Saturday, 15 December 2012

Segment 57: Tuncurry to STGMBC / Georges River off Botany Bay

Segment 57:  Tuncurry to STGMBC  / Georges River (off Botany Bay)
Thursday /Friday, 6 and 7 December 2012;   146 NM.

As the seas and winds were still up, Capts Barry and Ray spent the day in Tuncurry , at rest.

We started the morning with a walk into Tuncurry and breakfast of eggs and bacon at a street side cafe, then returned to LAST WORD so Capt Barry could do some reading ( ie down load the financial review , and Capt Ray could do some business on the telephone.

After that the two Capts went for a walk over the bridge that connects Tuncurry to Forster, to check out the sea state, and generally stretch our legs etc.

LAST WORD moored on the Tuncurry side of the bridge that connects to the seaside town of FORSTER

the small Forster marina, southern end

Capt Ray walking back from the end of the breakwall entrance to Forster/Tuncurry

looking south from the end of the breakwall towards Forster beach

looking west from the breakwall towards Tuncurry. To enter Tuncurry, one turns right around behind the beach and follows the north western river bank .  LAST WORD is the white boat seen along the distant shore towards the left of the picture.

On return to LAST WORD we did our homework on the weather and seas and prepared for the passage the following day, with several end point options depending upon the seas, as they were still expected to be 2 + m swell,and uncertain wind gusts.

That evening, Capt Barry received a telephone call from David, his son, explaining that Capt Barry's brother , Graeme , was not well, and had been taken to hospital emergency , twice in the last 12 hours.

Whilst not good news , it assisted Capt Barry decide that passaging making all the way home to LAST WORD'S home port at  the St George Motor Boat Club,  Sans Souci on the Georges River, was a good option, in case Capt Barry had to fly up to Surfers Paradise to visit Graeme.

The next morning , both Capt Barry and Capt Ray were out of bed at 5.30 am , and LAST WORD left its pile mooring at 6.00 am, and crossed the bar at 6.07 am and Capt Ray set the throttles at 1815 rpm, making 16 + kts. The seas were smooth until LAST WORD rounded the point , then we entered the 2 to 3 m swell and had a 12 kt headwind.

We organised breakfast at 8.00 am and saw many pods of dolphins , most coming towards LAST WORD to play in the bow wave for 5 mins or so.

We were closer in shore for tis passage, and saw many crab pot floats slide by, so a closer vigilance was required , at all times.

As we passed Newcastle , there were several tankers either at anchor or coming and going, and Capt Barry spotted a large lump of timber , just smaller than a railway sleeper, slide by about 50 m distant.

On one of Capt Barry's inspections below, in the lazz and engine room, he noticed a small stream of yellow oil in the lazz gutter coming from the stern. Capt Barry had no choice , but to investigate this leak, suspecting that it was coming from  either the stern thruster or the Sea Star power steering.

Doing any sort of focused task ( such as removing screws and stairs and a thruster cover plate , and bending over to putt ones head below their knees, in 2 to 3 m swell IS NEVER RECOMMENDED , BUT HAD TO BE DONE,  to determine whether LAST WORD  needed to break the journey and head into Port Stephens , for emergency repairs.

Capt Barry started to performed this task, but part way through....... you guessed it,,,,,,, started to feel queezy........, and gave up......... , and went topside for some fresh air..............BUT,..... TO NO AVAIL, ........AND MANAGED TO BRING UP HIS BREAKFAST , OVER THE SIDE , INSTEAD.

After a brief spell Capt Barry returned to the pilothouse helm ,and reported to Capt Ray that there was a  small oil leak in the lazz at the stern coming from either the thruster or steering, and that part way through a more thorough inspection Capt Barry had decided to re-prioritise tasks , and washed down the side of LAST WORD instead.

Capt Ray had a chuckle , and said he thought he heard the familiar sounds of Capt Barry enjoying his breakfast , for the second time.

After Capt Barry's initial below inspection, he considered, on several occasions, completing the inspection, but was not able to do so, as for the next several hours , on the hour, Capt Barry revisited the stern of LAST WORD for repeat performances.

UNBELIEVABLE......Capt Barry, has just completed 5 months and 3,000 NM on board LAST WORD, and was not squeamish once, and on the last leg and four hours from home....gets sea sick.......BEEEAAAUUUTIFUL.

