My able crew consisted of the owner Dr Nick Robson and crew Ross Turner and Mark Andrews, all experienced sailors.
While Neptune (the god of the sea) was extremely kind to us with smooth seas, Aeolus (king of the winds) seemed to be too concerned with our wellbeing. However, we managed to have a few occasions of great sailing. Once we had the beautiful “Phantom” Asymmetric Cruising Spinnaker flying. The Gennaker pushed us along in an exhilarating fashion just past of Port Stephens and beautiful Broughton Island. We also had a very pleasant night sail interspersed with motor sailing and motoring.
Each of us had prepared a pre-cooked evening meal and the culinary surprises were sensational. We were treated to meals such as Beef Stroganoff, Green Curry and the unavoidable Spaghetti Bolognese.
Breakfast and lunches were supplemented by fruit, breakfast cereal and sandwiches.
We had the preventer set up deployed whenever we were sailing at more than 130o to the wind and never had any need to put in a reef.
Again, arriving at the Southport sandbar did not present any challenges due to the excellent conditions we’ve encountered all the way.
Phantom is an extremely well presented vessel and has been set up superbly for cruising by the owner Nick Robson. A 320 Watt Solar panel set up provided ample of additional charging. Also, unlike most sailing trips, all four of us had daily long showers due to the luxury of the almost unlimited water supply provided by the onboard Spectra Water maker, producing consistently some 40 to 50 liters of water per hour.
The on-board Espresso Coffee machine did round up the immense luxury experienced on board by all of us.
Even though we had very pleasant conditions all the way, we all complied with our self imposed safety rules, such as:
• Always wearing a life jacket and being clipped-in at night.
• Wearing same life jacket when foredeck work was required.
• Never go forward at night without at least one other person in cockpit and only for valid reasons – clipped-on and wearing a life-jacket.
• Access to PLBs for each of us during night watches.
Our night watch schedule for the first night was in pairs 3 hours on, 3 hours off; which we changed to single watches 2 hours on and 6 hours off on the second night. Both schedules worked well in the mild conditions we had.
Arriving in Southport we took a berth at the Southport Yacht Club and Nick Robson professionally docked the boat in some very testing conditions. E.g. the tide was running out and this created quite a strong current right at our berth.
After a change of clothes we embarked on a great breakfast at one of the nice eateries at Southport.
The next morning at high tide, Ross Turner took the helm and guided Phantom through the South and North Channel of Southport all the way up to Sanctuary Cove, where the boat will spend the next week for the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show.
I am already looking forward flying back up to Southport with Nick on the 1st of June to take over the boat once more to sail her up to the Hamilton Island via Keppel Island and Percy Island.