Thursday, May 13, 2021

Introducing Pipsqueak


Introducing Pipsqueak

Who would have thought?? Here we sit hiding from the cold and rain in the cabin, anchored in Coral Bay. We just assumed it was always warm and sunny here! 

Before we update you with what's been happening, if you are receiving the blog by emailt we need to let you know that we have changed email subscription services to You don't need to do anything, but you will receive the email from a different address and it may look a little different.  Hopefully it will all be tickety-boo.

Despite the rain storm in Coral Bay we are very happy to have covered the 650 miles [1,300 km’s] from Quindalup (near Dunsborough) in the South West and have escaped the southern winter once again. Our time in Dunsborough was most enjoyable. Chris was able to go to work 5 days a week building our new tender ‘Pipsqueak' at the lovely ‘Surf Shack’ belonging to Steve, Ange and Riley who very generously welcomed us and turned their outdoor space into a boat building shed for two months. 

The lovely surf shack
Stitching the skin on

Fresh off the stocks
Happy boat builder

First nesting

As usual with such projects Pipsqueak just squeaked in to the time limit we had. She’s a lovely 12 foot nesting dinghy designed for sailing, rowing and motoring. ‘Nesting’ means that she comes apart in the middle to be stored one half inside the other. Pipsqueak was launched with very soft paint but motoring and rowing sea trials were quite successful. We bought oars sight unseen and they are like logs, thick and heavy. At some point Chris will reshape them and lose a bit of weight from the blade end which will make rowing more enjoyable in what is otherwise a very nice boat to row. 

Loaded up for launching

Where's the other half?

Motoring still needs a bit of work as the transom is vertical and really should be on an angle to fit the motor properly. Chris has added some wedges to create a bit of an angle and we will see how that goes for the time being. When motoring at speed water comes up between the two halves of the boat and also the centreboard case. Not hard to fix. We have had the mast up and the sails are bent on to the gaff and boom ready to go but we haven’t sailed her yet. Hopefully we will have some time now to get her sailing as we spend a couple of weeks with Tom, Sarana and the four girls at Warroora Station on the beach inside Ningaloo Reef about 20kms south of Coral Bay. 

Hoisting aboard

Nested and stowed for sailing

Jenni kept busy on board doing ship's engineering duties including a complete service of our water maker and winches, repairs to the toilet and the fitting of a new cog and tune up to our latest sewing machine acquisition. Jenni also had a rather nasty knee infection which hung around for quite a while and prevented her from getting out and about on her legs for several weeks. Beware of tiny cuts in a salt water environment as they can turn septic quickly. Fortunately anti-biotics to the rescue and all was well. 

Winch servicing

Toilet repairs

Water maker servicing

Sewing machine repairs

We had a great time hanging out with Chris’s daughter Oli and Adam and the three kids on the boat including sailing Wanda the old dinghy, scurfing and snorkelling. We joined the Dunsborough Bay Yacht Club as a family which meant we had full use of the facilities including using one of the Puffin Pacer dinghies to go racing on Sundays. Our racing performance was not too shabby and we remained unbeaten in the class.

Isaac in his happy place

Quindalup Bay from Dunsborough Yacht Club

State Minnow Championships at Dunsborough Yacht Club

Jenni with her childhood sailing buddy Marie

Farewell Wanda the Walker Bay, you have been usurped by a Pipsqueak!

As usual at this time of the year the trip north was very pleasant and filled with social engagements. First stop was Fremantle [102 miles] where we caught up with family and friends and had Upstart lifted out of the water for a few days to do a ‘bottom job’. This involves putting new anti fouling paint on and checking everything out below the water line. No problems and at the suggestion of the paint shop guys we put twice as much paint on as we did last time. In theory it should last twice as long, we shall see.

Fremantle Sailing Club was again a real pleasure. The club is very welcoming to visiting yachts, has excellent facilities and the staff and crew are so friendly and helpful.   

Fremantle Harbour from the Ferris Wheel

Lift out at Fremantle Sailing Club

All painted and ready to splash back in the water

Next leg was to Geraldton [220 miles] where we had a lovely time catching up with our catamaran friends Laura, Brad and Sylvie and Chris’s mate Roger. When we arrived the power had not long been restored after the cyclone the week before and our cat mates were making the most of the time that Brad was unable to work hanging out at the Abrolhos Islands. We stayed for a week before making an early morning start for Steep Point which is the southern entry into Shark Bay. 

Sylvie getting a ride home after a visit to the Upstarts.

Pipsqueak waiting at the Geraldton jetty.

By the time we got to Steep Point which is the northern end of the Zuytdorp Cliffs the swell was up above 2.5m and the seas for the last couple of hours were crazy. The cliffs extend straight down below the water for about 40 metres and so the swells just bounce off the cliffs and back out to sea again causing the chaotic conditions we had. We were not sure if the entrance would be safe enough to try but as we made our way around the corner it all settled down and we sailed in easily. It was great to be back in Shark Bay again and as luck would have it once again we arrived on the day a COVID lock down was announced, this time only for Perth and Peel area. 

We returned to the lovely Sunday Bay for the night and the next day motored to Denham in a glassy calm. We had an evening with Jenni’s old school mate Liz drinking bubbles and eating pizza before heading a bit further north [22 miles] to a little anchorage we like on Cape Peron at Cattle Well Hill. Again it was flat calm and we had to motor most of the way. 

Next morning it was off to Carnarvon [45 miles] where we had to keep a good lookout for pieces of the old One Mile Jetty which was partly destroyed by the cyclone. We saw plenty of large timbers washed up on the shallow banks and beaches but none floating. As luck would have it we were in town for the high spring tides so we were able to sneak in over the sand bar into the Fascine and the Yacht Club for a few days which was really lovely. We were made to feel very welcome by the club folk who remembered us from last year and also by Jenni’s friend Andrea who has just moved back to WA from the Cocos Islands and taken a job in Carnarvon. Jenni and Andrea’s good friend Susan took the opportunity to fly up from Perth for a few days so that the three friends could hang out and drink bubbly together. 

Leaving the Carnarvon Fascine

Happy at sea again.

 After a week we left for Coral Bay [130 miles] to make our rendezvous with Tom and family where we are now having a fabulous fun time hanging out with the family and enjoying the gorgeous warm turquoise waters of Ningaloo Reef. 

Sublime Ningaloo colours at Warroora Station

West coast sunset at Quindalup


1 comment:

  1. Thanks guys for sharing your travels, especially as it's so cold and gloomy outside here. It was a joy to read.


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