S.V Condesa Del Mar

23 meter Herreshoff Schooner built in Wilmington Boat Yard California 1970 onwards. Fit out completed mid 1990's. Mark and Jenny Gaskell purchased Condesa November 2011 and crossed the Pacific Ocean in 2012.

20 November 2021 | Southport Yacht Club
17 November 2021 | The Great Sandy Straights
13 November 2021 | Coral Sea
06 November 2021 | Keppel Bay Marina
28 October 2021 | Hamilton Island heading south
13 October 2021 | Hook Island
07 October 2021 | Marlin Marina Cairns
01 October 2021 | Lizard Island
26 September 2021
24 September 2021 | Crystalbrooke Marina Port Douglas
17 September 2021 | Low Islet and Port Douglas
10 September 2021 | Cairns
03 September 2021 | Fitzroy Island
26 August 2021
19 August 2021 | Magnetic Island
13 August 2021 | Sailing north door Magnetic Island
04 August 2021 | Hayman Island
28 July 2021 | The Heart of the Reef
21 July 2021 | Whitsunday Islands
15 July 2021 | The Coral Sea Resort

Home sweet Home

20 November 2021 | Southport Yacht Club
Jenny Gaskell | ENE followed by NW Flat seas
The majestic overnight sail under the lunar eclipse of the moon was the perfect and fitting final leg of our FNQ sailing adventures.
Condesa in all her might has covered
5,000 Klm or 2,500 nautical miles since 10th June, gracing Queensland's beautiful coastline gems along the way.
Wide Bay Bar had our full attention from 7am sharp 18th November. Like every other leg, He Who Hums weighed the anchor and set the sails. I was at the helm, and proof that the bar was ready for us was the sight I had of the Captain remaining out the front decks watching the small breaking waves here, there and everywhere around us as I navigated the coordinates marked. He called the final shot taking the best path through the last segment that had 5ft under the keel. Before we knew it the morning was behind us as was the smiling assassin, The Wide Bay Bar.
We could now say we were "officially" headed for home, confident the overnight sail would be the easiest part of our day.
Noticing Coolum Beach around 2pm (๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป sis) and Nth Stradbroke (๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿปbro) around 10pm, we calculated our SYC docking for around 2.30am.
The day sail was a light ENE breeze resulting in a motor sail, and ending with NW breeze which helped flatten the seaway.... a nice welcome back to us! ๐Ÿค—
Literally like ships in the night we heard the log-on radio call with Seaway tower from one lonely vessel headed for Iluka NSW. Soon enough we spotted the tiny navigational lights coming through with the rise and fall of the seaway swell.
We, not long after radioed Seaway tower (knowing Tin Can Bay had forwarded our details onto them). We thanked them for their coverage and advised we were safely back inside the pass.
With that we turned silently into the sleeping Broadwater where all the background lights streamed across our path making it near impossible to identify the channel markers we know so well. It still astounds me that they are intermittent flashing single lights that always feel like an eternity when waiting to confirm your one red or green marker against the ever changing traffic lights in the background. Once your eyes adjust to life back in civilisation things become a little clearer.
So looking way back to June on our first day out where everything seemed against us, I can say our last day had been the complete opposite. Everything unfolded in our favour for our return passage.
Another docking in the dark but knowing our home pen like the back of our hand, we can almost do blindfolded.
We shutdown Condesa's navigational systems and turned out her steaming lights, lavishing her with the praise she deserved as we opened up all her portholes to let the perfect sleeping breeze in.
It was now 3am our supper ritual was ladened with respect and gratitude all round.
Until next year it's goodnight from us three, and a warm thank-you from me for following Condesa's voyage and my ramblings with your messages of support and interest.

Sleep tight!

๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€โœˆ๏ธHe Who Hums
โ›ต๏ธlaCondesaDel Mar
๐Ÿฅฐ & moi!

Enquiring Minds

17 November 2021 | The Great Sandy Straights
Jenny Gaskell | North, South , East and West mix
Do you remember Professor Julius Sumner Millar?
Well, the planning required to return to the Gold Coast is a complex mathematical equation.
I reckon He Who Hums needs a whiteboard so I can keep up with the calculations. The passage through The Great Sandy Straights behind Frazer Island is nothing short of a long division.
Wind, weather, depths, dates, tide, depths, moon, rain, depths, sunrise, sunset, timing, anchorages, depths. ๐Ÿค“๐Ÿ“ฑ๐Ÿ“ˆ๐Ÿ“† (getting the picture?)
Anyone who is brave enough to take a large vessel through the shifting sands of the Straights with a 2.7 draft is either ---- or ----. Feel free to fill in the gaps.
You need to take a run through here with a GPS in one hand and a plumb bob in the other. ๐Ÿ˜‚
On our way north we were right next to the chanel marker and our depth sounder read 4ft - next minute we felt sand but luckily skipped off.๐Ÿ˜ณ
It is in this region other sailors take photos of Condesa, not because she is photogenic, it's because there's a chance to make news should she get stuck on a sandbar. And no one wants to see a snap of themselves laying on their side in The Great Sandy Straights, trust me.

