Catlypso - Michael & Kelly McFadyen's Sailing Adventures
I first met Kelly Jandik in February 2004 when I gave a talk about diving the wrecks of Chuuk Lagoon to the Ryde Underwater Club. She spoke to me about the wrecks and a trip I was organising for St George Scuba Club later that year and said she would like to go on the trip. Well, one thing led to another, and she ended up moving in with me within a year.
As well as scuba diving as a common interest, we had things like bushwalking and camping as recreational activities we both enjoyed. From the earliest time of knowing her, one of the things we talked about was eventually buying a yacht and sailing the Pacific Ocean to visit many of the places where diving is a big attraction. While I had a lot of sailing experience (albeit from the period up to 1988), Kelly had no experience. However, we are both people who have spent the past 20 years or more undertaking our recreation via small boats in the ocean (as owners and skippers) and we are both very comfortable with that, even in rough seas. That early talk led to us to formulate a plan.
|Kelly and me on our friend Mark's catamaran,|
New Year's Eve 2005
We attended the Sydney International Boat Show in 2005 and looked at all the available yachts. We had decided early on that we wanted a catamaran and around New Year's Eve 2005 we spent time on a yacht that belonged to a friend of ours, Mark Ridsdale. This was also a cat, but smaller than the size we planned to buy. While anchored at Athol Bay in Sydney Harbour, we had yachts owned by friends of Mark rafted up to us. One was a Seawind 1160 and the other a Lightwave 35 (Ultimate Dream). We spent time on both, looking at everything they had to offer. While we really loved the Seawind (at least at that time), it was always going to be out of our price range. Even though it is only a little longer than the Lightwave, it is a much bigger yacht. At that time, second hand Seawinds were going for well over $500,000 and second hand Lightwaves were in the order of $420,000.
From that time on we concentrated on Lightwaves. I started recording details of every Lightwave that came on the market, its price, features etc. Over the years we think we recorded every Lightwave that was for sale in Australia and even into Asia. Some of the yachts changed hands a number of times.
In May 2007 Kelly and I got married and one of our wedding vows was that we would purchase a yacht and spend our time sailing the Pacific. The specific vow was:
Kelly and Michael, now that you are about to enter your married life, do you promise to still go bush, count satellites in the night sky and continue to dive Bare Island, and do you vow that you will retire early and sail and dive around the Pacific Ocean on your catamaran. I do!
This really set the plan in train, we were locked into it. Over the following years we attended more boat shows and even visited the Lightwave factory on the Gold Coast in Queensland and looked at some that were for sale. We juggled our finances, examined how we could afford to save the money to buy the yacht and still have enough money to live comfortably till the time we bought as well as after.
My intention for the past 20 years had been to retire on my 60th birthday in July 2017. However, I also had the plan to take my extended leave (formerly called long service leave - of which I had never used a day) at half pay and combine this with all the recreation (annual) leave I had accumulated. I worked out about 10 years ago that I could start this leave in about June or July 2014. Our plan was that we would purchase the yacht in mid to late 2014 and start our adventures in autumn 2015.
Of course, at the time we formulated this plan, we lived in my original house in Tempe (an inner suburb of Sydney). Soon after meeting Kelly I had purchased another house at Kareela (a bit further out to the south in the Shire), with the intention that we would move there at some time if we could afford it.
In late 2007 we decided that we would be able to move to Kareela, so in early 2008 we moved and I rented out Tempe. This meant however that I had lost all tax advantages of Kareela and now had to pay a lot of tax on the income from Tempe.
Then, in late 2009 the world's financial economy was hit by the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). The value of a lot of our savings was hit hard, with shares I owned that were worth $200,000 pre-GFC dropping to under $100,000. Of course, at the same time a lot more yachts came on the market and the price also dropped fairly dramatically. Still, our goal seemed to have been put out of reach, at least for the timeframe that we had originally planned.
We did some thinking and came up with another plan. I decided to sell Tempe to Kelly, thus giving her a good tax advantage (she has always earned a lot more than me). The resulting money would be used to offset the loan on Kareela meaning we paid no interest at all on this loan. The only disadvantages were that we had to pay over $20,000 in stamp duty and solicitor and bank costs and Kelly was going to take on a capital gains tax (CGT) commitment for Tempe when we eventually sold it (it was forever free of CGT for me due to the date I bought it).
We did the figures and decided that the advantage of tax benefits for Kelly and the saving on interest for Kareela far outweighed the costs and would let us undertake our plan at a time close to the original date. I sold Tempe to Kelly at the maximum legal price I could (one that could be supported by real estate valuations) and we paid off Kareela and at the same time Kelly became part owner of Kareela. The plan was that we would eventually sell Tempe and use the profit from this to part pay for the yacht.
In the meantime, the financial situation across the world gradually improved and not only did my shares eventually regain the original value, they actually went up by over 25% from what it was back in late 2009. Unfortunately, some of the shares have never regained their value, otherwise I would have a lot more potential money.
While this was all going on, of course the age of yachts was increasing and the price decreasing. However, I was surprised that the prices were dropping a lot more than I thought they would just due to age. It is obvious that some people were still affected by the GFC, probably many people who had retirement plans like us had their savings/investments hit worse than us.
