Clean Start

OK now it’s April the second its time to come clean, and possibly even ‘apologise’.

We’ve had such a great week with Sarah here in Fremantle this last week. Working on the boat, alfresco lunches in Fremantle, dealing with customs, alfresco eating in Fremantle, dealing with quarantine, alfresco dinner in Fremantle. Really its been all go, go go.

So when April fools day approached it was Sarah who wanted to do something “special” for all of us and when someone suggested we take a photo of her loading an outboard she just loved the idea. Honestly, we all had tears in our eyes as we ‘borrowed’ one from a friends yacht and then created a press release announcing that she was taking the ‘responsible course’ of carrying an emergency motor. We thought that by adding 600ltrs of fuel and 12 jerry cans that no one ‘close’ would fall for it but we ended up assuring one authority it was “big enough” for the boat and that the fuel was sufficient.

All good fun. But please be assured – Sarah is not going to explode mid ocean, nor is she going to give up due to blisters.

The biggest challenge for Sarah in Fremantle was with Quarantine. A lot of her food came from England and contained items not normally permitted into Australia. Being an island, Australia is free of many agricultural diseases and our strict quarantine laws try to keep it that way. So Sarah was granted special permission to bring in all her food so long as it all left with her on the boat. But when she returned from her “warm up” lap there were raised eyebrows and the boat was actually seized and bonded by quarantine. We kept this pretty quiet so as to not cause concern, but at one stage they announced they were going to destroy all the food. Sarah headed for the Perth hills in some distress but returned after the weekend to the sensible news that so long as she took it all back to sea then it would be all right.

So the concern at possibly replacing all the food simply became an inconvenience of doing some electrical modifications without disturbing all the yellow quarantine tape (or perhaps searching the shops for some yellow tape that almost ‘matched’).

We also modified the sea anchor system but otherwise everything was right with Dippers and the main task was down to eating. We’ve had Sarah out to some nice places around town and along the coast, fish and chips, wood fired pizza, steak house, chocolatiers, ice creameries. She’s been quite a celebrity and met some really nice people and I’m sure she felt very looked after without being smothered (except by Quarantine and customs and maybe some press).

Sarah was particularly excited to meet rowers gathering for the Indian Ocean Race due to start 200 miles north at Geraldton including the race favourite Brits, Guy Watts and Andrew Delaney, who turned up yesterday morning to see Sarah off plus Simon Chalk who has successfully rowed from Kalbarri in Western Australia to an Island near Mauritius on his second attempt (he sunk on his first attempt – why hasn’t someone told us its dangerous out there?). It is generally considered advantageous to set out further up the coast than Fremantle in order to compensate the Leeuwin Current and in fact we had very kindly been offered the use of a car trailer from former Commodore Carter of the Royal Perth Yacht Club (thanks again Tony) to relocate Sarah to Geraldton however this is basically what worried quarantine so in the end Sarah and Ricardo opted for a restart from Fremantle. (one of the negatives of starting further north is the risk of ending up too far north of Mauritius as the currents over there are northerly)

And that decision looks spot on. The winds are forecast east for 7 days and they actually determine Sarah’s travel more than current, provided they are strong enough. In fact it was west wind that defeated her more than current last time. She’ll have strong southerlies near the coast in the afternoons as the prevailing winds are drawn toward the land in typical seabreeze fashion on this coast, but overnight and in the mornings she will be getting pushed straight toward Mauritius and in a few days she will have easterlies all day. Easterlies being offshore also reduces the seastate and she will enjoy a week of less than 2m waves which is  a third of what she had last time. And as if the planets are lining up for her, the Leeuwin Current even seems to have a bit of an opening at the moment – the big whirlpool that kept pushing her back last time has moved north and weakened.

I think Sarah would punctuate things here with a “Happy days”.

Sarah phoned yesterday two hours after heading off to ask that I put the outboard motor press release up as a blog. She described conditions as perfect and the send off earlier in the morning as just the way she wanted it. There was about 30 people all of whom had become close to the project here and it was a really nice feeling. Sarah stood on the cabin and made a sort of speech which seemed a little odd given how close everyone had become, but that just reinforced the goodwill surrounding the occasion and her. It really was very lovely.

So now the April Fools joke is over, everyone can start blogging their warm support and encouragement again – with all that extra weight on board Sarah will surely need it:)

One and all!

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23 Responses to Clean Start

  1. Oaklegs says:

    Well I for one was caught and I swallowed it ‘hook, line and sinker,

    Very well done and a what a terrific sense of humour you have too.

    Now good luck to you yet again and keep up the good work, but this time use the port oar as much as the starboard one and you may even get somewhere.

    Not that we object to your company of course.

  2. james hickerson says:

    The Navajo here in New Mexico bid adieu with the wonderful phrase “walk in beauty”. Wishing you the same. You go girl!

