KatieKat 2001 Cruise Chapter Four

Click on underlined text to jump to it
July 2001KatieKat 2001 Cruise Chapter Five
1July 2001Website Woes
25 June 2001Helpful Radar and GPS
24 June 2001Mooloolaba to Mackay
2 June 2001Mooloolaba
1 June 2001Manly to Mooloolaba
April - May 2001KatieKat 2001 Cruise Chapter Three

Click here to go to KatieKat Cruise Index Webpage
Click here to return to KatieKat Home Page

This is the fourth webpage of our cruise covering the year 2001. The purpose of the cruise webpages is to let family and friends know what is going on in our lives. The "Interest" column identifies the target audience, and is intended to spare you baby-picture slide-show agony. This is one long continuous page, and clicking on any of the underlined dates above should jump your screen to the appropriate section on this page (or you can use the scrollbar on the right to navigate up and down this page). Joe Siudzinski

Click on the small photos to see larger-scale images,
then hit your browser BACK button to return to the small photo.

1 July, 2001 -- Website Woes

I arrived in Mackay on Saturday June 23. I had wanted to do a quick coverpage update on this website before settling down and doing a more detailed Cruise update. I was unsuccessful in finding a telephone and there was no bus service into town on Saturday so I thought I would try an upload using the cellphone. The tide was down (something like 15 feet) and thus the line of sight for cellphone connectivity was not good, but I tried it anyway. The file transfer was cut off prematurely, but the KatieKat.net homepage looked ok.

Did some shopping, rented a car and did some sightseeing, and by Wednesday had put together a significant website update, and it was time to find a phoneline.

The marina has a custom telephone switch so they wouldn't let me plug in. The marina is out in the boonies so no other prospects were around. Went into town and first tried the local Optus store (Optus is my Australian ISP), but they also had a custom switch and wouldn't let me plug in. Then, wonder of wonders, the local Apple store is also the local ISP (Mathilda), and they let me plug into their Ethernet line! Unfortunately, when I tried accessing my website using a browser, it came up blank. When I tried accessing the website using my file transfer program, it was unable to access the file directory on the server - thus I couldn't upload anything!

What happened next was a series of time-delayed correspondence with my website server webmaster, who confirmed that my homepage file had nothing in it and erased it; however, when I repeatedly tried to access the website files, I was unable to connect with the directory. More frantic e-mails, as I needed to solve this problem before sailing off to the Whitsunday Islands to meet Kathy!

My last attempt, on Saturday morning (they were open!) was unsuccessful, and after another frantic e-mail to my website server webmaster, I was resigned to sailing off with a downed website, and, with unknown connectivity out in the islands, little prospect for a near-term fix. Depressing (not to mention all the money spent on taxi-rides to town - it's been raining, and a little too far to bikeride).

On Sunday morning, with the site still inactive and no e-mail from the webmaster, I took a chance and tried accessing the site using the cellphone. Wonder of wonders, it worked! I quickly uploaded a new homepage and it looked good when accessed using a browser through the cellphone (at 9600 bps). Talk about a sigh of relief! Now, if you're reading this, it means that my next upload using a scrounged landphoneline was successful.

So, what had happened? First of all, my partial cellphone upload produced a corrupted homepage. Secondly, and I can only surmise this, when I was using the ethernet in the store there may have been a problem using my file transfer program (Fetch) - it would log onto my site properly, but was unable to find the files there and simply kept looking until it timed out after a few minutes. Strange, as I've successfully used this same program on other high-speed connections - notably in Noumea, New Caledonia. Anyway, I'm relieved to be back on the air, and now need to rush northwards to meet Kathy at Hamilton Island on Wednesday morning. Thank you all for your patience and encouraging e-mails.

By the way, I am now using the cellphone for almost all of my e-mails, so be sure not to send me large files (i.e., over 15K) as it may be some time before I get to a landphoneline to download them.

