Tue, 04th March 2008, RPYC, Swan River, Perth, Western Australia
I mentioned yesterday the RPYC are re-developing the marina. They are replacing 3 of the 5 hard jetties with floating jetties, as they have been around for many a long year and are desparately I need of replacement. Unfortunately our jetty (B) is not getting replaced, because it is pretty good condition.
So, as they are floating jetties there is no need for weights on the pile end of the mooring lines, and there are many spare just sitting on the club lawn waiting to be disposed of. I had noticed last week that we had lost a couple of our weights. The chain had probably rusted through and they dropped off. So, I went and checked with the Club Manager to see if I could take a couple of the ones from the old jetties.
Brett and I then only spent a couple of minutes hooking them on to the mooring line. Now the boat will move less in the pen when a bit o wave comes through.
Mon, 03rd March 2008, Swan River, Perth, Western Australia
This afternoon I decided to take Swagman out by myself to give the motor a good run, and get some real charge in the batteries. So, initially decided to head out from RPYC and head down the river to the Point Walter/Claremont area (about 30 min motor away at 5.5kts). The weather was really nice so I decided to continue down river around Point Walter, through Blackwall Reach, past East Fremantle and to the Fremantle bridges. Which I either turn around, drop the mast and continue on to sea (but I didnt have the gear on board to do), or smash into the bridge. So, I just turn around, although the temptation was to drop the mast and continue out into the ocean, and just go....but.....
There were quite a few boats out returning up the riverfrom Rottnest Island, but it was a very pleasant outing.
Got back about 7pm, and this was the first time I put the boat into it's pen at RPYC by myself. But the wind was kind and it was simple. The boat basically faces WSW in the pen, and we are will protected by the shore, but it is a shocker in anything north of east. Although the redevelopment of the marina will improve this with jetties being built further out to accommodate new pens and more boats, and this will protect us a lot more. Plus they are putting on wave attentuation devices to reduce the slop in the marina from NW'ers and passing boat traffic.
Thu, 28th February 2008, Fishing Boat Harbour, Fremantle, Western Australia
Well, this evening Vera completed the practical assessment for her RST, and passed with flying colours. Last week she finished 3 evenings of theory with 100% in the theory test.
The Recreational Skippers Ticket (RST) was introduced by the West Australian government a couple of years ago in an attempt to regulate the operation of recreational craft within Western Australia. Previously it wasnt required to hold a license, and a lot of people would go out and buy a boat (power or sail), never having owned a boat before, and not have any idea about the Rules of the Sea, how to maintain the boat, basic understanding of boating, and using waterway (both inshore and offshore). Ultimately the would have accidents hurting themselves or others. The RST was set-up hopefully to make life safer on the water by educating people.
I'm afraid it is a bit of a money raising exercise by the government, as well as the numerous 'so-called' qualified instructors and assessors.
Anyway Vera did hers wtih the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group, and she said they were great.
I did mine a few years ago through Royal Perth Yacht Club, and because I had owned boats before, I just had to sit the theory test - easy.....
Congratulations Babes.....well done.....
Mon, 25th February 2008, RPYC, Swan River, Perth, Western Australia
Another average day today. It was the Bricklanding Trophy today. Brett was sick and Vera has finally decided to give her shoulder a break for the season, so we were able to pick up an Etchell skipper to crew for us, and he was very good at trimming.
Grant did the foredeck and did it well.
As I have said before the No 1 genoa is definitely getting tired and I cant get the pull out of it that I used to, and that is certainly not helping. Finished across the line behind Kungari, and 5th on handicap.
Now a week off for Labour Day long weekend.
Sat, 16th February 2008, RPYC, Swan River, Perth, Western Australia
Well today I was hoping for a better performance than last week, although we did well it was a bit disappointing from the incident point-of-view.
Well Vera was back on board this week, and she called me down to the start very well, and we started about 5 sec's after the gun right on the boat end of the start line. However, we had a BW8 in front of us who could point higher than us so I tacked out onto port to get some clear air.
