31 May 2007

Magnetic Island, Queensland

Anchored Horseshoe Cove
Magnetic Island, Queensland

First a huge thanks to brother Ron in Perth who is the master technician that runs this whole show on sandpiper38.blogspot.com. We just received a huge box from him, before we left Airlie Beach, full of all kinds of fun stuff.

Ron sent us a new portable DVD player. Our old one only worked when it was not attached to our TV. Amy and I had to squeeze our heads together just to watch the small screen. So we are back to movies on the TV! Also we got a whole spindle of DVD's that he copied for us. So we have tons of new movies to watch and swap with our friends.

Also, we got a very cool audio recorder. We will now be making audio files while we are traveling of things that happen along the way and of people we meet. Hopefully you will soon be able to listen to 'Team Sandpiper' as soon as we work out all the bugs.

We left Airlie Beach at 10am on Tuesday, sucking every last ounce of power from the dock, and taking our last hot showers for a while. We were able to sail as soon as we exited the marina. The winds were SE 15-20 knots, right off Sandpiper's stern.

We are getting much better at sailing downwind with the new jib pole. It really makes a huge difference in Sandpiper's speed. I cannot believe that we have come this far without one! We did have a pole before, when we left the U.S. But due to my own lack of skills, I rigged it improperly off the Mexican Coast, and it jammed against the lower shrouds. This made it impossible for us tack, and we were heading straight for land. We eventually knocked it off of the mast with a large hammer and threw it overboard as far as I could throw it.

We purchased a new one before we departed Mexico and arranged to have it shipped from the U.S. to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, where it was supposed to arrive just before we left to cross the Pacific. But we discovered at the last minute that it was too large to ship to us. So we left Mexico without it. Just as well, as it cost over a thousand dollars.

I found the jib pole we have now at the boat yard where Sandpiper was moored. It was buried under a bunch of old boat parts. The yard foreman told me I could have it for a case of beer, so we have a new pole! We drilled holes at the base of the mast and installed a stainless steel ring where the pole attaches. The other end clips to the jib sheet at the jib and is really easy to take in and out. So we are now fans of downwind sailing for the first time!

We sailed overnight for this 125 nautical mile trip. We arrived at the anchorage at Horseshoe Bay at Magnetic Island at 1pm on Wednesday only to see our friends on SV Shiraz had beat us here.

Magnetic Island is about 10 miles wide. 80% of the island is national park, the rest is houses, backpacker hotels, and restaurants. Today 'Team Sandpiper' hiked one of the trails, across the island, to the other side on and crashed the swimming pool at the Magnetic International Resort. We had lunch and a swim, then caught the island bus back and drank cold beers with 'Team Shiraz' to and plan our next stop.

We are leaving tomorrow morning at 7am for a 35 mile sail to Orpheus Island, where we plan to anchor for the night.

Tom and Amy

Notes From Ron:

  • Yes, I plan to produce a regular audio podcast from Tom & Amy on the Sandpiper for my project "The Lost at Sea Show". I'm still developing it, so stayed tuned. I hope to also have S/V Christa and S/V Blue Sky on the show as regular contributer too. Should be awesome!
  • Sailing directly downwind is difficult because the sails will flop from side to side with every little shift in the wind's or boat's direction. When this happens, it is called 'tacking', and the boom goes flying from one side of the boat to the other. When it happens unexpectedly, which is often when going straight downwind, it is dangerous and it can damage the sailing gear. By using the pole, it forces the jib sail to stay in place and not go flying around in the breeze.
  • Hmmmm... I'm pleading the fifth on the DVD's. Don't know nothing about how that happened!