 LAST WORD completed the passage without further incident, and entered the Botany Bay heads at 1452 hrs, where Capt Barry signed off with Marine Rescue Sydney and  soon after LAST WORD  was docked and tied up in her home  berth ( for the first time in 5 months ) at 1520 hrs.

Instead of a celebration and glass of champagne (or cup of tea )  , to celebrate LAST WORD'S epic voyage, Capt Ray was packed and departed from LAST WORD, in about 15 mins. During the trip south, he had organised his wife, Maggie , to collect him at the STGMBC at 3.30 pm,  and they were homeward bound, in her sporty Merc SLK, 20 mins after LAST WORD berthed. The ever  efficient Capt Ray was no doubt  thinking about his next days golf , and knowing Ray, practising his swing in his mind , at red traffic stops all the way home.

Well , that left Capt Barry , with rear admiral Julie waiting in the saloon , doing beading business on the telephone, to wash down LAST WORD , strip the beds and doa load of towels in the washing machine.

After that it was grab some essentials , and homeward bound fora BBQ dinner of fish with David and our cat....who has no name.

TRIP :    146 NM,      9.7 HRS,     1462 L,   at av   15.1 KTS ,    and 150 L/HR.     


1. TOTAL ENGINE HOURS....................306 HRS
3. TOTAL FUEL ...................................18,285 L
4. TOTAL WATER MAKER HRS.............70 HRS
5. TOTAL GENSET HOURS ...................115 HRS

NB.   LAST WORD'S genset hours are small as the boat is set to fully charge the house supply on passage, at any rpm, and the genset was often not needed for days on end, other than for short duration ,large electrical power drain tasks , as the batteries coped from arrival at an anchorage until getting under way the next morning. Just about all lighting is low watt LED and most appliances on the boat are serviced off the inverter,  without the need for the generator, and all GPOs are serviced by the inverter. The low watt kettle, the  coffee machine,  and toaster all operate off the inverter. The generator was only needed for  the BBQ,  oven, hotplates washing machine/dryer and air conditioning ( the latter which was not often  needed  ),and of course the house supply batteries when we stayed on anchor in the one place for more than 24 hours , which was not often.

Segment 56: Coffs Harbour to Forster / Tuncurry

Segment 56: Coffs Harbour to Forster / Tuncurry
Wednesday,  5 Dec. 2012,    124 NM.

Capts Barry and Ray were up at 5.30 am , and after an OJ, we were away at 6.00 am.

As we wanted to make 124 NM,  we wanted an early start to make the river mouth crossing at about high tide , which was 1.45 pm and 1.52m.

As we departed the outer harbour, Capt Barry logged on with Marine Rescue Coffs Harbour and we started a tracking sheet, and specified arrival at Forster about 1400 hours.

BOM was predicting winds from the south at 10 to 15 kts building to 15 to 25 kts from the SW as we approached Forster/Tuncurry,  and seas of 1m , building to 1.5 to 2 m closer to Forster, and Buoyweather was saying 1.8m seas at 11 secs becoming 2.2m at 11 secs closer to Forster, with winds  15 to 18 kts from the S.

Capt Barry set the throttles at 1850 rpm , av about 16 kts at 160 L/HR and LAST WORD gave a pretty comfortable ride.

Soon after leaving Coffs Capt Barry cooked breakfast , and at 0830 hrs LAST WORD passed Smokey Cape lighthouse, making good time.

spectacular cloud formation. It looked like a cloud waterfall

During the passage Capt Barry did one of his usual lazz and engine room inspections and noticed a broken Jubilee clip lying on the engine room floor. Further inspection revealed this was from the 50mm rubber raw sea water elbows on the starboard engine. Capt Barry raided  his supply of spares and  replaced the broken clamp on the spot, as a leak from  that part  could cause a lot of water to enter the boat .

During the passage , Capt Barry did some paperwork and made social calls, whilst Capt Ray took overseas calls and , and actioned his new instructions.

Capt Barry then booked a pile mooring at the Wallis Lake Fish Co-op, and the conversation went something like this....

