It’s already halfway through August and I am wondering where the best part of this year has gone. It didn’t even make a sound as it whizzed by! You would have thought that things whizzing would make a sound, but in the case of time, it doesn’t. Half a century has been and gone and not even a flutter or a rustle. The tide comes in and out, the length of skirts goes up and then back down. Hairstyles also go up and then back down and the wheel of life goes round and round. The bearings on that wheel must be well lubricated as it doesn’t emit even the slightest squeak.
August is when the Boatshow comes to Sydney. The calendars of boatie type people have the Boatshow weekend highlighted – and we are no exception. It’s a day like no other. It’s on this day of the year that we take our shoes off and off umpteen times while we clamber aboard the new boats and dream away about how fantastic our lives would be if we owned one of the luxurious cruising vessels. Not just sail either, gorgeous stinkboats fitted out with every luxury imaginable and sometimes unimaginable. Also unimaginable is how we could possibly afford one of these things. One particular stinkboat with huge twin diesels had a fuel capacity of 5,800 litres. Pulling up to the fuel wharf at the marina which charges approximately $2.00 per litre soon puts a different perspective on all this luxury. Eleven thousand bucks just for fuel!
The boat show is definitely a day for dreams, but also a day of reality. After a lovely ride up the Parramatta river on the river cat all the way to Barangaroo, the morning was spent at the wharfs in Darling Harbour looking at actual boats and the afternoon was spent in the Exhibition Centre going around the stalls, looking at dinghies, fridges, winches, watermakers, radios, cameras, EPIRBS, anchors, furlers and all sorts of assorted boating bits and pieces. It can get quite tiring, continually talking to sales people, asking questions, listening to their spiel. Although it’s probably not as tiring for us as it is for them. After all, they are working and they probably say the same thing hundreds of times that day to prospective customers. As they day wears on, our bags become heavier as we collect books, pamphlets and other assorted sales brochures on the things we have been looking at. Occasionally added to the growing pile of paper is the odd receipt and invoices of things that we have bought. This year, our major purchase was a Waeco fridge. A 28 litre four wheel drive type camping fridge. We already have a 40 litre Engel for the Landrover, but that is just a bit too big for La Mouette. The Waeco is smaller and less power hungry and will oneday be a permanent fixture on the boat. It’s a big adventure as we are confirmed Engel-philes and are certainly venturing outside our comfort zone in purchasing a Waeco. A few years back when we were doing the great Aussie outback tour, we saw a poster in a pub somewhere (I think it was at Cameron’s Corner) that said that Waeco was Swedish for warm beer. I hope that poster was wrong!
A young guy called Ben talked to us about the virtues of Sirocco dinghies, as did another guy from Achilles dinghies. Although we didn’t buy one on the day, we later worked out which one would be good for us and now there is a Sirocco Airhull 220 sitting in our garage. As with the Waeco decision, we rather surprised ourselves about the outcome. Dinghies have been on our radar for some time. Our current dinghy, La Petite Mouette aka “The Dinghy of Death” has proved itself to be very unstable and being the tender for a 28’ yacht, it’s a just a touch too big to store on the foredeck or cabin top whilst crossing Broken Bay. Towing it across Broken Bay isn’t an option due to the swell. It rows okay and I personally prefer a hard dinghy for that reason – not all that keen on having an outboard. Consequently a folding dinghy such as one of those Porta-Botes looked like the perfect solution. An expensive solution but a good one nonetheless. Quite a few of the Youtube sailing channels use them which tends to confirm our beliefs. However, we now own a rubber dinghy and will most likely get an outboard as they are difficult to row. I don’t know how difficult yet, but will find out in the next week or so when we take it out and christen it. So, we now have to find somewhere that isn’t in the cabin to stow petrol. That boat with the 5,000 litre fuel tank is starting to look more practical. However, we can clamp the outboard to the pushpit railing and deflate the dinghy and store it down below for the bay crossing. It will work out in the end. But best of all, it won’t tip me out when I reach out to grab the wharf – it was that unstable!
By sunset on Sunday, our feet were well and truly weary, as was our brains from being continually bombarded by bits of information from enthusiastic sales people, all of whom were really nice people and easy to listen to and talk to. That makes a big difference. Nothing is worse than pushy sales people who just want to make a buck out of you. We ventured out in the morning with our list of things that we wanted to have a look at and for future projects on La Mouette. Things like a dodger, solar panel arch, mainsail boom bag and yet, for some strange reason, the people that make these things didn’t have representatives at the Boat Show. I wonder if it’s like this in other countries. Very strange.
After a day of dreaming about boats and all the nice things that we can fit into La Mouette, it’s back to the reality of the refit – for that’s what it has become. No good beating about the bush, the boat has not left it’s berth for over a year, except to get slipped and that was only 50 feet away. In anybody’s language, an engine rebuild, extensive hull repairs and an electrical system overhaul is a refit. Hopefully , there is light at the end of tunnel and hopefully that light will be on top of the mast and brightly lit so that we can find our way back in the evening after a brief sojourn ashore in La Petite Mouette deux.
But more about that next time.