Jon Sanders Update

Update from team-mates Jon Sanders and Linda Pasquariello about their yacht delivery to Sydney (they just arrived).  Always entertaining writing from Jon 😉

“Liberine” the yacht Brian McMasters, Jonathan Clough and co. raced to Bali, and which Andrew and I sailed to MacKay. Since Brian, Jonathan and co. have used Libertine off the Queensland coast.

They, now, have given me the job of sailing her to Sydney from Mackay Queensland.  Aprox 1000  NM.  Wow.

Despite the fact I am a life member or Qantas Club (which they would not know), they put me in Virgin Australia.  I suppose given the choice of Aeroflot or Virgin, one would have to go Virgin.

Anyway the thing took off.  So it did.  

They have TV sets in the back of all the chairs.  And you don’t have to swipe the visa cards any more.  Its a Boeing 737 (I nearly wrote DC3).

It picks up the satellites and one can have National Geographic, History Channel, Sky News etc.  All the things I like to watch.  Good if it works.

But my TV remained blank.  I tried the visa card. But to no avail.  Bugger.   Maybe something wrong with the visa card.  You get that.

Meantime the lady sitting next to me was having different trouble with her TV.  (Virgin).  Hers was going bright then dull, the contrast every which way. She tells me the volume was going up and down and it kept changing channels.>

Oh dear me.  Guess who was pushing her buttons instead of mine!  

Meantime the 737 flew out across the desert, all the way to Brisbane.  With me in it.

I was picked up at Brisbane air port by Maree Stainton and off we set for Bundaberg 100s of kilometers away. It got dark and it Rained  Heavy.  Must be in Queensland.  One of the fuses did’nt like the rain &  shorted.  Turned the car lights out. Bit dark outside, so it was.  After ringing a mechanic neighbor Maree fixed it.

We decided to stop in a motel.  Better than night driving in the rain.  Which ended up being a two bedroom sweet with a spar bath in the middle on the 8th floor of the Mantra  Mooloolaba.  Room cost $150 which was good.

Next day was a 31\2 hour drive to Maree and Richards home at Bagara a seaside suberb of Bundaberg.  There is a bedroom always there for me.

An important part of being in Bagara was to meet up with Linda Pasquariello. (Australian born). A slim attractive 30 year old who had just single handed her own yacht from San fransisco to Bundaberg.  She and I have sailed before together south coast of Australia.  Her boy friend partner Brian Caldwell was doing the compulsory 1000 nm non stop in his mini Trans required to do the French mini Fastnet race.  That race has a cut off of 80 yachts.  Brian has had two 5ths in that event.  His other yacht is an  S&S34 currently in Seattle US.  He has also done a Hobart and the Cape to Rio plus across the Bight etc on my Perie Banou 11. 

Any way arrangements made with Linda.   Slight delay Mum is coming to Bundaberg for a visit. 

I now go to MacKay on the Tilt Train.  It is over night this section. All business class sit ups. Each car two seats on one side, single on the other and some single either side, at rear of car.  So if your travelling solo one will get a single seat.  Spacious,  TV sets fold out from arm rest and there is an all night buffet car.  

At the back of the train is a sleek zappy looking diesel engine pointing the wrong way. It wants to drag the train back to Brisbane.  Strangely there is another engine at the front.

Alternate days the Sunlander runs Brisbane Cairns   It is a sleeper train with economy sit ups at the back.  Because of timing Linda was on this train.  St up.  Jagged sitting next to a male creep.  Any way he gave up trying to make useless conversation with Linda and went down the car to pick on another female.

We set sail in libertine (a Beneteau first 44.7)  the same morning Linda arrived.  Because it was Anzac Day we we could not top up fully with diesel fuel.  So we sailed to Burnett Heads for refueling.  Strong south east head winds.  We motor sailed most with two reefs main and engine at 1800 rpm  and tacked the last section with two reefs and storm jib.

We wait for strong fronts and depressions to go by.  As we hoped to anchor 1st off the lee side north end of Fraser Island and the next night the south end.  In other words we transited the great Sandy Strait.  A place with Islands, sand banks that come out of water at low tide,  a labyrinth of little channels.  Cannot pass thru a low tide.  So we set out to reach the most shallow part at low tide. A previous tactic.  When the echo sounder started to get down to 0.5  Beneath the yacht we put the yacht at idle forward until we touched, then dropped anchor.  We waited 2 hours until the yacht had sufficient water and continued.  The last thing needed is to go aground at high tide.  The Sandy Strait was flat water, with strong tidal currents.  The other side of Fraser Island would have been, horrible.

To depart the Great Sandy Strait is to pass over the wide Bay Bar,  a zig zag in a washing machine.  Tin Can Bay rescue gave us the three way points to cross the bar.  It would be daft not to have those way points.  One must report when  approaching the 1st way point and report at the 3rd.  They also ask for a report on the bar as we were the 1 st thru that day.

We sailed for South Port Gold coast.  Despite weather warnings.  We had a good run.  We were aheadof the weather at each cape.  Had some heavy rain, and could see the yukky pitch black clouds and lightening behind.

 Now at South Port Gold Coast to avoid fresh south wind and today we shall leave and hopefully have  a good run to sydney before the next winter gale, a southerly fore cast.”

So there we go.
Regards to all  Jon

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