  3. Mum says:

    So glad that things got sorted out in the end. i had a lovely chat with Margot this morning. What a very kind and lovely lady. I was also very pleased to have a message of Sarah’s safe departure from Fremantle , from Clem Rogers . a lovely man too.
    I know that Sarah is very grateful for all the support so far. she said it made her feel warm inside to know that everyone out there is following her progress and “wishing her well.” I am grateful too.
    Good spoof wasn’t it!!… many of you fell for it??

  4. Dom says:

    I’ve got a good feeling this time that you are heading for a very successful record breaking event at last. Best wishes winging their way to you at every waking moment. My life is starting to revolve around your blogs… not sure if that’s sad for me or not. In any event know that you are extremely well supported. All the very best, Dom

  5. Steve Clark says:

    I was one of the thirty people and two dolphins who saw you off from Fremantle yesterday. I hadn’t seen Dippers in motion before, and it was nice to see how well she moves (under your powerful and skilful rowing, of course).

    Here’s hoping that the weather forecasts are correct and that you soon get a good offing from the Western Australian coast and those alluring cafés in Fremantle.

    Wishing you a pleasant and safe voyage,


  6. geoff says:

    Sarah, sounds like you might run out of hooks, lines and sinkers.

    I hope the smile lasts 100 days!

  7. Clem (tmwc!!) says:

    Thoughts travelling with you, pleased to know we could help with your planning and get you underway again after the “warm-up lap”.Tracking looking good, all your many friends at “the Annexe” Challenger Harbour following you.

  8. Ian Edge says:

    How you kept your cool when dealing with the implacable customs Dept!
    Made me realise that you will succeed in this terrific challenge.
    Good luck.One of the send off crowd.

  9. Charlie says:

    Sarah, good luck! Warm up done, now comes the biggie… Alas not much water here in Nepal… want to swap places??? Charlie Martell

  10. Judy Young says:

    Glad you’re off again and I’m sure you’ll succeed this time. Keep going (and rowing).
    Love Judy

  11. Christine & Kathleen says:

    Nice to hear you are on the move again, hoope so anyway, Its great to ehar of the wonderful friends and support you have had over there, just like back here.

    Take care and enjoy your forthcoming days. We are all thinking of you and wishing you well.

    Love C & K

  12. Mum says:

    SMS from Sarah to me , to say all still good out on the ocean! Long may it continue.

  13. Amanda B says:

    Good luck Sarah – I fell for the April Fool hook and line but not quite the full sinker! I couldn’t work out how you were going to manage with all the extra weight…then realised the date..doh! Fingers crossed for wonderful weather all the way. Amanda x

  14. Richard and Vanessa says:

    Sarah – In Switzerland at the moment but following the blog with interest every day. Its on my iGoogle homepage. Had us fully hooked with the outboard story. Take care and good luck

    Richard and Vanessa

  15. Jenna says:

    Sarah sarah sarah, my new employer would like to know if you’re offering any sort of compensation for the amount of work hours I spend reading your blogs! Every one of them I read I can hear your voice!!!! You make your own luck, you already know that I think what you’re doing is incredible, have a safe trip, no more false alarms please! (F.Y.I you were in the Mercury, so the local press have got you covered!)
    See you soon, lots of love
    Jenna x

  16. TonyM says:

    Some people are just gullible! like me he says sheepishly. Hook line and sinker!

    You have a really good push through the current and I’m sure you’ll be well on your way over the coming week. Sunny days and calms in the Indian Ocean High – optimism.

    Following your progress with interest!

    Kind Regards

  17. Jane Spence says:

    ha ha, good April Fuel, the bestest jest. Glad to see you powering along on the Tracker, you really are motoring……

  18. Charly Sissons says:

    Well that was the best laugh I have had in ages you have inspired so many people at my school and they are talking about you and send there love! We wish you the best weather Charly

  19. Graham Hadey says:

    Joking aside, can any of you guys form the support team (or knowledgeable out there) explain to me why Sarah didn’t set off from further North? ie especially given the problems encountered the first time around, and not withstanding customs? I wish you all the very best Sarah, speedy journey!

  20. Graham Hadley says:

    Joking aside, can any of you guys form the support team (or knowledgeable out there) explain to me why Sarah didn’t set off from further North? ie especially given the problems encountered the first time around, and not withstanding customs? I wish you all the very best Sarah, speedy journey! ps sorry to post twice!

  21. Mum says:

    Logistically and due in part to customs it was decided to leave from Fremantle. ( Things were getting rather complicated for a more northerly departure).

  22. Susie Hewson says:

    You are lucky that the Aussies didn’t cover you in pesticides. Did you check for spiders on the boat anyone:)

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