Click here to go back to top of page

25 June, 2001 -- Helpful Radar and GPS

When I purchased the radar, I thought its primary utility would be for identifying distant ships, expecially in foggy conditions. To my delight, the radar is usable for very close objects as well, and has provided some surprising utility.

[RadarLadyMusgrage] When the wind started howling in the middle of the pitch-black night inside the lagoon at Lady Musgrave, some of the boats dragged. I took this digital photo of the radar screen (the blobs are the boats around me), then printed it and kept the printout next to the screen to see if any more movement was taking place as the night progressed. From the center of the display to the first ring is 1/8-mile.

[RadarReef] The reef outline can be clearly seen as the waves break over the windward side of the lagoon. Unfortunately, the leeward side is invisible. The blob on the right is the island itself, and the other specks are boats and tourist boat floating docks and diving platforms within the lagoon.

[RadarSqualls] There has been no moon during this recent passage, and one cannot see the squalls coming in the pitch-black night. The radar is wonderful in this respect - here's a good-sized one, about to pass just in front of me (they were travelling with the wind, coming in from my starboard aft quarter).

In the Percys, with the wind blowing, I moved the boat from Middle Percy to NorthEast Percy and snuggled in close to the beach for the night. After setting the GPS alarm, windspeed alarm, and water depth alarms, I settled down for a tentative night's sleep. Was awakened at 1:30 in the morning by the water depth alarm - I had anchored in 22ft of water at close to low tide (tidal ranges here are 30 feet, as compared to the usual 6-feet in other areas so far) and yet the depth alarm was sounding at eight feet - a combination of windshift and tidal flow was putting me awfully close to shore, so it was time to move in the PITCH BLACK night. Had an interesting time hoisting the anchor and re-anchoring about 100 yards out - the radar proved to be wonderful at allowing me to pinpoint my location.

[RadarPercy] I took this photo after I had re-anchored. The shore outline can be clearly seen. I had previously been anchored in the little bay towards the upper right in the photo. Would have preferred to have anchored a little further up, but the bottom holding was not as good as in this location.

[GPS Curlew] The anchorage at Curlew was subjected to windshifts and strong alternating tidal currents, which resulted in the boat spinning at anchor almost continuously. This photo shows the locus of points around the anchor - the boat was all over the place, and I finally desensitized the GPS anchor alarm to allow for the full swing of the anchor in any direction. This is a good example of the advantage of having an anchor which resets itself easily (love my Bruce!).

Click here to go back to top of page

24 June, 2001 -- Mooloolaba to Mackay

Have been moving almost continuously since leaving Mooloolaba -

Mooloolaba to Tin Can Bay through the Wide Bay bar - unlike last year where the boat stood on end, this passage over the bar was a non-event. Sailed over to a lovely peaceful little community of Tin Can Bay where I sat out a day as winds and rainstorms pelted the boat (after all, it is the middle of winter here).

From Tin Can Bay to familiar Kingfisher Resort on Fraser Island, for an overnight stay. No more dingos visible, as they have just been "culled" after a fatal attack on a nine-year old boy a month ago. Won't show you the newspaper headline photo of a park ranger shooting the dingo at point-blank range.

Up at dawn for a long day's run up to Bundaberg, getting there in late afternoon. The surprise, about an hour before reaching Bundy, was finding water over the floorboards in the port hull. The port rudder seal had sprung a leak which I failed to see underneath all the gear in the compartment aft of the head. The water penetrated the cutouts for pipes and cables in the bulkheads along the way and found itself under (and then over) the floorboards. I'll do a separate writeup about this, uh, inconvenience. No big deal, just some ruined books.

[JoeBundyRum] Mopping up.

[JoeBundyRum] I was there.

