31 July 2017 | 120 miles ENE Flinders Island
30 July 2017 | 70 miles Southeast Gabo Island
29 July 2017 | 80 Miles East of Montague Island
29 July 2017 | 100 Miles East of Ulladulla
28 July 2017 | 80 miles East Shoalhaven River
27 July 2017 | About 115 miles East of Pittwater
26 July 2017 | 55 miles East of Tuncurry
25 July 2017 | 65 miles East of Coffs Harbour
24 July 2017 | 13 Miles East of Tweed Heads on NSW/Queensland Border
23 July 2017 | Gold Coast Seaway
23 July 2017 | Southport Yacht Club
15 July 2017 | Scarborough Marina
11 July 2017 | Scarborough Marina
11 July 2017 | Scarborough Marina
28 January 2017 | POW Bay Marina
28 January 2017 | Prince of Wales Bay Marina
05 December 2016 | Kettering Tasmania
03 December 2016 | 108 miles West Matsuyker Island
02 December 2016 | 150 miles West of Matsuyker Island, Southern Tasmania
01 December 2016 | 280 miles to SE Cape Tasmania Bearing 100T
AIS & Watch Keeping
21 May 2018 | 55 Miles NE Staten Island
7:00pm Monday 21st May 2018 ( UTC-3 )
Soon after lunch, or should I say after a late breakfast, the Echomax Radar Enhancer started giving the occasional chirrup which after another twenty minutes became a steady beep every two seconds. I checked out the horizon and the AIS receiver and nothing seen. A little while later the single flashing green light on the Echomax was joined by another indicating two ships but neither seen on the horizon or the screen. A couple of hours later I thought I heard the sound of a fisheries patrol aircraft and popped my head to see a large Korean style Trawler passing very close â ahead â although I was becalmed at this stage and had been for an hour or so. In precise Australian I called on Channel 16 â Got your AIS turned off, mate? â but of course got no reply. A further diligent scan next revealed a Korean squid jigger about two miles off on a course which had it pass by to the South by about half a mile. Concerned that my AIS was not receiving I phoned Bob McLeod on the Iridium to see if there were any fishing vessels transmitting on Marine Traffic from my position but he advised none were seen at my location. My only conclusion was that the vessels for some nefarious reasons of their own had turned off their AIS transmit and had come close by to check me out as they both seemed to alter course shortly afterwards. When I say seemed it is because it is hard to pick direction when you are slowly revolving yourself. The wind eased last night soon after I watched a rather lovely sunset so despite my good intentions I set the full jib along with the staysail and double reefed main so made good time during the night till deciding to furl the jib about 5am with an increase in the wind. We were pretty well becalmed for three hours but now making reasonable speed in the right direction under a canopy of 8/8ths stars.
20 May 2018 | 25 Miles WSW Beauchene Island
4:00pm Sunday 20th May 2018
I travelled through the night with just the staysail and though a little under canvassed I thought it prudent to let things settle down. I had the electric autopilot on all the time and at the average speed of just under 5 knots the Hydrogenerator kept the batteries on full charge at just over 12.9 volts which bodes well for the future. The breeze eased off as forecast around noon so I really rugged up to ward off the chill - too much so as with only the moderate exercise in hoisting the main to its second reef and redoing the lines for the WindPilot I found myself sweating! The WindPilot is now steering the boat well and I hope to use it most of the time and save the electric for those light following winds I am told exist in the South Pacific. Beauchene Island is the most Southerly of the Falklands and though I passed within 10 miles could not see it due to the misty drizzle. Making slow progress now with the staysail and double reefed main in the slightly lumpy sea left over from the 30+knot Northerly from last night as I donât relish the thought of too much sail handling in the long dark nights ahead.
19 May 2018 | 15 Miles East of Lively Island, East Falklands
10:00pm Saturday 19th May 2018. ( UTC-3 )
I was very pleased with myself as I completed quite a few jobs this morning - WindPilot Lines, running backstays, boom vang downhaul amongst them - and I cast off from my home at the FIC Jetty at 1:30pm, precisely the very last moment I was allowed, that being within the allowed 24 hours before being required to clear immigration again. I had arranged the lines so that they could be easily cast off and chugged out into the freshening North West breeze of about 20 knots. In order to hoist the main I headed into the breeze and engaged the autopilot. Press press press - no autopilot but a lot of strange messages Iâve not seen before. Nothing for it but to head to the public Jetty to the protestations of two fur seals â sunning â themselves on the low pontoon. A bit of an awkward time as I scavenged around for the neatly stowed mooring lines but did manage to lasso a bollard for a rather clumsy moor. Next thing Bob, Janet and Andrez popped by offering to help but I thanked them and set about clearing out the stores from the quarter berth where all the wiring is. Checked the voltage at the unit - a good 12.7 volts but no improvement. Went through all the set up procedures - still no go. I then tried factory reset, reprogrammed speed,rudder angle etc. and voila! a .response. Jason popped by in Speedwell offering help but as it all seemed good I restowed the stores, checked with Stanley Harbour Control - fine, called Immigration to admit overstaying my visa but as no immediate response felt Iâd done the right thing and headed off at about 3:30pm. The breeze had become a little stronger so I only unfurled the inner staysail and travelled quite well at about 5 knots though I did motor into the wind dead on the nose through the Narrows on the perfectly behaved autopilot. I called departing the control line through Cape Pembroke just before 5pm, cleared Seal Rocks and headed South still with just the staysail. I then deployed my Watt & Sea hydrogenerator and immediately saw it was working. Since then it has been keeping the auto pilot, fridge, lights and instruments all up at 12.8 volts while travelling at about 5 1/2 knots which is a great relief after the scare with the autopilot which I will keep going through the night to forestall any wind change luring me onto a rocky shore. Itâs now a 25 knot Northerly which may become stronger later on so I will wait till morning before considering any more sail. Iâve blocked off all the draughts so with a hotty it should be fairly comfortable night with a cabin temperature of 9C.
