The Adventures of Kismet the Jarcat (Catamaran)

This blog documents the modifications necessary to get seaworthy (warts and all), then the adventures (hopefully) on board our Trailer Sailer 6.1 metre Jarcat6 Catamaran, Kismet.

Friday, 30 April 2021

A Few Days at Gippland Lakes

After watching the wind and weather for Paynesville for the past couple of weeks we booked a waterfront cabin at Allawah (Caravan park with boat ramp) for 5 nights and set off for Paynesville. I was a bit tired to launch after driving down (290km) so we launched at the Allawah ramp the next day. We were finally rigged and ready to leave the Allawah jetty at around midday.


Kismet at the Yacht club dock.

Since it was so late already we elected to motor around to the Yacht club docks and grab some lunch at the bakery.

We went for a sail on Lake Victoria for a couple of hours to familiarise ourselves with the boat again, then back to Allawah around 4PM.

Next day we set out at 10:30AM for Steamer Landing over at Bunga Arm. That was the longest time we had ever spent following channel markers. It wasn't difficult but classified as "a first" for us. We kept sails up all the way to 100M short of the jetty then, while we were putting sails down, watched and learned while someone else approached the dock to windward. We copied their approach with Laurel at the helm and were very pleased with the ease that we docked. Ken (from the boat we following in) was there to take our lines but Laurel's approach was good enough for me to have easily stepped off the bow.


We walked over the sand hill to the 90 mile beach and went for about a 45 minute stroll along the beach.

We had to motor a little bit coming back.

At was a very pleasant sail back with Laurel demonstrating the Tammy navigation system. A joke from the Whitsundays trip where Tammy would lift her polaroid sunglasses to read the Nav unit. William started the joke on our Wyndham Harbour outing (see earlier posts).

The next day we set out for Metung, arriving there on a near downwind sail at about 11:45AM. We really liked Metung and might look at basing ourselves there on a future trip. We had lunch at the Meeting Bakery and Cafe.

Tied up at Metung outside the pub. Me looking stylish as usual.

On the way back it was directly into the wind so we sailed (tacking) about a third of the way but decided it was just too cold and getting late so motored the last 5NM.

Just a note here. Laurel had four layers of clothing on but found it really difficult to stay warm. This included thermal underwear, Merino tops etc. We need to address this problem. For some reason I don't get cold - maybe fiddling with sails etc. keeps me warm.

The next day BOM was showing quite light winds from 11AM onwards but we had decided that we really wanted to visit Loch Sport - so off we went. The sailing was great but gradually the wind dropped and at about 5NM into the 12NM trip the wind was less than 6 knots. Our required track was into the wind so after tacking several times it was clear we wouldn't be there until dark (unless we motored). Regretfully we turned back and sailed as much as possible (downwind on the way back) then motored back for the last 20 minutes.

Note the totally unflapping Jib centred on the boat - no apparent wind.

We learnt an important lesson here. If we are going to base ourselves somewhere in accommodation (because it's a bit too cold on the boat at night), we need to take bedding and food out with us so there is no time issue - we would have continued on had we had our bedding. (Our boat bedding was back at Allawah on top of the too-hard bed in the cabin.)

We left retrieving until the next day and had a quiet day preparing for travel back to Melbourne.

A very successful and peaceful holiday with enough learning thrown in to keep us on our toes. Laurel helmed Kismet four times into dock with perfect results. The fifth time (retrieving) was no wind and it surprised her how little power she needed and had to do a hasty reverse.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Kismet Interior Pictures

Here are some interior pictures of Kismet. I didn't want to publish these until we had the curtains under control. The bottom of the curtains wasn't held against the cabin wall until recently.

Port side. EPIRB (reachable from port entryway), Drop down tables, Cutlery roll (grey) and storage containers.

Starboard side. Battery (100AH LiFePO4) (with drinking water temporarily on top), Rubbish bin - it moves around depending on land or water operation. The Origo single burner alcohol stove is in the forward locker in its box. Note the grey hull liner. I might put more of this below the stringer as it worked out really well.

View from Starboard entryway.

More general port side view. The pillows aren't the ones we use. I leave them there for times when we haven't got the main bedding on the boat in case I'd like to have a lie down...
The bed consists of a layer of Aeromesh and a layer of 50mm "eggshell" foam. The full bedding adds a 70mm Synmat (high end inflatable camping mattress) and double sleeping bag.

