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Essential Sail Maintenance Tips
Jackie & Noel Parry
Posted September 9 2016

It is imperative to care for your sails. Your mainsail drives your boat forwards – imagine being a thousand miles away from the nearest land and your mainsail tearing – beyond repair.

UV Protection

Sun is very damaging to the sail; you will add years to the life of your sails if you look after them. Dark sail covers are better, as they prevent passage of light and therefore prevent damage more effectively than lighter coloured materials. Under the sail cover, a layer of space blanket material makes fantastic protection. At the very least, add an additional layer of heavy duty material to your sail cover. Sail-makers state that one layer of ordinary material is not enough for complete protection.

Wear and tear

If you are sailing in a light wind with some swell and your sails are ‘slatting/snapping’ hard each side, reef them down and turn the engine on (or be very patient). This will help keep the boat steady and give you a much more comfortable ride. It will also greatly reduce the slatting/snapping, which severely damages sails. The use of diesel will, in the long-term, be much cheaper than the amount of wear on your sails.


Mount a separate sail track for your storm main. When a storm is predicted, prepare the storm sails while it is calm. Have your suite of storm sails in an easily accessible place at sea. In port, our storm sails live in the sail locker at the bow. When we are at sea we keep them under the saloon table, so we do not have to venture up to the end of the boat and rummage in a cupboard during violent seas.

Common sail problems

Baton pockets on sails are a major problem. If the batons have insufficient support they can chafe and damage the sail. Repairing sails due to baton damage is one of the largest sources of income for sail-makers. If you are buying or repairing sails, ensure this area is sturdy.


Constantly monitor your sails. Pay particular attention to a partially furled jib in strong winds; the motion can cause chafing very quickly when the furling unit continuously moves, causing the sail to rub against itself.


Maintain a good supply of sail tape on board. This sticky tape (sail tape), together with sailcloth, is what makes repairs at sea possible. Sewing equipment like sail-maker’s palms or sewing machines are a necessity.

New sails

If you can tear your sails by hand or poke your finger through the fabric, it is time for new sails.

Recut sails

If your sails are responding poorly when you tension the leech (aft edge of sail), they are overstretched. A mainsail that is stretched will not trim correctly. You may be able to have a sail recut if it is out of shape, but it is likely that the fabric at the seams would only allow an effective recut once.

About the book: The Maintenance and Repairs section in Cruisers’ AA has over thirty A4 pages of tips, advice and hints for you and your boat. To grab yourself a copy, follow one of these links:

Amazon: ebook for Kindle- $4.54

Amazon: Paperback- $29.95

Boat Books: $39.95 (AUS)

1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jackie & Noel Parry
Seamanship: fix your position without a GPS
Jackie & Noel Parry
Posted September 2 2015

It is good seamanship (and sometimes imperative) to be able to fix your position without using a GPS, experienced sailor and author Jackie Parry explains.

Bearings - Three bearing fix

This is a great way to double check your position.

On your chart select three conspicuous landmarks to use, to avoid large errors when underway. Take a bearing with your hand compass of the landmark closest to your stern first, then closest to your bow, and finally, the one that is abeam (90° from your bow).

You must be 100% sure that you visually identify the correct landmarks and, ideally, the landmarks should be around sixty degrees apart.

You will need to apply Compass error (Variation), but no Deviation if using a hand held compass (Deviation is only applied if you are using the ship’s compass and you know the Deviation).

Compass errors (Variation and Deviation)

The difference between True North and Magnetic North is called Variation. The degree of Variation and its annual rate of change is indicated on nautical charts within the Compass Rose. Deviation is the deflection of the compass from its proper orientation. It is usually caused by magnetic materials on the boat (or indeed the boat itself). Deviation can be east or west, or zero, depending on the magnetic conditions on the vessel. The value will change with the boat’s heading. (See ‘Compass: True to Compass’ further on in this section.)

Once you have converted the Compass bearing to a True bearing, plot the bearings on your chart. Where the three bearing lines cross, is your fix position. The time of the bearings taken is noted on the chart next to your fix position. This is very important, especially when using DR. (See ‘Position - DR’ in this section - Ded Reckoning is actually ‘Deduced Reckoning’.)

