Yearning for my Yacht

Summer is an inconvenient time for urgent boat repairs. First, there is the long holiday break and, second, boat yards are generally busy with jobs that have been booked months ahead of time. Arriba sat forlornly in her Yaringa berth for two months, looking like a giant Kraken had chomped on her cross beam. The nearby gantry stood ready to lift Arriba but there were no hardstands available. Like dying winds, hopes that the repairs might be finished in time to sail home before winter slowly faded.

It was the end of January before Arriba could finally be hauled out. Once on land, the shipwright, rigger and others got stuck into the repairs. The good news was that, apart from the cross beam and forestay, none of the damage was structural. Nevertheless, the falling mast had made a huge mess of the entire port side, destroying everything in its path: windows, stanchions, winches, and more. The wind turbine narrowly avoided being clobbered, but one of its stainless steel support struts took a beating, bending like a wire coat hanger.

The repairs were time consuming and fiddly. For example, the stanchions that were ripped out of the deck could only be properly re-attached by creating new access panels below. And replacing the glass windows, which were no longer used by Lightwave, proved to be an ordeal. The mast itself only suffered minor damage at its base, which could be repaired, and was otherwise in good condition. Of the standing rigging, the forestay, cross beam and seagull striker were replaced, but everything could be reused. The gennaker was shredded to pieces, but the jib and mainsail suffered relatively little damage. The biggest delay, however, was caused by the extended lead time to procure the replacement cross beam. Because the Lightwave 38s are no longer in production, the beam had to be fabricated to order.

The summer came and went and all I could do was yearn for my yacht, 800 km (500 miles) away. A summer without sailing is a sad thing when you have saltwater in your veins. For only the second time in sixteen years, there would be no sailing trips to Kangaroo Island.

Repairs were finished in July, which is the dead of winter Down Under. A vacation to sunny Sri Lanka, which had been booked a year earlier, trumped sailing through cold southern waters. Nevertheless, we needed to sign off on the repairs so we decided to make a road trip out of it. We arrived at Yaringa at dusk but even in the fading light it was plain to see that Arriba looked fantastic. We slept on board, firing up the catalytic heater to stay warm, and the following day we did a test sail to Phillip Island. Everything worked as expected.
Arriba, good as new.

Yaringa is conveniently located at the northeast corner of the Mornington Peninsula. We were already familiar with some of its coastal scenery but now was the time to explore inland. Mornington Peninsula’s wineries are world-famous and Pinot Noir grows particularly well in the maritime climate. We were not disappointed with the wines that we tasted and the boat cellar was suitably replenished.

Wine tasting at Foxey's.

It was mid-September when we were able to re-assemble our crew and finally bid farewell to Yaringa. We’d all grown quite fond of the place, but ten months was quite enough. Nevertheless, there was time for one last lunch at Captain Jacks, before we departed at 16:20. We would spend the night at anchor in Cats Bay (-38.50591, 145.13563) on the western side of Philip Bay, twenty nautical miles south and only two nautical miles from the entrance to Bass Strait. Tomorrow, we would resume our trip westward.