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Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
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My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of Catlypso
  • Details about Catlypso
  • Cleaning/Repairing Catlypso
  • My Yachting Adventures.
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    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Home Brewing
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "Minimum water temperature is normally 15 degrees Celcius"
    2017 Trip - April - Sydney to Gold Coast to North Stradbroke Island
    Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Sailing to Queensland, Winter 2017 - Part 1

    Latest update 30 April 2017

    Tuesday 18 April 2017 - Drive Sydney to Gold Coast

    We head off from Sydney in our car at 0530. The Suburu is packed full of things, including all our dive gear, our dive compressor and a lot of our clothes as well as plenty of food (no point leaving it at home). Of course, our "baby", Veto, is with us as well. She spends most of the trip on a bed we set up on the back seat.

    This is our second trip to the Gold Coast in the past few weeks. We drove up in late-March with another load of things for the trip.

    Leaving home at 0530Veto in her hidey-hole near Ballina.
    768 km down 111 km to go

    We have a pretty good run, getting to the M1 Motorway in under an hour compared to the 1.5 hours it took us in March. We have a fairly leisurely trip, stopping for plenty of breaks. We arrive at Mary's place (Kelly's Mum) on the Gold Coast just before 1700. We covered the 870 kilometres in under 12 hours, including breaks.

    We unload some of the things we have brought up and then have a few drinks and dinner. The next few days are going to be busy, so we have an early night (Michael has been awake since 0300).

    Wednesday 19 April 2017 - Gold Coast

    We sleep in to catch up on the lack of sleep affecting us over the past few days (we had a big farewell party at our place on Sunday night).

    After breakfast, we head for Coomera where Catlypso is on the hard stand at Lightwave Yachts. We take along with us a lot of things, including some food, fuel Jerry cans and more. On the way we stop at the Woolworths fuel station at Oxenford. This is as cheap as anywhere and since we are purchasing 150 litres of diesel (110 for the boat and 40 for the car), it is worth getting a discount (8 cents a litre so $12 all up).

    The top section of the primary fuel filter (looking up).
    This o-ring is difficult to remove as it is normally hard to see
    The old fine fuel filter and the new one.
    Amazing it is so dirty considering this is the second filter.

    We are going to anti-foul the boat, so three weeks ago when we were up here, Michael went to the boat supply place at The Boat Works and asked about ABC3 Amercoat. The owner said they do not stock (but they did in 2014 and 2015). When Michael asks why he says "I would prefer not to say"! Anyway, Michael found a place at Coomera (Pacific Paint and Fibreglass) that sells it (it is also sold as Sigma ABC3 and ABC3 Amercon) and he made sure that they have enough for our purpose.

    Once at Coomera, we go aboard and see that a number of things have been completed since we were last there three weeks ago. The port windows are now complete. Today Colin is finishing installing the port fuel lines (one from the tank and a return to the engine). To do this he had to pull out all some of our batteries as the fuel lines run close by and to get the old ones out and the new ones in, he has to pull it through in stages.

    While doing this he discovers that the two largest (and oldest) batteries are almost dead. One is under 12 volts and the other is only 12.4 volts. We take them off the boat, this was expected. We are left with 720 amp hours, ample we think.

    The housing for the fine fuel filterThe batteries we purchased in May 2016 moved to where the
    old 255 amp hour batteries were (with some liquid refreshments)

    While Kelly is cleaning up inside (all the starboard side, including the pantry and drinks cupboard), Michael decides to change the fuel filters on the engines. We have four fuel filters, two of each engine. One is a truck type that is the primary (first) filter. This is not actually on the engine, but mounted to a wall on the inside of the engine room.

    The starboard one is hard to get at and to change one o-ring (on the top of the bolt that holds it all together), Kelly has to help him remove it totally. This is because the nuts are on the inside of the storage area under the double bed. There are also a number of other o-rings that need to be replaced, but one has to be recycled as the new filter only has one of this size when there are two.

    The port one is much easier to replace. After this, he changes the fine fuel filter on each engine. These are Yanmar ones and are located on the engine. The engines, of course, are inside the Lightwave factory. While in there, he sees the stain left by the flood when it inundated the area three weeks ago. We are so lucky they moved the engines to a higher part of the factory that morning.

    After lunch, Michael goes to PP&F and purchases a 10 litre container of ABC3 as well as 4 litres of thinners. We plan to put on three coats if we can. Ten litres is not actually enough for the job, but we have about three litres left over from a previous anti-foul. This should last us till late 2018 when we are heading home from next year's trip.

    Michael also went to Bunnings and purchased a lot of things. This included paint brushes, rollers, plastic gloves and scourers for the painting. He also purchased five litres of hydrochloric acid and a soft broom. This is so we can acid wash the hull above the water line before we paint her. Other things purchased included plastic matting for inside the cupboards (to replace old stuff), a new pair of multi-grips (the old ones have disappeared).

    When he gets back, he tops up the fuel tank from the containers, it takes about 16 litres, meaning we have 200 litres in the fuel tank and 94 in containers. He will later top up the one container he partly used so we will have 110 in Jerry cans.