In 2013 I did some more refining of my plans. I worked out that I could finish work on 16 May 2014 and proceed on leave till my eventual retirement in July 2017. On a financial basis, we discovered that we had saved a lot more money than we thought we would be able to do and we may even be able to buy the yacht without resorting to the sale of Tempe. In December 2013 I submitted my leave requests so that my managers could take action to recruit a temporary person to undertake my position and to give me enough time to train them (I was the only person with more than a cursory knowledge of the software application that I have administered for the past nine years).
As mentioned before, Kelly had never done any sailing. She decided to enrol in some sailing courses. All courses were RYA Yachting Australia certified courses run by Eastsail at Rushcutters Bay. Kelly chose Eastsail as they conduct the training on yachts 35' and larger. Kelly completed a Start Yachting course and then went on to complete the Inshore Competent Crew, Offshore Competent crew and Day Skipper qualifications. Kelly loved the sailing training and highly recommends Eastsail.
I did a number of sailing navigation courses in the mid-1980s as well as hands on sailing training. I used to race as a crew on yachts and also had chartered a yacht a few times for weekends and sailed with workmates on their yachts. In fact, we used to have work yacht races around Sydney Harbour once or twice a year in the 1980s. Kelly started these courses in February 2014. I also, of course, read her navigation books and found that I still remembered it all (as I should since I have spent the time since navigating on land for work and on water for diving).
Finally, in March 2014 my leave was approved. Around the same time, a restructure of our organisation which started in early 2012 or even late 2011 (there have been so many over the past 10 years I forget!) reached the branch in which I have been employed for the past 20 years. It became apparent that all the positions in our branch were going to be "spilled" meaning we all had to apply for whatever jobs were now available. In addition, it also looked like the number of positions was to be drastically decreased and the gradings of the positions would nearly all be downgraded dramatically, thus meaning we were to get paid less for doing more work (there was never going to be less to do!) while the bosses got more money for less work (less people to supervise). If you did not get a job, then you would be made redundant.
Well, a new plan came into being. If I could get made redundant after 1 July 2014, I would end up almost the same financially compared to my original plan of going on leave till 2017. This was calculating how much money I would get from various sources till I was 80 years old. In addition, the redundancy plus the money from my extended leave (less tax) plus the lump sum amount of my superannuation and a little of our savings would be enough to enable us to purchase the yacht without selling Tempe or resorting to selling our shares or using much of our savings (well, most of the savings). This was looking better!
In the meantime, Kelly and I stepped up our search for a suitable Lightwave yacht. Kelly in particular was very active in chasing up details from the brokers about various yachts for sale. We also came up with a list of things that we required the yacht to have and some things we would prefer it have when we purchased it.
SPECIFICATIONS - REQUIRED/DESIRED
LIGHTWAVE 38 LAYOUT AND FEATURES
The Lightwave 38 is 38 feet long (11.3 metres) with a width of 6.67 metres. It has very good head room of at least 1.95 metres, including in the hulls. This is far taller than me. The keels are mini-keels with a draft of only 1.1 metres which is perfect for the places we propose to visit. It also has a good bridge clearance (the height between the water and the section of boat between the hulls) of 0.75 metres. The empty boat displaces 5,000 kilograms and has a maximum displacement of 6,500 kg.
The layout of the yachts are not all the same, but the standard is as follows. There is large rear door and inside there is a living area with dining table and lounge. In the port hull there is a bathroom and toilet to the stern. Straight below the lounge area in this hull is normally the navigation table. Forward of this is a queen size bed located under the main deck of the boat. Forward of this is a single bunk in the bow.
|A typical layout for a Lightwave 38|
The starboard hull has a double bed to the stern of the steps down. The galley is located in this hull below the lounge and forward is another queen size bed and single bunk. Therefore there is room for eight persons in beds, six of whom are in double/queen size beds. There are heaps of storage spots all over the boat.
Our plan for longer trips and when overseas would be to have a maximum of four or five aboard. This would mean the single bunks in the bows would be used for storage, meaning we could have a couple in the other queen size bed or two single people sleeping in each of the larger beds.
Outside the living area there is a medium size cockpit area which has a raised helm position on the port side. There are steps leading down to the water and steps leading up to the topsides. All winches are located back near this area.
They have two diesel engines and at least 200 litres of fuel. Most of the ones I have either Yanmar or Volvo diesels and I think I may have seen a couple of Kubotas. The horsepower was either 20 hp or 30 hp. From what I have read, all these engines consume about the same amount of fuel when used at their most economical setting.
Most owners seem to run one engine at a time if they are cruising and use about 2,200 rpm. This gives a speed of about 5.5 to 6 knots. If both engines are used at this speed you only get an increase of perhaps 0.5 to 1.0 knots. At 2,200 rpm, the engine uses about 2.2 to 2.3 litres of fuel an hour, very economical. Thus the range under power is about 500 to 520 nautical miles (just over 900 kilometres). With five 20 litre jerry cans you can add 50% to this range.
LIGHTWAVES FOR SALE
Over the years I had seen advertisements for 26 individual Lightwave yachts for sale, some of them have been for sale more than once. The following list details the yachts that we seriously considered buying once we started looking for real in early 2014. The boat number is xx-yy-zz where xx is the number of Lightwaves built to that time (actually starts at 00 for the first one), yy is length in feet and zz is the number of yy versions built to date.
