Level 1: Planning and navigational stress
We spend a huge amount of time looking at weather files and navigational charts in order to plan our passages. Some trips, such as the 8-day passage from NZ to Fiji, can be really difficult to plan and even day-sails along the east coast of Australia can be tricky, what with the strong coastal currents and the limitations of river bar entrances.
Broadly speaking, though, good planning and navigation will reduce the next level of stress, which is:
Level 2: Sailing Stress
Thanks, broadly, to good planning and, of course, to our choice of such a wonderfully seaworthy boat as Maunie, our sailing stress has been relatively low. We've had our moments, it must be said: a 50 knot squall hitting us with full sail up in the Atlantic; green water over the deck as we approached Tasmania; dragging our anchor in various places. However, thankfully this stress is usually relatively short-lived and, as we have gained experience and confidence (it's quite startling how much we have learned over the course of the voyage), we've become pretty adept at dealing with Level 2.
Level 3: Maintenance stress
Talk to any long-distance sailor and ask the question 'What won't you miss when you stop cruising?' and the answer will usually be: 'Boat maintenance!'. Graham reckons that being an engineer is a definite disadvantage in this life because you're always listening for unusual noises or feeling for odd vibrations that will signal the onset of a repair job. Non-engineers probably live in blissful ignorance until something breaks!
Level 4: 'In the hands of others' stress
It comes as something of a shock to us when we have to hand over responsibility to others. The Panama Canal transit was probably the first major example, where we were very much in the hands of the officials of the Canal Authority and our local 'fixer' to get through the bureaucracy, and then there was the arrival at Galapagos, where even the relatively simple process of buying diesel involved agents, forms in triplicate and one can of diesel which turned out to contain 90% seawater.
Unfortunately, we're now firmly back in Level 4, preparing for Maunie to be hoisted onto the deck of the 13,500 tonne ship Damgracht, which we know, thanks to the magic of AIS tracking websites, is currently on route for Newcastle from Brisbane and should dock here tomorrow. The shipping company, Sevenstar, despite its excellent reputation for moving yachts around the globe, is proving to be pretty useless in terms of communicating to its customers. So, as far as we know, we should be loaded aboard on Thursday at some time but we have no inkling as to timings, process, Customs paperwork or expected ETA in Southampton. We resort to pontoon conversations with owners of other yachts doing the trip to see if anyone else has more up to date information!
Still, the delayed arrival of the ship has given us time to get Maunie ready and we had time in hand to walk off her on Sunday when the temperature reached 38 degrees. In Somerset they have snow and here we have record March temperatures (it was the hottest March day in Sydney for 74 years)!
|The temperature in the cabin at 9.00 pm. We didn't sleep well that night, in spite of having fans running.|
|A stripped-down Maunie. Sails, running rigging and boom removed. The mainsail and boom will be stored inside the cabin for the voyage.|
|With the sprayhood, bimini and dodgers removed, the cockpit looks pretty bare|
|Cabin top and stainless steel polished|