Capt Barry..."hello , is this the Wallis Lake Fish Co-op, and if so ,  I would like to book one of the pile moorings,  if one is available,  for a 65 foot pilothouse,  arriving  this afternoon , about 2.00pm, for  two nights".
Fish Co-op worker..." hello mate... yeah this is the Co-op, and yeah you can have a pile mooring. I assume you know there is no power or water"
Capt Barry....excellent..., Yes I am aware there is no power and water. Can you tell me which pile mooring is available for me to take?
Fish Co-op can have any one... mate.
Capt Barry...."excellent.... I would like to reserve the one nearest the fish co-op, as I know there is plenty of water there and have used it before..."
Fish Co-op worker...."you cannot have that one. mate.. someone is there for at least another week, you can have any other one you want."
Capt Barry..." oh...ok.... then I would like to reserve the next one along"
Fish Co=op worker...." No mate , you can't have that one either, as it also has a boat on it for the next few days..."
Capt Barry...." are you sure you have some left , as I recall there are only  about 6 pile  moorings , and I thought there were some permanents moored there...?
Fish Co-op worker.... yeah mate , just take which ever one you want..."

At this stage Capt Barry thought there was not a whole lot to be gained from continuing  the conversation about the pile moorings , and he  would just see what was there when LAST WORD  arrived,  and anchor in the channel if all else failed, ie there were in fact no pile moorings available.

The swell built to about 2 to 3 m,  as predicted , but was fairly gentle due to the distance between peaks.  However, the wind picked up ( also as predicted ) and some sea water entered the engine room through the air intakes (both the passive grills and the blower intakes in the engine room on the port side). Whilst this is not a big problem , and more a cosmetic issue than anything else, as the sea water from the air blower from the engine room ceiling does scatter and make a bit of a spray, which Capt Barry cleans up on arrival at the destination, it would , no doubt shorten the life of the blowers,  due to their  passing of salt water, but such is life and it does not happen often, only when there is a 25 + kt wind across the passage of the boat, and when LAST WORD is at speed,  throwing up water that the wind can whip into the blowers and air grill.

The seas turned progressively bigger, and we passed a couple of other boats, including a small tinny with two fellows fishing about 5 NM offshore.

a small fishing boat a long way off shore and in deteriorating weather and building seas

another passing boat

the seas built as we approached Forster / Tuncurry

About 1 hour out from Forster/Tuncurry the wind turned SW and picked up to blow between 30 and 35 kts.

the wind started to pick up

the wind picked up,  you can see the outline of the surf ski inside the large tender (under the cover )

This caused the sea to become very angry and confused and to white cap and foam between the swells , and threw up spray  which was then whipped back at the starboard side of LAST WORD, but LAST WORD still gave a really comfortable and balanced ride, with the stabilizers working their little hearts out.

About 20 mins out from Forster, both Capts Barry and Ray were sitting in  the pilothouse helm chairs , chatting and keeping an eye out  ,when suddenly.....right in front of LAST WORD , and only about 30 m distant, appeared a row of four white foam ball shaped  crab pot markers.

They were strung out right across LAST WORD'S course.

Well....Capt Barry shouted ..."SH.T"....and lunged  forward and ran his right hand up the right hand side of the autopilot control knob , turning it as far as he could anticlockwise, and at the same time with his left hand brought the throttles back to neutral, in case LAST WORD  did not swerve enough to miss the crab pot markers.

Capt Ray also saw the floats, and both Capts Barry and Ray leaned forward , and could do nothing more than hold their breath and wait and  watch ,  as LAST WORD swerved 90 degrees to  port, in 2+ m seas , going from 16+ kts to something much less.

It seemed that the  crab pot floats must pass underneath LAST WORD, then at the last minute, they  slid, seemingly under,  the starboard side of the hull.


There was some short discussion about whether  we missed them or may have collected them on the starboard stabilizer or prop, and after waiting several seconds , we decided we could not hear any noises under the hull, and Capt Barry had a quick look out the back of LAST WORD, but could not see the floats, either in the distance behind LAST WORD'S wake or more importantly hanging out the back or side of the hull.

As the seas were quite rough , and the wind howling 30 + kts, Capt Barry decided NOT to send down CaptRay for a look under LAST WORD, AND  Capt Barry selected forward gear and slowly  increased the revs, and thank heavens...... LAST WORD had not collected the floats.