Do not use navigation buoys for bearings, as they may have moved from the charted position. You can take just two bearings, but they will not show any errors that may have occurred, as three bearings will.

With three bearings, you may end up with a cocked hat where the three bearing lines meet (usually looks like a witch’s hat, see picture below). If it is not too big, mark your position in the cocked hat at the closest point to danger and have another go (in the example below, that position would be nearest to land). Cocked hats occur with errors (plotting, wrong identification of object, compass error incorrectly applied or unknown compass error), or this could occur with the imprecise reading of the compass or an unsteady hand when at sea.

2 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jackie & Noel Parry
Enduring Leadership Lessons from the Ocean: Leadership Styles
Jessica Watson
Posted May 27 2018

Good skippers are democratic, inclusive, coaching, and occasionally authoritative. Vision, charisma and a sense of fun also help.

As in the business world, it is apparent that on the water there is no single universally successful approach to leadership, with many of the most effective sailing leaders able to change their style to suit the situation at hand. Clipper Race skipper Wendy Tuck describes different crew members responding differently to different styles and explorer Tim Jarvis suggests that leadership really should be situational.

However, the styles that I’ve found to be the most commonly credited with success at sea were those that could be described as coaching, democratic or inclusive. America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill takes a coaching approach, giving responsibility and accountability to others, allowing them to grow. ‘If you’ve hired people with skills and talent, then let them take it on,’ says Jimmy.

Another Cup-winning skipper John Bertrand says that he would like to think that his leadership could be described as inclusive. Reflecting on his re-enactment of, as well as Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1916 original survival voyage, Tim Jarvis also recognises the effectiveness of an inclusive approach. Wendy Tuck cites the effectiveness of a democratic approach. And in maritime survival situations, Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakof (1) also credit democracy in the form of shared workloads and an accountable democratically chosen leader, as essential to group survival.

But despite singing their praises for inclusive leadership styles, there is also a consensus that in fast-paced and dangerous situations, a more authoritative style of leadership is also required. ‘The bottom line is that in times of crises, you need someone to make decisions, rapidly,’ says John. ‘So it morphs from the team being inclusive to the team having trust in the various roles and responsibilities, including the leader. When the proverbial hits the fan, the leader can make a decision, and the crew doesn’t have to second guess.’

Although it’s also clear that the overuse of an authoritarian style can limit a team’s potential by stifling diversity and constructive conflict (covered in this earlier post), John believes there’s plenty of examples of ‘underperforming organisations, whether it’s a sailing team or a company or a sporting team, where things are too dictatorial, and they’re underutilising the potential of the people involved’.

Finally, and in addition to democratic, inclusive, coaching, and occasionally authoritative approaches, John also stresses the importance of visionary leadership. While Wendy Tuck suggests that ‘charismatic leadership always helps’, in what may be a reflection of Australian culture, both John and Jimmy Spithill also impress the importance of allowing teams to have a little fun. ‘Life is too short not to!’ says Jimmy.

A few words about this blog series:

Sailing, whether for survival or competition, is an unforgiving business. The teams that excel in such environments provide a multitude of learnings for leaders back on dry land. So through this blog series, I’ve set out to explore some of the most important and universally applicable leadership lessons from the oceans.

Based on existing research, interviews with some very well-credentialed sailors and my own observations, I’ll be posting weekly, covering trust, communication, diversity, culture, leadership styles and team formation. I wanted to include a breadth of insight from the different extremes of sailing, so you’ll be hearing from legendary America’s Cup winning skippers, a skipper charged with leading largely amateur crews through some of the world’s most dangerous oceans, and a man who re-enacted one of history’s greatest survival voyages.

Occasionally I still see some of the concepts that will be covered in this series – such as trust and diversity – considered ‘fluffy’, nice ideas, luxuries that are secondary to a team’s core business. So by showcasing their importance in such punishing, competitive, life-threatening, and typically masculine environments, I hope to prove their worth.

1. Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff, No Mercy – True Stories of Disaster, Survival and Brutality, 2013

2 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Enduring Leadership Lessons from the Ocean: Inclusive Communication
Jessica Watson
Posted April 29 2018

Cover photo: John Bertrand and his crew claiming victory in the 1983 America’s Cup, Larry Moran.

Some of the most effective leaders on the water use an inclusive communication style whenever possible.

Like trust, good communication is well credited for the success of countless teams. An investigation of maritime disasters by Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff (1) bluntly highlights this, finding that survival was less likely for those groups who communicated ineffectively. ‘Communicate,’ Eleanor and Jenny recommend. ‘Silence is your enemy.’ (1)

However, communication is also an unhelpfully broad and vague concept, so this blog will drill down into a more directly applicable style of communication that’s been used to great effect by successful sailing skippers. This communication style is an inclusive or participative one that enables input from the entire team.

Iconic Australian skipper John Bertrand observed that his legendary rival Denis Connor used a participative leadership style to great effect on the water, but in adopting the technique himself John was conscious of ensuring consistency and authenticity in its use both on and off the water. ‘Getting people involved and getting them connected is really powerful,’ says John. ‘It’s the empowering of the people, you can potentially get one plus one to equal three.’

Jimmy Spithill provides another perspective on the importance seeking input from the entire team. ‘From my experience, especially in America’s Cup campaigns, the new concepts and fresh ideas come from the fresh faces generally, not from the experienced guys. So it’s important to have an environment where people, especially inexperienced people, are encouraged to express themselves.’

A leadership study of the 2013/2014 around the world Clipper Race (2) listed ‘valuing contributions from all crew’ as a key characteristic expected of skippers. Winning Clipper skipper Wendy Tuck points out that input from all crew members can’t always be sought in urgent situations, but she also recognises the importance of team discussions that allow all crew members to air their views.

Like Wendy, explorer Tim Jarvis describes high-pressure situations where inclusive communication isn’t appropriate, but for that reason, he acknowledges its importance whenever it is possible. ‘If everybody is sitting there worried about what it will be like if they bring up a problem - if I’m going to get cross at them,’ says Tim, ‘then you get to the Southern Ocean and find things that you’ve missed, then that’s a problem.’

A few words about this blog series:

Sailing, whether for survival or competition, is an unforgiving business. The teams that excel in such environments provide a multitude of learnings for leaders back on dry land. So through this blog series, I’ve set out to explore some of the most important and universally applicable leadership lessons from the oceans.

Based on existing research, interviews with some very well-credentialed sailors and my own observations, I’ll be posting weekly, covering trust, communication, diversity, culture, leadership styles and team formation. I wanted to include a breadth of insight from the different extremes of sailing, so you’ll be hearing from legendary America’s Cup winning skippers, a skipper charged with leading largely amateur crews through some of the world’s most dangerous oceans, and a man who re-enacted one of history’s greatest survival voyages.

Occasionally I still see some of the concepts that will be covered in this series – such as trust and diversity – considered ‘fluffy’, nice ideas, luxuries that are secondary to a team’s core business. So by showcasing their importance in such punishing, competitive, life-threatening, and typically masculine environments, I hope to prove their worth.

1. Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff, No Mercy – True Stories of Disaster, Survival and Brutality, 2013

2. Mission Performance, Leadership: Lessons from Ocean Racing, January 2016

5 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Vintage boat review: Savage Tasman 52 SP Mark II
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted May 3 2018

1997, January; Port Phillip Bay: Most boatbuilding companies specialise in one material, usually either aluminium or fibreglass. J. J. Savage and Sons is probably the only builder in Australia that uses both materials and, whilst most models in the Savage fleet feature aluminium, this Tasman 52 is an example of the company's skills in mouldwork and 'glass construction.

With rounded 'Euro-style' lines, the Tasman is a very contemporary design that's focused on fishing but perfectly suited to family cruising and other water sports too. The layout is quite straightforward, but includes plenty of clever touches that make the boat that much more usable, and more enjoyable.

The cockpit has lots of room with a carpeted floor and plushly upholstered aft quarter seats that drop down out of the way when not needed. There's a neat panel between the seats, also nicely trimmed, that innovatively drops down to form a bait workbench with a cutting board. With the quarter seats down and the baitboard up, there is a full width padded 'leaning board' against which you can comfortably and securely brace whilst working fish astern.

