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Old 05-29-2008, 12:33 PM   #1
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After recovering from the shock of actually building a 23' yacht and sailing it from Perth to Cairns - arriving 10 months later, tanned, trim and sunbleached - even more importantly - still talking to each other! - we've upgraded and purchased a beautiful 33' Alajuela cutter and ready to try (bottom lip trembling) some blue water. Guess what? It has auto helm! - no more hand steering

Mico (formerly Mi Columpio) has sailed around the globe and has proven her worth as a blue water cruiser. We are hoping she'll use that experience to watch over her new and inexperienced owners! Hence our appeal to our new sailing family:

We are planning to sail from Cairns to Bundaburg at the beginning of March 2009, taking a relaxed month to do this across cruising ground we have both sailed before. What happens at Bundaburg won't be familiar territory though - that's when we hang a left and loop up to New Caledonia onto Vanuatu, Solomons, Luisiades and then back down the coast to Cairns. We figure about 6 months all up.

We have purchased 'World Cruising Routes and it appears that June is reasonably favourable to leave Bundaburg - So what do you think? Too ambitious? We release that we are Blue Water babes and still have a hell of a lot to learn. Any advice, comments, ideas or warnings would be most gratefully received.

Even better - an offer of sailing in company on any of the legs would probably see you immortalised when we name the grand kids after you!

Hope to hear from our new family with any advice for the babes.

Robin & Shaun
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:48 PM   #2
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An excellent cruising guide HERE - will be money well spent.

Good luck with your preparations.
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:05 AM   #3
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An excellent cruising guide HERE - will be money well spent.

Good luck with your preparations.
Hi,

Got the cruising guide - many thanks - its great. It has however raised a few more questions for us - always the way eh?

We were originally looking at taking a month to sail down from Cairns to Bundaberg then swing out to New Caledonia, this has since been modified to going further down to Brisbane and swinging out from there. Now we have read the cruising guide, it seems that Coffs Harbour is a better angle. That's no problem for us as we leave Cairns March and could spend longer going down the coast which might put us in a better weather window by leaving Coffs around early April.

The coastal trip presents no problems for us at all but I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has left Coffs or Brisbane for New Caledonia and sharing with us how they found it. It's still all new ground for us.

Many thanks

Robin & Shaun
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:32 AM   #4
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Hi Guys,

Just wondering how your plans are going?

I had planned to leave this month from Mooloolaba to New Cal but work, and life, had other plans...

Would love to learn how your plans are going...

karl
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:19 AM   #5
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Hi Guys,

Just wondering how your plans are going?

I had planned to leave this month from Mooloolaba to New Cal but work, and life, had other plans...

Would love to learn how your plans are going...

karl
Hi Karl,

Well - things are progressing. Mico is on the hard and we have just had engine mounts installed under the new Iveco (previous owners installed a new motor but rather than take the time to do it properly, just bolted it straight to the engine bed - no such things as good vibrations here! The engineers took a good while to work out just how to do it as the engine is larger that the original and required 6 custom made stainless brackets and feet - all different. All done now but still have to turn it over - final adjustments in water next week.

We sanded the hull back to the gelcoat as it had been neglected a bit in years past. 4 coats of 2 pack epoxy highbuild, sand between each coat, key coat overtop and then 4 coats of antifoul. New feathering prop installed and I am in the process of installing new teak cap rails all round. Took a while steaming the curves as we have a double ender - but looking good.

Problem today painting the boot strap - attempted brushing a two pack polyester - looks crap after the first coat - then discovered that we could get it sprayed. I am very adept at spraying 2 pack but was told that the yard does not allow owners to spray. It has to be done by a contractor with the proper licences. I'll organise that tomorrow and I wouldn't be surprised if we end up getting the entire hull above the waterline resprayed as there are a few fractures in the gelcoat and a couple of dents. As we are out of the water and have removed all rego and name decals - we might as well.

Which brings me to an interesting observation for all our fellow yachties out there.

I cannot remember just how many boats I have had out of the water over the years - from 16' trailer sailers to a 56' Roberts Ketch. Sanding, priming, spraying, antifouling - we all know the rituals!

I spoke yesterday with a company up here who will sand blast, fill, fair, 4 coats of high build sprayed primer, 2 key coats and 4 antifoul coats as well as spraying the hull above the water line - all for $7000.

Considering our aching backs, epoxied hair, and elongated paint stained arms - I tell you what I'll be doing next time! When you do the sums and add up all the paints, sand paper, sanders and the daily hard stand rate - not to mention the pen fees we are still paying - it's got to be worth looking at someone else doing the hard yards in a 3rd of the time we would take. Frankly - I'm getting too old for all this!

So - back in the water next week - new cruising shute ordered and solar panel - some shake down cruises and then head off end of Feb. We figure a casual sail over a month and a half down to Coffs through old sailing grounds (Whitsundays), then reprovision and swing out to New Caledonia, Vanautu and see what happens from there. More than happy to cruise in company with any other yachts from Cairns to Coffs or even out to New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

So in answer to your question - round about I know, plans are all good.

regards,

Mico

I'll include some new pics next log in.
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Old 07-28-2008, 12:48 PM   #6
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Isn't April a bit early to leave for New Cal? Cyclone season ends when? However, it sounds like a reasonable plan, and you might consider just cruising around New Cal. Friends did that, spending the entire season just cruising New Cal. and loved it. It's a hard weather slog to Vanuatu, though it's probably the shortest passage between island nations in the S. Pac.

Keep us informed, it's an interesting trip.
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