We then tacked back onto starboard back across towards Applecross to pick up the lift off the point. After we tacked back onto port I had to give way to Kungari by tacking back onto starboard. This was pretty good as we were able to out foot them in speed, although they now have their new genoa working well, and were able to point higher.
We had a couple of twisted spinnaker sets on the downwind runs, which we still need to iron out, and I think after talking to Vera afterwards we have a plan to stop that. Plus, having to use the little 1.5 ounce flat spinnaker doesnt help.
Also, I think the genoa's are starting to get very worn and that is not helping us at all, as I am unable to get the boat doing what it was able to do last year.
Anyway, here and there we had some good battles with the other SS34's. We ended up 6th across the line behind Kungari and in front of Perie Banou III.
All-in-all another average day. I really need to find someway to get some new sails, back there are other more important things first though.
Sat, 09th February 2008, Swan River, Perth, Western Australia
Today Dad was skippering as Vera (my wife) was unable to sail due, so I needed to do the foredeck with my son (Brett).
We had a reasonable start and made up some time to the first mark rounding at Foam Bouy. As we were putting up the spinnaker our mast collided with another SS34 Perie Banou III. We were in the wrong (Port & Starboard), and although both skippers thought we would miss, Perie Banou III heeled over unexpectedly, and thus their mast made contact with our spinnaker and port side stay. The only damage to them was they last their wind sensors.
We did the obligatory penalty turns to absolve ourselves, and both yacht continued racing.
It just goes to show how tough these boats are when 2 masts collide at 5-6kts each (10-12kts total) without a mast failure or anything else.
Anyway, we both raced on with us having a decent contest with another SS34 Kungari, who just beat us out at the finish.
We ended up getting 6th on handicap at the end of the day, with us all having an enjoyable sail.
Sat, 02nd February 2008, RPYC, Swan River, Perth, Western Australia
Back racing today after the long weekend off.
It was supposed to be hot, humid & thunderstorms, but it turned it just to be hot and virtually no wind.
We got out to the start, and there was probably less than 5kts of wind, with the occassional zephyr come through with a wisp.
We started in Melville Water about 5min's behind our start (much like most boats in all divisions) because of being able to make the start line.
It tooks us over an hour to get to the 1st mark of the course (Foam Bouy), and then took us over another hour to get back to approximately where we started on the way to Freshwater Bay (Middle Spit).
I heard the committee boat come around and blow the abandonment whistles, but nobody else on the boat did. So, I called Alysha back to the cockpit, took her sunnies off and threw her in the water. I soon followed, and then Brett. We got back on the boat, stowed the sails and gear while drifting, started the motor and towed 2 boats back to the club.
Then we went upto the bar to cool off.
Fri, 01st February 2008, Royal Perth Yacht Club, Swan River, Perth, Western Australia
Now that the good weather is back after Xmas; January, February & March is Swagman's traditional Twilight sailing on Thursday evenings from Royal Perth Yacht Club. And, because of the more pleasant weather we like to get our friends out as well.
This week we had Simon Torvaldsen (one of my racing crew & currently building his own SS34 tentatively name "Storm Morning"), his wife Rosemary and youngest daughter Lucy (who sail Optimists). My daughter Alysha also came along, although Brett was working and didnt make it. One of Vera's long time school friend Carol and her friend Paula also came along. Simon also asked if a new prospective SS34 owner (Robin Morritt) could come as well. Robin is planning to build the next new SS34 after Simon's. Although he seems to be a very busy man, and I certainly hope it gets around to it.
RPYC is extending its marina with floating jetties, and so there is a big pile driver barge out off the Start Box, just near the Start Line, so we need to keep clear.
It was a lovely sail out into Melville Water, around Foam Spit, down to Como Bouy, upto Armstrong Buoy, back down around Outer Dolphin, past Inner Dolphin, Knot Spit, and into Matilda Bay around Poplar & Crawley Bouy to the finish.
