Saturday 27 July 2013

Port Vila

by Andrew Latimer

Today was set aside to familiarise the new crew with the yacht while the departing crew were still onboard to provide instruction and encouragement. Everyone was up and about by 6:30am and after breakfast and a walk up town to change some money we took Chimere from the comfort of the quay side mooring and motored out of the channel to open water. Taking things one step at a time we hoisted sails and set a course for Hideaway Island. At Hideaway we were able to practice the anchoring procedure which required a high level of team work.

Hideaway Island is a handy tourist destination which is popular for snorkeling and boasts an underwater post office. From our vantage point on board we could hear the music pumping out, watch the kite surfers getting blown around and generally take in the activities of people going to and returning from the island.

We enjoyed lunch cooked up by Denis.  This was all part of the training. It tested our ability to use the galley and find where the food had been stored. To find the food we could refer to a book listing what was where. Even so, with so many storage places the right food was hard to find at times.

A new feature of the boat is the water maker. Departing crew member Ray spent an hour inducting Denis and me in the proper way to use this amazing equipment. After taking 5 pages of notes we think we have it covered.

On the return trip the weather was unpleasant and the wind dead ahead so we motored back into a strong head wind and rain. Although not really cold we all donned spray jackets. It was also important to have the new crew make sure everything was securely stowed. Dave took the opportunity to get some steering practice and guided us home along our outbound track on the chart plotter.

All hands were on deck for the docking procedure. Without the help of the marina boat we managed to insert /reverse Chimere neatly into her spot between two other yachts. That completed the training day. Since returning, Dave has also been applying himself to the mysteries surrounding the HF radio and the reluctant ‘sailmail’ service.

Now as I write up the log, the cabin is quiet with Denis making cooking noises in the galley and the rest of the crew adjourning for a ceremonial drink and to congratulate themselves on a successful hand over.

2013-07-27-cafe-sign-bislama

by Robert Latimer

I suppose you could call this my right of reply … or write of reply, being as I am just one sleep away from flying home to Australia tomorrow morning – leaving Chimere in the hands of my brother Andrew and his new crew.

Yes, it was a successful day today.  We managed to exit the berth here at the Waterfront (the easy part) and sailed around the bay, all the while explaining where things were and how they work.

Behind Hideaway Island it was lovely and calm and Denis whipped up a storm in the galley while we sat at anchor … I think his job title for the next few weeks is now firmly etched in stone … cook … “food man”. And thanks to the new food inventory produced by Christine and Tony, before they left the other day, we all know what we have on board in the way of food and where it is.

So here we are … the end of Mission 1 and the start of Mission 2.  And it’s home tomorrow to Queensland for Jon (whose been aboard for 7 weeks) to Sydney for Ray and Melbourne for me.

After our day on the water today I’m confident the new crew have everything in hand and when carry-over crew-champions from precious years Martin Purcell and Rhod Cook arrive on Friday they’ll make a great team.

For me, it’s home for a few weeks … to my wonderful wife Linda …  and like everyone else I look forward to reading the Ships Log from Andrew and the crew … I heard something about a roster.  Hopefully Dave can weave his magic with the HF radio SailMail system and get it up and running again, particularly for when they enter the areas with no internet coverage.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and one sleep to go