Endurance Delivery

Endurance Delivery


Day1- Sunday 15th March at 3:30pm

Skipper, Eric and crew Beau and I (Mario), aboard Endurance, UFO34, depart SYC for a 5hr motor to QCYC for an overnight stop, on our delivery journey to George Town marina on the Tamar River, Tasmania. We motored to get an updated fuel burn rate to make sure we had enough fuel for the trip.

But wait, 2 weeks earlier.

Sharyn & Eric, owners of Endurance, a UFO34 sloop, decided to sell their pride and joy.

A prospective buyer flew from Launceston Tasmania and within a few hours of surveying the boat, fell in love with it and agreed to buy it and asked Eric if he could do some repairs for a price. It needed a new stuffing box, antifouling and a few other minor repairs to get it ready for the trip across Bass Straight, which the new owner was going to do himself.

The repairs went smoothly and within a short week Endurance was back in the water ready for the trip. However, the new owner rang Eric and said that he hadn’t slept for 3 days worried about sailing across Bass Straight, as he has never done ocean sailing before.

This meant that as part of the sale, Eric had to put together a crew in a short timeline.

I was chosen as part of his crew, mainly because we have sailed together many times and my experience being part of the crew delivering my brother John Barbieri’s boat, Mull 31 keel boat to Airlie Beach. We wanted a 3rd crew member for the journey, as an extra pair of hands and eyes are always useful on such a journey. As all the other possible crew options were unavailable in the time slot required, Eric engaged the services of one of his previous employees. Beau, 30years old that had never sailed before and with a wife and 2 young children, this was a big ask, but Eric had confidence in Beau’s ability to learn quick, read maps [charts] and mechanical knowledge, so the crew was set and we all pitched in to do the repairs on the boat making her ready for the journey across Bass Straight.

Now Back to the Journey

Seas were a bit lumpy 1- m with winds at 12-15knt on the nose.

The auto helm was a great advantage throughout the entire journey.

Once we had the west channel marker in site, I took over the helm and with the guidance of Eric and Beau, we navigated the many turns and markers in the west channel, once through the west channel, Eric took the helm and motored to QCYC jetty, where we tied up for the night, cooked a steak dinner, talked strategies, checked the wind map and retired for the night.


Heading Out the Heads

Day2 - 10 am Monday 16th March.

We headed off to the fuelling station to top up the tank and calculate our fuel burn across the bay the day before. As expected, it worked out to 3L/Hr @ 6knt.

This only took a few minutes and allowed us to put on our wet weather gear and safety harnesses and exit out the heads at slack water, 11am.

We headed off through the heads at 6knt and by the time we were halfway through we were doing 9knt, watching the eddies and whirlpools formed by the outgoing tide meeting the ocean currents around us. After safely through the heads we kept our course for about 1nm then set our course directly to the Tamar River. At this point Beau noted that the ocean was calmer than the bay the day before. But as the day progressed the rolling swells grew to 1 ½ m at about 12 seconds and 30degees off our bow, which made the journey quite pleasant.

The day went smoothly, motor sailing with the headsail out on a beam reach doing a comfortable 7knt.

Throughout the day we all took turns at keeping watch while the others nodded off or just kept gazing around, often at the dolphins playing around the boat, distant ships going in every direction, but none crossed our path within 10nm. Beau cooked hot dogs for lunch, so we didn’t boil water during the night and while the conditions were favourable.

By 6pm we decided to check the fuel level in the tank and decided to top it up while there was still daylight, 1 jerrycan did it nicely.

By night fall we furled in the headsail halfway and turned off the motor, had warmed up sausages for tea, the seas were rolling still at 1-1½mtr but now at about 6-8 seconds apart and the winds still at 15-20ktn, which made the boat roll about somewhat and we had to use the stay-sheet to stop from being thrown off the bunks while off watch. Meanwhile the auto helm kept doing its job, even if it took a minute or so to regain its bearings.

As Eric had a late afternoon sleep, he and I took the first watch from 7pm to midnight.

Watching the stars come out from behind the clouds and the big moon rise over the eastern horizon, it looked like the yoke of a duck egg, deep rich yellow and was a sight to treasure. Keeping a sharp lookout for ships in every direction, but the only ships were just over the horizon, you could only see the glow of their lights moving in other directions and star gazing, made time go by reasonably quick. At midnight I went off watch and tried to bunker down for a few hours, Ha Ha, I don’t know how Beau managed to sleep, but later found out he could sleep for hours as many of the younger generation do.