We had a great little, casual tussle with Colin Sanders on Perie Banou III (another SS34), and Toravean (Farr9.2). Finally pipping Colin on the line by about half a boat length, although the Farr9.2 got away at the end in the light conditions and flat water. SS34's although they like light winds as well as heavy ones, tack a bit slower than the lighter non-displacement boats like the Farr9.2's.
We packed the boat up, and girls headed up to the lawn area in front of the club and got some dinner, while us boys sat down below and talked boats and SS34's.
Hopefully we got Robin hooked and he will get his boat built by the end of the year. Simon's should be in the water in the next couple of months.
We it was a delightful evening. One of those evenings where the temperature is just neutral, with only enough wind to cool you off, but not get you cold.
Anyway, until next time...Racing on Saturday...
Mon, 28th January 2008, Enroute Rottnest Island to Royal Perth Yacht Club, Swan River, Perth, Western Australia
We went ashore for breakfast again, and left the mooring at about 11:45am. Put the No.3 blade Jib up again, with a full main.
Vera helmed it out of Thompsons Bay via the channel between Phillip Rock and the Natural Jetty. Most people come in and out of Thompsons Bay north of Phillip Rock, but this cuts about 200-300m off the trip (not much considering the overall distance).
Vera then handed it over to Brett to helm back to Fremantle. We just gave him a bearing and some landmarks to steer for, and he pretty much did it from there himself. With the occassionally re-focussing when he turned to chat and lost his bearing. But, I could see that he is a natural, and with a bit more experience and will become very good. So between Vera and Brett over the next few years, I can see I will slowly lose some of the helming. The 2 of them make a great team; that is why they work so well together on the foredeck when we are racing.
We took about 95mins to get to the Fremantle heads. Sailed inside and once we got into calmer conditions dropped the sails and prepared everything for the mast lowering to get back under the Fremantle bridges. This time of day is a harrowing time for yachts lowering their masts, because of the amount of wash from power boats who have absolutely no idea what they do to yachts and lowered masts. There have been some very serious injuries on yachts because of accidents with masts; primarily caused by excessive wash from power boats.
We got through the bridges reasonably uneventfully, and go the mast back up, and decided to put the sails back up because the following breeze had increased and we would probably end up doing a quicker speed than under motor. Plus it would be quieter without the motor on.
We got back to RPYC just before 4pm, packed the boat away, and put what we could in the back of my car and head back home. I would come back and get the rest over the next couple of days. Swagman needs to get back into racing mode for Saturday.
Sun, 27th January 2008, Mooring RIA30, Thompsons Bay (North), Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Finally got Brett awake so that we could get ashore ready to meet Vera when she comes over on the 8:45am ferry. I left Brett, and his Bacon & Eggs order at the Dome Cafe, and went and met Vera at the ferry.
It was really great to see her after a couple of days, and she was looking pretty tired after a late night (12:30am) helping Simone get ready for a trip, and an early morning (4:30am) to get Simone to the airport.
We went back to the Dome and had breakfast and decided on our events of the day; which was to sail around the island.
After breakfast we nipped over to the General Store & bakery for some provision, and Vera nipped into the gift shop to look at and buyy up some jewellery after seeing it on her last trip to the island with her Rotto girls.
We headed back to the boat, stowed a few things, got the sails up and deck and cast off for a nice trip around the island. We left the dinghy on the mooring, but decided to tow the ski behind us just in case we decided to pull into a bay, and do some exploring.
Vera helmed across the North of the island while I kept watch for craypot floats, and trimmed the boat with Brett.
We headed out past the western edge of the island and, as I hadnt been around here before I decided to give everything a wide birth using the GPS, paper charts and dead reckoning as my guide.
We tacked south as the breeze started to increase a few notes upto 18-20kts. As we got to West End (& the West Patch), I decided to tack back out west for 0.5nm just for safety's sake, and then tack back to the south, slowly bearing away to the east to go across the south side of the island.
