There is something about being all at sea

The phrase ‘all at sea’

Comes from a time past, where ship navigation was much less certain

No GPS or accurate weather forecasts

I learnt to sail in the pre GPS days

In days of dead reckoning, bearing compases, cocked hats, noon sights, star sights and sextant

And you best friend was a lighthouse

At the entrance to ports, like the Point Lonsdale Light at the entrance to Port Phillip

Or looming large over dangerous headlands

Like at Cape Liptrap

Or at Cape Schank

While at sea

Companions at sea are the sea birds, terns, shearwaters and gannets

And of course the playful dolphins

Then finding that safe harbour

Or the sheltered cove

Birds Rocks Anchorage, Waratah Bay, Victoria Australia

Its good to be all at sea again.

A new year and a time to revisit an old past time

March last year the yacht Futura after 30 years ownership, past into anothers hands.

I thought my sailing days were over

But a chance to crew with friends means that the 2021 adventures start on the bright blue sea.

Sailing down the channels Port Phillip

Past ships waiting at anchor

Keeping a weather eye

Before entering into Queenscliff the beautiful small boat harbour near Port Phillip Heads.

After a beautiful seaside sunset it a day for some final checks then out into Bass Strait.

Sailing Ships upon the Sea

1988 Hobart to Sydney Tall Ship Race

There is a certain romanticism of billowing sails carrying great ships across the sea

Distant shores unexplored

Harnessing the power of the wind

The power to cross vast oceans

The clouds of billowing sails

Masts reaching for the sky.

Ships from all parts of the world

Oman and the exotic east

The new world of the Americas

The old continents of Europe and Africa

These sailing giants covered the globe

As a young man I read and read Joseph Conrad and dreamt of the sea

My mind full of imaginary adventures in distant and exotic ports

The exotic ports of the trade winds in Lord Jim

The loneliness of being at sea and the weight of command in The Secret Sharer

The power of the weather and the sea in Typhoon

To be amongst the tall ships and the sailing tales of the crew

To sail away

Tech Note

These images were captured during the 1988 Hobart to Sydney Tall Ship Race on colour transparencies. I have rephotographed these with my digital camera using an Emora slide copier extension tube attached to the my camera lens.

Labour of love

Its called a labour of love

The scraping and sanding

The careful preparation and maintenance

Maintaining a thing of beauty

In this case the labour of love was my dear old boat

Crafted from Huon pine with precision and pride nearly 50 years ago

A finely crafted floating jewel box

So yes a labour of love

The fine sanding

The careful masking so the lines are crisp

The laying on of the paint and varnish

To bring her beauty alive

Yes a labour of love

Maybe it’s a metaphor for a life of love.

Waning Moon – Night Sailing

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Source: http://www.daviddelamare.com/waning.html

Alone

at night

the sky full of the milky way

clear in the darkness

 

The sea black

the phosphorescence sparkling in the wake of my boat

as she cuts her way through the sea

the light autumn breeze providing her power

silence and darkness

 

The full moon of Easter has passed

in the last hours of darkness she arises

the waning moon

she sucks the sparkle from the sea

turning it into her own week ribbon of light

 

Our moods are joined as one

this my last night at sea

the waning of my adventure

dawn will bring my home port and another voyage finished

 

But like the waning moon

its a phase

in a little while a new cycle will begin

as with the heavens life is a series of cycles

some more spectacular than others

but cycles of the rhythm of life.

 

I conceived this poem sailing back from Hobart to Melbourne a few years past.  It was a magnificent night and I was off Cape Shank heading west along the Victorian coast when the waning moon rose in the east behind me. The morning would see me clear  The Rip and head for home.

 

Tassie (Tasmania)

 

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Looking past Wineglass Bay to Schouten Passage in the Freycinet Peninsula

 

I’ve looked at Tassie from both sides now

from in and out

and still somehow

Its Tassie’s illusion I recall

I really don’t know Tassie at all

(will apologies to Joni Mitchell)

 

I’m going to Tassie again

I place I can always go back to

find something new and beautiful

In Australian smallest State

An island State, part of an island nation.

 

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Looking out to sea over the remains of the old jetty in Bridport NE Tasmania

Looking out across the blue clear waters that surround Tassie.

Looking in from coastal anchorages at

 

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Storm over Maria Island from Chinamans Bay,

 

At storms rolling past

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At the play of the light on the rocky shoreline

 

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Sleepy Cove, Freycinet Peninsula

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Looking in to tight harbour entrances

 

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Hells Gates the entrance to Macquarie Harbour in perfect conditions

 

Sitting safe in historic ports

 

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Futura in Constitution Dock, Hobart

 

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Looking down on the Stanley Fishing Harbour from the Nut

Travelling through beautiful wilderness

 

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Gordon River Wilderness

 

 

 

 

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Looking towards Frenchmans Cap in the South West Wilderness

 

And a quirkiness that is only Tassie

 

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Ship’s dog watching passers by

 

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Blue Man in Salamanca Place Hobart

Next month I’m going back to Tassie again

Taking the mighty Breva down for her second trip

I hope the sun never sets on my Tasmania adventures.

 

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Sunset over Coles Bay TasmaniaSouth East Tasmania

 

 

 

 

ISAF World Cup Sailing – Melbourne 2016

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Rounding the mark and heading for home in the women’s 470 final

It was a beautiful early summer day and here I was a volunteer official on the finish line of the last round – the medal round – of the ISAF World Cup.

I know a little about race officiating but was a little nervous about such a big event as we waited at St Kilda Marina to pick of the other officials.  My club the Hobsons Bay Yacht Club had provided our club boat to be the set the finish line and record the results.

Maria from Valencia (oh how I loved Spain) quickly assured us that we needed to just do as she said.  Press the hooter when she said now, raise the flag when she said now etc.

She was a quiet woman but chatting away after fine tuning the reach angles and waiting for starts her experience was slowly revealed an on water official at two Olympics, Principal race offer for the TP52 series in Europe.

Great I just did what I was told, enjoy the racing and take some photos.

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470 men’s start

From the boat we had a great view of the start and the final rounding mark leading to the finish.

We were officiating 5 races all deciding the series for that class.

There was the Men’s and Women 470 class.

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Men’s 470s under spinnaker

The Finn a hard boat to sail for big strong blokes.

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Finn Start

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Jake Lilley of Australia using all his strength to keep the boat flat and heading for the medal

The women’s laser radial and men’s laser the boats of single handed skill.

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Maneuvering at the start of the Women’s Laser Radial

The last race the Men’s laser

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A tightly fought race,

with a fairy tale end.

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Thumbs up as he gets the winners signal

With Pavlos Kontides winning his first ever international series gold medal,  having won an Olympic Silver Medal and many other placings in a decade of senior sailing in the laser.

S is for summer S is for sailing

Opening day of the sailing season

Summers on its way

Flags fluttering on a cool clear spring day

Flags up for Opening day
Flags up for Opening day

Slip the boat for a clean and scrub

In the boat yard for a clean
In the boat yard for a clean

S is for sanding

a coat of paint on the hull

getting the old wooden mast ready for a coat of varnish

stripping the mast -Canadian spruce  built 45 years ago
stripping the mast -Canadian spruce built 45 years ago

spruce the old girl up

Summer is almost here