Big sidepockets have moulded liners for a clean and tidy appearance, with brackets for rods and recessed grab rails. On the side decks, just aft of where they flare up into the cabin, are teak boarding pads with rod holders about half way back to the transom. Behind the aft seats, on either side of the engine well, are live bait wells or storage lockers.

Up front there is a pair of superbly padded and trimmed swivelling bucket seats. The skipper has a good office, with the gauges mounted in clear line of sight above the wheel. The first mate is equally well cared for with a grab rail and an extra storage pocket to port, and with a drink holder and glovebox in front. There's another grab rail below the centre of the curved screen, just above the companionway into the cabin.

The latter has comfortable seat cushions down each side and centrally forward. All three have stowage below, and there's padded sidepockets to take more essentials. There's just sitting head room at the aft end of the seats. A nice touch is the moulded steps on which you can stand to work mooring or anchor lines through the quite big hatch. Split bowrails, a good anchor locker and solid deck hardware make everything very practical and easy to use.

The Tasman had a 75 Honda four-stroke for power and it delivered plenty of punch to give the cuddy-cab pleasing levels of performance. The hull swept swiftly on plane, and ran easily with a soft and controlled ride. Turns in both directions were as tight as you'd like to make them, with hull and prop working perfectly together. The Tasman showed no signs of anything other than good manners and exemplary handling.

The best cruising speed seemed to be around 4,000 rpm when we had 39 kph showing on our GPS. Pushing the throttle all the way forward took us to 5,600 rpm and 58 kph, which is pretty good for 75 hp on a boat this size. The 90-litre underfloor fuel tank would give a good cruising range.

The skipper's seat is adjustable fore and aft, so you can get the distance from the wheel that best suits you. The only thing I noted as a point to improve was that the throttle did come a bit too close to the rim of the wheel at times, but that didn't stop me having a highly pleasurable time driving the Tasman.


Length: 5.20 metres

Beam: 2.11 metres

Deadrise: 18 degrees

Weight: 620 kgs

Fuel: 90 litres

Power as tested: Honda 75

Price (at time of review): Around $25,500

Was this helpful?Thank Graham Lloyd
Enduring Leadership Lessons from the Ocean: Team Formation
Jessica Watson
Posted May 30 2018

Cover photo: Clipper Race winning skipper Wendy Tuck, CLIPPER RACE.

The formation of a successful sailing team requires a balance of ability and attitude and a willingness to evolve.

When it comes to the formation of a team, there’s firstly a consensus among top sailing leaders that each potential team member must be assessed on both their skills and expertise and the compatibility of their values. ‘It doesn’t matter how talented you are,’ says America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill. ‘If you have an ego or bad attitude, you have no place in a successful team.’ Adventurer Tim Jarvis echoes this, saying that once a certain standard of ability is met, crew selection comes down to a ‘positive attitude’.

Legendary Australian skipper John Bertrand stresses the importance of considering the value that each potential member brings to the team. 2003 America’s Cup Challenger Team Alignhi (1) strived for a democratic approach, allowing many crew decisions to be made by consensus. And Clipper Skipper Wendy Tuck describes the need to ensure that different attributes, such as competitiveness, were balanced throughout her amateur crew and across the different watches held while at sea.

Like teams off the water and across many different disciplines, sailing teams are also prone to change. For this reason, Jimmy makes the point that champion teams must also include backup members and must be prepared to evolve. The development of trust among team members requires time (as explored in this previous post), so crew changes can prove challenging, but Jimmy suggests that the ability to come together and grow in the face of adversity is the hallmark of a good team.

A team will ideally establish its vision collaboratively (as covered in this previous post), but when circumstances don’t allow for that, it becomes important that potential new team members’ alignment with the team philosophy is established. Jimmy also stresses that the support of the existing team will give the new member the confidence they need to get up to speed quickly.

