I rarely spend a weekend in the city anymore.  Unfortunately this weekend was one that I had to be in the office to finish off some urgent work.  By midday I needed a break and took a walk down along the river to where I lived on the Westsail for a while.  It’s interesting to see some new boats visiting from overseas but also many of the same boats which haven’t moved for years. 


Thankfully I didn’t end up being there long term.  It reminds me of the quote by John A. Shedd:

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

This is your life…

On Friday I made some long overdue changes at work which should begin to take effect within the next month.  The fact that it took me almost 5 months to have the time to take the little Compac for a sail, reinforced the basis for that decision.  Then this morning I came across this.  


The Maiden Voyage…

Coming from a big heavy displacement yacht to a lightweight trailer sailer was always going to involve a bit of a learning curve.  I’ve had the new Compac 16 for a few months but I haven’t had the time to get it out on the water.  The Easter long weekend is here and it’s a chance to get out for a sail.

It took about 10 minutes to get the mast erected and rigging secured.  Everything on a 16ft boat is toylike and lightweight in comparison to a 10tonne Westsail. I was really impressed with the stability of the little Compac, it wasn’t as tippy as I expected and was quite a stiff little boat.  The build quality is also excellent with plenty of heavy  glass mat giving a sense of security when out on the water. 

I launched the Compac at the boat ramp and set sail for a run to Peel Island which is about a 10nm sail. 

There wasn’t much of a breeze but it was enough to push the little Compac along at about 3 knots.

One of the first differences I noticed when compared to the big Westsail is a smaller boat’s tendency to stray of course quickly. Unlike a larger yacht with a long deep keel, these little boats have a very short attention span.  If I’m not glued to the tiller it will round up in 2 seconds flat.  The rig seems to have a lot of weather helm and perhaps a bigger headsail or a longer sprit would help with that.

They are also very sensitive to weight. If I had to hang over the back to play around with the tiller the back of the boat would sink in and slow the boat down significantly.  Once it was sailing though and I was sitting toward the centre it was a nicely balanced hull. 

The cockpit is really comfortable and is as large as the Westsails. Sitting in the cockpit it feels like a proper yacht which is really impressive considering it is literally the size of a dinghy.

A couple of hours later I drifted into Horeshoe Bay at Peel Island.  


Normally on the Westsail I would be looking for a nice place to anchor for the day in at least 5 metres of water. I’d have to lay anchor and check my swinging room for the other boats in the anchorage. If I wanted to go to shore I’d have to prepare the tender and then motor in. Not with the little Compac.  I just sailed right into the beach and hopped off.

Cutty was glad for the beach break and took the opportunity to explore the bay.

I stood back and pondered the little Compac and I love the concept.  If I make a little boom tent, a cockpit platform for a bed and a BBQ on the back, this could be a lot of fun for weekend trips away.   

Even in bad weather there are two quarter berths that can be squeezed into.  The berths do resemble coffins, but if you aren’t claustrophobic, they will provide a dry bed out of the weather.


Below is a shot from the water.  That’s me standing next to the Compac.  The outboard engine on the back is a 3hp Yamaha 2 stroke which does a surprisingly good job at moving the boat using 1.5 litres per hour.


It was time to head back home and fortunately there was a little more breeze for the return trip.

I decided to take a different route home due to a long s/w tack and headed down a passage between 2 islands to the West of my home.  I looked at the charts and there was half a metre at some points through the passage.  It was also dead low tide.  On a larger boat I would have been forced to go around the outer island adding an extra hour to the trip.  No need with the shoal draft of the Compac.   Below is an example of some of the shallow banks encountered through the passage.    


My conclusion is that the Compac is a great little boat.  It has its limitations as a bay boat and although it could very comfortably seat 4 in the cockpit I wouldn’t want to have more than 2 onboard. 

When I was hauling the Compac out at the end of the day a bloke wandered up and commented, “that’s a really pretty little boat mate”.  So it also passed the boat ramp test. 

Given the build quality of the Compac and its “big yacht” feel,  I think if Westsail had decided to build a 16ft yacht, it would have been very similar to the Compac.  

Your own path…

I came across this short video of a man and his dog who have been travelling around on a motorcycle and sidecar.  I appreciated the story of this man’s journey that he had a tragedy in his life many years ago and questioned the path he was on.  I love stories of people who cast aside the expectations of “normality” and create their own path.  

Click on the photo below to watch the video.  It’s worth the few minutes. 


Scupper progress…

I haven’t had much time to work on the little boat recently but this weekend I got onto those terribly repaired leaking cockpit scuppers.  This is how they were when I got the boat.

Sikaflex and silicone are great products but when they aren’t applied properly they end up creating a mess that takes a long time to remove.