    Another job that was almost completed today was installing the replacement top hatch (above the cockpit). This still needs handles put on.

    We left about 1500 as there was not much more we could do and complete today. Once back at Mary's place, we unload the full fuel containers (nowhere to store it on the boat at the moment) and put some other things in the car for tomorrow. A few beers and wines finished off the day.

    Thursday 20 April 2017 - Gold Coast

    Today we again got to Lightwave about the same time as yesterday. We stop off at Bunnings to get some more rubber cupboard lining as we did not get enough yesterday. We also purchase a section of artificial grass to try to make a spot for Veto to go to the toilet.

    Last night and this morning it rained a bit, so everything is wet again. We take more food that we bought up from Sydney. Once we arrive, we check out what is going on today with the work. Colin (who is doing most of the work) tells us that there is a possible problem with our relaunching and we need to go and speak to Roger, the owner of Lightwave Yachts.

    Michael moves the two batteries from the third battery compartment to the second one to replace the 255 amp hour batteries that we removed yesterday. This involves changing the wiring a little and reinstalling the battery holder in a new place. This leaves plenty of room in this compartment and it will now hold two 30 can cartons of beer. Meanwhile, Kelly does some more cleaning on the starboard side.

    After this we go and see Roger. He updates us with all the work, including the plan to reinstall the engines tomorrow. The problem with the relaunching is that the trolley he planned to use broke last week and will take two weeks to fix. However, he has an old trolley that will now be used to relaunch Catlypso.

    Next we bring all the food and some other items out of the car and Michael passes it all up to Kelly on the boat. Kelly starts putting this away while Michael puts other things away (diving weight belts, tools etc). He also attempts to repair a cable that broke yesterday. This is a 12 volt power cable from the cigarette lighter to the Wifi router. Michael borrows Colin's soldering iron and amalgamates the original plug with another cable. However, this does not work as he later realises that the 12 volt plug actually converts from 12 volt to about 6 volt. He will have to buy a new plug and redo it.

    Around this time Geoff from Island Home (who we met in 2015 and who bought our kayaks up here from Sydney almost a month ago) comes around and we have a chat. They are at The Boat Works marina having new clears measured up. After Geoff heads off to take his car to a relative's place, we decide to have lunch and go over to The Boat Works. We find Island Home and go on board. Marina is there with her son Scott. Also on board are Marina's parents visiting from The Netherlands. They arrived last Friday and are here till about 5 May.

    We have another catch up (we had dinner together almost four weeks ago in Sydney). We have a look at the changes they have made to the yacht since we last saw it in 2015. Impressive! We finally leave and go to the chandlery as we discovered our flares are just out of date. Why the hell are they only valid for three years? They will last 15 to 20 years minimum. Anyway, we get some.

    We then go to see the watermaker people. Oops, a problem, they are so busy it seems we may not even be able to get them to look at it. Hopefully we can at least do this and have some idea about what the problem is (the output dropped from 24 to 13 litres a minute and started making an awful noise towards the end of our 2015 trip). We have to ring them next week as soon as we know when we are going to be back in the water.

    We go back to Lightwave and discover that everyone has already gone home, so we cannot access our kayaks in the factory. We had planned to take one and check where we will put it and also to see if we have sufficient tie-down straps and suitable cushioning material. Looks like that will have to be done tomorrow.

    We do a few more minor things, some tidying up. There is not much more we can do at the moment, so we head off home. The traffic back to Mary's place is even worse than yesterday. Michael reckons that the traffic is even worse than near our home in Sydney. We stop off and get some food for dinner. We take Veto for a walk and then Michael has a few drinks while he cooks dinner.

    Later Kelly and her Mum go shopping for food. Kelly will get some of the non-perishable items that we need.

    Friday 21 April 2017 - Gold Coast

    We were up early this morning as Kelly has to drop Michael off at Lightwave before she comes back and takes her Mum to the doctors. We are at Catlypso before 0830. We have bought with us all the food Kelly purchased last night. Michael puts it all in the galley area and Kelly heads off.

    Straight away we can see a big change since last night. They have moved the trolley under Catlypso and are stacking it up with timber (including pallets) so they can raise it off the blocks and have it sitting on the trolley (which is a modified truck chassis). Michael starts to wet rub the anti-foul to remove the little trace of growth (mostly on the waterline) and prepare it for repainting. This is a very dirty job as you will see from the attached photograph.

    The starboard bow before wet rubbingThe same spot afterwards

    The stainless steel fabricators also come by early. I do not think I have mentioned this, but our lifelines and some of the stanchions have always been a bit loose. There is no way to tighten the lines any more, so we are getting two of the stanchions straightened (they have bent inwards over the past 13 years) and also some bracing put in. This is for the rear two and also the structure at the bow. They measure it all out, spot weld the stainless and after lunch take the bits back to their factory to finish it all up. They will be reinstalled on Monday. Also, the starboard stern one has always been very loose. Early this morning Colin fixed it by using bolts to hold it in place rather than the screws used when it was fitted out.

