Plan B

Looking for an answer…. and sometimes its right under your nose.

Dini at the Helm

Dini at the Helm

Such is my dilemma dear friends, for I find that with less than 30 days to my intended departure I have no suitable crew, a leg wound that will not heal and the possible prospect of a cyclonic passage to Tonga during the coming El Nino season.
Not good reasons for leaving…..
Without  crew I am in danger of exhaustion when making my landfall due to lack of sleep. Having already covered some 3,000 nautical miles, I know how exhaustion can creep up on you and influence rational thought. Don’t relish making landfall in bad weather in that state…. at least not by choice.

Bruny Island in the D'Entrecasteaux channel

Bruny Island in the D’Entrecasteaux channel

My wound is now in its second month and despite the best medical advice and prescription still refuses to heal. Leaving with a medical problem unresolved is flirting with danger and makes no sense.

El Nino shows up every 3 to 7 years and its been 5 since the last one.  All meteorologic indicators for 2014 are saying its a strong possibility. The cooler sea and the hotter air temps are breeders of cyclonic activity. Consequences of this weather phenomenon within the South Pacific are increased activity both within the season and outside it. This opens the possibility for getting slammed on the long journey to Tonga, sometime whilst I’m there or sometime on the journey back. Not a good prospect either. Think I’ll wait until next year.

On a more positive note….

Missionary Bay

Missionary Bay

With the new bow fitting installed and working well, Dini and I have been exploring the D’Entrecasteaux Channel together on Freespirit these last two weekends with great success. This area in the South East of Tasmania is a sailors dream. A great number of good sheltered anchorages, great sailing between them due to the width and length of the protected channel and the mostly pleasant weather at this time of the year have all added up to a great deal of fun and aquatic pleasure aboard Freespirit lately.



Typically, waking up to a peaceful bay at sunrise, land birds greeting you with their song as you are struck by the rich beauty of the surroundings. Or, bounding along under maximum sail as Freespirit slices through the small chop like a happy puppy sailing to the next beautiful cove or inlet. Heaven on earth.

And the fish! Still learning about fishing and the channel but we have already tasted (sic) success with rod and reel in bays where we have been anchored. Admittedly a lot have been throwbacks, but there is great potential for better catches within this aquatic playground. Thus inspired I have made my latest purchase a quality spinning outfit to try and catch some of the bigger fellows we know are out there….. watch this space!

Little Fancy Bay

Little Fancy Bay

In other news, my canvas work has attracted some attention from other boat owners and has lead to my being engaged to work on their boats. In particular the sunshade cover I designed and built recently has been a talking point. This original effort has turned out well, proving to extend the living area of Freespirit significantly and protecting the cockpit during inclement weather. I’m quite excited and happy with the turn of events toward paid work. I am enjoying the challenge of custom canvas work as it satisfies my creativity and has the potential to support my chosen lifestyle… bring it on!!

This long weekend for something different we are travelling by road to the more remote and isolated regions of the Tasmanian North West Coast. This is an area Dini is very familiar with so under her guidance I’m looking forward to seeing a great deal of spectacular country.

At anchor in Missionary Bay

At anchor in Missionary Bay

Would have taken the bike but many of the roads up there are dirt and quite rutted… not ideal for my road bike, especially with extra weight on board. Planned is a trip by charter boat up the Gordon River, check out the convict ruins of Sara Island and a look at Hell’s Gates… a notorious narrow and dangerous passage in from the Southern Ocean to Macquarie Harbour. Beautiful, wild and dangerous… lets go!

That’s it for now dear friends.


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5 Responses to Plan B

  1. lnblackmore says:


    That’s a drag.

    I’m thinking the leg issue is the biggy, you can’t afford to take the risk of it getting worse, in fact you need it healed.

    IMHO, and having done a bit of it, the crew issue isn’t as good as it could be, but you’re an experience short handed sailor, so take your time, and when you’re within 100 miles of your landfall, lie ahull for a day or so, get some sleep and get your energy levels up. If the weather’s bad just stay well of shore.

    In terms of the cyclonic possibility, at least you’ve got every aid available to man and beast that can tell you where your best weather will be, in my day it was ‘Oh dear, here’s a severe storm, right here, right now, and this is going to last for 3 days or more, suck it up sailor’ The fist warning was a plummeting barometer – I kid you not J Let’s face it, sailing small boats (& yours isn’t too small) is a risk no matter what. A bit like riding a bike- fast J

    But the leg, that’s got to heal mate.


  2. Vic & Kristy says:

    Hi Collin

    Always wonderful to hear from you, Wow! beautiful scenery. Nice to see that you are reaping the fruit of you labor from the hard work that you put into the Freesperit.
    I’ve never met Larry, and I’m not a Sailor but it sounds to me like he is a wise Sailor with lots of experience and dam good advise. Sounds like you are already making the best of the situation and making some good analogies. I have to agree with him, its a good Idea that while your leg is healing you could enjoy the fishing, wonderful surrounding, and the company of your good friend Dini.
    Here in Canada, we are still going through the blahs of Winter and yet another small snow storm and cabin fever. -19 this morning, sunny and very clear. Wish Kristy and I could join you and Dini in the Sun for a nice glass of Yellow Tail Australian wine, and maybe sit chat and play our guitars a bit.

    Take care my friend.

    Vic & Kristy

  3. Chris Thomas says:

    Suck it up Princess!!!! Capt Hook did it with one hand and a hook. If I were there I’d load up and head out…what can happen??? Months at sea, no crew, no medical help, no food, no water, huge sea’s and no hope of survival…maybe a good call after all…but then I am on the Murray in 40 deg heat…I wish you “good spirited sailing” Lue & Chris

  4. Greg Shakeshaft says:

    Hi Colin, loved reading your last couple of posts and the link to the hair removal cream on Amazon left me bent over in stitches 🙂 The photographs you have taken have given me a fantastic impression of Tasmania and I really want to visit the place thanks to you. You should become a travel writer or, treat yourself to a Go Pro and I think you might have a new career in television. Which reminds me, have you seen the Robert Redford film; “All Is Lost” yet?

    Anyway, the reason for contacting is to get an update on your wounded leg. How is it now? And also, are you intending to head straight to Tonga from Tasmania?

    Cheers, Greg

    • freespirit52 says:

      Hi Greg, thanks for the feedback! The hair removal ad was a hoot wasn’t it?
      Leg update is I’m seeing a specialist on Thursday and I’ve had an ultrasound on the leg which showed up a blockage of blood to that region…which is why it’s not healed in a timely fashion. Will post an update on the specialists visit later this week.
      Nope, not seen All is lost yet but will look out for it now. Guessing it has some relevance to my travels?

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