I spent quite a bit of time scraping the old sealant off from around the drain. The problem was that there was very little space between the cockpit floor and the bottom of be drain and it was impossible to see what was happening on the underside of the tube.  The yacht manufacturer had decided that a longer tube was a good idea.  It probably is because it would prevent the tubes from being blocked by junk accumulating at the aft of the cockpit. However, the longer tubes ended up not such a great idea when trying to repair the tubes due to the limited space.  So off with the ends it was.  The tool I used for this is a vibrating multi tool.  It’s really handy for direct cuts in limited spaces.  The tip vibrates at a very high speed and cut through the poly pipe like butter.  Better than trying to stuff around with a hacksaw blade.

Once the tube was shortened it allowed me to scrape the rest of the old sealant out.

Then a light sand to clean up the area where the new sealant is going, a good clean with alcohol and it’s ready for the new sealant to be applied.   Below is a comparison of before and after.  It surprising how long it can take to do these fiddly little jobs, especially when there are 3 of those little scupper drains.

Unfortunately the sealant will have to wait till next weekend since the sikaflex I had in the workshop was close to its shelf life date and I didn’t want to take the risk of it not setting properly.

I’m pretty pleased that I’m getting closer to taking this little boat for a sail.

Thinking of sailing…

Despite having new boat I still haven’t had a chance to get out on the water.  Every time I head across the bay on the ferry to and from High-Water I’m reminded of the bay’s beauty and diversity.  The northern end is inky blue with sand stretching for miles, while the southern end is scattered with pebble beaches and farming land.    

Any spare time I’ve had over the past year has been spent working on the gardens and house.  As soon as the weather begins to cool down I’ll turn my attention to the boat again and do some exploration around the bay. 

Big Red…

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll recall my project Big Red.  This was the old 4×4 Bedford truck which I built into an expedition truck.  I ended up selling Big Red a while ago now to a nice couple from New South Wales.  I was looking at trucks online tonight and saw an advertisement for Big Red. I often fantasise about building another adventure truck.  It seems the new owners’ plans have changed, which is unfortunate and the old truck is almost exactly as I sold her. 

If you are looking for a great expedition truck that will take you anywhere, get in touch with the sellers.  Click on the picture below to go to the advertisement.


The new year…

The past few weeks have been and gone and I’m back at work. I spent my Christmas break working at High-Water trying to get the landscaping and guest cottage done.  It’s a big job when it’s just me and it’s consuming all of my time and energy.   Cutty is supervising of course.

I did get a lot done but there is a lot more to go.  It’s a long term project and probably at least another year away from being established.  I will need to balance my off time more this year with some sailing and relaxation since I felt a bit burnt out.

I’ve ordered some new scuppers for the boat from the U.S. 

I’m excited about 2016 and feeling quite motivated and positive.  I need to lose some weight and get fit (that’s a constant theme) and also get a few loose ends organised which have been plaguing me for a while.  

All the best to you for 2016.  It’s going to be an awesome year!

Boat prep

The weather has been hot and blowing about 30 knots this past week so not ideal small boat sailing weather.  At least not for a boat I’m unfamiliar with. 

I’ve spent the week working on the island garden making the most of the holiday break to get some trees planted and cottage renovations done.  

Today I got around to checking the boat to ready it for a sail.  The cockpit scuppers have been leaking badly and worse still is that the leak is internal which ends up wetting the interior bunks.

 So I had a good look and the rubber scupper drains are quite perished and need replacement.  This is the view of the exterior transom.  The scuppers are little rubber flaps which seal the cockpit by water pressure on the outside of the hull.   
The outer consists of a nylon ring holding down the rubber gasket flap which sits on another rubber gasket. 

Below is the second rubber gasket coming off.  There is a pvc pipe running into the cockpit.  The outside seal looks reasonable.

Below is the interior of the cockpit.  It’s pretty clear that this is where the problem is.

The design is pretty sound and I like the recessed channels which will potentially make for a dry cockpit floor. 

Whoever did the last “repair” (and I use that term loosely) must have been in a hurry. It’s so rough I’m guessing they may have been sinking! There appears to be 2 types of silicone used here. One is white and one is clear. The clear is still sticky and was probably cleaned up with turps which prevents it from curing properly.


The result is a sticky mess of goo that should have been easy to peel off.  I’ll get it all out, clean it up and apply a good seal of sikaflex.  I’ll order some replacement scupper drains for the outer seal too.


The joys of boating!

Merry Xmas…

I’ve been stuck working in the office for the past 3 weeks, living in the city and haven’t had a chance to get home to the island. This Christmas will be a very well deserved and much needed break.  

Only 2 more weeks to holidays.  I’m really looking forward to having a break and getting the new boat out for a sail.