Keshi (formerly Kesha) - 2004 Lightwave 38 Boat 28-38-13
The boat number indicates that this was the 29th Lightwave built (remember there was a 00), it was 38 feet when built and it was the 13th 38 footer. I have not mentioned it before, but Lightwave modified their 35 footer to increase the stern by a metre or so in the early 2000s. Not only did this improve the handling and speed characteristics of the yacht, it increased the payload by about half a tonne. Later they stopped building the 35s.
This yacht was built to an incomplete stage by Lightwave in 2004 and completed by the owner in 2006. A lot of Lightwaves were built like this up to 2005. I suspect that many people did this so that they could spread their purchase cost over a number of years as well as reducing the cost to them. In many cases, the yachts were completed by the same companies that did work for Lightwave in the factory.
Photo from internet sale page
This yacht was now for sale in Thailand. It turns out that the original owners had sailed it to Malaysia and sold it there to two blokes from Thailand. The current owners had purchased it in early 2010 and only used it for day trips and the occasional overnighter in the four years since. It was very well equipped and from photos appeared to be in excellent condition. The asking price was AU$330,000, The downside was its location and it only had 20 hp engines (we would rather have the larger 30 hp ones). If it was located in Australia we would have very seriously considered it.
As If - 2002 Lightwave 35 Boat 12-35-11
This was located in Hervey Bay in Queensland and was originally for sale at $325,000 and later reduced to $270,000. While it is the smaller 35 footer, there is no real reduction in usable space with this yacht. It is located in Gladstone in Queensland. It has the larger 30 hp Yanmar motors (some ads call them 29 hp) and also seems very good value.
Photo from internet sale page
Ridgee Didge - 2004 Lightwave 38 Boat 30-38-14
I first saw this for sale in about 2009 when it was in Malaysia. The asking price was $445,000. In early 2014 it again came on the market and it was now located in Manly in Queensland. It was now $399,000. On paper it looked excellent, if not a bit overpriced compared to other ones of the same age.
Photo from internet sale page
However, we soon discovered that in early 2006 it had been damaged. Although the repair work was done by Lightwave, Kelly and I had agreed that a minimum requirement was a hull in excellent condition.
Pieces of Eight - 2004 Lightwave 38 Boat 32-38-13
This was located in Mooloolaba in Queensland and was $339,000. It had the larger Yanmar 30 hp engines with only 1,100 hours. The first owner of the yacht only used it on one trip apparently. Since then it had done little work. It was a really nice looking yacht, and with the large 30 hp engines and virtually everything we wanted on it, it looked very enticing indeed.
|Pieces of Eight|
This firmed to be our favourite of the ones for sale, with the only drawback that it was located in Queensland and there was some difficulty in dealing with the broker based in Sydney who then spoke to the broker in Queensland who then spoke to the owner. In the end we said we would only deal with the Queensland broker. This was much better.
Our Reflections - 2003/6 Lightwave 38 Boat 22-38-08
Like a lot of other Lightwaves of its age, this one was not completed by Lightwave but by the customer, using the services of other companies rather than doing the work themselves. This boat was located in Yamba in NSW with an asking price of $360,000. It was built in 2003 (but only finished in 2006). In addition, it only had 20 hp engines but they only had about 1,100 hours which made it a bit more attractive.
|I think this is Our Relections at the marina at Yamba|
It was probably second on our list. I actually dropped in at Yamba on my way to Queensland later and could see it from the road, it looked nice.
Two Shea - 2005 Lightwave 38 Boat 37-38-19
This was located in Cleveland, a suburb of Brisbane, in Queensland and was $410,000. It had the larger engines, although they are Volvo 29 hp with more than 1,500 hours. The current owner is the third and has owned it since 2010. This lightwave is in immaculate condition.
Two Shea is slightly different to Pieces of Eight in that its map table is upstairs just inside the main door. This means the port hull corridor is a little shorter (in usable space) than ones with the map table downstairs. It also has a factory made duckboard behind the main deck which provides much more space.
INITIAL INSPECTION OF PIECES OF EIGHT
Kelly and I decided that because of the features and price of Pieces of Eight, we would inspect this one first, even though it meant flying to Queensland. We booked flights from Sydney to Sunshine Coast Airport which is located only 15 minutes drive north of Mooloolaba. We found a suitable date and got flights with JetStar for $128 return each. JetStar has four flights a day from Sydney with one of them earlier in the day. This meant we could easily fly up in the morning and return the same night.
On 30 April 2014 we flew to Mooloolaba to check out Pieces of Eight. We hired a car and drove to the marina to meet the marine broker, Ant Kovaevic, from Multihull Solutions. We then drove to the owner's rental property which is where the yacht was located. This was a canal type area where every house has its own wharf. The yacht has been tied up here for most of the last 12 to 15 months with apparently only one use over Christmas 2013.
|The front deck of Pieces of Eight|
Straight from the start it was obvious that it had not been used much recently, everything was looking a bit tired. We spent about 75 minutes looking over the yacht and inside every nook and cranny (and there are lots of them). As this was not finished by Lightwave Yachts, some of the fittings and the standard of finish was perhaps not as high as other Lightwaves we have seen before (at boat shows and the couple we have been on before).