Capt Ray was grateful LAST WORD had missed the floats, as out there , in the swell and confused sea with 30 + winds , was not the place to have to go under the boat to cut away a rope around a prop or stabilizer.

Well , after that lucky escape, Capts Ray and Barry kept an even more vigilant watch, and YES , we saw two more sets of crab pot floats, pass within 50 m of LAST WORD,  before entering the river mouth at Forster.

As LAST WORD approached the river mouth right on time , 1.20 pm , there was thick smoke in the sky from at least one fire close by. Just outside the bar crossing , Capt Barry signed off with Marine Rescue Forster/Tuncurry, and as Capt Ray , who had never visited this port, he was allocated the job of steering  LAST WORD across the bar and around to the right to the pile moorings, just past the Wallis Lakes Fish Co-op and slip way, and just before the bridge that joins Forster to Tuncurry (which has a 6 m clearance , and a fast tidal current between tides).

Mooring against the two narrow pile moorings was a challenge,  as LAST WORD was pushing sideways, directly  into a  blow off wind of 20 to 25 kts, but we eventually managed it (thank heavens to having a BIG bow and stern thruster ),  and after getting on two ropes , Capt Barry left Capt Ray in charge with the remote, and jumped ashore to add some additional ropes. It took about 15 minutes to turn and thrust sideways and tie off against the wind and in the swiftly running tide.

LAST WORD moored alongside the pile moorings. Notice the thick smoke in the air from the three fires burning locally , fanned by the strong westerly wind (blowing LAST WORD off the pile moorings

After mooring, Capt Barry retired to the engine room to clean up the 5  litres of sea water that had entered through the vents and blowers, then wash down LAST WORD, as it looked like we may be staying a day or two due to the predicted seas and winds.

After the wash down and clean up, Capt Ray paid the $25 mooring fee at the Fish Co-op, then  Capts Barry and Ray enjoyed a cold beer and a wine, and watched as people fished and hunted for octopus at the pile moorings and as  many fire engines sirened their way paste, at haste , to fight the three fires that were burning locally.

Capt Ray enjoying a well earned refreshment after the passage and clean up.

an octopus caught on a gaff about 2 m from LAST WORD

Capt Barry checked the depth under LAST WORD, on the pile mooring ( to check his earlier notes - on the way north - that there was sufficient depth at low tide ), and was relieved to confirm that there was about 400 mm safety margin at a zero tide.

you can see the bottom as LAST WORD is not far from the wall and rocks

That evening , after a shower and change into fresh clothes, Capts Barry and Ray watched the news ( with a glass of Chardy ) ,

 then Capt Barry took Capt Ray out on a date , and bought him a Thai meal at the restaurant approx. 40 m distant from the pile mooring.
The food was good, and Capt Ray returned with a doggy bag for the following nights meal.

TRIP :  8.2 hrs,    plus 20 mins to tie up in the wind, fuel 1250L,  av for 124 NM being approx. 15.1 kts and 152 L/hr.

Sunday, 9 December 2012


4th  Dec. 2012 , 60 NM.

Capt Barry and Capt Ray were up at 6.00am and had a light breakfast, of OJ and cereal.

Even though today was not a long passage , only 60 NM, we wanted to get away relatively early and enjoy some down time at Coffs Harbour.

We started lifting the anchor at 6.45am , but this took longer than expected, as the middle section of the chain  was mud covered where it had moved on the bottom. Capt Ray did not notice the mud until the chain was over the deck ,  and when he started to hose it off the chain over the deck , it splattered  everywhere, and   took Capt Barry longer to clean the mud off the boat deck than it did to clean and bring in the balance of the muddy chain.

Capt Barry gave up the cleaning process with the ordinary water pressure from the hose , and had to resort to the high pressure Karcher he keeps in the lazz ( for the Hawkesbury River mud).

Well the anchor was up, the deck cleaned of mud, and the two Capts were finally under way at about 7.00am, and logged on a tracking sheet with Marine Rescue Yamba/Iluka.

Capt Ray took LAST WORD out of the shallow,  ILUKA,  inner harbour through the Clarence river mouth and across the famed Yamba bar , whilst Capt Barry was below having a shower , to remove the flecks of black  mud he managed to cop , otherwise he would have transferred  black mud everywhere he sat.

