In The Big Boat Project

I had spent the best part of 7 years earning, buying, refitting, sailing, and refitting again the yacht Globe Trekkin which was the The Yacht Project, which we are re-posting along with the Big Boat Blog.

In the first half of 2017, after 7 long years, Globe Trekkin was near complete after a marathon refit spanning most of all those years. Boats are never complete! There is always work to be done, far more if you near completely strip the boat and start again; most of these boats will never, and most don’t, see the water again. Globe Trekkin did see the water again and we had some awesome adventures together. I learned how to sail, met lifelong friends, managed not to die! The only thing that was missing with Globe Trekkin is she will never get a ‘Commercial Charter Survey’ meaning she could never take paying passengers in Australian waters.

Now there is something I feel/sense is seriously wrong we me on top of all my other flaws! It’s more of a realisation: Here I am single, no kids, dept free, money in the bank, no ties, beautiful yacht I fully own that can sail anywhere in the world. But! I have this ongoing, nagging feeling of wanting or needing to do liveaboard diving charters on a yacht. I can’t tell you exactly why, nothing is exactly right about it in Western Australia: a charter operator is up working before passengers and goes to bed well after, we have fatal shark attacks in the south, strong Southey winds, a lack of places to shelter on the coast, and some of the hardest coastline to sail in the world. We do have some of the best islands in the world for diving, as my hero mentioned to me the other night when he autographed his biography for me after his giving his public speech. That hero: the godfather of corals, the man who has named two thirds of corals in the word, Drum Roll? Its…. Charlie! Just Charlie! Google it, lazy bones, learn something!

I asked Charlie what he thought the corals of the Abrolhos would look like in 10 years and he said “stunning!” “The Abrolhos has some of the best corals found anywhere.” And after sailing there 2 or 3 times in Globe, and diving all over the place, I love it too. So, back to the itch of running a charter business, it started well before the Abrolhos or Globe, it started years ago before I even came back to Australia in 2008 read the original yacht blog we will start reposting. Anyway, every day for three years while at work away selling my soul to the Blue Sky Mine (Fifo), I would troll all the boat classified websites for an hour or more for the right boat. She needed to be between 17 and 24 meters, as you can operate a boat in this class with a Master 5 skippers ticket. She needed to be a motor-sailor, meaning she used both motor and sail as nearly all cruising yachts in WA do because the winds are never exactly coming from the direction you need. I spent hand steering Globe solo for four days back down the coast from Gero (Geraldton) after an Abrolhos trip when the auto-helm motor broke and the fancy Swiss free divers nicked of in Gero to go back to their home country. And after those four days wet, cold, scared the soaked skin of my hand would pull away from the flesh, I wanted a yacht with a big enclosed wheel house to hide in from the weather. Like my fancy friends on their cat (catamaran) Clint and Ross, oh, and the current Godfather of WA cruising: fancy Don on the yacht Escapee.

Well, early on in 2016 I found the perfect steel yacht in central Queensland, which is on the opposite side of the country. The yacht, her name was Amelia J, was only 240K, not bad! Globe got far more investment put in, I can tell ya. Thanks to bloody NAB bank and a stupid finance broker, I missed out on Amelia J. I learned later that Financial Lending Institutes get nervous when you tell them the prospective borrower lives aboard a yacht and has no fix address. Nice one, mate! Anyway, this experience of finding another yacht, getting in touch with the yacht’s originals Naval Architects, and doing all the research as one must got me all excited. So, when I lost out on the Amelia J I was terribly disappointed. I decided I wasn’t going to miss out again. I phoned the contract company I work for and said. “Give me as much work as I can have please!” Be careful what you ask for! I got exactly what I asked for and it was not fun, but it gave me cash. So, the national search continued over another two years and lead me to two local yachts. One the owner wanted 400k. He was dreaming. The yacht, while being 17 meters and having an incredible history doing exactly the work I wished her to do, was 30 years old. This yacht was one of the first outer Great Barrier Reef liveaboard dive charters. Know that movie Jaws? Well, there was a writer behind the book and he went on a charter on this yacht. As did the famous Aussie film makers Valerie Taylor and Ben Crop, and others. But with this yacht, I could not get past that it had 30-year-old plumbing and wiring in it. All I saw was continued work and I was doing that already on Globe. The circuit breakers were ceramic, you don’t see that anymore, I would be forever fixing her.

Next, I focused on my dream girl of Jodi Anne. Now this is a sexy yacht. While launching Globe back in 2013 or was it 14 (read the old blog and remind me?), she was dry-docked up along a fence line in Henderson Boat lifters, and I fell in love with her instantly. Now, she is 24 meters long, I had been told that she had four state rooms, the main cabin had a four-poster bed plus Jacuzzi (move over Godfather). Well, I did see her bath on deck a few years latter maybe being swapped out. Jodi was a charter yacht working out of Broome in the North West of Australia in the early 1980s and much latter was doing charters around Bali. I had had my eyes on this girl and a few years on spotted her parked up in Fremantle sailing club. I tracked down the owner Ron’s phone number and gave him a call. Ron explained Jodi had another year’s allowance to go back into charter survey, he also said “I want to take her for a spin as I have been doing lots of work on her and want to enjoy her a bit longer, give us another call in a year”. So, I waited as long as I could – 6 months as work by the time was really giving me the shits, I called Ron and he said he didn’t want to sell.

At this stage, nearing the end of 2016, I gave up. I had had more than enough of being here, there and everywhere for work, never knowing whether I was coming or going, working sometimes three weeks of twelve-hour days with less than one day off. I decide to finish Globe and be off the next cruising season in April 2017. By April I had purchased a new Sailrite portable walking-foot sewing machine to make Globe some fancy new gear, including a new settee and a sun strip for the head sail. I had run late into the 2017 cruising season finishing up with work commitments. By now it was late in the season (May) and my fancy friends were all heading for the Montebello Islands well up North. It was suggested that it was too late for Globe and I to reach the Monties that season, I decide to sail up the coast anyway as far as we could away from winter anyway. Once work had ended and I was focusing fulltime on Globe again, we got to work on the priority list. Job 1: Big batch of brew for the trip was put on (homebrew) and part drank hehe. Job 2: Install the water-maker we had been hording for far too long. This would truly make us fully independent by allowing us to turn saltwater into pure drinking water, which in turn would make certain we could put on the next brew! While getting the bits and bobs to install water maker we required a bracket to be welded. I looked for a local engineering shop in the back of the local industrial area. And found a sign a for the business WA Fasteners that said ‘Engineering shop at the rear’. I turned and walked down the drive, right across the back of the business was what looked like a small ship. I said to the bloke at the engineering shop, “ahh what’s that?” And, you guessed it, here we bloody go again.

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