Parts of the boat also had some mouldy smell, but I really only noticed this in the starboard bow, perhaps in the bilge area under the floor here. There was no water anywhere except a cupful near the starboard stern drive in the engine room. The sheets and halyards (the ropes in non-sailing terms) were also quite sad looking. It may be that all they need is a good soak in water to remove salt etc, but I suspect that at least some of them will need to be replaced soon. This is an expensive task as they appear to be priced at about $200 to $250 for each one.
|Kelly on the rear deck of Pieces of Eight|
The tender also looked in poorer condition than the photos showed, with some outer cracking in the tube at the bow. I suspect that it will need to have a major repair or replacement within a few years, but at the moment it seems to have a few years life so long as some minor repairs are done. In addition, as I mentioned the boat was not finished by Lightwave. The berths in the bow of each hull looked to me that they were still just plain fibreglass and not finished off. However, Kelly reckoned they had some felt covering (I did not check this as closely as I should it would seem). Whatever, they looked very dark and would need some minor work (eg removal of felt and painted white) to make them look brighter.
As well, some of the hard covers that form floors in some areas are badly finished or look dirty. For example, the base of the double bed in the stern of the starboard hull is plain plywood and does not have any hole to put your finger in to easily lift it to access the large storage space underneath the bed. Also, the three sections of timber plywood that cover each of the engine rooms (creating a floor for the storage space above) were very scratched and dirty looking. This is something that a good coat of paint will fix.
Other than that, the rest of the boat looked quite good. There were lots of spare parts (engine belts, impellers, oil filters, fuel filters, watermaker filters) as well as a full set of tools and quite a number of diesel and water containers. There are also two handheld VHF radios and more. It also has a wireless modem setup (not sure how this works yet as I write this). I also forgot to mention that it has an escape hatch in the floor of the dining area and a wind generator, although this was not working.
|The main bed on Pieces of Eight|
Despite it not looking as good as we had expected from the photos, we were still very interested, but the price would have to be a lot less that was being asked.
While we were driving to the marina before meeting the broker, Kelly received an email from Louise, the co-owner of Lightwave Yachts. She said since we were up in Queensland and nearby, why did we not come and look at another Lightwave 38 that was for sale at Cleveland near Brisbane. As we were finished with Pieces of Eight before 12:30 pm, we decided to drive to Brisbane and look at Two Shea.
INITIAL INSPECTION OF TWO SHEA
We met the owner at his friend's place where the boat is kept (another canal suburb). The yacht was in better condition than Pieces of Eight, although this was all in small things like sheets and halyards, tender and sails. It was also much tidier in terms of condition of the cleanliness of the engine room as the current owner is a marine engineer. It also had a lot of little things done to it that reflected the owner's occupation. These were things like neat fittings on the anchoring setup and changes to cupboards and shelving.
Two Shea also has a neat duckboard behind the main rear deck. This fits between the two sterns and provides more storage space. This has the tender sitting on it as well as a specially made box. This contains a 2 KvA Honda generator. This deck is a great feature and one that we may replicate on whatever boat we purchase.
The current owner had also kept immaculate records since he purchased it of all work done and expenditure. It was certainly a nice boat.
OUR INITIAL OFFER
After our inspections we drove back to the Sunshine Coast Airport. After a while we discussed what we thought of the two boats, the pluses and the minuses. While Kelly initially liked Two Shea more than Pieces of Eight, I preferred Pieces of Eight.
Eventually Kelly said that she thought Pieces of Eight looked sad and needed some TLC. She started to favour it as well. Back at the airport and on the plane home, we decided that we would be happy to buy Pieces of Eight but based on other boats we had looked at (including on the internet), the boat was over-priced for its condition.
Once back in Sydney we did not have much free time to further discuss this as we had to pack our dive gear for a weekend away with some dive friends. While we were away we had a few quick discussions about the boat.
|Pieces of Eight under power ||The galley in Pieces of Eight|
One thing we needed to do before we could make an offer was to discuss the matter with a marine surveyor. This related to the lack of a suitable haul out facility at Mooloolaba (there is no lift big enough to handle the width of the boat). The surveyor advised that while he could do the survey when the boat was on sand, he could not adequately check things like the mini keels, rudder movement and sail-drives seals.
We asked the broker if the owner would be willing to move the boat to Brisbane or the Gold Coast so that we could survey it. He agreed to move it to the Gold Coast which was better for us in a number of ways. The survey cost would be less (the surveyor did not need to travel to Mooloolaba), the haul out cost was less, it was cheaper to fly to the Gold Coast and we could stay with Kelly's Mum while we were up there. Suitable dates for the haul out for us (based on cheap airfares and our availability) was basically the period from 20 May through to about 5 June 2014.
We decided to make an offer of $305,000 subject to a satisfactory assessment by a qualified marine surveyor. After to-ing and fro-ing a counter offer of $313,500 was made and after discussing, we agreed with this. We finally had an agreement on the price!
I checked on the hull number in the Australian Government Australian Financial Security Authority Personal Property Securities RegisterLink (PPSR). This showed that the boat was held as a security against a loan.
We met with our solicitors on 13 May 2014 to go over the proposed contract of sale as well as how to handle the PPSR. The contract was the standard broker version. We put some changes in and these were agreed to by the owner.
INSPECTION BY MARINE SURVEYOR
As I mentioned above, one of the problems with buying Pieces of Eight was that there was not a crane/hoist wide enough to lift Pieces of Eight out of the water at Mooloolaba. To lift cats as wide as this requires a special crane or device to be brought in. This means that it is financially prohibitive to take a boat the width of Pieces of Eight out of the water by itself. Apparently the local boatyard gets a machine in and organises for a number of cats to be removed at the one time, thus sharing the cost between them all.