We Sail With The Tide in The Morning!
18 May 2018 | FIC Jetty, Stanley,Falkland Islands
9:00pm Friday 18th May 2018 ( UTC-3 )
Not really but it sounds awfully nautical and adventurous. Still lots of little tidying up jobs to do but I do have a deadline - 1:30pm tomorrow, Saturday May 19th 2018 as otherwise my immigration departure would have to be re-done. Thatâs not a real problem with the ever helpful people in the Department but the main driver is the long forecast strong winds from the North or NorâNorâWest over the next two days which should give a great run most of the way to Cape Horn. We had the first real snowfall last night and though light still lingered on despite a calm and sunny day till well after noon. Water was still freezing in a bucket in the cockpit until lunchtime but it was a great time to sort out the battens on the main sail as the Northerly breeze rarely reached 4 knots and the sail could be hoisted fully without even a flutter. All the stores are loaded and stowed to keep me well fed for at least 4 months and in addition I have two legs of mutton expertly cooked by Andrez. I can attest to the quality as Andrez and I enjoyed a great meal last night from a third leg cooked in the same oven and served in the traditional Falklands style with homegrown potatoes and homegrown kale. If all goes to plan I hope to restart the voyage blog tomorrow though it could be a little later than usual as I keep an eye out for â rocks and shoals â. The fishing season has pretty well finished in the Falklands so the minimal traffic should give a clear run most of the way to Staten Island and the Straits of Lemaire which hopefully should come up in about 3 days. It will be a shock to the system once the little heater is disconnected and the cabin drops from a comfortable 16C to Zero or below so the beanies, balaclavas and neck warmers just purchased will be put to the test!
14 May 2018 | FIC Jetty Stanley, Falkland Islands
3:00am Monday 14th May 2018 ( UTC-3 ]
Yes at long last I have set a departure date - Saturday 20th May 2018. Iâve been so long here I thought it best to include the year! The major delay has of course been the difficulty in obtaining the necessary parts for the rigging but now everything is well in hand. Thanks very much to Andrez Short the rigging has been made up using Sta - Lok fittings . It is noted here that what I suspected for the Port Lower Diagonal turned out to be correct. I thought I saw one parted strand before my fall from grace in Puerto Espanol and it turned out to be all too true. In fact four strands of the nineteen had parted which could have had interesting consequences had I continued under jury rig. The mast was stood up using a JCB pallet loader which once the jib is up it must have its feet on the ground so is unable to slew left or right, but this problem was easily overcome by winching LâEau Commotion fore and aft whilst alongside the dock. We picked a rare calm day that unfortunately coincided with the heaviest ( and coldest ) rain weâve had in the last two months but with Dion driving and Hector and Roberto cheerfully dogging all went remarkably smoothly. All the standing rigging is now complete which includes the furling staysail which had failed in the first few weeks of the journey and was much missed in the Southern latitudes. The furling headsail, the furling staysail and the mainsail with the boom now reattached are all strapped on and with a few minor tweaks are all ready to go. Thanks to Bob McLeod of the Falkland Islands Yacht Club, of which I am proud to be the most recent member, the multiple problems with VHF aerials have now been sorted out. I now have good solid VHF voice communications with a spare set, as well as the original handheld VHF which has a rechargeable Li battery and most importantly a 5 AAA backup pack.Another vital piece of equipment, again with a new aerial, is an Onwa 708A combined chart plotter and AIS transceiver with complete charts of South America and all the islands of the South Pacific. It was great to pick up the full ships details on the AIS at 18 miles range over one hill and two mountain ranges ( it is basically a âline of sight/VHF transmission ) of a departing trawler, but even more importantly Jason on Speedwell reported getting LâEau Commotionâs AIS signal from Berkley Sound so I am confident I can now be seen as well as heard. In addition the new LED Tricolour on the masthead is shining brightly which is superior to the previous navigation lights at the pulpit which had failed due to corrosion but in any case would often be below the largish swells hereabouts. The new Watt & Sea hydrogenerator is now connected electrically and all the indicating lights are as per specs but the system has not been sea trialed. It will be a busy week possibly hampered by a forecast two days of snow but all should be ready to take advantage of a North or North Westerly breeze from Saturday on - the winds of recent weeks though moderate have been predominantly South or South West so will grab another four hours sleep till daylight at 8:00am.