A few words about this blog series:

Sailing, whether for survival or competition, is an unforgiving business. The teams that excel in such environments provide a multitude of learnings for leaders back on dry land. So through this blog series, I’ve set out to explore some of the most important and universally applicable leadership lessons from the oceans.

Based on existing research, interviews with some very well-credentialed sailors and my own observations, I’ll be posting weekly, covering trust, communication, diversity, culture, leadership styles and team formation. I wanted to include a breadth of insight from the different extremes of sailing, so you’ll be hearing from legendary America’s Cup winning skippers, a skipper charged with leading largely amateur crews through some of the world’s most dangerous oceans, and a man who re-enacted one of history’s greatest survival voyages.

Occasionally I still see some of the concepts that will be covered in this series – such as trust and diversity – considered ‘fluffy’, nice ideas, luxuries that are secondary to a team’s core business. So by showcasing their importance in such punishing, competitive, life-threatening, and typically masculine environments, I hope to prove their worth.

1. Wolfgang Jenewein and Christian Schmitz, Creating a High-Performance Team Through Transformational Leadership: The Case of Alinghi, 2007

6 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
1996 Spacecraft 520 Review
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted June 14 2018

1996, August; Lake Macquarie: I've had the pleasure of testing several of Larry Wiltshire's Spacecraft fishing boats over the last couple of years, and have always come away impressed with their strength and practical design. Larry makes a point of understanding the use to which his boats are being put, and invests extra effort to accommodate the everyday, real-world demands of those uses in each boat.

Spacecraft boats are good looking in a serious sort of way, with a high quality (but not overly flash) finish. The hulls are built up to their gun'ls in a jig for accuracy, and then Larry finishes the cabin and interior as required for the owner's purpose. Larry designs all his own boats, and construction is carried out in his factory at Toronto south of Newcastle.

On a grey and rainy day, Larry took me for a test run in this 5.2 metre Spacecraft and, despite the weather (or even perhaps because of it), we had a great time as I put the boat through its paces and waited in vain for the sun to emerge so that the photos could do justice.

Spacecraft boats are built more strongly than most, and Larry used very solid 5 mm plate for the undersides of this 5.2, with 4 mm in the hull sides and 3 mm for the cabin. That helps explain what at first appears to be a quite heavy bare-hull weight of 650 kilograms, and it also explains the rock-steady stability of the boat in the water. For even further stability, Larry can build the boat with a centre tunnel that floods at rest. The bottom carries a constant 17 degree deadrise over the aft third or so of the hull, with a 650 mm wide planing plank to help get the craft quickly running over the surface.

On board, the cuddy cabin has a recessed footwell for extra leg room, and is fitted with upholstered seats and storage to each side. The helm position is reasonably forward to make possible a larger cockpit area, and is covered by a very well secured hardtop. Clears bridge the gap between the hardtop and the screen, and that was just as well on the day, as they kept us quite dry despite the rain all around. Two swivelling chairs with arm rests and pleasantly padded upholstery made Larry and I feel securely comfortable, and were positioned so that driving was just as good whether standing or seated.

The cockpit featured a huge insulated kill tank (or a monstrous cooler if you wanted to cater for a party on board) with a padded seat on top. Under the floor in front of the transom was a big live bait tank, and storage pockets ran down each side of the boat. Also under the aft floor were the oil containers for the two Evinrude 70s, while the batteries were properly mounted in their own boxes to either side at the transom. Not to waste any of that underfloor area, forward of the kill tank were two 150 litre fuel tanks.

The self-draining cockpit is quite deep so you'd feel secure even when lifting a big one over the side, and there are hand rails down each sidedeck along with rod holders and, in each stern quarter, good-sized bollards. Vertical grab rails come down from the back of the hardtop, and they are just where you'd want them to hang on whilst running offshore through lumpy waters. An eight-pack rocket launcher runs across the back of the hardtop, so there's no shortage of spots to keep the rods.

A baitboard is mounted at a practical working height above the transom. There is a boarding platform on the starboard side of the transom and a burley bucket to port. Between these were mounted the two Evinrude 70 outboards looking, like all twin-rigs, very serious and offering safety through resilience. Up front, the foredeck has its own rails and a nicely sized anchor locker in the forepeak.