Suddenly it was 4am and time for my watch, not sure if I got any sleep, but I didn’t feel sleepy, so I must have dreamt that I was awake while in the bunk sleeping. Eric and Beau went below for a well-earned break. The wind had subdued by now, only 8-10ktn and doing only 3-4knt boat speed. But as it was still dark, I was happy to leave everything well alone, at least till first light. The clouds had passed, the sky was very clear and full of stars. The moon was way to the west but still above the horizon but not so intense as when it had risen. No sign of any ships as far as the eye could see and the seas had eased to a ½ -1mt swell about 12sec apart. So, a relaxing start to my watch.

Day2 6am Tuesday 17th March.

At last daylight, the wind was still on the port beam at about 8-10knt, so I eased the headsail out to ¾ and trimmed, waited for a few minutes checking the boat speed. As usual I thought it should go faster, so out came the full headsail, trimmed again and I could feel the boat ease into the wind and pick up speed. After waiting with anticipation, as the sun rose and the air started to warm up, the breeze started to pick up. Now with a bit more trimming, as I do, shifted the cart, eased out the sheet and back in again till it seemed to be doing the best speed in the condition. Yes, we were now doing a nice 6knt boat speed. A quick look around for ships then I took up my seating position on the back rail and watched the sun continue to rise. Where else would one want to be, a majestic moment.

8am and there was a bit of stirring around in the cabin and soon after Eric emerged enquiring of our position and conditions. I replied, no problems skipper, all quiet, the wind picked up, I trimmed the sail and we are doing a respectable speed.So, he went back and got ready for the day.

Once Eric was on deck and Beau was up, we started the engine and together with the sail we were now doing 7-8knt boat speed. The day went pretty well, large pods of dolphins to the port and starboard throughout the day, the occasional ship in the distance and the sun shining.

By round 5pm Eric decided to ramp up the engine speed, as we saved fuel the night before, we had plenty to burn. At 9knt boat speed, it seemed to be gliding nicely through the water. By late in the evening, though we could see land, it was distant and hazy. Even at 9knt boat speed it seemed we would never get there, finally about midnight we finally got to the mouth of the Tamar River. Even with the digital navigation system, navigating through the mouth and towards George Town marina was very intense, small red and green lights flashing, larger and stronger fixed red lights between them made it difficult to identify the main channel. With none of the crew familiar with this entrance it took all our concentration, with Beau frantically setting turning points on the sat nav. When we finally arrived at George Town marina, about 1:30am, it was hard to see the small boats on their swing moorings in the middle of the channel. After scouting around for a vacant mooring in the marina it seemed to be a hopeless task, so Eric called to Beau to set a new course for Beauty Point, which was approximately 4nm, but with safe navigation instruction and everyone keeping a careful lookout we finally arrive at Beauty Point marina. After meandering around for a short while we found a vacant mooring. We tied up to the dock and went looking for any facilities available. As it was 2:30am we had no hope, so back to the boat for a well-earned sleep.

Day37:30am Tuesday 18th March.

I awoke to find Eric packing his kit bag, he said he talked to the new owners and they were due 8:30am, so Beau and I got up and started packing and cleaning the boat ready to change hands. Not enough time, the new owner and his extended family had arrived, as we were moving our belongings and rubbish bags in the cockpit, the 2 young kids couldn’t wait for us to disembark, they were running around the cabin choosing where they would sleep and looking enthusiastically over the layout of the boat. Most of the family, including the kids stayed on the boat as we motored to the loading dock a short 2 minutes away. By this time the local club facilities were available, so we went and had a shower and freshened up. Then back to the loading dock, moved our kit bags into their 4wd and were driven to the airport along the Tamar river, which was a very relaxing and scenic drive. Along the way we stopped at a bakery in Exeter for a coffee and pie breakfast. Then finally off to the airport for a midday flight to Melbourne airport. On our arrival we were called by Hugh Pilsworth, from SYC. As he had some free time, he said he was picking us up from the airport and driving us home, to Mordialloc, where Eric had his car.





The delivery voyage of Endurance went very well, according to plan, on time and in budget.

  1. Getting the crew together:

Skipper- Eric Clark.

First Mate - Mario Barbieri.

Deck Hand – Beau de Reus

  1. Getting the boat seaworthy:

Repairs, antifouling, survey.

  1. Planning the journey:

Calculating distance, stops required, tide times, studying weather patterns.

  1. Stocking of provisions:

Food, fuel, sailing and safety gear.

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