Skipper's Seat

Skipper's Seat: August 2009

August 25, 2009 - Believe me when I tell you that you’re in for a surprise tomorrow. For that is when the next issue of Trade-a-Boat hits the news-stands. This is no ordinary edition —
we’ve devoted the magazine to the unbridled passion that is adventure. The Book of Dreams in more ways than one.

You really must read seasoned adventurer, Don McIntyre’s fascinating and moving story on the building of 16-year-old Jessica Watson’s S&S 34. Don and his lifelong partner Margie are devoted to giving back something to budding adventurers. So after they met with Jessica they went shopping for her boat. Dubbed Pink Lady for obvious reasons, the yacht was bought from betwixt the pages of Trade-a-Boat.

Next, the McIntyres advertised in Trade-a-Boat for helping hands that could contribute to the rebuilding of the boat. There was a great response and within no time the Trade-a-Boat crew was poised with tools at the ready. The yacht was stripped back, all the deck fittings were removed, and therein began the making of Jessica’s new home on the high seas.

While the budget was extended to put everything in Jessica’s favour during next month’s quest to be the youngest person to ever sail solo, non-stop, unassisted, around the world, Don says it’s entirely feasible to put your own circumnavigator together for about $100,000. Rent the house out and you can pay for the running costs and spending money at all those ports of call.

From here, we launch into the world of luxury adventure, with an in-depth test of the Hampton 650 Endurance passagemaker, with pilothouse, Portuguese bridge, stabilisers, and twin Caterpillar engines for long-range cruising. The double-chine hull represents the current thinking in adventure motoryachts —
the boat can go as fast or as slow as the depth of your pockets and time permit.

The High Seas 63 from Allan Barnett is a steal, that is, a steel motoryacht built on the same foundations and principles as many of Tasmania’s hardest-working trawlers. Besides being a boatbuilder of great repute, Barnett is a seasoned Southern Ocean trawlerman, who has fished through the boom-and-bust orange roughie fishery on the deep southern sea mountains, and now turns his hand to trawling on the reopened scallop grounds in Bass Strait. Think deadliest catch, but in our backyard. And if you want a boat that you can drive onto a beach or that can survive hitting a reef, then this long-range lady is your baby. Such is the finish you wouldn’t even know she’s built from steel.

Our yachting writer, Allan Whiting, comes back beaming after his test sail of Seawind’s 1160 in the Whitsundays during the Australian cat-builder’s annual rally. Right now, as you read this, more than 1000 sailors will be enjoying their adventures during Hamilton Island Race Week. Look for our footage online. Just about every desirable cruising location I happen on along the Australian coast is home to a Seawind or three.

Of course, adventure is a subjective thing. You can get it on the sweet-running single-engined Back Cove 33 in this issue. And you can gad about your local waterways on a pocket sportscruiser such as the Bayliner 245 that we tested on the Gold Coast during a just-add-water backyard adventure.

For all intents and purposes, spring has sprung. It’s time to get the boat ready for your own take on adventure. If you haven’t got a boat, now’s the time to buy. There are hundreds of fitting secondhand adventure boats in Trade-a-Boat. Our popular column titled Preloved features the wonderful Phoebe, a Millkraft made to sate one man’s dream of the perfect coastal cruiser.

Not that it’s always smooth sailing. Around-the-world solo sailor, young Jesse Martin once wrote that the greatest sense of achievement comes from extending yourself, taking yourself outside your comfort zone, and coming through with flying colours. And as you can see, Don McIntyre has endured some hardship at sea before. His ‘knockdown video’ on our website has scored the most hits of any video thus far. Gotta love that red crash helmet.

Read about our passage-safety feature in tomorrow’s Trade-a-Boat, play it safe, set sail and see you on the water during our travels and adventures.
— David Lockwood,