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Old 20-03-2018, 21:36   #1
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Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

Hi all,

I've been sailing with dad since my early teens, and over the last year in lasers and now on a J24 to learn how to sail on larger vessels. I'm still undergoing instruction and practice sessions but my dream would be to circumnavigate Australia one day since I now live in Sydney. I'm 33 and will likely purchase a small boat for my own local cruises until I feel somewhat ready enough to buy something larger and more capable of sailing open water.

Can anyone advise on their first experience buying a boat for sailing open ocean / coastal waters?*

What makes a sailboat sea worthy of the open ocean? What features should I be keeping an eye out for?

Many thanks,

Benj
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Old 20-03-2018, 21:57   #2
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

I think seaworthiness is a subjective thing and you will get heaps of opinions on this forum.
Stuart Trueman circumnavigated Australia in a kayak. So if you ask me it depends on how hard or easy you want to do the trip.
Cheers
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Old 20-03-2018, 22:17   #3
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

My experience might be somewhat relevant.

I learnt to sail on Sydney Harbour in my early 20's (I'm 34 now) by buying an old Hood 23 and figuring it out as I went. It was lot's of fun, and cheap entertainment!

I liked the Hood 23, and you see plenty of them come up for sale quite cheap. They can be a bit rough around the edges but easy to sail and enough space below for overnight stays.

Like this one for $1150 - https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/clon...ego/1178172170

I kept it at Burns Bay, Lane Cove. Which was a good hour motor from the main harbour, though with the right wind you could start sailing after about 30 minutes. And a few times with winds from the East, we managed to sail it all the way back up the Lane Cove river and onto the mooring.

There are closer bays with no waiting lists for moorings, but Burns Bay has a (new) great dock and dinghy storage area.

When the conditions were right, I have sailed up to Pittwater (Broken Bay), which is a good way to get a feel for sailing in the open ocean. Before that I used to just do short sails out through the heads and around and back in.

After I had a bit of experience, I ended up crewing on someone elses boat (met via this forum) on a trip down to Broken Bay from Brisbane. Which was a great way to get some more open ocean experience.

Not sure of your best boat for sailing around Australia, but the S&S 34 has been used by a number of people (including Aussies Jesse Martin and Jessica Watson) to sail solo around the world. So should give you an idea of a well suited yacht.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%26S_34
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Old 20-03-2018, 22:38   #4
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

Craig Philipson sailed Sea Cow a Hood 23 half way around the world so that $1100 yacht has got potential.
The S&S 34 really is bullet proof and could be a good option for going around Oz.
Cheers
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Old 20-03-2018, 22:50   #5
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fore and Aft View Post
I think seaworthiness is a subjective thing and you will get heaps of opinions on this forum.
Stuart Trueman circumnavigated Australia in a kayak. So if you ask me it depends on how hard or easy you want to do the trip.
Cheers

And Sandy Robson recently repeated Oscar Speck's 1930's journey from Germany to Australia by kayak

And I've successfully crossed the Coral Sea several times in a 1980's era 30ft IOR racer. Including in fairly rough conditions
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Old 21-03-2018, 14:25   #6
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

Compass 28 is a great starter boat capable of ocean cruises, but small for 2,crazy for a family. 29 is more spacious but big cockpit. Your choice depends on circumstances and preference
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Old 21-03-2018, 15:02   #7
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

Have read from Sydney to Perth, love this
A Fright A Day
Judith Thomson
or
Little Ship-Big Trip
first deside, flat bottom or deep keeler
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Old 21-03-2018, 15:14   #8
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

There are dozens of suitable boats available. I would suggest you limit yourself to those with full standing headroom and a diesel.
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Old 21-03-2018, 17:01   #9
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

Great idea. I hope it all works out.
A chap who crewed with me many years ago had circumnavigated Aus. on a GBE catamaran. He was extraordinarily modest about his achievement. He did say that he often slept on beaches and spent time in unusual places. This was before the days of GPS, mobile phones, internet, AIS etc. What I do remember was his sheer competence when on my boat. I learnt much from him. He had tertiary qualifications in marine biology so he really knew what to look out for in different places.
Although he joked that navigation consisted mainly of "keeping Australia on your left side" he was an extremely competent sextant/paper chart navigator.

