…and then there were six

What started out as a ramble for just the Father in Law and myself grew into

The Big Family Outing

Six of us sailed the 10NM to Ryhll for a yum Fish and Chip lunch.

Zoe and Daisy can never sit still. I am resigned to taking off thier jackets as they dive below and putting them back on again 5 minitues later. Then clipping them on as they go forward, then unclipping them as they steer for a while. If there was a way to wire them up and extract electricity from thier perpetual motion…

The boat swallows up six people easily. Ray or myself or the kids kick back and steer. Beth hangs on the net and Jan in the cabin. We had about 12knots on a broad reach there and the same home. A lovely day.

Maybe one of the last sails ever for me on Surfarosa. We are trying to launch our Schionning cat in January and I have finally wrapped my head around the idea that maybe I should pass Surfarosa on… I’m very keen for it to go to the right person. I dont want it to sit sadly in someones driveway. Or simply raced around the cans. It is an amazing boat. A beautiful, strong boat. It deserves to be loved and taken on adventures.

Phillip Island

A small adventure, sailing right around Phillip Island.

Getting the boat sorted the day before takes the pressure off and leaves time for messing about with boaty bits.

We gathered a keen, if not quite crack, crew of four crusty blokes, enough food for two days, and a bottle of celebratory wine. (OK, a couple of beers, too).

Squeezing past Tortoise Head on French Island in the late morning after a lazy start, we are finally into it, away… so, time to park next the beach at Rhyll, on the Nth side of Phillip Island, and wander off in the rain for a cup of coffee and a toasted sandwich at the General Store.

A quick sail along the Nth side, past Churchill Is and Newhaven, found us before the Phillip Island bridge. Crikey, the tide was nearly high but still running enough to pile up water against the bridge pylons. We pushed through and plonked ourselves at the pier in San Remo.

Walking through town then out toward the coast led us to a spot where we could see the channel to Bass Strait. It was fairly wild. Waves breaking onto sandbars, the sea cold and grey. It is about 4 km out to Bass Strait from San Remo. There is some protected water under Cape Woolemi. We stayed there. I dumped the guys onto the sand, through a small swell, so they could walk over to Woolemi Beach. We motor past a huge sandhill where the local kids were sand skiing. Awesome!

Day two. Breakfast onboard then a gentle sail past Cape Woolemi on our way out to Bass Strait.

The weather forcast was promising a gentle offshore breeze. What we got was a 20 knot headwind over a six foot swell. Lumpy and wild for light 24 foot trimaran. Once I got the idea that the boat was really enjoying these conditions, I started to enjoy myself too. It took three long tacks and three hours to get us past Seal Rocks and back into Westernport Bay.

A fast sail through Cat Bay, reaching 16 knots, then a last skim along Phillip Island, before crossing our tracks and lunch in the lee of Sandy Point.

A quiet sail up past Stony point and around an old Oberon class submarine, then home…

57 Nautical Miles. Average speed 5.5 knots. Two days.

Circumcising French Island.

A day on the water with my partners Dad. It’s blowing 25 knots. Solid.

“Shall we reef?”. “Nar. Reefing is for Pansies”.

Did he say, ‘Pansies’?

Not sure… but whatever he said, we didn’t reef.

All the sails up.

So, there we were, Ray at the tiller in a homemade 24 foot Trimaran beating from Hastings to Tortoise Head in 25 knots against a strong tide.

Wet. Crazy. Fun.

Think ‘Capt Dan up the rigging’ in that scene in Forest Gump.

“Is that the best you you can do, God?!”

We round Tortoise Head and crack off toward Rhyll.

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Fast fun. There are times when the boat is almost out of control, but not quite. We push it and push it. Ray locks his jaw on the tiller. I keep the mainsheet in my hand…

Rhyll. We leave Surfarosa at the dock and go in search of an early lunch/coffee.

