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Hugs for SV Rebel Heart

This video was put together by a bunch of cruising families in support of SV Rebel Heart who recently lost their boat.

We are sharing it with permission, in support of these guys, and because it is a fantastic sneak peak at cruising with kids.

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A Brief Intro :)

A short compile of sailing the East Coast

A Favourite Spot: Percy Island

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One question that inevitably comes up when we talk to people about cruising the Great Barrier Reef is what spots we absolutely loved.

While there were easily several places in this part of the world that we really enjoyed, one that was certainly right up there is Middle Percy Island.

Pretty infamous in cruising circles Middle Percy Island is the quintessential island cruising experience.

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West Bay is a white sandy, inviting beach complete wih coconut palms and the ” Percy Hilton’ an A frame structure that serves as a meeting point and hangout for cruisers. Full of momentos from passing yachts and complete with the ‘swing’ and hammocks. A decent walk up the hill and you will find the homestead, where the current custodians of the island live. Refreshments and some fresh produce might be available, these guys are doing a great job of looking after the island.

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Frowned on by Alan Lucas in his cruising guides as a uncomfortable anchorage we were lucky during our time there and only experienced some minor swell typical of any island anchorage in this area.

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Warm days at Middle Percy  swimming in clear blue water, cooking fresh fish in coconut and watching a magic sunset every night made it a hard spot to leave. If you wanted to be social there were always other cruisers to get together with.  If not then watching life pass by pleasantly seemed to fill up  day.

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The history of this island is umm well interesting, To find out more it about this fascinaing place visit

http://percyisland.com.au

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Must read cruising with kids blogs

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Ok these are  the TWO must read blogs if you are looking for inspiration to go cruising with your kids.

Windtraveller: A cruising family with a toddler, expecting twins, currently in the Caribbean.

OK, these guys are awesome.

Beyond the fact that we love them ’cause they are sailing with bubs, their photos are AMAZING, and this is one well written, funny, poignant blog.

SV Totem : Jamie, Behan and their three kids are currently in South East Asia. An inspiring family.

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An Update

Sophie2013

We have spent a bit of time this year enjoying cruising the NSW coast.

We kind of rushed past alot of great spots on the way north in 2011 and although there are challenges sailing the NSW coast, it is good cruising in a part of the world to explore closer to home.

We have also been topping up the cruising kitty and are now working through  a major refit in addition to just being busy parents, which is why there has been a bit of a lack of cute Sophie photos on here lately!

There is a plan, head north up the east coast of Australia again, and then head into either Asia or the Pacific?…..and then????  Stay tuned!!

Self Steering: Hydrovane or not?

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So we are trying to make some decisions about our self steering.
Our boat currently has a Autohelm st4000+ wheel pilot. Before our last big cruise up to the Great Barrier Reef I was going to replace it with a below deck autopilot. Time and economics got away from me and it was one thing that didn’t get replaced. In fact, I have to confess, it was the one thing that got no attention whatsoever before we left. However now with plans to head further afield, I am looking at a couple of choices.
1) Replace with below deck autopilot (probably Raymarine, although Coursemaster, a local product looks reasonable). My issue with this is power consumption on a long passage, given our pretty modest systems (we have 300ah in the house bank, 200w solar and an oversized alternator). This would be about a 3k project, but might escalate if we need to beef up our power generation.
2) Purchase a new Raymarine wheel pilot. I get why below deck models are better, but our current st4000+ seems to do every thing I need it too. We have no plans to circumnavigate just yet or enter the southern ocean. 1.5K project.3) Purchase a Hydrovane. (I prefer this auxiliary rudder style of vane for our centre cockpit yacht.) and use our existing long suffering st4000+ for light winds and motoring. I like the idea of a vane. This, however would be a 6k project and in reality I am wondering if the couple of long passages we will do justify this cost, also it would mean our st4000+ is still being relied upon some of the time. I would love to do this but it’s a big chunk out of cruising kitty.

When crap happens

ABDF936E-55C5-475C-9733-8E0EB6283D25-9337-00000520E29396EE_zps247a9828Some of you would know that we had some mechanical dramas of late.

For us it nearly became the straw that broke the camels back. Coming as it did on the back of a raft of issues with refit projects, budget blowouts and stuff that gets in the way of going cruising, we actually, for the first time seriously thought about giving up.

Our first time out cruising confirmed that it is a lifestyle we love. Economic factors (namely running out of money) saw that trip cut short and us back in the rat race replenishing the kitty.

We have learn’t alot even though it feels like one step forward, 2 steps back at the moment!

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Our top 5 mistakes……so far

No cruising blog is complete without a top 5 or top 10 list :)

So here in an effort to humiliate ourselves further on the interwebs, but also hoping it may help others are our top 5 ‘mistakes’ in pursuit of the cruising dream.

1) Trying to have our cake and eat it too. We spent too much time and effort initially trying to make sure cruising didn’t affect our careers too badly, we procrastinated, we worried about burning bridges, and making sure our shore life was sitting here for us when we needed it again.  Once we went cruising, we realised having cut the docklines, we had somehow managed to reattach them again on the other side of the boat.

2) Buying an older boat that needed work and trying to do it ourselves. I love my boat, I love our journey, I would not change a thing, BUT  the truth is that we could of bought a newer, more prepared boat and been out there sooner for longer. We didn’t. (I note Morgans Cloud recently also listed this as a ‘mistake’.)

3) Spending too much money where it didn’t matter. If you have a huge amount of the stuff, then thats great. We didn’t, we knew we were on a budget yet we (ok, me) would insist on following through on jobs, that while worthy were not the priority. ( eg. Soda blasted the hull, had it faired, re- epoxied……perhaps also the sensational but over the top Anchor Windlass)

4) ‘Not going small going now’ sooner. Our boat is not large, and we have definitely ‘gone now’ in some ways, but we could of also gotten out there cruising before Sophie was even thought of in a 26ft boat in our early 20′s.

5) Not relaxing enough and enjoying the ride.

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