Yes folks,  two of the world's  most experienced Capts managed to cross one of Australia's hairiest bars with one of them in the shower. Not recommended, but they did look at the bar first and check with the local marine rescue, and ......  they were in a great boat...LAST WORD............ with TWO  fins.

LAST WORD crossed the bar, about 1 hour after low tide , ( approx. a  0.7m tide ) , and saw 0.9m under the props , inside the Iluka Harbour, being the lowest point.

So far as the weather and seas  were concerned, Capt Ray and Capt Barry had been closely watching both BOM and Buoyweather , trying to dodge the various thunderstorms and the two blows that were moving up the VIC and NSW coasts. In fact it was the seas and weather that dictated where we planned each stop over, and the speed we needed to sit on to get there ( at the desired daylight time  and tide) , not the the fuel use, which was secondary in this case. If the seas had been better Capt Barry would have planned a more leisurely trip back to Sydney , probably using 1500 L less  fuel.
Still, it is better to have  the capability to use the faster cruising speed when the weather looks  a bit dickie, and no point having the capability , and not using  it.

BOM was predicting 2 M seas , and 1+M  SE swell and 15 to 25 kt winds from the south , and Buoyweather was predicting lesser seas 0.7 M at  9 secs ( just south of Yamba ) and 1.2 M at 6 secs apart (  as we progressed towards Coffs ), with 7 to 9 kt winds from the NW moving to 16 to 20 kts from the SE as we approached Coffs.

On route Capt Barry made some social calls, confirmed rear admiral Julie still loved him,  did some share trading, blogged and  confirmed the berth for LAST WORD ( E17 opposite the fuel wharf ) at Coffs harbour.
Meanwhile , Capt Ray spent most of his time doing business by telephone, so for him it was  business as usual, just a changing environment.

Capt Ray on the telephone doing business

As the seas and wind for this passage was not to bad, during the passage , LAST WORD,  for the most part,  sat on 1220 rpm making about 9+ kts using 58 L/HR , with a speed run at 1850 rpm making 17 kts and using 165 L/HR for 50 mins.

The seas were fair and at some stages almost oily flat.

fair seas and spectacular cloud formations

We passed several other  boats and prominent headlands and lighthouses along the route.

Mid-morning , Capt Barry cooked cheeses and tomato omelettes and toast to take the edge off our hunger, followed by a cup of tea.

Capt Barry cooking cheeses and tomato omelettes

LAST WORD made the Coffs Harbour entrance, which was very flat and well behaved,  at 1.00pm , and we proceeded direct to the fuel wharf where we waited about 20 mins for a vessel to finish fuelling ( then load up with bait for the next days fishing expedition ).

While waiting for fuel we watched a fellow bring his husky (dog ) down the the wharf for a swim to cool off.

After that vessel moved off , Capt Barry moved LAST WORD forward , on  the fuel wharf , where we waited another 15 minutes for Shane, the manager, to attend the fuel  wharf to reset the pump.

After fuelling, Capt Barry moved LAST WORD across the inner harbour to berth E17 , where Elise ( the marina manager ) was waiting to greet us , and we tied up.


Capt Barry had just tied up when his son telephoned to ask if we were ok, explaining that the NSW water police had phoned him  to see if there was any issue. It turns out that the Coffs Marine rescue unit had tried to contact LAST WORD, and after no response contacted the water police to follow up and determine whether LAST WORD was safe.

Capt Barry asked David to ring the water police back and tell them all was well (which he did and confirmed by text message to Capt Barry )   , and Capt Barry contacted the Coffs Marine rescue and signed off,  explaining that we must have missed their calls during the fuelling process, as no one was in the pilothouse.
Whilst the marine rescue people were perhaps a little quick off the mark to follow up with the water police after 25 mins after the estimated arrival time, Capt Barry apologised for the confusion,  thanked them for their diligence and told them it was great to know that they were doing such a great job.

After settling LAST WORD  into her berth , (which unfortunately still means using plastic hosing on the ropes around the rusty cleats to protect the ropes from being cut ) , Capt Barry connected  his new water softener and water filter unit to the marina water supply and filled LAST WORD'S  water tank, then used the water treatment unit to hose off LAST WORD to see how the water dried on the stainless , glass and fibreglass.

