Back home

Another week comes to an end and I’m heading home to the island.

We’ve had a bit of stormy weather yesterday and there is still a good breeze hanging around. On the barge back home the wind was blowing at least 20 knots and it made for a wet ride.  Spray was blowing over the side and onto my truck.  Not great for rust.

Photos never do the sea justice, but you can see plenty of whitecaps out there.

It would be a fun day out sailing and speaking of sailing, the deal is done on the little sailing boat.  I paid for it today and it will be transported up by truck, hopefully, next week.  I’ll post some pictures when it arrives, hopefully undamaged.


Going small…

I’ve been searching for boats over the past couple of months and I’ve narrowed it down to a couple.  It’s taken a bit of convincing to get down in size (thanks to some wise words from Ken in Texas) but I think a small boat will do everything I want. Considering I’ll probably only use it half a dozen times a year it doesn’t make sense to have a big boat sitting on a mooring.  If I can drop the boat in the water, have it rigged in 10 minutes, put a few days supplies onboard and head across the bay for a long weekend, I’d be happy.   I’ve narrowed it down to something like this.

It’s a tiny boat in comparison to the old Westsail, in fact it’s precisely half the size at 16ft and almost half the beam at 6ft.  Prior to seeing this, I  was convinced that 20-26ft was the minimum size for a weekender.

There are a lot of advantages to sailing a small boat.   Notwithstanding the reduced maintenance costs, a smaller boat takes less effort and planning to go sailing.  I often used to feel like the Westsail was a major logistical undertaking to go for a day sail.

This is a Com-Pac 16 and just like the Westsail, it’s built in the US.  They make a 19ft version, which looks almost identical to the 16 footer, but Com-Pac yachts are extremely rare in Australia anyway and I’ve never seen a 19 footer here. In fact, this is the only one of its kind that I’ve seen in Australia and it was a personal import. Further, they command a hefty price due to their high quality build and the additional shipping and importation costs. The 19ft version would probably be a better boat for me but I think the 16 will do the job.

Moreton Bay is full of sand banks and even though a small boat is going to be slower than a larger boat, it has the advantage of a shoal draft keel and can sail across shallow banks, which could potentially mean a faster trip across the bay and to my destination.

SailOutCom-Pac also make this great looking 20ft cat boat, but that is way out of my price range at over $60,000.

Com-Pac yachts have a great reputation for quality, longevity and a strong following of owners overseas. Kind of like a Westsail.

It’s not a serious ocean going yacht like the Westsail but it will handle a bit of rough weather on the bay.

It has a shoal draft keel with no centreboard, which doesn’t bode particularly well for sailing to windward, but doesn’t really bother me as I think I prefer my boats without a gaping big hole in the hull, 2 bunks in the cabin and can live on a trailer under cover and out of the elements.  There’s just enough room in the cabin for some stowage, perhaps a small portable stove and to keep out of the bad weather.  Cooking would mostly be done in the cockpit under a boom tent anyway and in summer I’d probably just sleep out in the cockpit.  I think this could be a great little bay boat.

It’s not a done deal but I’m very seriously considering it.  The problem is that it’s located about 2000kms away and I’ll have to have it transported by road.

Summer prep 

I spent the day working on the garden and planting seedlings in preparation for summer.  Watermelon is a staple.

Cutty is improving and is no longer house bound.  She spent the morning sitting in the garden watching me work and is beginning to put weight on her leg.


I know I keep saying this, but I miss not having a boat.  While it’s nice being surrounded by water on the island, it’s a constant reminder that I could be out on the bay sailing. 

Unfortunately I have so many projects on the go and work is keeping me really busy, so I don’t have much time for sailing.  

If anyone knows of a little sailing boat with the following characteristics, please let me know.  I’d love to spend a few days sailing over Christmas.

Classic traditional design;


Gaff rigged;

Transom hung tiller;

Centreboard keel; and

Bronze hardware.
That’s my ideal boat.


When you live on a little island even simple things like heading home for the weekend is special. 

 That’s Australia in the background with the sun setting over the West. After a short ride on the ferry, we are almost home.  

I’ll be busy this weekend planting some seeds for the summer. Melons are on the menu. I’ll be posting more about the garden at

Chalk & Cheese

I spent the weekend working on the guest cottage and dreaming of another sailing boat.  As I was back at work in the city today I was on the 30th floor looking out the window and it occurred to me that I really do live a double life.  My life in the city is fast paced, contrived and toxic.  Life on the island is the complete opposite, unhurried, clean and natural.  I took a photo of both to show the comparison. 

Head in the clouds…

Down to earth (or ocean)…


Wisdom of Tuscany…

I picked up a couple of new books today.  I came across the author, Ferenc Máté, about 10 years ago when I was living on my old Westsail.  Ferenc also had a Westsail and having lived onboard for many years he wrote numerous boating books, including one specifically dealing with the fitting out of his Westsail, which I found immensely useful.

Below are a couple of his boating books which I still have on my shelves.

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After his time on boats, he and his wife moved to Tuscany where they bought an old run down friary and set about restoring it and rejuvenating its badly neglected vineyard.

Consequently he has written numerous books on his new life in Tuscany.

These are the two titles I bought today.  They deal with living at a slower pace and appreciating the truly important things in life with a major focus on self sufficiency and growing food.  I’m hoping that many of the practices in Tuscany can be adopted at High-Water.

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City weekend

Unfortunately I’ve been stuck in the office working most of this weekend and couldn’t make it over to the island. What’s worse is that it’s a long weekend and I have so much to get done on the island but no time to do it.  

At times like these when I’m in the office for 14 hours straight, I feel so guilty that Cutty has to endure it as well. She is so patient and just sleeps beside my desk.  If she needs to go to the toilet she gives me a nudge and walks toward the door. 

It’s been a few weeks now since her operation and I wanted to give her a bath and some time out since she hasn’t been able to do much due to her leg.

So off to the dog wash we went.

I wouldn’t say that she enjoys the bathing process, but she definitely loves the result.  She obviously feels clean and loved and has a bit of a princess complex.

One of her favourite things to do is sit at a cafe where there are other dogs and people to see and food to smell (and secretly taste under the table).

She was visibly excited when we pulled up to this cafe and even let out a little cry.  I think she was beginning to feel like she was going to be bed ridden for the rest of her life.

She is still limping but getting back to normal.