    After the yacht is dropped down onto the trolley, the starboard engine is brought out from the factory. It is carried on the end of a long steel rod attached to the fork lift. It is gradually lowered into the engine compartment using the forklift. The last bit is lowered using a block and tackle. It is placed in its spot (but not attached).

    The starboard stern stanchion baseThe boat lowered onto the trolley

    After this the port engine is brought out. This one might be a bit more of a problem as the ground behind the boat is very damp and not flat. This is the reason the engines were not put back in weeks ago. The last three weeks have been relatively dry (after the flood), although we did get rain yesterday and a tiny bit this morning. They put down a piece of plywood and the fork lift successfully gets close enough to lower the engine into place.

    The saildrives are much lighter and will be lifted into place manually on Monday once the engines have been put fully in place on Monday.

    The starboard engine is lowered into the hullThe port engine goes in

    Kelly arrives around this time and has a good laugh at Michael. Why? He is filthy, with black anti-foul all over his face and clothes. When she was with her Mum, she purchased a lot of meat (rump, ribs, lamb, pork and mince) which we will pack and freeze tonight. Michael tells her that the engines are in, she is very happy at this news. She goes up into Catlypso and changes into her "dirty" clothes and then puts away all the food Michael loaded on this morning.

    Michael finishes wet rubbing the hulls while she does this. Michael then sets up a hose so we can use it to wash the hulls after acid washing them. Once she has finished, we mix up the acid solution (hydrochloric acid 50% and water 50%). Kelly uses a cheap broom we purchased and carefully puts the solution on the above water sections of the hulls. We test a small section inside the hulls, it works well, but we add a bit more acid to the original solution to get the 50% mix as above.

    Michael is a bit dirty!The hulls are now all ready for painting with anti-foul tomorrow

    We end up doing the hulls twice, inside and out. They look heaps cleaner than before. Once we clean all the acid off and they have dried a bit, we put masking tape on the outside of the starboard hull as well as half the inside. We will complete this in the morning while one of us starts painting the completed hull.

    We finally finish and head back to Mary's place where Michael as a very long shower to remove all the black paint. This takes a lot of work and even an inspection by Kelly to make sure he has got all of it off his face and head. We take Veto for a walk and then have a well earned beer and wine before dinner.

    Saturday 22 April 2017 - Gold Coast

    It rained quite heavily last night, it will be quite muddy at Coomera. We leave a bit later than the last two days and have a great run, Saturday morning! Sure enough as we enter Lightwave, the dirt road is very muddy and there are lots of pools of water. We park away from Catlypso to try to minimise the mud on our feet. This was not successful.

    The area around the stern and port side of the boat are muddy and as we walk around we end up an inch higher due to the mud sticking to our thongs. We quickly get everything together and as Kelly finishes the masking of the waterline, Michael starts stirring the anti-foul paint. This is very thick and takes a long time. We have to add thinners even right at the start as it is far too thick to roll on. Every three or four refills of the paint roller tray we need to add more thinners to keep a good consistency.

    Michael installing the wind generatorThe wind generator up and running

    Michael starts at the bow on the outside of the starboard side and he is three-quarters done when Kelly finishes. It takes 105 minutes to finish the whole of the hull. We have a morning tea break before getting back into it. We have arranged with one of Lightwave's employees who is working today, Marcus, to use the fork lift to lift Michael up to reinstall the wind generator. He has some jobs to do and once he is complete, he will come around.

    We are about one quarter way through the port hull when he brings the fork lift. Michael gets the wind generator and blades. The generator broke back in 2015 and has been fixed by our dive buddy Paul. Marcus lifts Michael up and Kelly passes him the wind generator to him. Once he is at the right height, he attaches the end of the cable to the string he left hanging out the top of the pole.

    By the way, in late 2018 in a very strong storm in Sydney, the wind generator suffered a problem when the brake failed and it made so much horrendous noise I got phone calls from three people on the bay where she is moored. When I went out there the next day, the whole hub and prop assembly was gone. As it cannot undo itself, either someone took it off because of the noise or someone tried to steal it before the storm and could not get it off and it went crazy and finally fell off. Either way, we no longer have it as we are not going to purchase replacement parts. Not worth the money or trouble.

    Kelly is now inside the engine compartment and pulling on the string. Michael feeds it down, but it repeatedly sticks at the same spot. It takes a bit to get it past this section, we needed to reattach the string to the very tip of the cable and use tape to make it more pointed. Eventually we get it through. Michael places the generator on the pole and using a small hex key, tightens it up.

    After this is done, Kelly passes up the hub and blade assembly. This is attached to the spindle using a large nut. However, Michael has forgotten that we need a large hex key to hold the spindle still while the hub and nut are spun to tighten it. It takes Kelly a while to find the correct size key. We finally get it done. Thanks Marcus!

    After the first coat of anti-foulThis tinny sank in front of Lightwave when they had too
    much weight at the bow. They finally get it to the boat ramp.

