Part of the reason for building our boat is the experiences that are available to people who are lucky enough to have them. Such as viewing the New Years Eve fireworks in Sydney from on the harbour. Jo, Jake and I have been to see the fireworks a number of times from Hunters Hill on Sydney Harbour’s north western shore, about 15km away from the bridge, which is the centre of the display. In order to get a good spot here, even this far away, it is necessary to arrive around 6pm. The fireworks are at 9pm and Midnight. You can stake out a good spot with a picnic rug, and the view straight down the harbour to the bridge is fantastic, so as a spot to view it from we recommend it, however due to its popularity the area (Clark Park) is now limited by ticketing and once they reach safe capacity you cant get onto the reserve.
Yesterday, Warren invited us to watch it from his Cat moored about 100 meters off Mrs. Macquarie’s chair which for people outside Sydney, is a peninsula between bays about 500 meters from the Opera House and 800 meters from the Harbour bridge. The land all around was shoulder to shoulder packed with hundreds of thousands of people and from the sound they made they were having a great time (I cant image how early they must have arrived to get their spots). Boats stake out an anchor space much like we did at Hunters Hill when we put down a picnic rug, but the view is unimpeded and about 500 meters from the fireworks barges and the Bridge. Warren arrived earlier that morning to get his spot and then picked people up from the jetty from about 6pm. One of the great things about a cat is that once moored, you can sit back for a while and watch the world go by. Much more comfortable than holding onto a rug space! The difference in experience is massive. One thing we had not experienced in watching fireworks before is the percussion you feel when the fireworks launch from so close.
There were 20 people on Warren’s Cat (a Crowther 40ft) and it didn’t feel crowded. Which is a good indication of what we will be able to do with our cat. There were boats all around, and all had as many on them as was comfortable and safe, which also speaks to the generosity of the boating community, and whilst we doubt we would like as many on our boat at one time (the Skipper never gets to relax and just enjoy the night as he/she ensures their guests are safe and enjoying themselves) we are sure we will always want others on board to share such times. Thanks Wazza, words cant express how lucky we feel to have friends like you and we cant wait to get our boat launched and join you out there.
We did have one minor hiccup at the end of the night but otherwise it was just fantastic. The waterways authority (not Water Police but with similar powers) do an excellent job keeping order and safety on the water especially on nights like this when thousands of boats are on the water in close proximity, but they can be a little over officious at times. Normally a dingy does not meed to have running lights, but Warren (as many others do) has a 15hp outboard on his 10 ft tender (the same as my duflex dingy). The laws are a little silly here, they state that any boat with a motor larger than 5hp must have running lights at night. This is patently ridiculous. Safety at night has nothing to do with the size of your engine but the speed at which you travel. The laws figure by their logic that if you have the capability of going faster then you will! That is the only conclusion you can draw from laws that have arbitrary cut off points related to horsepower rather than actual speed you travel at. Imagine getting a speeding fine simply because your car was capable of exceeding the speed limit! When Warren was ferrying the guests back to the jetty at about 3 at a time, waterways intercepted him travelling at about 4 knots, and because he had a 15hp boat with no running lights, took his details (no doubt to extract revenue from him at some later stage) and told him he could not use the dingy again until morning, leaving half his guests including one in a wheelchair stranded on board. I didn’t mind, any extra time I get to spend on board is bonus time to me but you can see the inconvenience that this silly application of silly laws caused. In the end Warren moved the cat to the jetty to get the rest of the guest off.
I thought it would be interesting to compare the last pictures of Dec 05, 06 and 07 to see the 2 years progress. In 05 we had just started and all I had done was to build the strongback, glue the panels and I had started to stand the bulkheads for the first hull. By Dec 06 we were just completing the second hull, so in effect it took a year to build both hulls, and yesterday I was working on the foredeck planking with the hulls joined and the side turns also planked.
Lets hope that the picture next year is of a full boat that I am in the process of fitting out ready to launch later that year. Another interesting perspective about time it that I have just started a new 2 year contract for a wireless internet service and it got me thinking about how time is perceived. When I was first contemplating building 5 years seemed such a long time. Now I am 2 years in and the time has passed fast, and in the time I have been going many boats have been started and finished. I am hoping with a little help I may be able to finish in 4 years instead of 5 meaning we launch next year (I can say that now!). So by the time this new internet contract expires we will be on the water, and I am sure you can relate to signing 2 year phone contracts over the years, they seem like forever when you are signing on but they pass quickly.
Today I cut and screwed down the last of the foredeck planks and glued them. Because this panel does not do much twisting and really only curves down in an even downward curve along the width of it and each bulkhead is the same shape, it was already quite fair and didn’t need much levelling. I squeezed glue in between each plank with a trowel in a little under an hour. Tomorrow I will sand it, which again should be fairly easy because it is pretty smooth and their is not much glue over the height of the planks.