Wed 2 Feb 2011

“Hi Andrew, I think we are ready. We’ll head off in the morning” said Rob over the phone at the end of the day. Rob and his tireless crew, James, Bill and Bruce with help from Laughlin had moved mountains to get the boat ready in 3 days. Skipper Bob Brenac also came down to the boat to lend a hand and he serviced the winches and got the autopilot going.

The weather was hot. Very hot and very humid. The temperature hovered between 35 and 42C. Laughlin, who said he feels the heat, spent much of the time underwater cleaning the hull and propeller. Personally I didn’t think they would get it all done in time. I had been pre-occupied for some time with family matters; namely the birth of our eldest daughter’s first child and our second daughter’s wedding which was held at home so was of limited help to Rob and his crew. With the help of our friend Dustin, we did get the engine serviced, the bilge cleaned out and a new anchor winch motor organized prior to the sailing crew arriving.

Chimere has been based in Sydney for some time and it has been a good departure point for heading off to Vanuatu. However, with a lot of work to be done on the boat and the prospect of a lay year in 2011, Rob was keen to move the boat to Melbourne so it was closer to the MSM support team. It would also mean that many of the team would be able to sail on Chimere. All going well we hope to see Chimere back in Sydney in 2012, prior to heading off to Vanuatu again.

So with that phone call, Nila and I hopped into the car and drove from the Central Coast to Middle Harbour where Chimere is moored. Chimere was moved to the work dock on Monday and she remained there till departure on Thursday morning. This was a fantastic help and sped up the preparations no end. We squeezed everyone into one car and set off to find a restaurant for a farewell dinner. After a large Thai banquet we dropped the crew back to the boat and took Laughlin and the borrow car back to the Central Coast.
Thur 3 Feb 2011
Around Midday on Thursday Rob rang to say that they had left Middle Harbour, passed through the Spit Bridge and sailed up the harbor for sightseeing before circling under the famous harbor bridge and heading out to sea. The wind on departure was NE with a southerly coming in later to make for an unsettled night.

Fri 4 Feb 2011
By 1pm on Friday they were bowling along at over 9kts (Chimere’s top speed – see photos) with a NW re-established. They were well S of Jervis Bay running a little ahead of schedule. They hope to reach Eden early tomorrow morning for a break and to re-assess the forecast for the Victorian leg of the trip.
Rob rang again at 4pm and at that point they were tossing up whether carry on and not stop at Eden. They had made very good progress and would arrive at Eden during the night and with a fair wind it was tempting to keep sailing. They were going to make their decision just before dusk. After Eden, the next rest point would be Wilson’s Prom/Port Welshpool.
During the afternoon a squall had passed over them with violent winds and torrential rain. It didn’t last long leaving them wondering if this was the start of something bigger or an apparition. After a while the Northerly set in again and once more Chimere was making good time at about 7.5kt.
Andrew Latimer
Smooth seas, fair breeze and bye bye Sydney