In 1978 after finishing my hospital residency in Darwin NT OZ, three friends and I were hanging down at Dinah Beach with the cruising pirates.
Their cllub house was a tug that had washed up courtesy of Cyclone Tracey in 1974 that had devastated Darwin. We met a pommy who had already circumnavigated once & was off on a second go. Unfortunately he had got married in Sydney
where he had a ferrocement Roberts 34 built by the same builders who did Helsal.
The newly weds struck a nasty storm in the Gulf of Carpentaria on the way to the Top End and his blushing bride immediately jumped ship and headed back to the big smoke. She left him with the usual two options - "It is either me or that boat".
The groom was desperate to sell. He wanted 34K and we had 16K. The boat was full of supplies, sails
that had never been used and charts
all the way to the UK. None of us four had ever been on a sail boat of any description before. The boat was built like a besser block, short stumpy mast
& undercanvassed as he was used to sailing in the high latitudes. Average boat speed in the tropics was 3 kts. I once saw the log hit 9kts surfing down a wave under bare poles in a cyclone in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The lonely groom eventually accepted our 16K. We had two learning
sails on the harbor with one of the cruisers (?Jeff off a ferroC Roberts 45 "Gandalf" - wonda where he & his boat are?) and two weeks after splashdown we set off roughly in the direction of East Timor, recently invaded by the Indos. Ain't it great to be 26 and immortal.
Off we went, no liferaft
, no radio
, no sailing experience BUT did have two cases of Jack Daniels & hundreds of old Playboy magazines to use as bribes in Indonesia
(the latter) & we were a lusty lot.
Learnt all my sailing from mistakes
and reading books
. I did read "Dove" on that trip - great book.
I was away for two years. We made money
running surf trips to Grudjigan in East Java from Bali. One of the co-owners now does deliveries on super yachts from the Med.
Did not have another boat for 20 years until 1999 when I chartered a Beneteau
45 in the Whitsundays. Two months later, bought a 33 ft Crowther cat (not being stupid, I didn't buy a mono) & cruised east coast
OZ for five years then purchased our present cat 12 months ago. Hauling anchor
and heading north from Brisbane
as soon as I return from this rig tow.
I am no longer immortal but am a much better sailor but still reading them books