty of chain out, pulling up with a 180 degree turn.

Make shift repairs completed, and 48 hours later ID sailed into Apollo Bay where we anchored. Luck was with us as we searched for, and found, a local engineer who within his workshop assisted by making the sorely required part and repairs. Completed at quite a pace, our departure on the final leg to home base eventuated that evening.



Upon the second day, a strange noise came to our attention as we ventured out of the Cove through the opening into Bass Straight. On closer inspection, we discovered the lazarette full of water: back we went ! By the time we arrived at the anchorage, the engine was no longer working and some quick thinking to stop us moving meant a quick 180 degree turn followed by dropping the anchor so we could halt.

With the bilge pump in the lazarette having died some days prior, this meant the chore of pumping by hand. Water removed, upon further investigation we found the exhaust pipe dislodged at a join in the lazarette, and in the engine room the propeller shaft had parted from the gearbox. The question of how we were to exit through the opening to the Bay now arose.

Anyway, we shaped a plastic sleeve from the water bucket, and searching the yacht we found enough clamps to hold the plastic in place. This enabled us to undertake a makeshift repair to the exhaust hose. The propeller shaft, however, had snapped off three of the four bolts and was another story. We found a bolt in the spares that fitted and bolted the shaft in place using only two bolts.

With only half of the fasteners required, we took off into Bass, hoping against hope the repairs would hold. The shaft worked for nine hours before the remaining two bolts gave up the ghost and sheared off, thereby leaving us engineless once more. Without the required equipment for making further repairs, we just sailed on and finally arriving with 5kn of wind, we sailed into Apollo Bay.

As we approached the Bay, we learned there was no Coast Guard, which meant we had to make it in alone. Lining up the entrance to the marina from 2km away, we attempted to gather the speed required for navigating through the opening. Using the afternoon sea breeze, there was just enough wind to push us into the marina, where we only just made it to the middle when the impetus of the breeze gave out, forcing us to anchor – much to everyone’s disgust!

Morning, we received a tow into the wharf and went in search of someone who could fix the shaft. How fortunate we were to find a local who was up to the challenge. A couple of hours later, Michael arrived to take the culprit apart and within a few more had returned with the new collar machined to perfection, plus 4 new high tensile bolts. The old collar was made of rubber, which he said was very unusual, whereas the new was of metal. Commencing instalment, it was now that we discovered the motor and shaft were not aligned: this explained the rubber collar and the reason for it breaking. As Michael was installing the shaft, we told him of all the things that had gone wrong: he proved to be a very sympathetic ear. On completion, our saviour checked everything then stated the collar wouldn’t last long as it was under high tension and the motor required realignment.

I asked if it would last three days to Adelaide. At his reply in the affirmative, we asked him to check everything else just in case. Before the words had left my mouth, the water pump broke. Unable to stop laughing, the guy couldn’t believe we were doing so, all that we had been through.

Telling us it required a groove on the clip to secure it, our reply was, ‘ That’s all we hear when something goes wrong.’ Anyhow, he fixed that and at last Id was ready to go.

That evening, off to sea we returned for our final leg to Adelaide.



Even this sail wasn’t without ‘excitement’, as the Genoa clew ring was ripped out – during the night, of all times! Good ol’ Murphy was at it again! The sail refurled as much as possible, Yours Truly climbed upon the bow rails, a precarious job at the best of times, where balanced on tip toes I tied a rope around the remaining metre of still viciously flapping Genoa.



Seeing as almost everything on the yacht had broken, I was under the belief there would be no more strife. With the wind behind us all the way home, we started to enjoy the sail.

As night time closed in around us, Bob and I decided to let the rest of the crew take charge for the first time, whilst we headed below for much needed sleep. We set up a twin sail arrangement off the bow using the storm jib and the Genoa both poled out in order to maximise our speed, set the autopilot and went to bed. Not long into our slumber, a loud cracking noise awoke us. Up we raced in search of what had happened. The wind had strengthened to 25kn and the boys hadn’t reduced the sails: there was the Genoa blowing outward in front of the yacht and they couldn’t see what was wrong!!!!

