S.V. GrapeShot is a 4.5 ton, fiber-glass sailing vessel, she’s a Compass 28 and was born in 1970, 15years longer than I have been alive.
I was a complete novice, a rookie sailor when GrapeShot and I met and she baptized me in fire to test me, to see if I was seaworthy of her curves, not the other way around.
Before this the longest I had spent on a sail boat was 30mins, having a coffee visiting a mate on his shiny well kept yacht. It’s a good thing that I had little idea about what lay ahead because sometimes I wonder who takes care of who?
We’ve been living together for almost 3 years and from the beginning when I first looked at the boat I got a sense of the kind of pact we would make to each other: To look after and care for one-another, wander and explore Australia’s coast together. It was as simple and as complicated as that.
During rough weather she keeps me dry, safe and on course, but its when the weather is calm and sunny, that’s when I service her physically and fill her with my handyman enjoyment. I promised to keep her in ship-shape condition, safe from pirates, boats, rocks, reefs and sandbanks.
After the years we’ve spent together we’ve had a terrific mind blowing time living on the water and my brain has trouble finding the words that justify the kind of freedom and adventure I’ve experienced, the sunsets and the beaches I’ve seen, the lifestyle I’ve lived and the meaning that I have found in my own life has to be experienced by everyone individually. Only you know the way to wander for yourself.
Now I have nudged the bottom 3 times but the anchor hasn’t dragged (touch wood) thanks to my Rocna anchor and on our maiden voyage together, we sailed over 1500 nautical miles from Adelaide to the Gold Coast.
By jumping into the deep-end, on the first big 36hour solo leg of the trip, I received a baptism by fire, I destroyed the wind-vane (but later had it repaired) and sailed with 35-40knot winds behind me in 4-6m seas from kangaroo Island to Robe, arriving in the dark and loosing my navigation device to a rouge wave crashing into the cockpit. That day I got a taste for the Southern Ocean and it commanded my total and utter respect. At the time I felt like I had survived South Australia’s Limestone Coast, notorious for rough weather and ship wrecks, and I felt ALIVE, sick and the heroic fear of doing what has to be done in the face of sudden danger. Adrenaline was certainly a part of it.
It’s a bit of a complicated relationship, but there is no questioning our place in it. This is not a love story between me and my boat, this is a living story of where we are wandering together.
I am now on the trip of a life time, the reason and the hook as to why I begun this sea change in the first place. To sailing up the Queensland Coast visiting coral reefs, tropical islands and eventually make it to the Whitsunday Island’s.
I’ve had this feeling ever since I was a child, that I needed to wander the Great Barrier Reef and to take it all in before some environmental or man-made disaster wipes it out completely. In the early 90’s the conversations I heard around the dinner table were on the topics of natural vs man-made climate change, rising sea levels, and the geographic development of the global land mass.
So now that I’ve done what the world told me to do: Get A Job, Started A Business and work just to stay alive, to stay afloat, I decided to quit it all, to throw in the towel, It just wasn’t working for me, I saw too many holes in the system that I had adopted and I knew that I had to make my escape before I could be engulfed again for another round of the rat race.
I thought now was my chance to follow that inner calling I had when I was a child, to embrace the and develop the hidden parts of myself that only come from wandering the world to know thyself more fully.
If you’ve been stuck in the rat race, this is the stepping off point and the beginning of living.
In the Beginning: I was a slave to the system and my place was given to me.
In the Middle: I have begun my journey, wandered the world, took to the sea and saw the real me.
In the End: I will come to know myself and how to make my dreams become my life.
Welcome to my heros journey, It all begins in the unknown.