It is possible to beach the yacht on a small island in the main river which has a sand beach. However, this would not give full access to the boat's hull and would also mean the surveyor would need to be around for much longer than planned.
The owner moved the yacht to the Gold Coast so it could be surveyed.
Once the offer had been accepted, we arranged for the marine surveyor that Club Marine Insurance and Lightwave had recommended to us as being experienced in surveying Lightwave yachts to inspect the yacht. We set a date that was suitable to the seller, broker, surveyor as well as us, as we planned to be there for the survey. This was Monday 26 May 2014.
As the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show was on from 22 to 25 May 2014, we decided to go up early and visit the show on the weekend. I decided to drive up, since we were going to be there for at least four days, the cost of me driving would be less than car rental and airfares. In addition, I had finished work and could take Veto, our dog, and visit a couple of friends on the way up and back as well as possibly do some diving.
On Thursday 21 May 2014 I drove from Sydney to Port Macquarie and stayed the night with our former Sydney dive buddy Ian and his wife Sharon. On the way I checked out the river bars at Camden Haven and Port Macquarie so that I had a better idea about them for when we have to move the boat back to Sydney.
The next day I drove up to the Gold Coast and stayed the night at Kelly's Mum's place. The next morning (Saturday 24 May 2014) Kelly flew up to the Gold Coast and I picked her up from the airport. Another advantage of me driving up was that I could take our dive gear and we could do a dive or two at the Gold Coast. The entrance to the Broadwater is via the Gold Coast Seaway and this entrance happens to be one of the best shore dives I have done anywhere. We drove there and did a dive, but the water was so dirty we aborted after only seven minutes.
On the Sunday we went to the boat show. We had a number of things that we wanted to check out, including lifejackets, heavy duty raincoats, AIS transceivers and more. We also wanted to speak to the owners of Lightwave Yachts about a number of things, including the duckboard we had seen on Two Shea. We ended up buying a lot of things, including two Gill jackets, four inflatable lifejackets with harnesses and tethers, two PLB (personal locator beacons), strobes (came with the PLBs and lifejackets), a lifejacket for Veto, gloves for me and a couple of books. All up we saved about $700 on these purchases.
On Monday 26 May 2014 (our wedding anniversary as it happens), we drove up to Coomera and were met at Boatworks by Ant (the broker) and the surveyor, Geoff Cruse. The surveyor proposed a complete assessment of the boat. This consisted of:
The boat was brought to Boatworks from the marina by the skipper who had moved it from Mooloolaba. The original intention was to have it hauled out straight away but the lift broke a hydraulic line just as they were about to put it in the water. This meant that they had to get a hose replaced by a mobile hose mechanics (you know, the ones in the trucks). This delayed the lift by a couple of hours.
While we were waiting, the physical inspection of the above water and inside section of the boat was carried out. We accompanied Geoff on this and he explained to us things he found as well as some suggestions about things to look for in the future.
On the deck some of the stanchions were a little loose and they will need attention. The two trampolines were in good condition, but some of the fittings/connectors that hold it in place are broken.
Part of this problem is caused by the connectors that go through the fibreglass edge are too close to the edge and have ripped right through the fibreglass. We see where a few of these have already been repaired years ago. The solution we think is to get some stainless steel U-shaped strips and fill in all the existing holes. Then we will drill new holes further from the edge (this is what they have done with the old repairs) and by using the stainless strip, the weight will be spread more evenly to all the holes, thus making it very unlikely they will rip out.
The other problems are broken plastic parts that fit in two sail slides. All we need to do is purchase some. The last problem is the plastic pipe that sits inside the trampoline edge has broken in one part and this will need to be replaced.
We pulled out the headsail and screecher while here. The screecher is in very good condition but the headsail had a number of problems. One is the UV coating that sits on the leach (trailing edge) of the sail and protects it from the sun when it is furled (closed) is falling apart. The more serious problem is the sail has a couple of rips on the leach. These need to be fixed before we could use it. The stitching near the clew was also coming apart. The sail only has a couple of years life I expect even after being repaired.
We found water in the starboard hull. This was freshwater, so it obviously had come from either rain or perhaps from another source. We found a small pool under the fridge which we later deduced possibly came from the fridge defrosting as power to it had been turned off by the skipper after he moved it to the Gold Coast (the freezer had been very iced up apparently).
The area above the fridge also had some minor water staining which appears to have come from the hatch above. The front starboard berth's mattress was wet.
I also did some more checking of the electronics and found that there is also a 16 stack CD player attached to the stereo and a forward looking sonar unit which were not on the equipment list. I also turned on all the electronics and set up my laptop with my new chart software and GPS.
Finally the lift was fixed and the boat was hauled out. The hull was examined in great detail as were the props and rudders. The only problem found was a slight variation in the rudders, when the port one was point straight ahead, the starboard one was about 5 to 8 degrees out. This is easily fixed.
While we had it here, I got the hose and poured water on the windows and hatch above the galley area. No water came inside. I then hosed the small front hatch/window on the inside of the starboard bow. Water came inside. So it appears that at least some of the water in the bilge came in this way. Later Ant tells us that the owner had told him that after we last looked at the boat, a hatch (not sure which one) was left open and rain came in. Perhaps that is where the water on the floor and in the bilge came from?
