BLOG - The fine art of pleasure boating

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It's finally time to welcome back spring.

BLOG - The fine art of pleasure boating
The fine art of pleasure boating.

MIDDAY AUGUST 25: You can laugh away the winter blues, put them on hold momentarily with a holiday, or banish them forever with a boat. That’s my thinking as I write this from the dinette of our 42-footer with happy family ensconced aboard.

Though winter will soon be a fading memory, we’re enjoying an early send-off with some mid-week float therapy. Carpe diem, seize the day, for it’s a fair-weather forecast of 22C. And thereafter days of something wonderfully similar.

Boating bliss starts not longer after decamping. Our two youngest crew, Summer (four-and-a-half) and Sandy (eight months) have tired from squinting in the glary flybridge. A few hours' treasured sleep follows. It’s worth casting the lines for that alone.

We anchor in 3.8m of water off boat-only accessible Store Beach. The boat is positioned in such a way that we won’t be hard up against the rocky fringe if we swing around. That’s good planning, as we performed a complete 180 in the night.

Summer and Sandy are champing at the bit, boob, breakfast and prospect of hitting the beach at 5.30am. The new PFD3 in pink hibiscus print bought for a steal at the Sydney boat show has been on her back since 6am. With all the toys out the boat looks like a tip by 7am.

Mum paddles to shore at 8am and assembles a shade tent, as the shell collecting begins in earnest. We have Sydney’s best beach to ourselves, before a lone sailor downs anchor nearby, and a grumpy old fisherman takes up station in his tinnie after first checking his lobster pot.

I’m also looking at a couple of fat bream swimming around under the two ducks that ate our breakfast scraps. But there’s no sign of the shells from last night’s kilo-of-king-prawns-and-salad dinner that we tipped overboard. Tonight’s menu features a whole roast eye fillet of beef, then we’ll assemble a smoked-trout salad the following night. The wine is chilled.

It’s a smooth start to the new season with nothing broken. Although we’ve done less boating than is good for you this winter, I’ve kept up the preventative maintenance. The kid next door washes the topsides for $50, while I check batteries, waterpumps and bilges, and run the generator and watermaker (even though it has an automatic freshwater flush) every other week.

However, I did succumb to an offer that came through my mobile yesterday from a harbour dive service offering a $50 discount. One of my main concerns with a stagnant boat is growth on the hull, props and running gear. As we’re due for a slip and antifoul in November, an interim dive will tide us over and save money on fuel. A slippery hull means less drag and better performance, of course.

The only thing missing is my morning kick. The onboard coffee and tea are the decaf variety dating back to my wife’s last pregnancy. But if I strike out in the kayak, there’s a café about 30 minutes away. They also sell wicked hamburgers. Summer’s up for an iceblock. Off we go.

While I spend an inordinate amount of time in boats and mix with so many in our industry, few have perfected the fine art of pleasure boating. Our raison d’etre is this very thing. And now our boating days are back in all their spring glory.


Meanwhile, Manly ferries zoom out yonder with commuters rushing off to the office. There’s a lot to be said for telecommuting. Wireless from the boat works — try it some time. 12.30pm: Lunchtime. See you out there. – David Lockwood

 


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