Final Sprint to the Starting Line

Bayview – Pittwater (Friday 9 April 2010)

I can only imagine the frantic activity aboard HMS Endeavour back in the 1700s as Captain Cook prepared to set off on one of his voyages of discovery.  Here we are setting off for a matter of just a few months and the activity is amazing, with people crawling all over Chimere doing all manner of things

First there is the final work being done on the boat itself.  This includes riggers, shipwrights, marine electricians and mechanics, primarily to ensure all the systems aboard are operational.  From the engine, generator, sails, radio and autohelm to the winches, pulleys, lifting gear and dinghy outboards.  Everything on the original list needs to get a final tick.  Then, there’s the cleaning up and sorting out of “stuff” – that which will stay aboard and that which will go ashore.  And then (almost) finally there is the stowing of all the supplies and cargo which must be taken; finding a home for everything, some on deck (safely lashed down) some below in the cabins (under bunks, on bunks and in special cargo shelves) and some way down below (under the floorboards and far away)

And yes, we have a “Storage Guide”, where everything is listed and markd on a plan of the boat to ensure it can all be found again!

I say, “almost finally”, because there is of course an enormous list of additional things still to be bought, including the balance of the food.  This will continue right up to the day of departure.

In driving up from Melbourne yesterday, Bill Vrijens and I stopped off at the SPC factory at Shepparton, where we filled 4 trolley’s to overflowing with basic food stuffs, including an awful lot of canned essentials – code for beans, spaghetti, bulley beef, fruit and instant meals.  Some which don’t even require a can opener!!

packing supplies
And then to top it all off, a volunteer crew member from the July mission, Gerhard Moser, managed to come across a medical suppy comany that was happy to give away stock.  So Andrew dutifully  turned up to the warehouse yesterday with his 4WD and trailer, already loaded down with boat supplies, only to have a forklift deliver 2 pallet loads for him to take away.  In the end they made room for everything, but I saw the car and trailer this morning, still only partly unloaded and there was barely room for Andrew to sit in front at the steering wheel.  It was chocker.  Now all we have to do is get the stuff aboard – along with the existing 25 boxes of spectacles, plus the hundreds of donated caps and clothes which were such a popular and valuable asset last year.

When I say there was a lot of medical supplies, there was a stack of cardbaord boxes about shoulder height that extended along the wharf for maybe 3 metres.  The inventory list reads like something out of a hospital supply store, with 500 of this, 160 of that, 10 boxes of something else and then 4 cartons of rubber gloves, with each box containing 10 boxes of 100.   With a medical mission in May, June and July, what we will do is divide the stores equally into three, so that the stock can be given away to village clinics on an equitable basis.

At the moment Chimere is tied up to the marina at Bayview, Pittwater, making the work of preparation much easier than if we were out on the mooring.  The next two days will be devoted to more preparation and then on Monday we sail the 6 hours or so down to Sydney Harbour where we will be hosted by the Cruising YC of Australia at Rushcutters Bay.  From here the delivery crew, skippered by (return champion from last year) Bob Brenac will clear customs, hopefully on Wednesday next week.

That’s enough for now, I’m falling to sleep.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and a place for everything and everything in its place.

Robert Latimer

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