    We go back to finishing the anti-fouling. It takes about 75 minutes to complete this side with both of us doing it. While Michael cleans up (Glad Wrapping the rollers and brush), Kelly cleans the freezers. Michael then gets inside the engine compartment and connects up the wind generator. He needs to attach the controller to something inside, probably tomorrow. The controller is now here as the built-in one failed and cannot be repaired.

    It is quite windy now and the blades are spinning, putting out a good voltage. Michael then opens up the plastic wrapping around one of the kayaks that we purchased for Christmas. Once Kelly is finished with the freezers, he passes it up to her. We position it on the port hull and figure out how we will secure it here. We will need to purchase some spongy material to protect the deck and the kayak.

    It is time to go, so we head off via a few places. We purchase the rubber material for the kayak, some wine for the trip, a new sail rope bag for the bow (the old one is stuffed), an air horn and two carabiners for the harness we use to climb the mast (the old ones are frozen).

    Tonight we are going out for dinner with two of Michael's schoolmates, Paul Smithson and John "Harry" Halcro. It is the first time since our wedding almost 10 years ago that we have seen Harry and Paul (although Michael ran into Paul a few years later near his work). We are picked up by Paul and taken to a local steak and seafood place.

    Paul, Harry and Michael outside the restaurant

    We have a great evening, nice food (huge meals!), a few drinks and a lot of talking. It was fantastic to catch up again with them after such a long time.

    Sunday 23 April 2017 - Gold Coast

    We get to the Lightwave factory about the same time as yesterday, The ground is a lot drier today, so we should not have as much mud on our thongs while working. Kelly spends the first hour and a bit putting more things away as well as emptying water out of the bottom of the bow section. We have no idea how this is getting in, we thought we had solved it two years ago.

    Michael starts on the painting again. This time it only takes him 85 minutes to do both sides of the starboard hull (105 yesterday). This is because the paint goes on much easier and also covers more area per tray refill. After this we have a morning tea break.

    After the second coat of anti-foulThe new sail rope bag at the bow

    When we finish, Kelly starts painting the inside of the port hull while Michael prepares more paint. We have brought with us the remaining three litres from when we originally anti-fouled Pieces of Eight (as Catlypso was then known). This is quite thick and needs to be stirred to get back to a proper state and also thinned with thinners. Once he has done this, he starts on the outside of the hull. We complete this side in about 55 minutes.

    While Michael cleans up, Kelly goes up and removes the old sail rope bag at the bow and puts in the new one. The old one had suffered irreversible failure. Michael puts another coat on the bottom of the mini keels using the dregs of the paint tray and the smaller tin (which has now been transferred to the larger tin). He then put a single coat of anti-foul (Jotun) around the sail drive location and then puts away all the paint brushes and rollers for tomorrow.

    We have our lunch and then head off, stopping at Bunnings to buy a couple of things and also getting a cigarette lighter plug to replace the broken one. Later Kelly and her Mum go to Aldi to do some more food shopping. Another very productive day.

    Monday 24 April 2017 - Gold Coast

    We are a bit later this morning arriving at Lightwave as the traffic was bad. As mentioned, we think it can be worse than Sydney in some places. First thing we notice is that the sail drives are back in the engine compartment and the new skirts are in place. Also the stainless steel blokes are reinstalling the modified stanchions, see the photographs below.

    We have brought with us all the frozen food that Kelly has purchased over the past few days. When we arrive Michael passes it all up to Kelly on the boat and she puts it all away.

    After this she gets the remaining water out of the bow bilge using a pair of picker-upperers (no idea what the real name is, the things council workers use to pick up papers in the park). She needs this to hold a rag to soak up the water as she cannot reach down that far.

    The stern stanchion, the angled bracket is newThe bow railing, the bracket from top to the left is new

    Kelly's next task is to tidy up the rear locker. She removes everything, cleans it out and throws out things we no longer need. We have purchased some new containers that fit in here and Kelly moves a lot of items into these and generally tidies it all up. Another job she does is to add some water purifier to the water tanks and a little water to stir it up. Some of the water in the tanks has been there for 18 months we think.

    While Kelly is doing this, Michael restarts anti-fouling the hulls. We do not have enough paint left to do a complete coat over the two hulls, so we decide to do the spots which have traditionally got covered worse with growth. This means we will do a third coat on the inside of the hulls, the bottom of the mini-keels and the mini-keels themselves (both sides) if there is enough (remembering we need to keep enough to do the small part of the mini-keels' bottoms that are presently sitting on blocks).

    The tidied up rear lockerThe port engine and sail drive back in the engine room

    Michael ends up being able to do the outside of each hull about half way down from the bow as well. He then starts on painting the sail drives and part of the area around the drives (he cannot do it all yet as the adhesive holding the skirts in place is not yet dry and they are held on with masking tape). Around this time, Colin reinstalls and sands back the props ready for the Prop Speed application which will happen after lunch.

    Meanwhile. Marcus has been in the engine compartments bolting down the engines and sail drives. Later Colin starts hooking up the various electrical cables (power, ignition, warnings) and hoses (fuel, water, hot water).

    Michael anti-fouling the sail driveMichael and his new boat socks, South Sydney Rabbitohs!

