Sunday 29th October 2017
Hello All,

This morning we sighted the sweet shores of Australia for the first time on our trip. It’s amazing how much it means to us, in many ways really, such as:

  • A few bars of phone reception had us all diving for pinging phones and making calls and texts to loved ones, looking up the weather and trying to ignore work.
  • Access to the good old EAC! East Australian Current which gives us a knot or two advantage and right now contributes to about 8.5 knots on a broad reach with reacher out.
  • Sightings of numerous ships, mainly cargo but we have also seen a cruise ship and some smaller vessels. We spot them on the Chart Plotter which taps into the Automatic Identification System (AIS). This shows us actual paths of travel of vessels and at the click of a button gives us ship info, their speed and heading and it calculates true vectors to establish our crossing time and distance apart. If it’s less than a mile we just need to alter course by 2 degrees or so and you can see an immediate difference to our crossing distance pop up on the system. This will be particularly useful at night and as we head for busy ports like Newcastle in the dark.
  • Thoughts of home, wives, family and how keen we are to see them.
  • Reflections on the journey and what we have experienced together, both in adventure and in relationship.
  • The beauty of the Aussie coast – with ever changing headlands and ranges of hills and mountains fading into the distance.
  • Cooler air than the tropics we have got used to.
  • Flatter seas (at least at the moment) which is a welcome respite and just makes everything easier.
  • Planning how we will devour as much of the food supplies as possible before Sydney – particularly the fresh food bought in Vila. Thanks to Gwylim my ambition for losing a few kilos has not come to pass. The Mahi Mahi has now been consumed – it took the five of us six solid meals to do it. We have tried it in a curry tinged flour, light flour and nude in butter, which was our flavourite in the end.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Rob Latimer and Barry Crouch for the opportunity to sail Chimere through some very special places.
And particularly I’d like to acknowledge our Skipper and Crew who have been experts in different things, complimenting each other just like a team (or body) should:

Skipper Cam – for being the boss like a boss, but being a humble and patient one, always trying to eek out an extra half knot on her speed and being the epitome of organisation and cleanliness. He takes the record for number of baths on deck, hands down. If you want aviation or sailing racing and cruising or rescue stories, buckle up for the journey.

First Mate Rob – for being a constant character, mentor, story teller and teacher / evangelist. Rob is an ex hippie, global traveller and pastor with miles of sailing under the belt and his wealth of life experience and special testimonies are shared constantly, always coupled with a giggle or a smirk or a tilt of the head and a piercing eye. He knows Chimere and how to sail her well and passes that knowledge on in helpful detail.

Second Mate Ray – who cut his teeth working for BHP and is now a Management Consultant to small business. Ray learnt problem solving techniques before they wrote the textbooks and it is obvious he applies them every day. We have had many opportunities to solve technical problems and Ray works out the options and then says ‘you will find that piece of stainless steel in the bottom drawer on the right in the workshop’. He is methodical and practical, gentle and unflappable. He comes home having had a birthday at sea – congrats Ray.

Chief Cook Gwylim – who has the best and biggest laugh, the most jokes and the biggest heart available. The passion of this man in the kitchen was evident from the outset – he had plans for our food before he left Australia and has maximised the variety of our cuisine from fresh ingredients sourced from Vila and the sea, watching him in the kitchen right now I can say he knows his stuff. Not only this – Big G is our song leader and has by far the best voice in the Pacific Ocean.

Being the spring chicken of this group and more of a mountain biker than a sailor it’s been like having 4 dads on board, each contributing something different to my experience through theirs. I’ll be going home much richer than before I knew these blokes. Thankfully it will be richer in skills, experiences, relationships and in God – what a great combo.

Will let you know how we go once we get there – please pray for fair winds and an entry into Port Jackson ahead of that ugly looking Southerly, ta.
Almost there,
Jonno and the lads.