The alternative is to sail on the outside of Frazer Island, which takes another whiteboard equation with a trustworthy 5day weather forecasting plus everything else required for a 48hr straight sail to the GC seaway.
He Who Hums had lured me away from Bundaberg with a pit-stop promise at Kingfisher Bay Resort. Oh, we were going to hike, swim, rest (and pretty sure he said dine out), whilst waiting for the weather window. ๐Ÿค—
However, as it turned out, that promise had to be aborted due to ridiculously uncomfortable anchorage conditions, (but those northerlies were helpful in blowing us there). ๐ŸŒŠ ๐ŸŒฌ ๐Ÿ’จ
By this stage his focus was fine tuned towards the ongoing calculations for the shallow Straights ahead and the Wide Bay Bar conditions further on. So I pretended I didn't see the resort palm trees as Condesa was blown past to anchor a few nautical miles further on. Calmer waters but right nearby one of the 23 ship wrecks on Frazer โ˜ ๏ธ, just saying.
Here we perched and so achieved odd jobs like recalibrating our depth sounder, knowing as each day passes we have a even higher tide. The equation was making He Who Hums a tad more comfortable. We were in prime position to move through the straights first thing in the morning on the last of the incoming high tide at the trickiest spot. ๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿซ๐Ÿ‘Œ
"Why is it so?"
It is a juggling act.๐Ÿคนโ€โ™‚๏ธ I weigh these moments against all the privileges we have enjoyed this sailing season and it doesn't take a physicist to see the scales have been tipped heavily in our favour. So we do what we need to do
out here, all compromises made with our eye on the prize.
The prize you ask?
= Our people!

๐Ÿฅฐ See you all very soon!

Floating in Ecstasy

13 November 2021 | Coral Sea
Jenny Gaskell | 15knts SSE clear skies
We are in for the long-haul, well a 20 hour straight sail from Yeppoon to Bundaberg is hardly long but here we are heading south off the Queensland coast of Australia (for those reading this elsewhere).
Beginning our overnight leg with one of those slow motion sunsets, where a kaleidoscope of pinks and blues from the east bleed into the yellow and orange blaze of the setting sun. ๐Ÿ™‰Nature!
All these colours and more are reflected upon the seas, creating a calming hue for Condesa to sail through.
Our estimated time of arrival has Condesa in Bundaberg's Burnett River around mid to late morning, if all goes to plan. Should there be no room at the inn so to speak we will refuel and keep going.
Our late afternoon sea breeze off Yeppoon held on long enough to keep us slightly healed and on a straight path south until just after dinner.
We settled together in the cockpit with just enough comforts to keep us cosy, but not too cosy to go off dreaming about the romantic Cathedral Caves I meant to share with you before leaving Rockhampton. However, if ever you're looking to find inner peace, it is also lurking in the cool, dripping, darkness of that Cathedral cave. On the cave tour when the lights above fade out, they play a slow rendition of Alleluia, until you are rightly stirred about every story of our land and nature's hand in that.
Tonight it is equally as fresh and beautiful out here, a sure sign the wind was no longer coming from the North West.
Now that I have shared a lovely meal with He Who Hums, and knowing power napping is my specialty I'm noticing Condesa's soothing white noise is taking affect. So you can see why we roster times to each nap until refreshed.
It could have been 10...15...or 30 minutes, I'm not sure but I woke to see the same Southern Cross pointers in my patch of sky above. And within that instant a single shooting star soared and evaporated in a nano second! I took that freak timing as a sign that everything was as perfect as could be out here. It must be my turn to stand guard for He Who Hums.
We are chipping away the nautical miles whenever the wind gods allow us!
Keep dreaming ๐Ÿ˜˜