The boat was put back in the water. We took it for a motor and a sail. We motored down the Coomera River to the start of the Broadwater. At about 2000 rpm on both motors it was doing 6.5 knots. Once here we raised the mainsail (it appeared to be in very good condition - well this was a wrong assessment) and then the headsail. There was little wind (only four or five knots at the most) but we did about four knots (with a little tidal assistance). The screecher and spinnaker were also used (the spinnaker is unused).
It was a little hard to sail in such a narrow section of water but it showed that the boat sails well in light winds. We headed back to the Hope Island Harbour Marina (where it was being kept.). Along the way I pushed the throttles wide open. We got to about 3100 rpm (they should do 3600 rpm) and we were doing about 7.5 knots. This low rpm was because the props are incorrectly pitched (it is easy to adjust). With one engine in neutral we were doing about 6.3 knots. There would have been some assistance from the tide.
We also had a rigging check done by DLY Rigging (who did the original rigging). His report was that the rigging was in okay condition but would need replacing as it was now almost past its intended lifespan. His quote to do the required work was about $5,430 and another $4,000 for some other stuff that we probably should also get done. We had already figured that we would need to do this as it is virtually impossible to get insurance on any yacht with rigging over 10 years old.
After the survey was received, we advised that we required repairs to the headsail and leaking starboard bow hatch before we would purchase the boat. Also as there were a number of other items that would require work (that we would do later). On 30 May 2014 we agreed on a final sale price of $311,000.
We made arrangements on 5 June 2014 to transfer the money to the broker. It took longer than planned but by 10 June 2014, it was now ours.
DETAILS OF PIECES OF EIGHT
The following table gives details of Pieces of Eight
|Manufacturer:||Lightwave Yachts||Designer:||Tony Grainger|
|Model:38 ||Year:||2004 |
|LOA:||11.3 m (38 feet)||Beam:||6.67 m (21' 10")|
|Draft:||1.1 m (3' 7") ||Weight:||5,000 kg light, 6,500 kg DWL|
|Hull:||Fibreglass Composite||Deck:|| Fibreglass Composite |
|Headroom:||1.95 m (6' 6") ||:|| |
|Keel type:||Mini ||Mast height:||15.3 metres (from deck) |
|Bridge deck clearance:||0.75 m||:|| |
|Engines:||Yanmar 2 x 30 hp diesel||Drive:||Sail drive|
|Propeller type:||3 blade folding ||Fuel:||215 litres (56 US gal, 47 UK gal) |
|Cruise speed:||7.5 kts @ 2500 rpm||Max speed:||9 kts @3000 rpm |
|:|| ||:|| |
|Sails:||Main, jib, screecher, spinnaker and spares ||:|| |
|Radios:||HF, VHF, UHF||Anchor:||Plough with 60 m chain plus spare (rope only)|
|Electronics:||Radar, GPS, wind, depth, log, chart plotter, autopilot, forward looking sonar||Batteries:||800 amp hour|
|Solar:||520 watts||Other:||Wind generator and invertor|
|Water:||400 litres||Hot water:||2 40 litre tanks (one from heat exchanger) |
|Fridge:||Plus two freezers ||:|| |
|Tender:||3.4 m RIB||Motor:||15 hp Mercury|
|:|| ||:|| |
Once our offer was accepted and the payment made, the yacht was moved to Boatworks. On 6 June 2014 it was hauled out again and put on the hard stand.
I contacted a sailmaker at Hope Island (Mike from Gold Coast Sailmakers) and sent him photos of the damage to the headsail and the main sail cover and asked for a quote. Mike advised me that he was not sure if it could be repaired but that he would have a look. He went and had a look and phoned me from the boat. He advised that it could be repaired, so I authorised him to take the sail (and the mainsail cover) so he could give be a quote. The next day he quoted $565 to repair the tear and to put a new UV covering on the sail. He also quoted $229 to repair the mainsail cover which was ripped. I gave him the go ahead to do these repairs and he advised it would all be ready within 2 weeks. He returned the sail and cover within a week.
While here the rigging was replaced. In addition, the mast had to be removed as for some reason, when it was installed back in 2004, the mast was extended by 300 or 400 mm. I suspect that this happened because the mainsail was made too big for the existing mast and boom (the boom has also been extended at the gooseneck). The inspection by the person who installed it, David Lambourne Yacht Rigging (DLYR), advised that there was a crack in a weld at the top of the mast. His report stated "The mast has a welded join at the top end and there are some small Non structural cracks in the rear welds. These are not a concern to the structural integrity of the mast."
However, when we had another company do a quote on replacing the rigging, he stated that the weld was actually where a section of mast had been added. This was not told to us by DLYR and the photo sent to us by the other company clearly showed that this weld was of a concern. Hence, we lost all confidence in DLYR and even though his quote was cheaper, we decided we could not and would not use him.
To do the repairs, the mast had to be removed so the welding could be done. This of course increased the cost considerably. This work was done by All Yacht Spas who do all the original Lightwave yachts.
On about 12 June 2014 Kelly mailed off the application for registration of the boat to the RMS Parkes Office. However, this did not result in the boat being registered. See the page on Cleaning and Repairing for more information.
COLLECTING THE YACHT
On Sunday 15 June 2014 I flew to Brisbane with our diving friend Heinz Bendinger. We then caught the train from the airport to Coomera on the Gold Coast. We then caught a bus to Upper Coomera so that we could get some lunch and buy a few things (like beer!). We then caught a taxi from there to Boatworks. Unfortunately, when we arrived, we did not have the keys to the boat. The caretaker (Boatworks is officially closed on Sundays although people do access it and work there) only had the key for after hours access for us. He was very helpful in trying to find out where our key was. I should add that on the Friday I had specifically phoned and asked "had the key been given to the caretaker" and was advised it had been.