To Capt Barry's hopeful  expectation (and somewhat surprise that a product would work as advertised )  , the water treatment unit did its job, as the stainless steel dried almost spotless as did the glass doors and white fibreglass finish. This will mean less cleaning , as well as a better looking finish, and most importantly.........less cleaning of the inside showers , toilets and cleaner pipes and tanks.....not to mention better tasting water from any tap.

For the better part of the trip north, Capt Barry had been searching for a water softener and water filter unit , and apart from importing a "Spotless" unit from the USA (about $400 for the 8000 L unit , plus $350 FEDEX ), Capt Barry could not find a local handler until he made enquires of Stella Marine at GCCM.

Stella is  one of the agents for Spotless, and had just finished engineering their own units , that they said had some advantages over the spotless unit, which they were about to release for sale.

After some discussion and telling Stella that LAST WORD and Capt Barry would be at the GCCM late Nov. they agreed a price of $600 for the 7500 L resin filled unit ( a little on the pricey side ) , which is housed in a  tank ( like a fat dive tank )  with separate, washable ,  polyester , as opposed to a  paper filter, ( and  not a carbon filter which removes chlorine )  water filter.

The unit came with all the hose fittings, a spare polyester washable filter, a 25 kg bag of water softening salt ( to recharge the resin in the tank , after 7500 L ) and water testing strips kit. There are no instructions at this stage , as they sold me the first unit ( their  test unit ) before it was ready for final packaging and release.

However, I can report it seems to work a treat, and really is essential if one is to travel out of Sydney , as the water tastes terrible, and seems to getter harder and harder as one travels north , and leaves terrible water marks on the stainless and even etches the glass and leaves a white scum on surfaces , if not towelled off almost immediately , ie before it dries, which in the hotter northern latitudes is almost immediate.

Capt Barry attended the marina office to organise the nights berthing and obtain a key, and was pleased to learn that the Marina Operator has finally secured a longer lease with the lands department, and will be pressing ahead with the redevelopment of the Coffs harbour Marina , within the next 6 to 12 months.

Inside the inner marina harbour it was simply a sparkling day.

After a relaxing beer

 , Capts Barry and Ray enjoyed a walk to the nearby Italian restaurant "Fiasco " for a superb dinner and bottle of Italian wine, then a stroll back to LAST WORD and relatively early night for the next mornings passage , 124 NM to Forster  / Tuncurry, Cape Hawke Harbour (entrance to Wallis Lake ).

TRIP:   6 HRS,    416 L,    AV 10 KTS  @  68 L/HR.

PICS to be added later

segment 54: Gold Coast to Yamba/Iluka

MONDAY 3 DECEMBER 2012,  102 nm.

After Capt Barry had returned home to spend 3 days in Sydney,  for John Boyd's wedding, Capt Barry and Ray Gent flew back to Surfers early Monday morning to commence the trip back to Sydney in LAST WORD.

We arrived at the Gold Cast airport and were collected by the invalid, Graeme, still recovering from his left knee and lower leg surgery.

On route to Oceanus at Marina Mirage, we stopped for some food provisions, and to fill Graeme's car with fuel , as a contra  for taxi fares, then after being dropped off at Marina Mirage , Capt Barry settled the marina berthing account (19 nights less the two nights at GCCM ), collected his boat keys and organised  his missing extension lead to be sent to Sydney,  by a local marine electrician who like many in the marine industry , promised  more than he could  manage . In this case it was a simple job of replacing plug ends. The electrician took the lead over two weeks ago and promised to do the job at home and drop ff the lead the next day. Two weeks later, and no extension lead, and LAST WORD is leaving for Sydney.

Capt Barry and Capt Ray checked the BOM and Buoyweather sites and discussed the sea conditions and decided to leave immediately, in the hope that the two Capts can plan the legs south to miss the several southerlies working their way north.

As we were only getting away at 10.45 am , and had about 7.5 hours of daylight we decided to head for Yamba / Iluka and spend the night on anchor inside the Iluka harbour.

This meant crossing the bar about 1 hour before low tide, but prior knowledge meant that LAST WORD should have about 0.6m under the props inside the Iluka harbour just inside the wall.

The Gold Coast seaway was quiet, and after crossing the bar and heading south Capt Barry opened the throttles to 1885 rpm and LAST WORD made about 17 kts using 162 L/HR , with a 15 kt northerly wind from behind , and 1 to 1.5 m seas also from the NE.