Bob and I wrestled with the sail for over an hour, attempting to furl it back onto the furler without any ropes or places to tie a rope. It was with relief that this almost impossible job was at last accomplished. With some imagination in tying knots, we were back under control.

Realising we were unable to rely on the crew, Bob and I once more took over control and they returned to sleep.

During the next three days, we watched and waited for another calamity to occur: nothing did, to our immense surprise.


The remainder of the journey to Adelaide was, thankfully, practically an anticlimax.


Sailing into Backstairs Passage before daybreak, there was a light 10kn breeze blowing from the south-east and a ship right behind us, it’s red and green lights illuminated. On our trip we had seen many ships during the night and often asked Bob if they were coming at us. His reply was, “If you can’t see red and green you’re okay,” so with this ship coming toward us we took no notice.

Hearing the noise of the boys discussing the ship, Bob turned around to see what it was all about. In apoplexy, he yelled, “Can you see the red and green?”

To our reply of, “Yes,” his response was, “well, why didn’t you tell me then?”

 The four of us just laughed because it had never worried him all the way home, so why now?



Seeing red and green simultaneously meant the vessel was heading our way. With a 300 foot ship motoring at 20kn and 42 foot Gratis sailing at 5kn, one could easily realise who would come off second best. Of course it was time to worry!!!!



Immediately taking hold of the radio, Bob alerted the ship’s captain who proceeded to steer another route in order to miss us.

Fortunately, the sea was calm and the remainder of the trip through the passage uneventful. Turning the yacht for home around Cape Jarvis was the highlight of the trip, as we four crew knew we could ring the wives to pick us up if anything went wrong from there.


Twenty one days after the five of us embarked upon our journey, we motored into our berth at the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron at Outer Harbour, Adelaide.


Upon entering the Squadron, we were joyously greeted by friends and family. Id berthed, much to the delight of Squadron members and friends alike, we crew men provided Bob with a delightfully cold bath as we threw him overboard. Twenty one days, not bad for a nine day sail! Mark. To this day, my wife cannot believe I went on the trip, taking her son and brother along for the ride as well.

Having said that, it was one of the greatest adventures of my life: one which I won’t repeat in the future. Some people are made for the sailing life: I am not!!

The song I sang all the way home was adapted from the Beach Boys to, “This is the worst trip I’ve ever been on.”


Believe it or not, there were highlights along the way:

  1. Roger catching his first tuna off the Gold Coast
  2. The restaurants at Coffs Harbour
  3. Roger catching his 2nd tuna off Sydney
  4. Rushcutter’s Bay Sailing Club and seeing the Sydney to Hobart winners
  5. Roger seeing Sydney for the first time
  6. Sailing through Sydney heads
  7. Craig, Paul and Roger catching flathead at Eden
  8. Restaurants at Apollo Bay
  9. Finally seeing the sun set in the west.
  10. Dolphins swimming at the front of the boat
  11. Seals swimming past us at Apollo Bay
  12. Sailing into Apollo Bay marina with no engine and little wind
  13. Michael the mechanic who fixed our propeller at Apollo Bay as well as the water pumps.
  14. The last 2 days sailing in SA waters where nothing went wrong.
  15. Making Outer Harbour alive.


Some favourite sayings:

Bob                      We will be there in a day.

                             These are calm seas wait til you see rough!          

                             Be more optimistic


Craig                  Don’t sit in the kitchen and type SMS’s you’ll get sick!

                            Who am I, your mother!

                            What did your last slave die of? Nothing to do.

                            What could possibly go wrong!

                            I only paid A few bob for the boat, what a bargain. 

                            Is there anything that hasn’t broken yet?


Roger                Where’s the land?


Dicko                 Sang “This is the worst trip I’ve ever been on!”

                            Bob, are you sure this boat is safe?


Craig                  (After so much went wrong) What did you do for 7 days before we arrived?

                             Dicko, boil the water before you put the pasta in. Didn’t Shirl teach you anything!

                             When are you going to buy a real boat you tight ass prick.

                             What was wrong with sending the boat home on a semi you tight ass.


The Crew           Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet!

                             If one more thing goes wrong we are going to sink the boat and drive home. 

                             Who’s cooking? Who’s eating?


Coming next………………….

A Yacht is Reborn