After a lot of phone calls with no success (everyone was saying they gave the key to the other person), we searched the boat and found it hidden in the gas bottle! Later, the person who put it there remembered this, but earlier he told us he had given to someone else.
Anyway, we boarded the boat and put away our gear. As it was a Sunday, we did not have access to the Boatworks courtesy car. This meant our original plan to go shopping was thwarted, so we brought up with us some steaks and pasta we could cook for dinner (there is nowhere to eat anywhere near it).
One of the things we needed to do was to find the exact source of the water leak in the starboard bow. We knew it was leaking through the window, but what part of the window? We sprayed water on it again and found the leak was from the bottom left as you looked at it from outside. We attempted to remove the screws so that we could take the window out and see what the problem was. However, some of the screws were very hard to remove. In the end it was Tuesday before we got it sorted out (see later).
As Boatworks has a courtesy car, we did not need to hire a car, This was very advantageous, as it would have been a hassle to return when we were finished with it as the nearest rental car place was back at Southport, at least a $50 taxi ride away. I had the courtesy car booked for 8 am Monday as we needed collect a lot of things from Kelly's Mum's place and purchase a few items that we felt we should have on board. We also need to purchase enough food for the journey.
We drove to Kelly's Mum's place at Southport and collected everything from there. On the way back we went to Woolworths at Oxenford where we purchased a lot of the food we needed. We did not get everything as we were running out of time. We had the car for two hours although I had checked that the next booking was not till 10:30 am, so we could use it till around then. In addition, Heinz is an Aldi fanatic and he wanted to get a lot of stuff from there.
We also purchased 90 litres of diesel on the way back (using the containers from the boat as well as one I took up there three weeks before) which I transferred into the boats tank. I also booked the car for later in the day and at 2:45 pm we went back to Oxenford, this time to Aldi and Bunnings. We now had all our food as well as grog (beer, wine etc). We got another 90 litres of diesel (180 litres in all) and 27 litres of unleaded petrol for the tender outboard.
In between the runs to the shops, we adjusted the rudder alignment. This was easily done. We did not fix the pitch on both props as the "paint" over the prop meant the adjustments could not be made without removing the paint. This of course would need to be redone and apparently this paint is not available to anyone but tradesmen due to its toxicity.
Heinz and I also decided that while the boat was on the hardstand, we should redo the anti-foul on the hull. Even though it was only done in December 2013 (so we were told), we figured that it was probably only a very cheap job. On the Monday we also went to the marine shop on-site and spoke to them about this. As a result, we decided to come back on the Tuesday morning and purchase all the items we needed.
After returning from the shops late on Monday afternoon, Heinz and I scrubbed the hulls so that on Tuesday we could start the anti-fouling.
On Tuesday we purchased the anti-foul called Amercoat ABC 3, 10 litres for $381.82, 4 litres of thinner $28.61, 4 litres of Hempel Mille anti-foul (for the sail drives and the area around them - you cannot use the normal one on the drives) and masking tape, rollers etc for $28.00. We did one coat in the morning. This took us about three hours.
|On the hardstand at Boatworks, |
we have anti fouled the hulls twice
|The mast going back on Pieces of Eight|
After lunch the mast was reinstated. I also arranged for the marine electric company to come and reconnect all the mast electrics (there is no way I could do it) first thing Wednesday morning. In the afternoon Heinz and I did another coat of anti-foul, but we ran short so I had to buy another 4 litres for $177.27. One litre would have been enough, but it does not come in that size. The second coat went on much quicker.
The boat detailers had previously acid washed the hulls and also removed the name and horrendous decals. They came back on Wednesday and waxed and buffed the hulls. Unfortunately, they could not do the decks due to lack of time.
There were limited times for the rest of the week for the boat to be lifted back into the water, so I had booked it for 3 pm on the Wednesday. Some other things we did before this was to reseal the window on the inside of the starboard hull. We could not remove it as a few of the screws were too hard to budge. This appears to have worked as we have had very little, if any, water, come in on our trip back to Sydney and once home.
We also attempted to get the outboard for the tender running. On the Tuesday I had actually got it to kick over when we added new fuel. The fuel that was in the tank was disgusting and did not even smell like fuel. However, despite our attempts, we could not get it to start again. The cover was hard to remove due to corrosion of the screw (we broke the arm) and when we finally got it off and the spark plugs out, they had a gap of about 2.5 mm instead of the 1 mm they should be. I tried to get an outboard mechanic to come to check but they did not turn up.
Kelly had exams for a university course she is doing so she was flying up on Thursday evening. We put the boat back in the water on at 3:30 pm on the Wednesday. Heinz and I then motored to the marine stadium area on The Broadwater at Southport. This is nicknamed Bums Bay and is a very protected anchorage just north of Seaworld. See later for a link to the journey back to Sydney.
Of course one of the things that we needed to arrange was a mooring for the boat. The ones available via Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) are the cheapest but also the hardest to get. Their web site shows the areas where there are moorings as well as listing the number of people waiting and when the last mooring was allocated. Our preferred location was in Port Hacking. However, all the main bays had what appeared to be long waiting lists. When we were at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show there were staff from NSW Roads and Maritime Services (ex NSW Maritime). They told us that if you phoned their service line you could find out more information about the queues for each location.