By this time the breeze had picked up a couple more know, and the swell was a good 1.5-2.5m. So, with the wind well and truly on the beam, Swagman loved every minute of it.
About half way across we realised that the ski had gone missing, so we tacked back around to the west, and slightly north, to see if we could see it. Mainly white ski, with black speckled on a white-capped sea, we thought it would be hard to see. But, Vera's excellent eyes saw it slightly north of our original track after about 5min's. Then we spent the next 10min's trying to retrieve it, and ended up turning the motor on to get a good position coming into it. Got it back on board and lashed it down. The 2nd time on the weekend it tried to get away. it's trying to tell us something.
We headed back around the east end of the island, with me helming this time (as Vera was a bit tired). The sea & wind was increasing slightly, but nothing to worry about for an SS34.
We came back around to Thompson's Bay and came through between Phillip Rock and the Natural Jetty again. Swagman roared into Thompsons bay and was loving it. We dropped sails and picked up the mooring.
Tucked all the sails away, and sorted everything out ready to go ashore for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
It took us just over 3hrs to go around, and I will have to get a plot of the course, or at least an estimate, as my GPS cant download to the PC anymore.
We went ashore and decided to go to the Governors Bar and the Rottnest Island Lodge. That were planning to show the men's final of the Australian Open Tennis later. But before that started we thought we would head over to the Quokka Arms to see what was happening there, and decided to have pizza and chips for dinner, washed down with a couple of beers.
We then headed back to Gov's Bar, and watched the tennis. It was a good match, but after a couple of sets and many beers we could see what way the result was going to go, so we decided to head back to the boat for the evening.
Chilled for the rest of the evening in preparation for tommorrows trip back home.
Sat, 26th January 2008, Mooring RIA30, Thompsons Bay (North), Rottnest Island, Western Australia
We had a pretty good nights sleep. I only got up a couple of times to tend to some slapping halyards. Bret slept like a log, just as he always does.
Today was a little colder and windier, and it was going to be a nice row ashore, which we did and went to the General Store to get some provisions, and then back to the boat.
The wind stayed in all day, and it was a push to row to shore, so we just chilled on the boat; slept, read and listened to the cricket.
Just after 6pm we decided to make the trip ashore and cook the rest of the BBQ pack for dinner. While Brett was doing that, I quickly nipped to the General Store for some more Fruit Salad for dessert.
After dinner we decided to head back to the boat to get ready to watch the fireworks on the mainland. Initially I thought that due to the sea mist between the island and the mainland we wouldnt be able to see anything. But, as usual come 8:30pm it cleared enough to give us a view of the 3 fireworks locations we could see (Fremantle, Perth City, and Hillarys or Mindarie). We thought Fremantle had a better show than Perth, but obviously Perth's was the primary focus and thus probably went on longer.
During the day more and more boats came over, and by the end I would say only a handful of leased (personal) moorings were empty.
Then we bunked down again for the night.
Fri, 25th January 2008, Mooring RIA30, Thompson Bay (North), Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Well, after a late decision in early January we decided to go to Rotto for the Australia Day Long Weekend. At first I thought we wouldnt have a chance at getting a RIA (rental) mooring so late. But, low-and-behold we got one (RIA30) in North Thompsons Bay (half way between the ferry jetty & Bathurst Point. It was a fair way out just outside the North channel out of Thompson Bay, so there was a little bit of wash from passing boats, but they are generally travelling at a slow enough speed not to put out too much wash.
Given that Australia Day (January 26th) was on the Saturday we decided that we would head over on Friday afternoon, and come back on Monday afternoon.
Vera decided that she wouldnt come over until Sunday as she wanted to drop Simone (her daughter) off at the airport of travel interstate. And, Alysha didnt want to come over as she wanted to go to the South Perth foreshore on Saturday afternoon/evening with her friends to watch the fireworks.
So, Brett (my 15yo son & racing crew mastman) and I decided to head off from RPYC at midday. The previous three evenings I had loaded the boat up with all the cruising stuff (about 200kg's I reckon), as we are normally a racing boat.