Porta potti and fridge in the foreground. The fridge is a Dometic CFF45 that we ran at -8 degrees C during the Whitsundays trip.

12V electric switch panel and solar controller

A couple of plastic general use containers below the solar controller.
The dark grey plastic containers on the bed are useful for general stuff as well.

Port side looking back toward the stern. In the "coffin bed" there is an under-bed storage crate with our boat shoes, the Genoa, Jib and Main sail all in purpose made bags. The Boom slides up the side of the main. The boom tent and cockpit table are in there as well. We have two 1 meter long 45cm wide 80mm thick mattresses that makes this into a nice bed area with the person halfway out of the closed in space - only carried if we have three sleeping on board. (The starboard "coffin bed" holds the dagger boards, boarding ladder (water use) and PFDs.

The curtains. They use a caravan style track and four velcro pads at the bottom to hold them against the cabin sides. The hanging strip (this one in the corner) ties them back completely off the windows.
Fire extinguisher is reachable from the starboard entryway hatch.

Note the 12V faucet that can swing out of the way when not in use. The power for the tap is only available when the cabin light switch on the switch panel is on. There is a switch on the tap as well.
You can just see part of another cabin light that points at the tables. (The main cabin light is in the centre of the roof and has a red/white setting.)

The wash up basin and personal use basins sit in behind the tables.

Table up. The basins fit exactly under the faucet. The only problem with a switched tap and no flow control is when you just want to wet a face washer or rag briefly - it's an art!

30L water tank and 12V pump mounted near the bedding. We have another two 20L water jerry cans. We only took one additional jerry can on the water in the Whitsundays and it was plenty for three people for three days. The picnic knapsack in the port front locker contains our plate, bowls and mugs.

Water tank and first aid kit. Note hull liner.

Front windows. This is where the velcro works really well. They draw off the windows toward the centre. I installed a 20mm high lip so we can leave stuff on the front window ledge. Not when road travelling though.

We haven't actually had Kismet on the water since November 2019 so the correctly held curtains haven't been enjoyed yet. Just dangling vertically was a bit of a pain on the Whitsundays trip as it stopped us being able to use the front window ledge due to objects there getting too much sun (the curtains have black out lining).

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Altona to Wyndham Harbour and back.

November 27th 2019. I took my son sailing for his first time since we've had our Jarcat6. We launched at Altona, sailing over to Wyndham Harbour, had lunch and sailed back. It was a long day - 08:30 start to 23:30 back home.


William at the tiller.
I reminded him abut doing up his PFD shortly after taking this picture.
Holding his sunglasses was a joke from our Whitsunday holiday where my daughter was photographed several times holding her sunglasses. Son joked that it was her navigation system.
This was about halfway - just past Point Cook.

Kismet at her visitors berth.

The return journey.

We had lunch at Wyndham Harbour and hung around a bit too long, leaving at 16:15. We arrived at Altona just in time to battle with the fishermen coming in with their powerboats. Caught some abuse for taking more than a minute to retrieve. With 6 lanes you think you wouldn't line up behind the sailboat.
It was a difficult retrieve. The wind was off the dock at about 15 to 20 knots and we needed two stern ropes to get enough grip to be able to hold her near the dock (by hand while walking her forward).
I need to be more pushy at the ramp. I lost my place a couple of times assuming I would get time to walk the boat forward.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

The Trip Home - Returning from the Whitsundays

We spent the day after retrieving (9th Sept) at the caravan park cleaning Kismet, shopping (including a new grease gun), greasing the bearing buddies and relaxing a little.

We left next morning at around 09:24 and decided to go home largely via the coast rather than inland.
Ready to roll...

Our trip home was via these overnight stays:
  • Rockhampton 10th
  • Hervey Bay 11th
  • Beachmere (near Bribie island) 12th
  • Ballina 13th
  • Forster 14th
  • Goulburn 15th 
  • Chiltern 16th
  • Melbourne (Home) 17th mid afternoon.
The trip was uneventful but interesting as we got to visit a few places we hadn't been before.