The Rhyll Cafe is crowded with tourists and locals, we spare them our wet, salty, smelly, wild haired selves and walk to the General Store. Ah, ya gotta love a General Store that smells like the 1950s but serves passable coffee.

A thought drifts between us… “Er, we could go right around french Island, ya know”, “What? Tides? Wind?”. “Yep. Strangely, all good. Never occured to me until now…”

Ray gets a tad steely (which quite frankly scared me a little…)

“OK. Lets go”

We sail off the pier with a crunch and find ourselves surfing downwind, wing on wing, at 10 knots. Charts and compass on our laps. The Eastern side of French Island is beautiful. Gumtrees grow to the waters edge. Off the Grid farms. Sandbars and deep water.

We anchor at the NE corner for a brew.

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Lines are imagined on the chart and we are off across the Northern Shore of French Island in 25knots of offshore wind over very flat water.

The boat sits on 15 knots for about an hour.

Amazing sailing. It is way windy. We have too much sail up.

A scary kind of Joy. The best kind.

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French Is

Met this other Dad at the pool. Our kids love each other and so we mostly get to Gas Bag as they play. It was a few weeks of swims before we realized we had a bizzare amount of things in common. We both sail (admittedly he was a world champion and sailed Americas Cup yachts… but still…), we both work with boats now, we both were in bands, we are both older Dads. Cool!

We hit the bay on a fine 15 knot day for a sail over to French Island. Kids dissapeared below. They do laps of the cabins. French Is is off the grid and has no by laws. It has that 1950s feel. We scout out the beach, talk, play with kids, talk… it’s a sunny day. Perfect.

The Local

Out on the Bay with gorgeous friends. We sailed past the submarine then past the tall ship Enterprize and on to Sandy Point. A cartoon perfect blue day with gentle breezes.

Sandy Pt put on a show for us. The tide got low and the sand spit went out forever into the wild blue sea. The kids found warm pools to lay in.

Such nice people to spend the day with. These guys are serious foodies. We ate like they do on those tasty TV shows. Yum! It was a big day. A happy day.

Thanks be the Taylor Family.

From King Lake to Sandy Pt.

Lovely Friends join us for a warm summery sail down to Sandy Point.
These guys really know how to sail, which meant I could laze around on deck.
It is New Years Eve and the birthday of our honary Skipper.
There was little wind and the kids were having fun. Bliss.

I didnt anchor out far enough and we got caught by the tide at Sandy Pt. Spent an extra few hours there on the beach. Whoops. No drama, it was one of those days when no one had to be anywhere other than where they were. The kids were in kid heaven. Other than a leaky toilet *peee-u*, nearly running aground and hitting another boat when trying to sail onto the dock in no wind… we did well. Really.

Lets go for a sail.

Dear Friends stay over for the weekend.

It’s hot, we are full of Leb and Greek tucka from Res.

We hit the beach.


The water is begining to become almost Balmy.


Somers Cafe.

I decide to take the Eight of us for a sail.

Not my Best Ever decision…

Blowing 15 to 20 knots, straight up the bay.

J, does a fine ‘Jackie O’ despite the conditions.

Lumpy. Chunderous.

Sea Sickness decends. Stef is Father of the Year.

Sorry guys. Next time, I promise it will be Sparkling.

Next time.

The girls jump into a show on iVeiw and we recover.

Ok, Daisy still looks a bit horrified.

Not Going to School Day

Zoe turned five a few weeks ago. She can go to school this year.

Well, technically she doesn’t have to go until next year, when she turns six.

Well, even more technically, she doesn’t have to go to school at all.

So… This is her very first day of not going to school.

Tra la!

I gotta tell you… I have smiled all day.

It is a sublime day of sunshine and light winds.

A good day to begin a journey.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.

Indeed, Mr Tolkien. Indeed.

We spend the whole day in the water.

A couple of hours at the pool, then the afternoon at the beach.

A Baptism of sorts?

Nup. Simply, a day in the water.