Spent a couple of days in Bundy cleaning things up and then in zero wind motored on over to Lady Musgrave. About 50 miles off the coast, it is considered one of the southernmost reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. Beautiful snorkeling area and a nice walk on the small island, with KatieKat anchored in a completely enclosed lagoon. The wind picked up with a vengeance, with sustained 25-30+ knot winds which appeared at midnight. A little dragging by neighboring boats, but KatieKat was just fine on its 33# Bruce anchor. The radar proved extremely useful, and I'll do a separate writeup on its utility in these conditions.

From Lady Musgrave, did a 94-mile sail to Great Keppel Island. From there a short hop to Rosslyn Bay, near Yeppoon.

[JoeBlonde] Never know what to expect on the streets of Yeppoon. Note to Kathy's parents: it's a dummy! :-)

Reprovisioned, and then roared northwards to the Percys. Was continuously whapped by squalls and at one point, when doing ten knots under bare poles (for nonsailors, that means all the sails down) in a 30+knot squall, I actually pulled out and rigged the drogue "just in case", but didn't deploy it. Bounced around the Percys (interesting anchoring experience I'll describe in the radar writeup), then to Curlew Island, and then Digby Island (my favorite, so far). Bouncily roared up to Mackay, mostly flying the small spinnaker, the boat handling the shallow water-against-tide lumpy seas just fine.

[Digby] I was there!

[Digby] Looking the other way from the above photo. That's KatieKat in the background.

[Digby] Another shot from Digby Island. That's KatieKat on the left and a F25C on the right.

[Digby KatieKat] I really liked Digby Island.

Presently sitting in Mackay with winds howling through the marina ("Strong Wind Warnings" of 20-30 knots average for the next few days), with Whirly (the wind generator) doing a great job keeping the batteries topped up. Trying to connect with Kathy to agree upon a meeting place.

Click here to go back to top of page

2 June, 2001 -- Mooloolaba

Spent a couple of days in Mooloolaba - toured the Endeavour replica and pedaled BikeBoat around the canals - canals is a misnomer, as this area has some beautiful waterfront properties. While at the dock with a light breeze from aft, hoisted the large spinnaker again and absolutely could not make it jam! Very interesting....

[Endeavour]Reading O'Brian's novels and then seeing the real thing, even the replica, sure lets one appreciate today's modern materials and rigging. This requires a minimum crew of 16 - Cook carried 94 .

[Hammocks]I'll pull out this photo if anyone gripes about the sleeping accommodations on KatieKat.

[Short Door]So, what's wrong with this picture? (Hint, either the blonde is an Amazon or the door is kinda short). Turns out they needed to add another deck to the real Endeavour for more living space so they just sandwiched it in and everyone walked around scrunched over. The replica duplicates this, and the crew and thousands of visitors have the pleasure of walking around scrunched over.

[Canal]Nice boat ... the house comes with it.

[Canal]That's the Endeavour in the background.

[Hoisting BB]In the process of hoisting BikeBoat prior to the coastal passage to Wide Bay Bar. Note the spinnaker bag under the boom in case the topping lift parts.

Click here to go back to top of page

1 June, 2001 -- Manly to Mooloolaba

I love to singlehand boats! No constraints, no political correctness, just pure unadulterated and unrestrained vocalization expressing my opinion of the crew's dumb mistakes. To wit. three examples -

