Beer Mode

Beer Mode

Gawd, we love this one. We’ve left it exactly as received…

So you want to be a delivery Skipper?

So try this: You’re fly up to sunny Townsville, QLD (Aus) and you’re taking a 36′ sloop rigged mono down south. Now you’ve quoted this cheap, cause it’s freezing back home, and the Missus is nagging about some pergola…

So you get on the old darling, and she’s chockers. You know: cushions, fans, kitchen tidys, more fans/a/c’s, fishing tackle etc. Hmmm. So you check the rags: main: tissue paper. Heady: 150% overlapper – anything over 8 kts & sideways we go. Deck layout: 1 cockpit clutch – everything else on the mast. Sweet. ENgine: don’t ask. 450 ltrs contaminated fuel. Oil pressure: zero. And so it goes.

So you spend a week (a week! unpaid!) with the owner. Lovely guy. SHare a few beers. Dump 1/2 a ton of crap on the jetty. Boat 1" higher. Good. Find a #3 jib. Good. Work on donk. should be good. SOrt the ground tackle/electrics/plumbing/jackstays/safeties/nav/comms… nearly all good, or as good as they’re going to get.

Gear up for the off. Bad. 30+ on the nose. Owner suffers health issues. Medical evac called and executed. You are now on the radar of all safety/rescue/police up and down the coast. 1 more call, and it’s back to selling used cars. Sweet. Single-hand back to base (dark, no auto, dodgy donk) and re-think.

Good news: hospitalised owner recovers. Find replacement crew. More beers and ready for the next Off. Welcome to sunny North Queensland. Day 1: 40+ OTN (where else?) Boat a sh**fight. 14 hours to cover 50 miles. Bilges awash. Electrics shot. #3 shredding. Anchor at 11pm, knackered. Crew displaying signs of lack of sense of humor. 35m of chain out and anchor just holding, with dodger folded down and GPS showing SOG .02 kts. Nice. Not a lot of sleep.

Day 2. Slightly better, only 30+ over deck and at least some sun. VMG 3kts – every time you round a headland, the breeze shifts to head the boat. Meanwhile, dunny declared a hazard due to serious blow-back behavior as is the local whale population who are coming WAY too close…

Day 3. Civilisation just 20 miles away. Airlie Beach. Home to the world’s raffiest bunch of charter boat operators and 30,000 backpackers. The main drag makes Kings Cross (SYD) look refined. Too easy.

SO off we go. Light airs, so let’s motor – the Owner can afford it!! LOL. Thru the Cumberland Passage. Look it up: Short , but narrow and shallow. As we emerge, the donk croaks. No wind but luckily the tide is pushing us clear. Check the fuel filter -Uh-Oh, full of jelly-like stuff. Change the fuel filters, bleed , etc. Off we Go. Cool. SUn’s up, more breeze, Airlie by lunchtime. Have a coffee…. donk croaks. Crew a hero, spends rest of day with his head in the engine bay, draining off jellyfish fuel, changing filters (of which we have many) and generally putting up with swearing, let’s-just-leave-it-and-swim, Skipper. Slowly zig-Zag our way to marina entrance, drop main, and motor in. Donk croaks as we tie up.

SO there you have it. Oh, and we’re broke – all those airfares and too many beers. But at least we’ve got a tan, which is more than our pals down south can say.


Ed: Ok, so I wrote this in beer mode. Long time SA reader, first time Contributor but. Love your site, blah blah. I’m an old racer-boy, nearly ready to hang up the sea boots but just can’t quit. Happy sailing.