We intended to stop at Gympie for lunch on the 12th but we could not find anywhere to park the car and trailer. We ended up in narrow streets that I found quite dangerous so we left town. Not an "RV friendly town". We rang the local council offices to explain the issue - just to give them a heads-up. We stopped in Cooroy just inland of Noosa for lunch that day instead.

Plenty of RV parking in Cooroy - and sign posted too. A short walk to lots of shops and cafes.

The low-light of the trip was the caravan park we stayed at in Goulburn. The Thai restaurant we found to eat at was nice though.

Ballina was one of our favourite stops. We lashed out and had breakfast Lighthouse Beach Cafe overlooking the bay and saw a whale slapping its tail in the distance. We watched in bemusement as a whale watching boat headed for it, but the whale had stopped it's antics before it got very close. The cafe was great.

At a lunch stop at Coffs Harbour we parked next to another trailer sailor in a large dusty car park -  a burgundy monohull called Mistral. We had lunch and left before they got back to their vehicle. They overtook us an hour or two later on the highway.

Victoria has opened up many truck weigh bridges to the public so we did the required double-U-turn to use the one just past Broadford (heading north). (Google "weigh bridge seymour" - it's the Vicroads weigh bridge.)
I was surprised just how much the trailer and boat weighed. I didn't disconnect but checked the ball weight when we got home (not quite accurate as I had partially unpacked the boat).
Car with 2 occupants: 2140kg
Trailer & boat: 1140kg
Ball weight: 110kg
It helped explain the fuel economy being worse than when towing our Avan (that and the parachute effect of the boat).
We got around 12 to 13 litres per 100km coming back - way better than the trip up but then we were into a headwind most of the way.

We arrived how mid-afternoon on the 17th September.
I spent the next day after we got home unpacking and cleaning up Kismet.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Sailing (and Motoring) the Whitsundays - Part 2

Next day saw us leave Hamilton Island and motor through Solway Passage (uneventful at slack tide) to Chalkies Beach on Hazlewood Island for a snorkel. We easily picked up a mooring.

That's not a frown - just a trick of the shadows. I can see how my nose got a little sun through.

We snorkelled to the beach on Hazlewood Island then walked north along the beach for a while as we had been told the best coral was on the northern end. We had a long chat with a honeymoon couple from Canada who had a bareboat charter, then got back in the water. It was a long swim back to Kismet. Not much unbleached coral I'm afraid.

From Hazlewood Island we motored around to Tongue Bay and picked up a mooring for the night. It was a fairly rough night and next morning the huge mooring bouy had somehow made its way round to the back of the boat and was crashing on Kismet's rudders. I used the boat hook to move it back to the front (that sounds simple - it wasn't). My phone app, Anchorwatch, showed we had just made tiny circles all night.

The charter skeds next morning were alive with advice from the charter companies about the wind picking up a lot and finding safe anchorages for that night so we took the hint and decided to head for Nara Inlet.

From Tongue Bay we motored up the east side of Whitsunday Island almost dead into the wind, then through Hook Passage. Our destination was Nara Inlet however I forgot to save the track feature on Navionics so I have reconstructed a track in the picture below.

After getting safely through Hook Passage (easy again) we went to raise sails.  It was here that I mucked up. Once the main was up, I went forward to get the Jib ready to hoist and couldn't get enough slack to attach the Jib halyard. (I had detached it to use it for our shade the day before). I think I also realised that the jib sheets need a bit of re-routing and went back to the cockpit to adjust them. Totally forgetting that the halyard shackle wasn't yet attached I gave the halyard a big heave (I tended to raise it quickly when not heading into the wind as it goes up more easily), and up the halyard shackle went - minus jib. I attempted to get it down by standing on the cabin roof using the boat pole but was told to STOP  - I was being rocked about a lot and it must have looked precarious holding on to the mast with one hand and the end of a very extended boat pole with the other.

Since Kismet is really difficult to keep correct heading when on a close reach, we couldn't sail. I regretted losing the days sailing due to my mistake. At Nara Inlet, once anchored, I tied a small shackle to the boat hook and was easily able to retrieve the errant halyard shackle.