It took us a quick 90min's to through the Fremantle bridges, then about another 20-30min's to get rigged for see (after dropping the mast to pass under the bridges), and set out from the Fremantle heads. As soon as we got outside, Swagman just took off. She got the whiff of the sea air in her sails, and felt that beautiful swell and sea water against her belly, and she was back home.
The SS34 belongs in the ocean, and is ultimately at there best for long ocean sailing. Although, they can well and truly hold their own around the bouys on a Saturday afternoon, and short passage races.
We had a beautiful 15-18kt SSW on a 33C afternoon, with the No. 3 blade Jib, and the full main, and she literally trucked along. After looking at the GPS just before Rotto we averaged about 6.2kts, absolutely beautiful. Even with all of the extra weight on board, we had her trimmed just perfectly.
As usual the closer we got to Rotto, and as the afternoon wore on the wind started to come upto about 18-20kts SSW. Anyway it took us about 95min's to get to the edge of Thompsons Bay. I decided that seen as it was such a nice sail, we would enter Thompsons Bay between Phillip Rock and the Natural Jetty, which I had only gone through coming out of the island. So, just a new experience.
We sailed right into Thompsons Bay on the edge of the moorings towards the Ferry jetty, and dropped sails, and motored over to North Thompsons to look for our mooring (5min's). It was out a little further that what I thought from when I booked it, but it was a last minute booking, so you cant complain.
We stowed the sails, and got the boat set up for a nice relaxing weekend. Because Swagman has basically been raced since she was built in 1979, and was never really targetted to do any cruising, her fit out inside is pretty basic, but accommodating. So, a couple of years ago when I took over the boat from Dad and we decided to start cruising a bit in between racing, I built some bunk boards that lies across the settee bunks on each side, and this basically gives us a Queen size bed area (if not King size) to sleep. Although it cramps up the cabin a bit, but it suits us at the moment, and we make do.
Over the last couple of years I have started to collected the required things to make cruising a bit more comfortable, and at the end of 2006 I bought a very 2nd hand Quicksilver 2.7 inflatable for $200 (no outboard though). It isnt in very good condition but it suits us for the moment. So we pumped that up. We also brought over my Spirit X-training surf ski, so we launched that out the back.
Then I quickly went ashore and got our island pass.
I came back and we did a little bit more sorting out, and then we chilled out for a little while and listened to the Australia v's India Cricket Test match on the radio (disappointing).
Around 6pm we went ashore and cooked up half of the big BBQ pack I had bought for dinner, and had a nice fruit salad and yoghurt for dessert.
Then we headed over to the Quokka Arms for a couple of beers. We then headed back to the boat and chilled for the rest of the evening; listening to the radio and reading, before having a reasonably early night.
I had the bunk boards all to myself, as Brett prefers to sleep in the bottom of the cockpit on a cushion because he likes the fresh air, and hasnt quite gotten used to sleeping below with the movement of the boat. he is slightly susceptible to sea sickness, but he will get used to it.
Thu, 24th January 2008, Perth, Western Australia
Well this is the start of Swagman's SailBlog.
I have inherited my boat, a Sparkman & Stephens 34, from my father, Bill Waldby, who built the boat in 1979-1980. He handed it over to me in 2006 after he found it too difficult to sail the boat anymore, mainly because of his mobility and age.
Swagman is generally a racing boat, having competed extensively off the West Australian coast up until the early 90's. Nowadays we pretty much just race her on the Swan River in club events (our club is Royal Perth Yacht Club from America's Cup fame, although we were previously a long term member of South of Perth Yacht Club until 2005). We have also started to cruise the boat off Fremantle and out to Rottnest island (located ~20km WNW from Fremantle). But, over the coming years my wife (Vera) and I plan to start to cruise her a little wider.
Swagman has her own website Swagman Sailing. Although that doesnt have a Blog attached to it and only has general information.