    Michael also has a look at a couple of the other stanchions that are also a bit loose. The bases are rock solid, the stanchion is moving in the base. He pulls out the bolt that holds them in and finds that they only extend about 2 mm into the stanchion. We will have to do something about that.

    As we are about to leave, Louise Overall comes around. She is the co-owner of Lightwave Yachts. We have a long chat, it is good to see her again since we could not make it to last year's 20th anniversary regatta.

    On the way home, we go to Whitworths to pick up a couple of things. We need some sail slugs to replace ones on the trampolines that have broken. We also get three small foam floats to put on the dinghy's mooring line to try and stop the line running under the hull and rubbing off the anti-foul. While here Michael sees some bolts that may fix the stanchion problem. We purchase one to test tomorrow.

    When we get home, Michael is given two pairs of boat socks that Kelly's Mum has made. They are red and green, the colours of our rugby league team, South Sydney Rabbitohs. A nice present!

    Tomorrow is Anzac Day, a public holiday where nearly every shop is closed all day. We will go to Catlypso in the morning to put another coat on the sail drive and surrounds and Michael may go back again in the afternoon to do one more. Also, we have a couple of other small things to do which could not be done today.

    Tuesday 25 April 2017 - Gold Coast

    Today is Anzac Day, probably the most solemn day in Australia each year. For non Australians and New Zealanders, Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps which was a combined Australian and New Zealand force that on this day in 1915 landed at Gallipoli in Turkey in an attempt to free up the Dardenelle Strait to the allied navies. It was a disaster, eventually the forces had to retreat and abandon the attempt. Anyway, as this was the first major battle involving Australia after we became a nation, it has been celebrated every year since 1916.

    Nearly all shops and businesses are closed today, so there we are limited in what we can do. Normally in Sydney we would go to the Dawn Service at Sutherland, but as we still have some things to complete, we head to the boat in the morning. Kelly gets back to cleaning the windows, something Michael has forgotten to mention in previous posts. When the windows were put back on, there remained tiny little bits of the silicon used to adhere the glass to the hull. It takes her about 20 minutes to clean each window and she is now half way through it.

    A close up of the prop once Prop Speed has been appliedThe sail drive has two coats, the skirt one and the area around two

    Meanwhile Michael removes the masking tape that temporarily held the skirts around the sail drives and then paints the skirts, the drives and the surrounding area with Jotun anti-foul paint. This does not take too long as they are not too big. Once completed, Michael starts to fix up the 12 volt power supply for the Wifi router, but discovers that someone has turned off the power in the factory for the power lead. This means we cannot do this nor can we attach the wind generator controller as we need power for the drill.

    Michael then tries out the new bolt we got yesterday to see if it makes the stanchion more stable. No change. He finds another longer one, but this also does work as it does not get all the way through to the other side of the stanchion pipe. We will see if we can get some longer ones tomorrow.

    Kelly removing the masking tapeThe antifouling is 99% finished

    Michael gets the fuel tank out of Thunderbird 2 (our dinghy) as we got a newer one when we purchased the replacement Mercury outboard. This is a better tank than our old one. He transfers the fuel to the new one and puts this back up on the boat. There is little more Michael can do other than remove the masking tape above the waterline. He does the starboard side and Kelly does the port side.

    We tidy up a bit and then head back to Mary's place. Later we go back again and Michael puts another coat on the sail drives and surrounds while Kelly cleans the back port transom which is covered in mud (brought up on workers shoes). This only takes 20 minutes, so we then go to Bums Bay to have a look how many boats are anchored there. Turns out there are few boats up the northern end, but we notice that on Saturday access to the boat ramp area is closed from 0630 to 1230 for an unstated reason. This may affect us.

    Wednesday 26 April 2017 - Gold Coast

    We travel to Coomera via Whitworths to get a couple of bolts for the stanchions, this turns out to be a waste of time as even though we got longer ones, they still do not make the stanchion any more stable. We will have to rethink this one.

    Once there Michael anti-fouls the sail drives again and also does under the mini-keels as the boat had been lifted up off the blocks. He then solders the new cigarette lighter plug to the Wifi cable, this works so we have that back running again. Meanwhile Kelly puts the cover back on the bulkhead in the port bow and does more cleaning up inside, the bilges on the port side especially. By now Colin has finished hooking everything up on the engines and he then puts the new oil filters on. Michael then fills the engines with oil and also coolant. However, we do not have enough coolant to finish the job.

    Catlypso's being turned aroundThe tilt got worse when it moved back onto the grass area

    Time came to move Catlypso. The plan is to launch stern first now, so she needs to be turned around and also lowered on the trolley. To be honest, this was a bit frightening to watch as the ground is not the smoothest and the trolley not the greatest. At one time the boat had a large tilt to port! We felt sick in our stomachs, but it all came good when they pumped up the tyres on that side.

    Eventually, she is facing the opposite direction and on the harder and flatter part of the (dirt) roadway next to where she has been stored the past three months. The boat is then lowered a fair bit so it is closer to the ground and also bow down so when she goes in the water she will be more level. The people who applied the Prop Speed to the props came back and redo a few blades on each prop. They did a crap job and it was very thin in places.

