Back to basics: The latest from the Editor

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How DAVID LOCKWOOD and family survived three days at sea with just the basics... plus a sneak peek into the next issue.

Back to basics: The latest from the Editor
Back to basics
We recently survived three days aboard our 1976-model Mariner Pacer 760, four-year-old and 14-week baby in tow, with just the odd bump and bruise.

All we had were a portable 12V fridge, and blow-up lounge that doubled as our tender. Oh, and a boatload of imagination. Despite the modesty, much family fun was had. The occasional visit by the ice-cream boat got us through the day. Nights were spent cuddled up under the doona while swinging on a mooring.

There’s something to be said for getting back to basics, but a clever little boat like the Pacer also makes a statement about how far boat-design hasn’t come. Its builder Bill Barry-Cotter is releasing a new Mustang 32 at Sanctuary Cove Boat Show that aims to recapture the entry-level market. We just tested that boat and an in-depth assessment appears in our next Trade-a-boat on sale May 18. Much of the engineering in our fully restored Pacer 760 dubbed Ralfy V has been carried across to the new Mustang 32. It’s quite some boat.


Whoever reckoned pleasure boating was on the skids didn’t consider the huge Easter turnout. Where we were moored, around the Hawkesbury River, it soon became apparent that everyone with a boat was enjoying a final fling. There were raft-ups everywhere, kid captains learning to drive tenders, beach cricket games, barbies and plenty of naval gazing during the typical Easter rains.

Ironically, as we bobbed about with our last quarter of a tank of water, torrential rain poured on our decks. What we needed was a boat whose decks redirected the rainwater to a tank to flush our heads and sate the washing machine and dishwasher. Seems no-one builds boats with a view to catching rainwater. Waste not, why not?


While in Refuge Bay, Cowan Creek, off the Hawkesbury over Easter, a chic inflatable tender of about five metres in length emerged astern with its snappily attired crew looking puzzled.

"Do you know where the garbage barge is?" they inquired. I was sorry to tell them National Parks and NSW Maritime removed the barge a year or so ago due, they reckoned, to a few bad apples dumping household rubbish on it. I pointed them in the direction of Patonga, after which they were last seen heading at high speed.

The name on the tender was Ilonka. That’s Frank Lowy’s superyacht, which was moored around the bend. You’d think Lowy could handle his own garbage disposal or, better still, fund the return of the barge for fellow boaters like us with kids in nappies. How about it, Frank?


New boat numbers are definitely down at Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show opening May 19, there's still plenty to warrant a winging north. Yet there are those in this industry who like a bad news story above all else. One rumour doing the rounds is that the show’s organisers are pulling the pin and this will be the last Sanctuary Cove Boat Show as we know it.

A media spokesperson for show organisers, Mulpha Sanctuary Cove, said that’s never been on the agenda or up for discussion and in 2013 the show will be celebrating 25 years. We know Sanctuary Cove will continue, as it’s a great launch platform. But at the same time, we hear a number of major players in the marine industry are starting up a new Gold Coast boat show or expo. It’ll be more of an end-of-year clearance special that’s affordable for showgoers and exhibitors, perfect for those who can’t attend Sanctuary Cove, but an adjust to it rather than a replacement. Watch this space.


We got it from the horse’s mouth that a 91-year-old Melbourne man recently took delivery of a new Riviera cruiser. We’re sure he is the oldest new-boat owner in Australia. His only stipulation upon placing the order was: "Let’s not delay delivery too long. I might not be around."

The new powerboat captain was selling his Beneteau yacht for a Riviera 36 Sport Yacht. "The thing that got him into it the powerboat were the pod drives. With the joystick, the boat is just so easy to dock... My dad’s got one, too, and he’s 72. The older generation find it easier," explained Stuart Jackson from the namesake dealership.


A keen boater and reader now kicking around in a 20-foot tub after many years behind the wheel of bigger cruisers says boaters have become downright rude. Whereas he used to be afforded right of way, he’s now frequently forced to the sides of tight channels and chased by big cruiser owners flexing their muscle.

Have pleasure boaters become too arrogant? Has the two-finger salute replaced the chummy wave? Have you suffered from a salt and battery? Let this editor know via and we’ll endeavour to compile an overdue story about boating etiquette.


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