Summer Lovin

06 November 2021 | Keppel Bay Marina
Jenny Gaskell | Changeable
I've got to say, there's not too much sailing info to report back atm. Oh and there's no need to point the finger, as everyone on the eastern seaboard knows who is responsible for the delay in sailing back to our home port.
However, we have really enjoyed the company of many other sailing people, plus the furry four legged kind ๐Ÿถin Keppel Bay Marina. There is one happy miniature fox terrier ๐Ÿถ, nearby us who bolts from 100 paces the minute he spots me on the dock. I kinda feel the same way, but hold my position ready for his leap of love.
So relatable, knowing this last leg of our journey home is only a matter of days once we commit. Just the thought gets you like this. ๐Ÿค
Patience! - To quote Pedro (again) is the FIRST thing you learn when sailing!
"Let's go sailing in stormy weather" said no one ever! Big masts and lightening will NEVER be compatible. Vessels with smaller drafts can seek shelter and are leaving this weekend. Unfortunately our next port, Bundaberg marina is booked out and there are no places we can hide from the predicted storms.
So the decision has been made to keep Condesa in Yeppoon for another week as the safest option for her and us.
Today's morning coffee routine began well, until no sign of 'Sparky' the boat dog to get excited about me walking up the dock. He is so connected to humans he is always ready, but it appears another dog "Ruff"๐Ÿ• didn't like the attention Sparky was getting and so "Ruffed" him up yesterday.
Sparky's owner just informed us, it all happened so fast he was taken to the animal hospital awaiting news. Hopefully he will be ok, he has the right attitude to life and didn't deserve this. Speaking of lively, we heard Sparky has survived a few unprovoked attacks in his short 4years. Believe it or not, he has also come out the other side an electric shock last year. No lie! He bit the computer cable and they smelt him burning. This is word for word... they removed the cord from his clenched jaw and continued with 'he laid back uncharacteristically still with his eyes open for a hour or so. Then he just came good and has never looked back!' ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ˜ฒ
I had to ask about his name. And no, he was named long before the shocking cable incident. ๐Ÿ™‰
We were shaken by that news. For us it is electrical stuff โšก๏ธ we are most aware of with summer storms and yacht masts. Hopefully things won't get rough out there.
So, as we sit it out again, it is only a matter of time for our turn to run home to our favourite people.

Praying for both the weather and Sparky to come good.


28 October 2021 | Hamilton Island heading south
Jenny Gaskell | NE 15-20 knts
Condesa has departed Hamilton Island!
This time she headed left, as oppose to 'the playground' that is the glorious Whitsundays, when you turn right.
So what happens when we spend more than a day at an island resort is that I find it hard to leave. It's unexplainable but I am not the only one. I have read posts of others who suffer anything from sadness to anxiety when they have to leave port (some have a valid reasons of course). I am not as extreme as that, just at odds, a strange phenomenon for me.
I remind myself of the magnificence of Condesa at sea and the blissfully quiet overnight voyages I love spent under a starlit canopy, equaling if not surpassing island days. But the melancholy feelings are real and it would be easier if I knew where it comes from.
Team Condesa have more relevance at sea than tied to the dock, for sure.
So we are underway and Condesa proves her worth getting straight back into the rhythm, the sails too are happy stealing the wind, the dolphins rush to escort us out of the pass. He Who Hums is back on alert and I capture it all watching the Whitsunday islands fade into a picture postcard backdrop of blues and grey from the front of the boat.
The bow is cutting a perfect reflection through the silky smooth water, like some kind or metaphor. The top half on a mission, the mirror image being taken with, both equally crystal clear.
With the course set for another journey of the heart, my time is free to reflect on the happy go lucky island lifestyle we had shared.
The staff were so hospitable. Each and every one of them doing what they do best, be it buggy rentals, or lifesaver at Catseye beach or waitering in the restaurants and cafes, or getting RSI in the ice-cream shop at the shuttle bus stop or mixing cocktails at the pool bar. It was always service with a smile and genuine friendly conversations had.
I witnessed some of the daily turnover of tourists who arrived in their numbers from the minute I opened my eyes every morning. Yet each received the royal treatment like they were the only ones ever to visit Hamilton island. Whatever the formulae is, the island has got it right!
You don't even realise they are running the infrastructure for a small city until you sail past the water plant, fuel storage, cargo stations and the numerous staff quarters nestled amongst the palm trees at the back of the island.
Each night we enjoyed sundowners on top deck and by 9.30pm we heard the laughter and festivities of the off-duty staff, enjoying karaoke as they all belted out the words for every crowd-pleaser song that drifted across the marina. Except for the night our family surpassed their efforts after a few drinks, bringing out the Cher and Tom Jones fans.๐Ÿคช You have got to love that!
I said to He Who Hums, if ever I was to run away from home, you may or may not find me working on Hammo. It is all too good to be true on reflection.
Should Condesa keep up this harmonic pace, the three of us will be back home with our family and friends in a few weeks. With that said, I feel a pinch of something to shift my mood. As the song says, only love can hurt like that.
Must be time to leave the bowsprit and join He who Hums for morning tea at the helm to discuss our next anchorage.

