I’ve come across this forum many times before and found it really useful. Usually a google
search on anything sailing related – suitable pocket cruisers, navik windvane parts
, tasman crossings and the like. The latest thread that really got my attention was the ‘Friend of Nina’ for the missing schooner. The advice
and support offered through the forum was really good to see and one of the most supportive and constructive threads I’ve found on the net.
My sailing dream became a reality at the beginning of last year when I sailed solo from Opua, NZ across the Tasman to Wollongong NSW, on my Flicka 20 ‘Heart of Gold’. Here’s a short copy and paste from the Flicka 20 forum:
In Nov 2011 I flew over to NZ (I'm Australian) and brought 'Heart of Gold', believed to be Nor'Star hull
#1. She's my first keelboat, first real yacht. I had done a bit of sailing in a 14ft catamaran
I had before, but this was the first time in a yacht, anchoring
, reefing, mooring
, all that stuff.
I learnt to sail her around the Bay of Islands, slowly getting more confidence in myself and the boat
. I did a coastal trip, about 260nm down to Auckland
, out to Great Barrier Island and back to the Bay of Islands. Come Feb 2012 I was as prepared as I could be to sail her 1200nm back to Australia
. The previous owner had sailed her from NZ to Fiji
and Back, so he knew the boat
well and what it could handle. Although it was cyclone season further up North, the forecast
looked good with at least a week of strong Easterlies to push me past halfway. Feeling a bit anxious, a bit nervous and surreal, I set off solo on Feb 2nd. The trip took 19days, after 3 or 4 days out, 300nm off the North Island of NZ, my Navik self-steering broke. It was unfixable at sea, but with a bit of a sea and strong tailwind, the best option was to keep going. I spent days hand steering
at the tiller. When the easterlies ran out, I could get the boat to steer herself into the wind
ok. One day I used the spinnaker
to pull me dead downwind and give me a day of rest.
I was constantly in touch with friends and family
via sat phone
. The last night was probably the worst, with poor visibility, heaps of shipping
and squalls pushing through just off the coast of Wollongong, 80km south of Sydney
After 2 nights no sleep I came into Port Kembla with friends and family
waiting for me. Best feeling of my life. The boat handled the whole trip in her stride. They really are tough little ships. The more time I spend on her the more I appreciate how much work
and thought has gone into designing her.
Feel free to check out some videos of the trip I've posted :
Riddy Lawless - YouTube
And some photos here:
Heart of Gold is currently moored in Wollongong Harbor, but I'm looking at trucking her back to Mum and Dad's place in VIC and putting her on the hard
for the year while I finish Uni and so we can do some more work
on her. If anyone has any dimensions or plans for a hardstand
or a trailer
, I'd love to hear from you. Hoping to get a trailer
built so I can take her anywhere, up inside the great Barrier reef
would be nice.
So with that adventure over and a slow refit
going on back home, I'm looking forward to gaining some more experience and exploring new places. I'm hoping to get in touch with some experienced skippers either operating expeditions/charters or sailing their vessels in southern Chile
, Patagonia and Antarctica. I would love to join a yacht for a season down there as crew. If anyone knows of anyone down that way I'd love to hear from you!
Longer term, I hope to get a slightly bigger boat, say 35-40 ft and circumnavigate the world over a few years, surfing and exploring.
Anyway nice to be on here with you guys,