Xmas finally…

So the holidays are finally here and I’ve been looking forward to having a couple of weeks to get some work done on the island.  I was also looking forward to taking the little Compac out for a sail.

Despite having a list of jobs to get done, I put the boat in the water and took off for a day sail to Peel Island.

So here I am at the tiller.  The quick photo makes me look like I’m not having a great time, but I certainly was.

The weather was ideal.  A little overcast and a decent breeze from the East.  It was a gentle and easy sail straight across the sandbanks over to Peel Island.

After just a couple of hours I had anchored up in about one metre of water.  A shallow draft means there is no need for a tender.

After about an hour in the anchorage and a swim I took off back home to the island.  The wind had turned more Southerly and increased to about 15 knots.  It wasn’t looking pretty.  I took the shot below during a lull in the breeze.

There were storm clouds rolling in across the bay and at one point land was no longer visible.  I put a reef in the sail about half way across the bay and it was a classic case of, “if you are thinking about putting a reef in the sail, then it’s probably too late”.   Fortunately the little Compac is a very sturdy and stiff boat.  At only 16 feet, it sails exceptionally well and is incredibly dry.

The tide had also gone out so there was no sailing across the sandbanks.  The trip home was quite a bit longer but it was great to be out on the water again.

I’ve found a few things that I need to do to improve the Compac.  The helm is extremely loose and I’ve since tightened the rudder bolts.  This should make quite a difference when trying to tend sheets and sails as the little boat wants to immediately run off course.

There was also quite a bit of weather helm.  I’m not sure if adjusting the rake forward will make much improvement since there isn’t much flexibility in the rig.  Perhaps a bigger headsail will improve things.

All in all, I’m loving the little Compac.  It sails at 4-5 knots easily and the shallow draft is a great advantage for sailing on the bay.


I’m slowly making progress toward another transition in my life.  That will be from working and living in the city to moving to the island permanently. I don’t have as much time as I’d like or need to get the things done but it’s surprising how productive you can be when you just put your head down and get to the task at hand.  

My weekends for the past few months have consisted of leaving the city at 6am on Saturday mornings and running around loading up my ute or more recently the old Bedford.  Then off to the island to work.  Then Sunday evenings it’s back to the mainland, tired, dirty and ready for another week in the city.

One job that is taking priority right now is to build a good sized workshop/shed.  I previously had these shipping containers as a workshop onsite but I want to have a roof over the top of them that will give me storage underneath and also be high enough to have a mezanine level.  

The engineering requirements to mount such a big roof on the containers are huge.  At each corner of the containers there must be 1.5 tonne of anchor ballast in the form of footings.  That means the holes for each footing are 2 meters deep by 600mm in diameter.  It seems like overkill, but that’s what I’m told I have to have.  Here is one of the holes.

When I first had the containers delivered onsite I located them East to West.  Now that I’ve had time to consider their placement, I’m spinning them around North to South.   I considered moving them by using logs as rollers but I heard there was a crane visiting the island for a building project and hijacked it for a while.  By using the crane it save me a lot of effort and placed them precisely over the footings.  

All that’s left to do now is jack the containers up, fill the holes with concrete and steel and construct the roof.

I have also been busy working on the garden and landscaping. 

Below is a picture of the rear of the property.  The piles of soil are from the container footings.  After spreading it to make a nice level pad it was time to put some turf down.

The turf is money well spent.  Not only does it smother any weeds, it instantly transforms the area.

The property is a pretty big area to maintain and each weekend I’m mowing, blowing leaves, chain sawing and generally working in the garden.  This is me on a typical weekend.

And of course the supervisor is never far away.

Generally on a Sunday afternoon I put Cutty in the truck and we go down to the island swimming area to cool off.

I think another few months of this will start to see some real progress.