Thursday, April 21, 2011

The early days

After our welcoming party at Challenger Harbour themed appropriately as Doctors and Nurses, The Doc was feeling like home. Our early sails on her were tentative and were more a matter of just feeling our way into this very new sailing experience. The centre cockpit was fine and the helming position was such that you could sit on the aft cabin top and steer with your foot. If you tired of that whip on the Course Master auto- pilot, and lounge along the teak cock-pit seats, lifting your head every now and then to check ahead and to count the number of S&S 30s, 34s or 39s you happen to be passing. We were used to 6kts and the occasional 7s on Norlee but this brute was idling at 7 kts and 8s were becoming the favoured cruising speed. Even with her tired old headsail, hideous wire halyards and corroded blocks and sheaves we could see this was going to a fun boat to sail. And so we proceeded to have some fun for the first year with sails down to Busselton, over to Rotto and Garden Island taking up our weekends and holidays. What about the refit I hear you say. Well, it’s coming. We ended up building a house on a block on the canals in Port Geographe, initially for investment but the idea of living away from the city and sailing Geographe Bay was something we often thought about. When a Head of English position was advertised in the West for a school in Busselton it seemed too good to say no. We arrived in Busselton at the start of 2008 and lived aboard The Doc for the first 6 months while the house was being finished off. Once we were comfortably land dwellers and work was more or less under control, Diana decided to retire and apply for the position of Boat Refit Project Officer. There was only one application so, after a gruelling interview at a restaurant in town I told her she had the job. The first thing you do on a refit is to write out a list and we had two: one general and one electrical and they went into the little blue book. Looking at them, turning page after page I suddenly had a thought, why don’t we just buy a new boat?

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