Sending Love
He Who Hums, Condesa and me.
Stay happy!

Key Performance Indicators

13 October 2021 | Hook Island
Jenny Gaskell | Northerlies blowing !!!!!
Walkin the walk and talkin the talk, from what I've seen it is actually a big part of a Boatie's job description. Of course when you come into an island you don't have to go far before you spot a water lover of the same elk, even from a distance. And of course after the usual tee-tar-tate the very next thing I can ๐Ÿ’ฏ guarantee you, is the confirmation of the wind direction ๐Ÿคฃ. Oh which ignites the conversation towards how long it will blow etc. PS There are no prizes for getting it right. Even an ol bloke off SV Blind Freddie would know the forecast despite some hearing loss. Many sailors are itching for the same wind to start their return voyage south.
However, a single question was asked by a landlubber that had me thinking. Q:- But how do you know which way to go to get home?
Well, an old seasalt once told me 20 years ago (and no it wasn't Pedro), this sailors nic name was Nine-and-a-Half, but that's another story๐Ÿ––๐Ÿ˜†. His instructions as he left me at the helm for my first night watch ever were rather simple. 'Ok just keep Australia on this side and the open sea on that side, and the view of one star constellation in your rigging! You'll be fine' ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Righto then, I told myself 'you've got this jg' as he left to go sleep. Yes sleep! I then set out to survive his somewhat simplistic instructions.
Unlike Nine-and-a-Half, He Who Hums does homework and the return trip for us looks like this - he had opened the maps, identified our location, pin pointed our destination and scanned the area between for depths and hazards ie rocks, reef, sandbanks, channel markers and set a course navigating around any such issues. Then it's up to us to watch for any other moving or stationary vessels eg- small fishing boats ๐Ÿšฃ๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ whilst underway. This diligence happens from broad daylight into the night. Aside from all this, you keep an eye on your sails, listen to your motor, watch your navigational equipment and care for people on board. Should all that be honky dory then your plain sailing!
And sometimes (like yesterday) some other very thoughtful sailor will photograph Condesa under full sail, doing what she does best and uploaded it to a Sailing Facebook page, making it look as majestic as it felt scooting down the east coast of Queensland.
What they don't capture is Condesa sneaking into a crowded anchorage, navigating the narrow headland markers at 2.30am due to a change of final destination because of (you got it) the updated wind forecast.
For me it was just as exhilarating to helm her in the pitch black last night as my first ever attempt to night sail. It was as black as the ace of spades outside, apart from the hundreds of anchor lights ahead. I was guided mostly by the single I-pad plotter and messages from He Who is Humming to himself on the forward deck. He was busy looking for a spot to drop anchor.
Inching in as quietly as one can to not disturb the sleeping explorers. He Who is navigator finds the spot and I bring Condesa in carefully and cut the engine.
Silence reins after our 19 hour sail south. Before we bed down the boat and ourselves we look up to the gazillion stars and thank those who's job it is to watch over us. And to those beautiful people who pepper the heavens with their prayers whilst we are navigating life out here. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป ๐Ÿฅฐ

image courtesy of Matt Power

From Dream to Dream

07 October 2021 | Marlin Marina Cairns
Jenny Gaskell | 10 knots Northerlies, calm seas sunny days
You guessed it! Condesa is southbound, leaving Lizard Island behind.
We are counting our blessings to have had the weather window and the guts to head so far north, knowing people can get caught at Lizard Island for anywhere up to a month waiting for the right forecast (which would send some humming people troppo). What did Pedro say? The biggest thing sailing will teach you?...... is patience.
They wait there because no one likes to bash into the weather to move south. I probably should explain. The underlying pressure to keep moving, is that the insurance companies require vessels to be south of Bundaberg for cyclone season.
However, this rambling was not meant to be about weather. ๐Ÿ™‰