So what those above have said is all true. It can be done without investing in an expensive vessel. It must be one you can easily manage by yourself.
You have asked "What makes a sailboat sea worthy of the open ocean? What features should I be keeping an eye out for?" I think that ultimately the answer is "My own competence." Your experience and accumulated skills.
However, the weather patterns really matter. You need to invest considerable time in looking at the prevailing weather patterns and local tidal rates (some of which are "exciting" e.g. Cape Don, Lacepede Islands).
If you use the trade winds to Darwin and then visit the Kimberley's you may find yourself facing the SW winds that roar up the WA coast (after rounding Cape Levique.) And it is a very long coastline indeed. A potential hard slog with a shortage of stopover places.
My own advice is make sure you do not put a time limitation on the adventure. There are some absolutely fascinating places and peoples particularly after you pass Cooktown (often described as the largest outdoor asylum in Australia ... which alone makes it a must see place. The James Cook museum - in an old convent is just fascinating.) Another acquaintance (a couple) spent nearly a complete year in the Gulf of C.

The further you get away from suburbia the more likely you are to meet some really different characters. Dinah Beach yacht club in Darwin has it all. Hedonistic, frequented by international cruisers and a collection of independent life on the edge types. Nothing like it elsewhere. Possibly the Gove yacht club.
There will be many readers who just wish they could do what you are planning. I'm one.
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Old 21-03-2018, 17:20   #10
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

If I was going around Australia on a budget I'd go hunting for an Easterly 30 that I owned for 10 years in my 20s and sailed all around New Zealand. They have a modern enough underwater shape to go well to windward but conservative enough to track well in a seaway and to shrug off the many cray and crab pot lines you're going to hit! Here's one for sale in NZ: https://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/boa...0d260de3f58bc1
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Old 21-03-2018, 17:54   #11
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

sites.google.com/site/venturacruising/

hopefully the link works
depending on your budget
time restrictions
type of cruising that you prefer
a lap around the big island is doable and a lot of fun

Jo & I met people also circumnavigating in allsorts of craft
from trailer sailors to large motor yachts
a group of vets in a high speed zodiac did a lap around to raise money for
bowel cancer

a few years back a high performance yacht with disabled crew
sailed non stop around Australia

we took 6 years in Ventura
the link at the top has 2 cruises
mackay - Hobart - mackay
mackay north around Australia - mackay
we left pioneer river in 2003 returned approx. 2009

you will gain experience and learn from communicating with
other cruisers
there is an around Australia rally being organised you may find
a spot as crew and gain experience
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Old 21-03-2018, 18:23   #12
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

Keep Australia to Port during winter and starboard during summer.
Had met a couple of jet skiers north of Port Headland doing an anticlockwise circumnavigation. So most things go with good planning and experience.
Best of luck.
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Old 21-03-2018, 18:37   #13
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

I bought a 34 foot cat to do that in, Specifically the Kimberlys,
Mainly for the shallow waters on the coastlines,
I have a 2 foot draught, It can park on the beach with the tide out and still be level,
I bought it in Fiji, because it was cheaper than OZ, and sailed it back to OZ,
Its 12,000 miles around OZ, Plus side trips up rivers and creeks,
The tides in the Kimberlys are 10 metres, So you will need deep water with a yacht and be a fair way out to be still in the water with a deep keel,
Im looking at two years to go right around,
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Old 23-04-2018, 19:11   #14
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

Rory McDougall sailed his Wharram Tiki 21 "Cooking Fat" [awful name IMO] around the world so more than capable of circumnavigating Oz. Plus they are beachable, draw just over one foot, so great for gunkholing.


I'm 6'1" and 175lbs so I'd want one a bit larger Tiki 26


Small Wharrams can be picked up real cheap...try Gumtree "Wharram catamaran"
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Old 23-04-2018, 21:10   #15
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Re: Circumnavigation of Australia for a novice

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Rory McDougall sailed his Wharram Tiki 21 "Cooking Fat" [awful name IMO]
Do you realise that it was actually a spoonerism?
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