With the heads repaired, we set off Monday and motor sailed for a large part of the day. After we passed Port Stephens we managed to sail for the occasional thee-hour stretch, but we still motored for 18 hours out of the first 24. I was very grateful for the new soundproofing I had recently installed as it made a vast difference to comfort aboard.
The crew were coping remarkably well with the offshore conditions. Only Pascale had done any real offshore sailing before and, at the other end of the scale, Melissa had never been on a sailboat before. Melissa struggled a bit with seasickness initially, but boy she recovered quickly after vomiting, always returning with a big smile and infectious enthusiasm.
The watch system was easy on everyone, with a 6 hours off, 3 hours on schedule giving everyone adequate rest. I took Melissa on my watch, being the least experienced sailor, and Helen and Pascale, who were by far the two better helmsmen and had more experience than the others, led the other two watches. The crew kept log and wrote short stories in a notebook, some of which (like Melissa’s “Dolfie the Dolphin” story) had us in fits.
By the time we reached Coffs Harbour early on Wednesday 27 May, everyone had settled in and there was much relief at being able to go for a hot shower.