We said goodbye at sunset drinks the day prior and parted with a bag of fresh fish fillets, gifted from the young fisherman who wanted nothing in return. Too bad ... he got the beers taking up room in my fridge for his kind gesture!
Ok where was I ..... Yes, the feelings when Condesa turned her back on the kaleidoscope of reefs and marine life and navigated away from her anchorage. He Who Hums so loudly, put up our sails and I played my part in exiting Watson's bay in a very serene and humbled manner equaling the surrounds.
Once settled into the rhythm of the sea, it was sweet grilled Fish salad prepped for lunch and fish disguised in crumbs with vegetables for dinner. Enough to sustain us for the nightsail ahead.
Being the end of the moon's third quarter, the stage was set for a dark voyage. There was nothing to see, not even on land. We travelled with the whoosh of the water that mesmerised us. Whilst the navigational screens had us visibly pointing in the right direction. It was no surprise there was minimal marine traffic around us or on the radio throughout the night as we were sailing in pretty isolated waters far north Queensland.
After 20 hours in next to no wind, we motor sailed toward the distant red and green harbour lights. This sight slowly sharpens your mind the closer you draw near. Eventually, we turned Condesa to landfall and followed the very long channel markers into port, whilst everyone was sleeping.
We dropped our sails first, then entered the rock wall passage and found our allotted mooring. It is here your brain electrifies into ๐Ÿ’ฏON. He Who Hums was manoeuvring with precision and in the wee hours of the morning I was using my low voice and spotlight to guide Condesa dockside.
All this happened with the lullaby of the one lonely little bird nearby who sensed a new day pending. We tried not to disturb him as 3am was way to early to start the flock of gulls off and I would hate to try to sleep with those guys banging on about picnic scraps and hot chips (as they do in this seaside marina).
We held a little supper of tea and toast before bed where we both silently acknowledge our safe arrival, something we never take for granted.
The pillow never felt so good! (I lie. I say that every night. ๐Ÿ˜‚) The brain had us rocking, while our bodies remained dead still.
I swear the sleep fairy must have circled once with her wand and all the wonders of our Fitzroy Island voyage replayed in fast forward from beginning to end.
We had a solid 4 hours recovery before the seagulls announced another stunning day, the reef tour boats were in action, clearly with some food onboard by the sounds of it.
Vessel Name: La Condesa Del Mar
Vessel Make/Model: Herreshoff Schooner 73 ft
Hailing Port: Southport Brisbane Australia
Crew: Mark & Jenny Gaskell
Boat and water lovers from the east coast of Queensland. Both Mark and Jenny enjoyed an upbringing holidaying on the beautiful beaches of the Gold Coast where the smell of the ocean is ingrained at a young age. The passion grew with each vessel large and small over the years. [...]
Extra: Having conquered the east coast of Queensland Australia the biggest challenge and adventure was crossing the Pacific ocean in 2012 just months after purchasing. Leaving La Paz Mexico in March 2012 reaching for Australian waters October 2012. We love the simplicity and beauty of being live-aboards.
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/svcondesa
La Condesa Del Mar's Photos - Main
The return to our favourite spot in the Percy group. Two days was not enough but we will return ๐Ÿคฉ
1 Photo
Created 5 July 2021
The surprise week with the kids in Musket Cove
38 Photos
Created 18 September 2012
Throughout Fiji Islands
20 Photos
Created 12 September 2012
Our Puddle Jump Celebrations on Moorea Island
20 Photos
Created 12 September 2012
Discovering Tahiti and family come to visit Condesa
20 Photos
Created 3 September 2012
This little escapade was one of my favorites maybe it was the great company we had
16 Photos
Created 30 August 2012
This is the river discovery as inthe blog Free Falling
19 Photos
Created 30 August 2012
Our stint in the remote beauty of Suwarrow
26 Photos
Created 30 August 2012
Our trek deep into the Cascades on Nuku Hiva
20 Photos
Created 18 June 2012
21 days at sea
22 Photos
Created 18 June 2012
Day 21 onwards !
3 Photos
Created 14 May 2012
Here are files of photos from purchase to preparation for the Puddle Jump
20 Photos
Created 12 April 2012
Captured as we worked
28 Photos
Created 12 April 2012
Our 6 weeks in La PAz we have has a ball and celebrated with the locals and the fleet. We have worked hard and will reep the rewards at sea.
22 Photos
Created 11 April 2012
When out and about I snapped a few styles of homes and buildings - enjoy
26 Photos
Created 4 April 2012
The word "carnaval". The general consensus is that it evolved during the middle ages, as part of the Roman Catholic ritual of lent. I hear it concludes on 'Fat Tuesday'???
20 Photos
Created 16 March 2012
The journey south from Guaymas to La Paz
20 Photos
Created 16 March 2012
From Day 1 - Day 7 The preparation to launch La Condesa Del Mar to sail the Sea of Cortez
18 Photos
Created 4 January 2012