    Catlypso is now in the right location for relaunchingThe section of antifouling that came off

    Around this time it starts raining, so Michael goes off shopping to get some things. First thing he has to do is fill up our petrol containers. He has already transferred the made up two stroke to the dinghy fuel tank. He then fills it with fuel from the other two five litre containers. All these containers as well as a 22 litre container are filled with unleaded petrol.

    The next thing is to swap the other gas cylinder for a new one. Although it still had some gas in it, it was very rusty. Best way to fix up this problem. He then purchases some more coolant and heads back.

    Kelly cleaning and repacking the anchor hatchOne of the many clips Michael reattached

    By now Catlypso is okay to get back on. Michael gives the mini keel bottoms another coat of anti-foul. Also, we had a minor problem when preparing for the move. When the stairs were moved, there was some anti-foul which had adhered to the stairs. This pulled off a section of anti-foul about the size of an orange! It went clean back to the bare hull, so smooth. Marcus put some epoxy filler on it but this will not dry till tomorrow morning, so we will have to anti-foul this small section a couple of times then.

    Michael finishes putting coolant in the engines, then attaches the wind generator regulator to the bulkhead inside the engine room. Next job is to reattach the clips that hold in place the outside window shades. Kelly then tidies up the anchor locker and puts everything back in (apart from one section of rope that we will put elsewhere).

    Michael moves all the fuel onto the boat. This will have to come off tomorrow morning before the launch to make it lighter. It starts to rain again while we are doing all this. There is not much more we can do, so we head off, but it is already after 1500 anyway.

    Back at Mary's we clean up and then have Malaysian takeaway, the last restaurant cooked meal we will have for a month or so probably.

    Thursday 27 April 2017 - Gold Coast

    We arrive at Lightwave at a similar time as the past few days to find that Catlypso has been moved to the boat ramp ready to be launched at high tide. We did not think it would be moved till about 1000. We quickly go to put another coat of anti-foul on the bottom of the mini keels but find that the paint has finally dried up. We also wanted to put some coats on the section where the anti-foul came off yesterday. Marcus had put some of the sail drive paint on it, so Michael put another coat of this on it.

    Catlypso being relaunchedThe new Mercury outboard on Thunderbird 2

    At 0945 Roger starts moving Catlypso backwards towards the water using his Ford Ranger (towing capacity 3.5 tonnes, Catlypso is 6.5 tonnes!). Despite our misapprehension about this, it is easily up to the task, luckily the ramp is not steep. Michael climbs aboard once the stern is in the water and bleeds the raw water intakes. There are no apparent leaks, especially from the sail drives.

    Kelly helps pull her over to the wharf using the mooring lines. Michael then starts the port engine and soon enough the water is coming out the engine exhaust. However, the starboard engine will not kick at all. It turns out that the starter motor solenoid is stuck, we seem to recall that this has happened once before. Colin comes on board and he ends up "shocking" it into working. The engine then starts and works okay.

    However, the port engine has a water leak. The hose from the sail drive (where the water comes in and goes to the raw water filter) is leaking. Turns out it has a hole. The whole hose is replaced, including from the filter to the engine. The next problem encountered is that the props have been installed incorrectly, so reverse is forward and forward reverse. To fix this, the cabling is changed. A minor problem is that the props as set have a different pitch for forward and reverse, so we will not have as much power in forward gear. We might be able to change this later (we could not - had to put up with reduced speed or use more revs - we fixed in October when back at The Boat Works).

    Kelly rows Thunderbird 2 to shore and we attach the "new" Mercury engine to her. Michael takes her for a run, starts second go and works great. We then reattach the bow sprit stays to the hulls which were removed while launching the boat. While we are at the wharf, Roger is hauled up the mast and proceeds to change the anchor/tri-colour light. The anchor light has always been a problem and this new LED one should last a long time.

    After lunch the watermaker bloke comes. He looks at the system and declares that the pre-filter we have installed is probably the problem (turns out it was a carbon filter). He gives us a new one to try out. Michael runs the watermaker for about 80 minutes all up (first 10 minutes to purge the pickling fluid) and it makes no strange noises like it did in 2015. The water produced is good tasting and after starting off at about 15 litres per minute, it seems to increase to about the proper 22 or so litres per minute. Michael makes about 25 litres all up. Hopefully this has solved the problem.

    Sunset at the wharf at CoomeraDrinks on the first night back on board

    Before Kelly heads off to get Veto and some more things from her Mum's place, we move the two kayaks from the factory to the wharf. Michael loads all the dive gear (including four tanks) and washes one of the kayaks (it has lots of mud on it from the flood four weeks ago. Michael also runs the generator while making water to help top up the batteries as the very cloudy days recently and putting a lot of things in the two freezers that were not frozen has used plenty of power.

    Kelly comes back with Veto and the other things and then heads off to get some more food (fridge things and vegies). Michael then puts all the fuel and water away (he fills two other containers). When Kelly comes back, she puts all the food away. We have showers (very quick as not all that warm) and then sundowners. Dinner is pork curry and rice.