LAST WORD was accompanied by several pods of dolphins on route and the trip was really very comfortable. Capt Barry changed one of the stabilizer settings , and the new fin seemed to be operating properly.

it was fairly calm at sea.

LAST WORD crossed the Yamba bar at 5.10pm , and anchored in the Iluka harbour at 5.30pm.,

the ILUKA inner harbour is behind the red breakwater on the right hand side
It was shallow inside the ILUKA inner harbour, showing about 1+m under the props

LAST WORD at anchor in the ILUKA inner harbour
Capts Barry and Ray had a couple of hours to relax, enjoy a drink and BBQ chops and sausages with marinated eggplant , tomatoes, fetta and capsicum.

There was a soft rain / drizzle for an hour or so after  arrival at Iluka, which was just perfect as it washed LAST WORD of the salt residue from her passage south.

Capts Barry and Ray retired at 10.00pm in preparation of our early trip south next morning.

TRIP: 102 NM, 6.75 HRS, 946 L, AV SPEED 15.1 KTS , AV FUEL 140 L/HR.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


TUESDAY 27 NOV 2012;   12 + 12 (24 ) NM.

Hi folks, sorry it has been so long since my last blog, but things have been happening, and I am part way back to Sydney, (but more about that in future segments).

After spending 8 days (15 to 24 Nov )  assisting my brother recover from his knee and left leg surgery, Capt Barry flew home for 4 days to rekindle the hot romance with his long love of 33 years marriage, rear admiral Julie, (THE BEADER).

After several romantic dinners (all of which were ruined by the persistent showing of children seeking advice, free meals, guidance , financial relief and a good laugh), Capt Barry boarded his Virgin rocket and returned to the Gold Coast to represent LAST WORD's interest when she was lifted for her replacement starboard stabilizer.

On Tuesday 27 November 2012 Capt Barry returned to check in on Graeme's recovery ( and burn him another meal ) then get  LAST WORD ready for her fin replacement.

another burnt offering for Graeme,  cooked by Capt Barry

This included going for a swim under LAST WORD  to measure the remaining port fin, and to supply the measurements to MEC , so they could modify the fin they had so it would fit under LAST WORD without hitting the chines under the boat.

Capt Barry diving under LAST WORD to measure the size of the remaining stabilizer fin so the replacement fin could be cut to size to miss the chines under LAST WORD


As LAST WORD was booked for a lift at 8.00am Wed morning , Capt Barry organised Peter and Merrilyn to front and centre at Marina Mirage at about 4.30pm to take LAST WORD  up river to the Gold Coast City Marina , at Coomera, about 12 NM distance to spend the night on the fuel wharf  , to be ready for the early morning lift.

some boat owners taking advantage of the low tide to strand their boats on the sand so they can do some work on the hull

After being told that depth was not an issue as the channel had just been dredged, we set out at about a 0.5m tide , and managed to just touch the bottom around Sovereign Island, well inside the designated channel markers.

Whilst we did not feel the touch, we saw 00 m ( under the props)  on the depth sounder and the lift out of the water showed the new clean edges on the prop blades. Ouuuchhhhh, that was a $140 prop speed  touch up  that should not have been needed.

We arrived at the GCCM fuel wharf just on dark, and tied up for the night.

last word on the fuel wharf in front of this weird tug

the front view

We were soon accosted by enormous mosquitoes , so we closed the doors and windows or added the fly screens. Capt Barry went in search of and found a power outlet and plugged in the air conditioner for a more pleasant environment for the evening.

As there were no restaurants open we had ( notice I could have said "enjoyed" ) baked beans on toast, with several cups of tea, then I said good night to Peter and Merrilyn , who walked home to their ketch at Hope Harbour, about a 1 hour walk.

Capt Barry was up bright and early at 6.00am and met the fellows who would be working on the fins about 7.00am ,

LAST WORD was lifted in the 150 ton travel lift at about 8.15am and set down on the hardstand , ready for the several work orders Capt Barry had planned.

Well things did not get off to a great start as the first two power outlets did not work. Luckily Capt Barry carries all types and combinations of power cords and was able to plug into a 5 pin, 3 phase outlet , and split down to the required 32 amp single phase supply.

