A lot has happened in the last two months. I returned from the Marshall Islands and found myself at very loose ends. While searching for jobs one day I came across an adventure too good to be overlooked. As I had planned to settle down in Oz for a while I could not stop thinking and dreaming about this adventure. At first I didn’t know if anyone would be crazy or bold enough to do it with me, but in a quick exchange of emails my good friend Joanna booked a month off work and signed up as co-captain of Team Mau! Now I guess it is time to fully explain what I have gotten myself into. While, to start I sold Bonne Femme. A day later I flew back to Canada. 5 days after that I bought a Nacra 570. A day after that Joanna and I entered the Race to Alaska (www.r2ak.com). If you check out the website you will see this is an epic 750nm race from Washington state to Alaska. It won’t be easy, but it will be a new exciting challenge, and this is what I need.
As you can imagine it was hard to see Bonne Femme go, but I will always cherish times I spent with her and the skills she taught me. I will be back out crossing ocean, forever exploring the mighty seas of the world. Thanks so much for supporting me along the way. Joanna and I have started a blog to document our preparation, training and race to Alaska. Check it out at http://www.mausails.com
We made to Majuro, RMI with no complications other than a very big ITCZ. The passage was relaxing and relatively easy. We enjoyed good fishing, good food and good company!
Scott brought in our first Yellowfin Tuna only a day out from French Polynesia
We were only the 8th boat of the year to arrive in Penrhyn, an atoll of about 250 people. After we dropped anchored and cleared customs we checked out the small village and government offices.
Exploring the atoll by dingy, it sure is nice to have the range of a RHIB with a 20 horse.
I tired my luck at spearfishing but couldnt manage to get any of the fish I shot back to the boat with all the frisky sharks around…
Trolling a line through the pass we picked up a nice grouper for lunch, but also hooked up a little blackfin reef shark.
At some point we were bound to cross the equator and being Scotts first time across we had to have a big celebration!! We had our own take on the ceremonies as you can see.
Also, in accordance with tradition I had my ear pierced! Now I even look more like a pirate with a black pearl in my ear.
We finally pulled in a mahi after weeks of eating tuna.
When we finally arrived in the Majuro two weeks after leaving Penrhyn Island we did what sailiors do best and found some cold beer, while actually lots of cold beer! Then we went out for Chineese food. Next we found ourselves drinking more beer and met a couple awesome helicopter pilots from the numerous tuna seiners parked in the harbour. The 5 of us spent the next few days enjoying life, spearfishing and even going for a helicopter ride!
I am back in Australia now and am living on land again. I am not sure what my future holds, but I know that I have to find a job. So as I am going back to the life of the landlubber for the time being, I am going to put the blog on pause. But as soon as I get back to sea I will let everyone know! Thanks so much for reading my blog and following my adventure over the last year and a half.
And Happy New Year
Now enroute to the Marshalls. After a wonderful five day stop at Penrhyn Island we are back on course to Majuro. We’re two days in with about fourteen to go. The sailing is very different on this big cat, with the biggest benefit that of having a galley rivaling that of a nice flat! We are eating really well, mainly with the yellowfin tuna we just keep catching. Although today for our American Thanksgiving meal we are having steak and breadfruit chips. We send Happy Thanksgiving Greetings to all.
Til next time, this is Cap’n Phil
Phillip, together with his crew of two, reports that the sailing has been great. They arrived at Pendryn on the 21st and have tied up or anchored off the village of Omoka on the west side of the atoll. Penrhyn is the most remote and largest atoll of the 15 Cook Islands, and is just south of the Equator. The catamaran is apparently very well equipped – there is even a piece of that wonderful enameled Le Creuset aboard, although Phillip doesn’t say what he’s been cooking in it. Whatever it may be, you can be sure it is delicious!
For Cap’n Phil, this is god father Mikey saying that’s all ’til next time.
As you can guess, we are still in French Polynesia. The boat is almost ready to leave, all there is left to do is provision and fuel up! As today is Friday, an unlucky day to leave on a sailing voyage and a really good happy hour, we are planning on setting sail tomorrow mid morning. The unexpectedly long layover here, due to a troublesome freezer, has afforded us to have some fun. A big international offshore canoe race came through Raiatea. We tied the dingy up to a channel marker and watched as 71 boats finished the 26 mile run from Huahine to Raiatea. An incredible sight to see!