    After dinner we reattach the helm seat and back, put clothes away and make the bed. We go to bed at 2115 and read for a while. It is good to be back on the water.

    Friday 28 April 2017 - Gold Coast

    We wake at about 0700 but do not get up till 0730. We have breakfast (after taking Veto for a short walk). Kelly cleans the outside of the saloon windows and reattaches the shade covers. Michael puts things away. At 0930 a barge that sometimes comes into the ramp next to the wharf means we have to move from the wharf so they can load at the ramp. The driver said he would only be 10 minutes. Michael takes Catlypso out into the river and goes up and down, up and down and up and down. So much for 10 minutes, it was well over an hour before he was loaded (this dickhead in six months time will pull out from the marina to the north of here straight in front of us without once looking around).

    Just as Michael leaves the wharf, a southerly change hits. When he was out on the river it maxed out at over 22 knots. Luckily it has eased a little by the time he comes back to the wharf as the tide has now turned and is running to the north. He makes a good job of docking. We go back to finishing our work. Kelly finishes the windows and washes the decks while Michael goes to the watermaker place at The Boat Works and gets another filter and pays for yesterday's one ($54.40).

    We then put the kayaks on. We decide to put them towards the bow, one on each side. We use the foam material we purchased a few days ago to cushion the base. We put two adjustable straps on each one, securing them to the stanchions and one bollard. They seem very secure.

    We then move the compressor and container from the car to the boat and partially pack them in the saloon. Kelly earlier had also refilled all three water tanks.

    At 1200, Michael leaves the wharf and motors to Bums Bay at The Spit which is just south of The Seaway. The wind as he gets closer to the coast is averaging 20 knots and hits 27 knots at times. He has to motor at 2800 rpm to keep a good speed up and once he gets closer to Bums, his speed drops to 3.5 knots due to heading directly into the wind and a two plus knot tide. Meanwhile, Kelly drives to her Mum's and then to Bums.

    At 1405 he arrives at Bums Bay. The plan is for him to drop anchor out in the middle and then take Thunderbird 2 to shore to collect Kelly before relocating to a better anchor spot. However, a couple of blokes in a RIB take her out to the yacht so he does not have to anchor there. We go right towards the northern end, or at least as far as we can considering a large part is blocked off due to the triathlon on tomorrow.

    Looking north at Bums Bay, blocked off for the triathlon tomorrowMichael and Catlypso at Bums Bay

    We anchor in about 1.8 metres (under the keels), 37 metres off the shore at almost low tide. It is blowing between 15 and 25 knots but quite calm. We put on the anchor alarm but do not move. After Michael has lunch (Kelly ate on the way to Bums), he takes Kelly back to shore and she drives our car to her Mum's place. She then catches the bus back.

    While she is away, Michael does the dish washing, puts lots of things away, including the fenders and mooring lines. Kelly phones just before 1700 to say her bus has arrived at Seaworld. Michael and Veto go over to collect her. Veto has a run on the beach before she turns up. Back at Catlypso, we have showers and then sundowners. Kelly cooks ravioli for dinner, yum.

    It is still very windy, at least 15 to 20 knots or more. Michael watches South Sydney play Manly on his phone (free) but gives up at half time as they are getting killed. How can a team play as well as they did last week and terrible this week? After writing up this blog, we go to bed at 2030 and read for a while. The journey has started.


  • Departure time: 01200
  • Arrival time: 1415
  • Distance covered: 12.0 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 5.7 knots
  • Maximum speed: 7.5 knots
  • Engine hours: 7.2 hours
  • Elapsed time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Position at night: S27º 56.665' E153º 25.359'
  • Saturday 29 April 2017 - Gold Coast

    We have a leisurely sleep in this morning, great to not have to rush too much. Michael takes Veto to the beach for a run and Kelly makes tea and coffee. It is a lovely day, the wind dropped off about midnight and this morning is under 10 knots from the south. It is sunny, a bit cool at first but then almost perfect.

    The triathlon starts early and there are hundreds competing. The swimming leg is held to the north of us in the area shown in the photograph above. it goes on for hours till all groups are complete. The running is to the west of us and the cycling to the east.

    After breakfast, we start work on doing a few things. Kelly reattaches the zipper tracks for the rear shade (we had a new bottom one made) while Michael sorts through all the screws, nuts and bolts we have on board, consolidating them in groups and the one overall container. He then installs a second cup holder at the helm so we can both have cups of tea/bottles of water handy if we are both sitting there.

    Kelly then reorganises the second cabin. We decide that the old red cushions are now for outside use and the new ones will not be taken outside. We also have too many pillows, so some of these will go home with Kelly in early May or be given to Ian who is coming then. Kelly then continues cleaning the outside of the windows and Michael finishes servicing the lifejackets (inflating type). He previously did two and today does the other eight. He also replaces the batteries in the other two strobes that are attached to lifejackets.

    Michael tries to check out the wind generator to make sure the power is getting to the batteries, but the wind dies. Instead we tie it up so it can not operate at the moment. We are getting very good solar input, over 18 amps. Michael then repacks the various containers where we store bits and pieces as over the past few years they have been mixed up a bit.

