Mandolin Wind under Spinnaker  

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Martin & Sue


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At RQYS - Too many jobs and too little time


Having delivered the boat to Brisbane despite the tight schedule, we are now ready to step the mast and complete all the 'left over' jobs that we did not have time to complete before leaving Melbourne. Sue has finally made it to the berth allocated to Mandolin Wind at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly - and now the hard work begins!


‘No more stubby holders – and for God’s sake, no more plastic containers on the boat or we’ll all be crushed!’ Dave muttered as we sat in the cockpit toasting a safe passage and timely arrival in Brisbane.




I had finally managed to make it down the Marina arm and on board. I thought I had timed my arrival at RQYS in plenty of time to take the boys lines as they pulled in. However, I didn’t count on the size of the marina – it is massive. When I eventually gained access through the security gate and drove the 600 metres to the appropriate marina arm, I was confronted with a sloping ramp that indicated it was low tide! Negotiating a slippery, rocking ramp on crutches is difficult for anyone – but unfortunately, when it comes to using crutches, I am severely un-coordinated! By the time I had painstakingly completed my descent, I saw to my disappointment that ‘Mandolin Wind’ had just arrived.  Never mind – I was soon settled in the cockpit and was handed a much needed glass of champers.


‘And no more pillows or we’ll all be suffocated!’ added Rod!

in my defence, I can only plead for tolerance. Before departing Brighton chaos had ensued as we packed up our Unit, sent off furniture and goods to storage, took several loads to the tip and finally took the remaining gear in several ( read about 20 !!! ) wheelbarrow loads to the boat. There had been no time for luxuries such as ‘audits’ to determine how many items of a certain type were stowed on board. Besides, I argued, here in Brisbane we will have time to get ourselves organized.


The facilities at RQYS are very impressive

The facilities at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron at Manly are very impressive

Silly me, forever the optimist. I was, of course, totally underestimating the amount of work required to achieve the ‘utopia’ of a well ordered boat!

Crunch time came two days later when Rod and Dave had flown home and I moved out of our daughter’s apartment onto the boat. It was only then that the magnitude of the task almost overwhelmed me. The worst of it was – I knew that I had to make a horrible mess in order to fix the problem, since it all had to come out of its hidey holes, be re-sorted, then re-stowed in a more balanced and orderly fashion. And to make matters worse, this had to happen at the same time as the ‘fix it’ jobs and the re-rigging was being carried out.


I decided that the first job was to sort the provisions on board. Having emptied our home pantry, there were a lot of half filled containers and several duplicate goods on board.  Out came the label maker and those annoying plastic containers! All galley surfaces plus floor spaces were soon covered – including the cockpit area. Gradually, as rubbish bags piled up, the organised goods were relocated into the bilge storage areas and it was time to start on the ‘top shelf’ alcohol. Looking at the stash one could easily be ‘misled’ into thinking that we were closet alcoholics. Our only excuse is that after several trips to New Zealand for work, we were very well stocked up – including 4 unopened 1.25 litre bottles of Grand Marnier. Normally I do not allow glass on board, but in this case I naturally made an exception. However, with the other varieties of half-filled spirits and liqueurs the heavy glass had to go. A pleasant few hours work – including a bit of tasting now and then – saw these decanted into plastic bottles and labeled accordingly. Hopefully it will be a good ruse to fool Indonesian officials when they come on board to tally up whether we have exceeded our permitted alcohol allowance!

The next job involved setting up the Vacuum pack machine and separating into smaller, more manageable bags some of the bulk produce such as flour, muesli and rice. However, later when gazing down at the white flour packed in 1 kg bags, an uneasy thought occurred to us – ‘what will customs in Darwin think that is!’



Amidst all the re-sorting the mast was stepped and taken away by the rigger for checking, replacing of various bits and pieces and the addition of mast steps to the first spreaders. With the sails off, we took the opportunity to get the mainsail checked by a sailmaker – who confirmed our suspicion that several of the battens were undersized, explaining why the main had trouble holding a proper shape in certain wind directions. I also made some modifications to the sail cover which had never been big enough and the sail was being exposed to harmful UV rays in various places. Thank goodness for the industrial sewing machine we also had stashed aboard as I also replaced the old Velcro with a new zipper the length of the boom.


After the mast had been re-stepped, David the rigger came aboard to fit some extra pad-eyes on the front cross-beam so that we could attach the sea anchor to strong points. His look of disbelief when he stuck his head through the cockpit doors was comical. Never a man of many words, he was rendered speechless by the juxtaposition of the mess he could see and the date he knew we planned to leave.

Looking rather naked!









Time to be re-stepped



Finally, after 10 days at RQYS, we were ready to leave. However, a last look at the weather confirmed our fears – we had delayed so long our good weather window had closed and leaving immediately would put us at Wide Bay Bar in treacherous conditions for a crossing. Rescheduling for an early afternoon departure on the next day, we took the opportunity to stash more gear and do a final check of how much bedding was on board. After all, Rod was joining us again in Cairns and I suspected that he would grab the first opportunity he could to count the number of pillows he could find!