We pulled anchor and followed the race to Bora Bora where we celebrated in the festivities. Bora Bora is as beautiful as the brochure depict with crystal clear water and an amazing mountain peak rising from the island. But, I reckon there are too many tourists and resorts to enjoy properly.
After a quick jaunt in Bora Bora we headed back to Raiatea to meet up with my really good friend Max, whom I had met in the Marquesas almost a year ago. It was a fantastic reunion to say the least.
While anchored off a little motu with max and his friends, Max, Zoe and I experienced a memory that will live with me forever. While we where spear fishing a school of three hundred or so Barracudas swam right into us and started schooling right around. Its hard to describe how amazing it was to dive down into the center of these school giants. This was definitely the coolest underwater experience I have ever had!
So tomorrow we are off for the 3000 mile journey to the Marshal Islands. We may stop along the way at either Penrhyn or Canton or both depending on our progress. While we are out I am going to update the blog in small chunks with the help of my godfather and my satellite tracker.
Zoe and I made it to Raitea after 300nm of particularly squally weather. This was my first time sailing on a cruising catamaran and its pretty enjoyable, i can leave a glass on the counter unattended!!! However it is a big boat with big sail, so everything is a bit more work. So, i like the luxury but miss the simplicity of Bonne Femme. We are headed to Bora Bora in a couple days then off to the Marshals!
Tomorrow morning I am going to hop on a plane and fly to Tahiti where I am going to meet my friend Zoe and sail a big catamaran 3000 miles to the Marshal Islands. Should be a fun adventure and probably a bit different than sailing on Bonne Femme, hopefully I don’t get too spoiled! I am going to keep up the blog on this new adventure, so keep reading!
Oz had been sweet, although after two days in the city I bailed and spent a couple weeks with my friend Nina up in Noosa! It was really nice to spend some time off the boat and cook in a real kitchen!!!!
Meet my friend Nina and the first Kangaroos I have ever seen!!
So nice to cook in a real kitchen again!
Sunset in Noosa
Getting ready for a surf
I finally have some time for this, so enjoy!
Just leaving Vuda marina, its blowing pretty good so I am reefed down with old abe flying (old abe is my stay sail that you can see)
This Mahi came just in time for dinner.
Just got ahead of this rain system.
Came across this in the middle of the ocean, I had to slow down in order to let it by.
Can’t ask for a better evening than this.
Three of these guys landed on the boat just in time for breakfast.
Meet Pinky, my wind pilot. Note the piece of cardboard tapped on to enhance light wind performance. The second picture is the part I had to take out of the water and fix enroute.
Heading up the river to Brisbane.
Bonne Femme and I have made it to Austraila!!! A big accomplishment for the both of us. I have the boat parked up in the Brisbane river right down town. It definitely is a bit of a culture shock after so long in the south pacific especially being in a city of over 2 million.
Next on the docket, I am flying back to French Polynesia to deliver a friends boat to the Marshal Islands!
I am going to put up a much more extensive post reflecting on the last year when I have a bit more time, and some pics of the last passage too!
25′ 30.3″ S158′ 02.9 E
After a day of light air and slow sailing I am back to cruising at over 5 knots on a beam reach headed straight for Brisbane. I was elated when the wind came back yesterday, and throughout the course of the day and evening I went from full main and spinnaker to full main and full genny to 1 reef and 3/4 genny to 2 reefs and 1/2 genny. Not a comfortable ride flying off the waves on a close reach, but a fast one! Today the wind eased up a bit, but I am still making good time with all the canvas flying.
My lunch of tasty chicken wraps was rudely interrupted today when Pinky, my beloved wind pilot, broke down. As Pinky steers the boat 99.9% of the time, it was a bit distressing to see her out of action. I hove to, determined to find and fix the problem since just thinking about hand steering the last 300 miles made me sick. I determined the problem was that the internal welds fastening the trim tab to the control rod had failed, rendering Pinky inoperable. With the simple fix of drilling a hole through the trim tab and the control rod and inserting a bolt I am cruising along at 5 knots again. (To see how the wind pilot I have works search for Navik wind vane on the net.)
As the entrance to Brisbane winds its way through the channels of Morton Bay and then up the river for 35 miles, it is prudent to arrive early in the morning so that I will be able to get to customs before they close for the day. I am aiming on arriving outside Morton Bay Monday morning. That being said, I have 268 nautical miles to sail in 63 hours, meaning I need to average 4.25 knots to make it by 0700. It sounds pretty easy, but the winds are forecasted to very light tomorrow. Wish me luck.
‘Til next time, this is Cap’n Phil