    Kelly and Veto with Thunderbird 2 and CatlypsoCatlypso at Bums Bay

    We have lunch just after noon and then take Veto to the beach for a run. The triathlon has finished so we can access the northern area. We also go right to the southern end as well. Veto was tired after this! Back on the boat we put a couple of small floats on the mooring line to Thunderbird 2 to stop the line running on the hull anti-foul. When doing this we notice that the anchor rope which we bought two years ago is falling apart. We will replace in a few days with new rope.

    Michael decides to clean around the engine room hatches and then cleans all the upper deck. Even though Kelly cleaned this yesterday with water and a broom, it is still quite dirty. Kelly uses cutting polish to clean the cockpit area. This all takes a long time and we will need to do more in the next few days.

    Just after 1600 we head to the boat ramp to give Veto a run. Michael also takes a 20 litre water container to refill at the tap at the wharf. He has used this to fill the starboard tanks (he also isolated them from each other which we did not do before). We go to the end of the sand spit and Veto has another run. Kelly takes T2 back to near Catlypso and Michael and Veto walk back along the beach.

    We have sundowners and watch the International Space Station fly overhead. Very bright! Then Kelly cooks tacos for dinner. A great dinner! We go to bed early and read for a while.

    Sunday 30 April 2017 – Coffee Cliffs

    It is another beautiful morning. Although one of us wakes at 0600, we do not get up till 0720. Michael takes Veto to the beach and also disposes of some rubbish in the bins. We then have breakfast. After this Michael cleans the clears around the helm as they are filthy. The wind is a light southerly of about 7 knots as we motor out of Bums Bay at 0855.

    It is an incoming tide, so apart from the first bit to The Seaway, we have the tide behind us. We motor on one engine at a bit over 6 knots. There are a lot of boats out today, probably because it is a long weekend (tomorrow is Labour Day holiday). Our plan is to take the Canaipa Passage which is the one closest to the ocean. We came down this way in October 2015. We pass Tipplers Resort where Michael thinks he went when on “schoolies” way back when.

    The crowd at Tipplers ResortPassing Jumpin Pin

    We originally planned to stop at Jumpin Pin, which is at the northern end of South Stradbroke Island. However, it is very crowded and now quite windy, over 20 knots, and it is not all that protected. We push on, heading further along. At 1100 Michael is at the navigation desk when he notices that the batteries are going down by 400 plus amps! Shit, what is this. At the same time Kelly says she can smell something burning. The amps revert back to a positive figure fairly quickly.

    Michael has a smell around and finally figures out it is coming from the port engine room which is the engine we are currently using. Whatever it was it seems to have stopped, but we keep the hatches open for a while. After 10 minutes, we switch to the starboard engine. Later Michael attempts to start the port engine but there is no response. We have to continue on the starboard one.

    We arrive at Slipping Sands and anchor at 1215. However, the wind is now over 20 knots here (we hit about 27 knots a bit before). Once anchored, Michael has a look at the starter motor and when he pushes on the power cable, there are sparks. Looks like this is the problem, or at least the result of the problem. Some of the plastic covering over one of the two smaller wires has melted. He tries to fix by removing the three wires, cleaning it all up and covering the melted plastic with tape, but no luck.

    We decide to not stay here as we are side on to the wind due to the strong current. We up anchor and move further north. Kelly makes lunch as we go. We come to Coffee Cliffs which is in the main Canaipa Passage. This looks nice, it is much calmer, less than 10 knots of wind and less boats passing. We anchor between a cat and two stink boats, but we end up too close to the cat, so we move a bit further south and re-anchor at 1340.

    Catlypso at Coffee CliffsKelly on the beach at Coffee Cliffs

    Michael has another look at the starter motor after speaking to Colin from Lightwave. His suggestions are similar to what Michael has already tried. We come to the conclusion that the starter motor is dead or the drive shaft pinion gear is jammed in the active position. Both of the solenoids that control the starter motor are working.

    We receive a few suggestions from Colin and some women on the Women Who Sail Australia Facebook page as to who can fix our problem. Another women suggests that her partner can come and look at it tomorrow as they are not far away. We will see what happens tomorrow, but we cannot contact any repairers till Tuesday due to the public holiday.

    We finally have the chance to relax, so we read for a while. At 1615 we take Veto to the beach for a run. We also finally are able to give the new outboard on Thunderbird 2 a good run, goes great. Back at the boat, we have showers and then sundowners. We have to move inside as there are heaps of mozzies. Dinner is left over pasta and tacos from the last two nights.

    Michael also believes that the fridge is not turning off. Despite this, it is not getting too cold. Yet another problem to solve!! After reading for a bit and writing up this blog, Michael goes to bed about 2145.


  • Departure time: 0855
  • Arrival time: 1340
  • Distance covered: 18.9 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 5.7 knots
  • Maximum speed: 6.3 knots
  • Engine hours: 4.5 hours
  • Elapsed time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Position at night: S27º 42.222' E153º 23.835'
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