A wonderful blog with amazing pictures, worth a read for anyone wanting to live the dream or relive memories. A huge thanks to Brett Hodder for sharing it with us.
Welcome aboard Wind of Change for our trip to the tropical islands of the South Pacific.
My fascination with all things nautical blossomed when as a teenager, I went for a sail on my cousins’s 14 foot Calypso catamaran in the passage at Bribie Island. From then on, I learnt that the only fuel I needed to make a boat move was an understanding of the inter-action between wind and sail. Soon after, I bought my own 14 “footer” and was happy tottering around the tranquil waters of Wivenhoe Dam when another catamaran sailed past me at twice the speed.
I thought it was time for a bigger, faster catamaran and I progressed to a 6 metre Nacra cat. The thrill of twin trapeze racing at 25 knots in 20 knots of breeze was to me the ultimate adrenaline rush.
Now a lot wiser and older, I am happy to plod along at 8 knots knowing that at any time, a hot cup of coffee is only minutes away.
Wind of Change is a Seawind 1250 (41 feet) built at Woolongong in 2012. Seawind Catamarans have a reputation of building a sturdy ocean going vessel and feed back from several other Seawind owners we knew commented that they were happy with their boats and the way they sailed.
Even with all the safety gear, donations, food and equipment on board needed for a 6 month trip, we still had plenty of room left over and the boat didn’t look like a back packers’ dormitory.
It was August 2014 when I received a phone call from a fellow sailor/friend named Rob who I had met on the Louisiades Rally of 2012. He was going to retire in 2015 and wanted to go for a sail into the South Pacific. It had always been a dream of mine to go sailing to these remote islands and I readily accepted an invitation to accompany him on this noble venture.
I am very fortunate to have a boss who gives me the time off work to pursue my sailing exploits.
So after lots of emails, researching on the inter-web, gathering all the donations and sorting out fact from fiction with regards to quarantine, 10 months had dissipated very quickly and the planning was as complete as it could be for the anticipated 5 month trip to New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomons and finally P.N.G.
I wanted to see this part of the Pacific, firstly because of my interest in World War 2 history and secondly to provide some humanitarian work. People in these remote areas don’t need money as such; the usual practise is to exchange clothing, toiletries, fishing items, tools etc for fresh fruit and vegetables that they grow in their “gardens”. We are also going to donate school supplies to the teachers in the Solomons and P.N.G.
The sailing season commences in May, to coincide with the end of the cyclone season and it is a good idea to be off the Coral Sea by the end of November when the Monsoon drifts south from Indonesia creating conditions unsuitable for sailing, like tropical depressions that could intensify into cyclones.
Our first big leg from Coffs Harbour to New Caledonia. 6 days and nights at sea. Roughly 1000 Nm.n Daron and I had sailed the boat to Coffs from Brisbane prior to departure.
Our voyage then continues from Ouvea Atoll to Vanuatu, across to the Solomons and then back down to PNG. From PNG, we spend one night at the Herald Cays, 200 Nm off the coast of Townsville. From Townsville, we work our way back down the coast to home.
After studying the charts, it can be seen why it is called the Coral Sea. It’s peppered with coral atolls that seem to rise from nowhere. They actually sit at or just below the water’s surface, or in some cases form beautiful cays and islands. I certainly have a new found admiration for the early navigators such as Captain Cook and Bligh for venturing into at the time uncharted waters and making it back to merry old England to tell the tales. Yes, I should mention that the French (Bouganville) and the Dutch (Torres) were sticking their noses into this part of the Pacific as well. The Pacific certainly has a rich maritime history going back to the 1600’s.
To read more of Bret’s post or to see the rest of this inspirational and informative blog follow this link http://windysailing.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/introduction-and-some-sailing.html