Murphy is at it again!

Anyone who thinks life afloat is a dream has a romanticized view of how it really is. Right now health issues, boat repairs and bad weather are demanding a huge effort to keep our chin up. We can’t tell you how many times we have looked at our cruising photobook to help remind us of why we live this life!

Anchored in the Broadwater

What was supposed to be a two weeks’ stay on the Gold Coast has turned into a six weeks’ sojourn. And the latest in our litany of woes is a recalcitrant anchor winch and a threatening cyclone!

Anchor winch troubles

We were getting ready to leave, but the anchor winch had another idea – a broken pin. Let us explain… Between the electric motor and the gearbox of the anchor winch, there is a sacrificial pin designed to protect the motor when under high load. It is of course better to snap the pin than fry the motor. Despite us being very gentle with our winch, the pin breaks every now and then; we have a stash of spare pins for when this occurs.

When it happened this time we thought: “minor annoyance, but we know the drill”. However when Wade tried to disconnect the motor and get to the broken pin, no amount of prying, straining, wiggling the motor to extract it worked. We were stuck. Last year we replaced the motor, but the new beast is a very tight fit, 1.5cm longer than the original one and that distance made it impossible to get the motor out. Something drastic had to happen.

Head down, bum up, a familiar sight!

Unable to leave on Christmas Day as hoped without a working anchor winch, we waited till Boxing Day, knowing we had to attack the anchor well with a cutting tool to improve access. Luckily our friends on Oceaneer are also on the Gold Coast and gave us a hand. Wade and Tam cut an access hole in the back wall of the anchor well, allowing enough room for the motor to slip out. The pin was changed and the hole was then resealed.

Tam and Wade about to start cutting!
New pin at the top of the adapter ready to go back in

The anchor winch is repaired! We have also discovered that if it happens again in a less than ideal environment, we can winch the anchor up with Sir Walter (the DeWalt right angle drill) instead of by hand… an important detail for those occasions when we happen to have 80m of chain out!

Monsoon trough

Of course by then we missed the small weather window to leave Queensland and instead were faced with a week of nasty stormy conditions. A SE front moving north and a monsoon trough coming south are merging, creating strong winds, heavy rain and big seas. This is not the time to venture out and head along the NSW coast where the only sheltered anchorages are up barred rivers!

Our options for shelter on the Gold Coast were not exactly good either. The mangroves off Stradbroke Island were not particularly appealing. Anywhere on the Broadwater in Southeast weather is unprotected and being there during the Christmas/New Year holidays is ugly in the crowds, noise and wakes from hundreds of boats and jet skis. We have ended up treating ourselves and joining Oceaneer at Marina Mirage. It sounds better than it is though: helicopters launching and landing all day long in front of where we are, surge from the commercial tourist boats going in and out, no laundry facilities…

You’ve got to see the positive side of things: we are enjoying easy access to shore for walks and we have been Wallies at the marina, plugged in to shore power and town water! There is no holding back on long showers!

Our new departure date for our southern passage is unclear in these unpredictable weather patterns. We will be on a mission when calmer conditions return, which at this stage looks like the 8th of January. We suspect will need to make good use of our speedy boat and do a series of overnighters! With a bit of luck our first one will be to Port Macquarie where we hope to pick up our friends Waz and Lisa – company and welcome help for us, on the job sailing experience for them!

30 thoughts on “Murphy is at it again!

  1. Thanks for the read Chris! Rochelle and I are very much enjoying your site!! If we can do anything to keep your chin up, let us know! Warmest, Will & Rochel

  2. Wow, you guys really got trapped by some severe weather! It’s great that you are tied off properly in a marina though. The pin you mention in the winch reminded me of how as kids on the lake, we had an outboard motor that would continually sheer that pin and protect the prop and lower unit. Handy! Wishing you guys a Happy New Year, and safe travels! 😎🇦🇺

  3. Oh damn! What a pain. We commiserate with the bow waves and the helicopter noise, two of the reasons we prefer midgie infested Tiger Mullet to Southport during a strong blow. Goto love the weather! Fingers crossed for a smooth departure soon.

      • Yes true to the fireworks. Great spot. We will see nothing from where we are, but then again we will probably be in bed by 2200 anyway!

      • Happy new year to you both. Between weather and the Rona very challenging times to be on the water. We found Tipplers to be very protected in SW conditions on the Broadwater. Also it seemed as if the current is significantly less in there: to the point it was a non issue for us. (Current is bad in Tiger.) Can’t put a lot of scope down, but we found the holding excellent: had to drive the anchor out most times. Overcrowding is terrible however, but we were fortunate to be there during the lockdowns when there was much less traffic. Otherwise during term time – Mon to Fri was tolerable but weekends were crazy: even had a floatplane weave it’s way into the resort! But in terms of wind protection I was comfortable sitting out 40 knot SW in there.

      • Hi Peter, happy New Year and nice to hear from you. Yes know the area well, but need to stay within reach of the medicos so not an option for us to be at Tiger Mullet or Tipplers for several weeks. And after being hit by a drifting boat we had had enough! The marina is safe but bloody deafening with multiple choppers flying all day long – Bearable till we can leave.
        What are you doing these days?

      • Yep the Broadwater is something else! Our literal first time in the channel we were buzzed by one of those 60’ offshore racing boats at full throttle testing its engines. We are back in Alice enjoying 40 degree temps. Selah is on the hard at Boatworks waiting for her new SA owners to return. Our next project is an off-grid house designed specifically for our conditions. Just waiting for a suitable block to become available – surprisingly difficult in Alice.

      • Wow we did not realise you had sold! All this work and no fun in the end… we hope you find your plot of land, enjoy building your next creation then living in it with your family nearby.

  4. It does seem to be an ongoing thing, but I always get the feeling that you guys love it.
    Take care, and Merry Christmas and I hope you have some wonderful sailing in 2022.

  5. Hi Wade and Chris, thank you for your Reef Addiction article. The work you have put in and the quality is outstanding. A wonderful journey and resource. You hold the light that shines on many of our dreams. If you come to Springbrook you are welcome to stay. There a pockets of Gondwana flora and fauna still existing up here in Springbrook, the Green above the Blue. Cheers.

    • Lovely to hear, Grant and thanks for the kind feedback. We have done a few very nice walks around Springbrook, Mt Tambourine and Binna Burra. We like it up there!

  6. Sad to hear about these latest developments… Here’s to long showers, good fireworks viewing and a far less challenging 2022! xo❤️

    • Thanks Lucy! It is disappointing but it looks like we won’t see you on the way down as we’ll be rushed but will stop on the way back up. 🥳

  7. Good old Murph, he always pops up when you least expect it! At least he didn’t come when you were in an isolated anchorage beyond the boondocks … I feel your pain having to cut into the superstructure …. here’s hoping for some gentle noreasters soon!

  8. It seems that your never-ending drama of mishaps and bad luck continued right to the very end of 2021, Chris. Fortunately there were some bright spots too during the year. Hopefully 2022 will have a better balance of good and bad for you all. Happy New Year

  9. What a pain that winch is, I remember the last time it broke. Stay safe from those nasty winds and travel safe in coming south Back in Sydney now, had a good time in the bush. Corona is rife here, neighbours No 1 son has had it., with various close contacts with other friends. Be careful out there.

    • Hi Sue. All fixed now and when it happens again it won’t be so bad. Not likely to get away for at least a week and watching the swell size afterwards as it will affect access across barred entrances! Suspect it will be the hell trip to get down in time. If need be we will stop somewhere and Wade will stay with the boat while I get to Melbourne for multiple medical appointments… really need to get the RA sorted out as my back and hands are bad.

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