Sailing for me started in ernest back in the 1970s, when Dad bought a Compass 29. I was a young and impressionable 16 year old, my brother Andrew was 20, and together we cut our sailing teeth throughout Bass Strait and further south to Tasmania.
In the years since, Andrew, Dad and I have jointly owned two yachts. Both Nicholson 32s. The latest boat, Tee Pee, is now owned by me and located in Westernport, Vic.
Then after years of buying the monthly magazine, Trade-A-Boat and exchanging what must amount to dozens of yacht-photos with Andrew up in Sydney, 2006 marked the start of a whole new sailing adventure with the purchase of the 53 foot, steel cutter, Chimere in Busselton, WA.
To us, Chimere was the stuff of dreams. She was big, strong and beautiful. She was a ship. But more importantly she was a means to fulfill our lifelong yearnings to cross oceans and visit exotic places.
The first ocean we crossed was the delivery trip across the Great Australian Bight to Pittwater, where Chimere is now based. It was a wonderful trip that opened the possiblity of more to come.
The idea of sailing to Vanuatu and assisting in the transport of medical personnel came to me two years earlier when I read an article about yachties doing a similar thing. At the time I had no suitable boat, but it sowed a seed in me that has continued to grow, despite the many obstacles and setbacks along the way. It seemed like a great idea and one that combined my interest in sailing with a desire to one day do some volunteer work that would really make a difference.
As the dream has taken shape, it’s been wonderful to experience the enthusiasm and generosity of like-minded souls, all eager to lend a hand and get involved.