Case 1: Spinnaker Fiasco
The first day's sail was to Tangalooma, after spending the night at anchor just outside Manly by Green Island. Had a glorious downwind sail in 5-10 knots with the large spinnaker, trying out its brand-new sock and experimenting with hoisting from the foredeck instead of the spinnaker halyard's normal routing back to the cockpit. Flew just the spinnaker, as having the mainsail down provides it with undisturbed air. After a few delightful hours of this, while in a relatively narrow channel with shallow sandbanks on each side, the wind suddenly jumped and veered about 60 degrees, coming in just aft of the starboard beam. In a situation such as this one would merely bear off to ensure the wind was still from behind and then proceed to calmly lower the sock and snuff out the sail. Right! Uh, in this case there was no maneuvering room and the sail was already well off to port going through some very strange contortions (it is not good to have a big sail like this up on a multihull jerkily pulling sideways). After easing the sheets a little I ran forward and tried to pull the snuffer down (think of it as a great big, uh, sock, which compresses and engulfs the spinnaker as it slides down from the top). Well, I got it down maybe three meters when it wouldn't go any further as I was tugging down on it - not only that, but a strong gust from behind suddenly filled the sail, forcing the sock upwards and me with it as I was still hanging onto that puller-downer line. I partially let go while being raised up off the deck, sustaining a beautiful rope burn on my way down (the gloves were back in the cockpit). If the mainsail had been up, then it would have been relatively easy to deflate the spinnaker in the mainsail's shadow and then snuff it out. But, the mainsail was nicely stowed on the boom... sooo, plan B went into effect, and I released the portside sheet completely - it whipped out unbelievably fast, and the corner of the sail went flying off to leeward, quite noisily flapping away with its sheet still attached and dangling into the water. With the lowered pressure I was able to bring the sock down about three meters, again, but no further - it was JAMMED. I tied off the puller-downer line (must look up the proper name for that thing), ran back to the cockpit and grabbed a couple of snatch blocks and some rope loops (about 18" diameter) - ran back forward and rigged up the snatch blocks such that I could bring the sock puller-downer line through them and onto the mast-mounted main halyard winch. Tightened everything up, but that sock was JAMMED and simply could not be pulled down any further over the flapping spinnaker. Sooo, time for plan C - lower the halyard while simultaneously gathering in the flapping sail. Right! Now, I had tied off the spinnaker halyard to the aft anchor cleat and it was under some tension - let's just say that I played with the snatch blocks again and was able to successfully route the spinnaker halyard to the main halyard winch with a great big twang! Whereas I could now pretty well control the halyard's descent, I was about ten feet away from where I needed to be in order to gather in the sail. The good news was that the autopilot was still keeping the boat on track inside the channel, there being sufficient windage to keep the boat moving forward and the wind was off the starboard aft quarter - thank goodness, as I was towing BikeBoat. Well, rather than continue trying to be creative in all this, and with the wind building, I simply threw off the halyard, ran forward, and managed to gather in most of the spinnaker and sock before the remainder fell into the drink. Was lucky - nothing snagged and I was able to simply drag the whole soggy mess onto the trampoline (sure is nice to have a large play area up there). I simply stuffed everything into the spinnaker bag, the sail and sock only suffering from the salt water and a bunch of blood-red smears. Unrolled the jib and quietly sailed on to the Tangalooma anchorage for the night. I took a picture of a partially-healed finger a few days later, but will save you the yuk. The crew (me) was justifiably punished.

To see what I should have done to prevent this, see 2002 Spinnaker Takedown

Case 2: BikeBoat Leg Loss
The next day's lovely downwind sail from Tangalooma to Mooloolaba (no spinnaker) was marred by a very expensive mishap to BikeBoat: it lost one of its drive legs! Now, having successfully towed an identical BikeBoat from Washington to Skagway and back (3000 miles), the only thing I can figure is that the old worn-out bungie (which holds the leg folded up into the locked position) broke, and then wave action simply popped the lowered leg up and out of its mounting. Glug. I had previously always doubled up on the bungies for serious towing. Bummer. More serious chewing out of the crew (me) for deferring the maintenance.

The third example of being able to vocalize with no restraints is when one discovers water over the cabin floorboards down below...., but that story will have to wait until I chronologically get to it.

[Ship HeadOn]I'm in shallow water out of the channel, so he'd BETTER turn! Always some anxiety when looking head-on at a moving ship. The ship was much closer than it appears to be in the photo.

[Movie Set]One would think this Tangalooma pier had been turned into a movie set ... guess what!

[BikeBoat]The port drive leg is missing! Aaaarrrrrgggggghhhhh$$$!!!!

Click here to go back to top of page

Click here to return to KatieKat Home Page