Next Capt Barry liaised with the head engineer from MEC, Michael Hardy, who was to supervise the fin replacement, and requested that;
1.  the old shaft, when removed, be spun up in a lathe to check whether it was straight , and
2.  a hole be  cut into the good fin , to check that fins weld ( and be ere-fibreglassed),
3. the anchor cradle and guides be straightened , and washers be added to tighten the whole assembly.
4. the rudder tie rod be investigated to ascertain the cause of the slight vibration and the vibration eliminated.

this is the shaft that the fin broke away from. It has been removed and will now be spun in a lathe to determine if it is true (in which case it is unlikely the fin separated from an impact

the hole through the hull where the shaft came from. Again no evidence of impact to the missing fin or shaft

hole drilled into the good fin to see what the weld is like (shaft to plate)

a close up of the weld in the good fin. Looks ok

the new fin inspection hole repaired 

the new replacement fin modified to measurements supplied and being prepaired for antifoul

fin inspection made good and antifould

work being done on the anchor cradle where Capt Barry bent it at Whitehaven trying to dislodge the over achieving anchor from sand/clay

anchor cradle being squeezed closer , so new nylon bushes stop noise when at anchor. The pin had a new hole drilled closer in to prevent the cradle guide opening again.

new rubber washers top and bottom to minimise the vibration in the tie rod, with big enough centre hole to allow tie rod to be clamped metal to metal

prop edge needs propspeed touch up. Notice that the turbulence from the prop has worn the propspeed off the rudders (3000 NM )

Capt Barry then visited Stella Marine and purchased a water filter and softener system. This unit plugs into the marina tap and removes sediment ( through a polyester - not charcoal, filter  ) and calcium and other minerals that make the water hard. The result is that the water tastes better, does not spot or leave a white scum in the lines and hoses and does not etch the glass and tiles in the a lot less cleaning.

Finally Capt Barry organised to have an electrician change the four blue underwater LEDs. Originally, only one was to be replaced. However, when the boat was lifted , it soon became apparent that all four lights were stuffed.

 Luckily Capt Barry had four replacements. These lights are the Briter Innovation Canyon type , and next to useless, as this is the third set in 20 months. Capt Barry will change them for a NON stainless steel set of lights  next time round.

electrician adding final touches to the 4 new lights, while the antifoul is mixed in the sidecar , to be applied to the props where LAST WORD touched the bottom on the way upriver 

one of the new lights with space for cooling behind

As the work took longer than expected, LAST WORD  was not able to be returned to the water that day, so Capt Barry organised a lift for midday the next day, reorganised flights ( to leave for Sydney ,  8.05pm the next night ), and  spent the night on LAST WORD , ON the hardstand. More baked beans and several beers, and a couple of phone calls to while away the time.

This presented a bit of a dilemma, ie as LAST WORD had her anchor on the hardstand (as they were part way through fixing the anchor  cradle ), whether to put the anchor light ON once the sun set.
After all , there is nothing in the regulations that says only put the anchor light on , IF THE BOAT IS IN THE WATER.

Capt Barry put on the anchor light.

anchor down , so anchor light on after sunset?????

while LAST WORD was waiting to be lifted back into the drink, this ferry was brought onto the hardstand, and was moved past LAST WORD . It was that tight they had to move LAST WORDS anchor chain to get past, then the front of the ferry wiped out a 15 foot tree when they swung it to get it into its parking spot.

The next day the work was finished and LAST WORD was splashed at midday. Capt Barry fuelled up ( $1.52 /L ) and when the fins were recalibrated , journeyed back down river to the Marina Mirage berth.

This was a little hairy , as Capt Barry was by himself, and it was low tide again. However, Capt Barry went a little wider a Sovereign Island, and saw 0.6m on the sounder ( under the props).

After tying up at  Marina Mirage, about 4.00pm, Capt Barry put LAST WORD to bed, for another extended spell, (as he was returning to Sydney for a wedding on the Saturday ) , and went Graeme's house for a quick dinner and lift to the Gold Coast airport.

Capt Barry made this flight in plenty of time, and returned to Sydney for three days , after which he was to return to the Gold Coast to begin the journey south to Sydney.

trips .  4 HRS ,  130 l , AV 8 KTS PER HOUR, AV 33 l/hr