We had anchored only once before at Homestead Bay where I had used the cheap sand anchor that Kismet came with. This time, since it was overnight we initially anchored with the sand anchor then I broke out my shiny new G7 alloy anchor and spent a few minutes assembling it, adding equally new 8 meters of chain and 8mm nylon rope (now rode). Swapping over anchors was a little challenging but soon we were safely secured with the G7. There was lots of discussion with the crew about just where we were anchoring as there was a lot of rock around us.

Our dinner at Nara Inlet was frozen homemade hamburger patties cooked on the Origo (with lots of salad stuff), between two slices of bread toasted on the Origo using one of those campfire toasters. (After getting home and checking/cleaning everything I am surprised it hasn't rusted - it's only chrome plated mild steel.)

Tammy showing me the frypan while I was setting the Anchorwatch position.

Tammy is toasting bread here. Our 90 x 60cm stowable cockpit table has adjustable height and we has just found the lower setting to be a lot easier to use when using the Origo stove.
Laurel tended to take most of the pictures so isn't in them much.

Next morning, 7th September, after a quiet night, Anchorwatch (phone App) showed we had only wandered a few meters and we prepared to pull up the anchor and get under way to our Port of Airlie berth.

I didn't believe Tammy at first when she pointed out that there was only a meter of water between us and the rocks but the boat pole affirmed that it was true - whoops. Whitsunday tides.

I found with Kismet that we didn't really need to motor to the anchor as the boat is light enough that a firm continuous pull on the anchor rode moves the boat fairly easily. So it was then I found that the rode was wrapped around just about every rock within a 10 meter radius. I got Tammy to come forward with the boat hook and between her pushing the nylon rode around each rock then me pulling Kismet up to the next one, we got her free pretty easily. It took about 5 to 10 minutes.

Once I got to the chain it was easy to recover the anchor. I was quite surprised when it all fitted in the anchor locker.
While carefully threading our way through the rocks out of Nara Inlet, there was a guy near where we anchored standing on the bow of his charter boat with the anchor winch remote control in his hands looking gravely at the water. What we just did getting our rode untangled would be sooo much harder with a 5 tonne boat.

Leaving Nara Inlet.

Once clear of Nara we hoisted sails and had a great sail to Port of Airlie.



It wasn't so great dropping sails at Airlie though. By the time we neared shallow water the wind was up and the waves were over a meter with whitecaps. There were some white knuckles but we were fine if a little uncomfortable (Laurel says we weren't fine). We motored into Port of Airlie where we had been given the same berth that we started from.

After checking the weather forecasts for the next few days, we decided to retrieve next morning.

So next morning the 8th of September at around 08:00 (high tide) we motored the 300 meters to the Port of Airlie boat ramp.
Trouble. As we rounded the corner to the boat ramp there were two 30 meter Cruise Whitsundays power catamarans, one rotating on the spot and the other sounding "I am going astern". We were pretty stuck on which way to go so I swerved into one of the commercial berths only to be waved off from a dockhand pointing at yet another large Commercial Sailing Catamaran.

We managed to avoid to much confrontation then saw that there was a largish power boat launching on the jetty side (the side I had to dock) of the ramp.
He was in the water and off the jetty in short time and again, we avoided each other while ducking the shuttle boats.

The wind was off the dock at what I thought to be about 20 knots so I had talked through how we were going t dock with daughter Tammy. She was up the front with a mooring line ready to tie off the bow. We came in at about a 30 degree angle to the dock with just enough power to overcome the wind and I turned off at the last second and reversed a little to stop the boat. Tammy calmly stepped ashore and a wrapped couple of turns around the dock cleat.
Then it went belly up.

I was supposed to leave it in reverse and turn the motor as if doing a turn to port. Instead I placed it back in forward and turned to starboard. With no wind that would have been fine, it would have pushed the stern in, but as it was the boat quickly came around to almost 90 degrees to the dock. Tammy was yelling "REVERSE" - and I did. At that point the stern started moving to the dock and we were OK again. A bit more power and we moved parallel to the dock and tied off. But I had banged the port bow and made a golfball size dent about 1cm deep - even though the jetty had a rubber strip - it was obviously hard rubber. My bow fender almost saved it but not quite.

After that we retrieved OK - with me mightily annoyed that we had discussed docking and I had mucked it up.
As we prepared Kismet for road travel and Tammy got her gear out ready to catch a 09:50 shuttle to Hamilton Island, the wind just kept getting stronger. We parked Kismet and car next to the boat ramp and walked Tammy up to the Transit lounge.