On 4 June 2014 I phoned RMS and found out that of the two locations we preferred, there were 12 applications for Yowie Bay with the one now at the top of the list having being submitted on 21 January 2014. For Burraneer Bay, there were only three on the list and the top one was applied for in April 2014.
Even though it looked like we could get one in Burraneer Bay in only a few months, we submitted an application for Yowie Bay as this was our preferred location. Yowie Bay is a bit more protected in my view. In the meantime, we would need to get another commercial mooring to use. There are a couple of commercial providers in Port Hacking. Kelly and I contacted them and got pricing and availability. The Royal Motor Yacht Club (RMYC) in Gunnamatta Bay did not have any for long term, but could supply one till 1 August 2014.
Dolans Bay Marina had one for $330 a month, Yowie Bay Marina one for $275 and Burraneer Bay Marina for $350. Both the Dolans Bay and Burraneer Bay prices included the use of their communal tender to get out to the mooring but Dolans Bay was an additional $50 a month. I looked around and decided I could get a cheap small inflatable from Ebay for about $300 which would easily fit on my Prado. I also later bought a 2 hp Chinese Hyfong two stroke on Ebay for $298. It is a bit noisy, but it works okay so far, better than rowing out to the boat!
Therefore we decided to get a mooring at Yowie Bay Marina and I applied for this on 5 June 2014. The Yowie Bay Marina advised that all was okay and on the way back from the Gold Coast they told be the actual spot to use.
On 6 June 2014 I submitted an application to RMS for a mooring for Yowie Bay. I mailed this to their Parkes processing office. On 7 July 2014 I phoned to check as we had not had any money debited against our credit card for the application. Guess what, it was not found. Now I do not think that Australia Post lost our letter, I think RMS lost it in their system. On 8 July 2014 I went to the Miranda RMS service centre and submitted the form again. Luckily no-one had applied since May, so I am not further down the list than otherwise.
See Cleaning and Repairing Catlypso page for more information about our mooring.
The Royal Motor Yacht Club of Port Hacking (associated with RMYC in Sydney, Broken Bay and Toronto) has a nice club house and facilities. However, its main advantage for us is it has some club moorings in Port Hacking and you can use the moorings of the other clubs on Sydney Harbour, Broken Bay and Lake Macquarie.
Since we intend to spend a fair bit of our time on weekends there, we decided to join. As mentioned, they also have reciprocal arrangements with other clubs. The cost was $50 joining fee and $400 per annum (I think as it was supposed to be $600 all up according to the web site but I was only charged $450). Another advantage is that if we ever replace our dive boat (Le Scat) we will be able to launch it there (Le Scat cannot as you are not permitted to drive the boat back onto the trailer). I applied for this on 30 June 2014 and was advised the next day it had been approved.
We had decided right from the start that it was likely that we would want to rename the boat with a name that meant something to us, rather than to the person who originally purchased it. We considered a huge number of names, even asking our friends via Facebook to submit names. The suggestions and our own thoughts came up with a number of names that we considered over the years.
Some of the names that we considered were:
We decided that none of the names we thought of and were suggested to us were suitable. We had a brainstorming session and came up with a name that reflected our boat and our interests. A search of the internet showed that there was only one real reference to anything with this name, so it should be unique. However, because of boaties' superstitions, we cannot use the name till we have a renaming ceremony. This will happen in late August 2014.
For the time being, we started to refer to the proposed yacht as McCat (Kelly's preferred spelling) whenever we discussed it.
I had the boat's name, registration and port made on vinyl by a company just up the road. I can really recommend Plastic Printing as it was good quality at a brilliant price. If you live in the Sutherland Shire or nearby, Contact owner Brad Poole email@example.com.
JOURNEY BACK TO SYDNEY
Click here to read about our trip back to Sydney.
BACK IN SYDNEY
Over the weeks after we returned, Kelly and I went to the boat a number of times to do work on it. Kelly cleaned all the cabins, we removed all the linen, doonas, pillows and outside cushions and took them home. Here we washed all these things and eventually returned them to the boat.
Meanwhile, I attempted to fix the AM/FM radio without success, so I then purchased a new one. The installation of this took me ages as the wiring to the speakers had to be completely redone. I also used fibreglass resin and repaired the damage to the port trampoline fixings. I also measured these so that Kelly's Dad, Tomas, could make us some stainless steel parts to replace the existing fixings.
I also removed the stainless steel frame from the port engine room that holds in place the floor above the engine. This was not only warped, but it was installed badly in the first place. The screws holding it in place barely went into solid fibreglass, especially along the outside edge. Tomas welded small tabs on the frame so that I could reattach with screws further from the edge. However, this failed as the fibreglass floor is very thin and the screws did not hold. I eventually replaced the screws on this side with bolts and washers on the underside. This worked.
I also drew up diagrams of the boat's water, sewage and drainage systems. I also measured the freshwater tanks (there are three) and worked out the capacity. This appears to be close to the advertised 450 litres.
On one trip out to the boat I removed the outboard motor from the tender. This was difficult on my own, but I managed using one of the winches. I took this to the shore using our little tender and got my outboard mechanic to look at it.
We also did some adjustments to the mooring setup. This was because of the problems we had in Port Stephens and later as there is no system for mooring. We also worked out a new setup which we will need to get made. More about that later.