22 April 2018 | FIC Jetty, Stanley
4:00pm Sunday 22nd April 2018 ( UTC-3 ) Please bear with me on my comments on Stanley and the Falklands as I am by no means an authority and what follows must be taken as the impressions of an occasional visitor. It has been my great good fortune to become well acquainted with Bob, Janet, Jason and Andrez, all Kelpers and all with a slightly different outlook on their surroundings and circumstances but all with the common thought that this is a great place to be; indeed this also applies to the many other people with whom I have had the pleasure of conversing. As I have mentioned before Barbara and I spent six months here 42 years ago and even then there was much talk about the potential for fishing and oil but hanging over all this was the stated threat of an Argentine takeover of the Islands and this was also a time when Britain, subsequent to WW2, had already divested itself of most of its Colonies and Empire. Because of this the Colony was very much dependent for income on practically its sole industry, wool, and the vagaries of that market. The turning point of course was the Argentine invasion in 1982 and the decision of Margaret Thatcher and her Government that this naked aggression should not go unanswered. With great heroism and at substantial loss of life to themselves the Brits overcame a more numerous well dug in foe to free the Islands from that malignant dictatorship and equally as important asserted to the world that The Falklands, now an Overseas Territory of the UK, was open for business. Substantial investment res ulted in the discovery and proving of economic quantities of oil which could proceed to production at any time but the mainstay of the economy is fishing along with tourism and wool. Careful scientific management of the fishery involving trawling for one type of squid, jigging for another type, longlining for Patagonian Toothfish and " Hoovering " for Krill has been of huge benefit to the Islands and its population and yet without any apparent downside that often occurs in such circumstances to either the people or the wildlife. Nearly 60 tourist ships visit the Islands each year carrying up to 3,000 passengers each so providing buses and tour guides for penguin and seal watching as well as cafes and souvenir shops ensure many employment opportunities. The large military bases at Mount Pleasant and Mare Harbour, though largely self contained, have positive flow on effects in the community. There are no natural trees on the Falklands though interestingly enough further South where I holed up for a while in Puerto Espanol on the Island of Tierra del Fuego fixing the rigging substantial forests were located in every fold in the land and the beaches were strewn with bleached driftwood. A few types of trees planted around Stanley and the one settlement I have been to, Port San Carlos, seem to thrive but there are absolutely none in " The Camp ". Again, not being a naturalist or a grazier, the vegetation is very low to the ground and a lot of it seeming wiry or clumped together but nevertheless is capable of supporting the former population of 650,000 sheep together with a much smaller number of cattle and horses. I believe at the present there are now about 500,000 sheep and fewer horses as much of the former work done on horseback is now done with bikes, quad bikes and Land Rovers. There are vast areas of peat bogs which formerly was the main cooking and heating f uel on the Islands, including Stanley, but is now supplanted by electricity for cooking and kerosene for central heating. As such the country can be boggy for travelling and not suitable for cropping so though appearing barren is however productive. In addition to the sheep there are large numbers of the Upland Goose which are very good to eat and almost in pest proportions as they compete with the sheep for available pasture. I still avidly read the comments on my blog which brings me to my former yacht Katherine Ann. Yes she has the identical hull shape to the Mottle 33 though this was an early creation of the Joe Adams design made by laying up C- Flex fibreglass battens on frames and building up the substantial hull thickness with additional glass and resin. The deck cockpit cabin and interior fit out is plywood and varnished wood giving a very attractive traditional appearance and she served me well in the 20,000 odd miles I did in her. I spent about 200 days solo at sea in Katherine Ann and in L'Eau Commotion about 270 days, the longest stretch being 218 days from Southport to Stanley via the Canaries and passing by Cape Horn four times. At various times I also enjoyed the company of Simon ( sadly missed ) Kerrie, Tom and my daughter KT and grandson Constantine between Cairns, Brisbane, Lord Howe Island, Sydney and Hobart for another three or four weeks at sea in both yachts. Yesterday, 21st April, was the actual birthday of Queen Elizabeth the Second, and was celebrated in fine style with a military parade, in front of Stanley House of the British Army,Navy and Air Force and a contingent of the Falkland Islands Defence Force, led by a stirring marching band of The Ghurkas, with the Governor presiding and taking the 21 gun salute from two venerable Hotchkiss Mountain Guns. In a recent referendum asking should they remain an Overseas Territory of the Crown 99.7% of the people who voted said yes. The three naysayers did not make their presence felt at the ceremony.