Daughter Tammy aboard the Cruise Whitsundays shuttle pointing to Kismet next to the boat ramp waiting to get her outboard flushed - and a preliminary wash down for boat and trailer.

Next post - preparation for the road and the trip home...

Monday, 14 October 2019

Sailing (and Motoring) the Whitsundays - Part 1

We left Port of Airlie on the 2nd September around 11:30. We motored out a little bit then raised sail. We had a very pleasant crossing to Stonehaven on the west side of Hook Island. We poked our nose in at the southern end but then decided to go as far north as we could find a mooring.

Here is our daughter Tammy on the helm while motoring out of Pioneer Bay (Port of Airlie) while I mucked around getting the main sail ready to raise (actually I'm sitting on the sail bag in this picture). Airlie Beach is in the background.

Finally under sail.

We arrived at Stonehaven at 15:52 (16.2NM) and picked up a mooring for overnight.

At this stage I deployed our "beach tent" shade. This was really just a pretty cloth tarpaulin with lots of eyelets. Since the sun was behind us we placed it out the back - hoisting its pole with the main halyard. It billowed out the back of the boat and made me concerned for our mooring attachment - not very successful.

By that time it was sunset anyway.




The cabin windows seem to be quite useful as mirrors at night.













We left Stonehaven at 09:55 and motored over to Langford Reef (1.7NM) where we picked up a mooring and fired up the 12V oven then cooked muffins from a muffin mix.











With full sun on the Solar Panels the battery didn't even notice the oven's 8.3 Amp current draw (about 100W). They were delicious - not quite as risen as in a home oven but pretty good.

I was a bit hot when we got to Langford Reef so I went for a swim while the muffins baked. A turtle eyed me off before diving away and I got laughed at by the crew for cleaning the Kismet's hulls. They were a bit scummy after this short time in the water - mainly the bows just above the waterline.

From Langford Reef, we went over to Blue Pearl bay on Hayman island, picked up a mooring and had our first snorkel.
You can  see our zig-zag course near Langford Island as we raised sail, discovered that there was almost no wind and dropped them again.








We had planned on going around to Luncheon Bay but the wind was "on the nose" (dead ahead) so we motored. As we were a bit worried about what time we would arrive (we left Blue Pearl at 16:29), we stopped at Butterfly Bay instead at 17:30 for our overnight mooring.

I'm glad we shortened that trip - Luncheon Bay would have been another 30 minutes at least which would have had us navigating coral bommies at sunset.

At Butterfly Bay, we heated up some frozen Lasagna for dinner using the Origo Stove (alcohol) with a frypan covered in foil. It did a great job.
There's that toothy gap again.
The 3/4 pants I'm wearing are a full pair that Laurel cut down and re-hemmed following some advice from Peter Yates (Trailer Sailor Place) to keep knees covered from the sun. They were VERY practical but I'm told not a great fashion statement. I note that I'm already sporting sandfly bites on my legs from the caravan park.

Butterfly Bay next morning.

I was hoping we would go ashore for a walk at Butterfly Bay but we had a big trip down to Hamilton Island that day so decided we would be back to Butterfly Bay a couple of days later (it was on my itinerary).

We made our way down the east side of Hook Island and carefully motored through Hook Passage at slack tide (it was quite calm) and on down to Homestead Bay on CID island. There was no wind to speak of and we had to make reasonable time - explaining why Hook Passage was so calm.

We anchored at Homestead Bay for lunch. At this stage I deployed our shade for the second time and it was a little more successful as I used a sail slug and ran one side up the mast with the main halyard - it still needs work though.

After lunch the wind had picked up a little and we then sailed part way to our Hamilton Island berth overnight.

Laurel joked that sailing was a tad slow when you had to go in almost the opposite direction - but I enjoyed the sail. We dropped sail when we entered Fitzalan Passage (where we turn SSE) as we were straight into the wind.

Our overnight berth at Hamilton Island. Once again at the base of a ramp.


I was a little critical of Hamilton Island at the time but I actually enjoyed it in retrospect. The Lorikeets were very demanding. You really did have to fend them off your breakfast.

More next post...