The helm position suited me, with gauges clearly displayed to starboard of the wheel, and a very workmanlike relationship between the latter, the seat, and the throttle/shift controls on the side of the boat. There's a big flat area behind the screen where you can put all your electronics, with this boat having a Raytheon EchoStar 790 GPS Navigator Echo Sounder. This, together with a GME 27 Mhz radio and a Codan 8121 marine transceiver that were mounted in the side of the companionway into the cabin, showed the owner of the Spacecraft was quite serious about his navigation and communication facilities. It was pleasing, but not surprising in one of Larry's boats, to find a strong grab rail across the port side of the cabin top so the first mate could get a good grip.

At the wheel, you have the classic alternative of looking through the screen while sitting, or over the top of it when standing. The screen itself has a substantial frame, with toughened glass in the front panels and acrylic in the sides.

The owner had just re-rigged his Spacecraft with the two Evinrudes, replacing a pair of 50 hp engines. Larry recommends a minimum of a single 90 on the boat, but the design can take up to twin 90s if you want the extra grunt to haul big loads back home after each fishing expedition. The Evinrudes were still tight and running standard 17 inch props, but they quickly ran the 5.2 metre boat on plane and cruised with relaxed style. The Spacecraft swept through the wind-blown chop with a soft and predictable ride. Turns were smooth and as quick as you like, and the twins as usual made low speed twisting and backing very easy. Top speeds range from around 56 kph with a single 90 through 70 kph with twin 70s up to around 74 kph with two 90s on the back.

The only thing I didn't like at the helm was the trim button for the starboard Evinrude which, in the top of its throttle arm, was too close to the side of the boat for easy operation. Actually, I'd suggest wiring both trims through the port button so using it alone would get the outboards to the angle you want, then the starboard button could be used only if needed to correct any slight trim misalignment between the two engines.

Larry has a range of Spacecraft from 2.9 through 8 metres, and he can supply each craft at any stage from bare unpainted hull through to a fully finished, rigged, sea-trialed and ready-to-go boat. The 5.2 is more or less mid-range and typifies the style of boat that Larry produces. Strong and practical with sweet-handling performance, the 5.2 gave me a pleasurable run and that big kill tank in the cockpit personified the great fishing you could have on board.


Length: 5.2 metres

Beam: 2.1 metres

Weight (approx): 650 kilograms boat only

Power as tested: Twin Evinrude 70 hp

Top Speed: 74 kph

1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Graham Lloyd
1994 Sea Ray 230 Sundancer Review
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted June 20 2018

1994, June; Sydney Middle Harbour: Refined design and quality are the essence of Sea Ray, and the 230 Sundancer complies completely. It is the smallest in a series of Sundancer models that go up to 13+ metre luxury cruisers. All are sportingly styled with comfortable accommodations for family cruising, plus the performance and versatility to handle water skiing and fishing along the way.

It all started with a boat built by C. N. Ray in his Detroit garage in 1959. Today Sea Ray, along with MerCruiser, is part of the Brunswick Corporation which, founded in 1845, is America’s seventh oldest company and is the world’s largest producer of boats and marine engines. Collectively, that’s a powerful heritage.

The Sundancers have sleek lines with balanced and pleasing integration of hull, deck and superstructure. Keeping the appearance streamlined for the smallest member of the family is tough where the height and beam to length ratios are greatest, but Sea Ray designers have done a great job with the 230. Clever use of colour trim and mould lines visually lengthens the boat, and the effect is enhanced with a smoothly rounded foredeck that flows up to the curved safety glass screen.

It is the accommodations that have been designed into the 230 that are so remarkable. Here is a boat of just over 7 metres with a legally trailerable beam of 2.43 metres that has standing headroom in its cabin, a separate toilet compartment, seating in the cockpit for seven or eight, and sleeping accommodation for four adults.

The cabin has a dinette that seats four around a removable table. The seating becomes a vee berth, or a double with infill cushions, for overnighting. A small galley to port features pressure (cold) water into a sink as well as containing an icebox, a single burner stove, and several stowage areas. Opposite the galley is a head compartment that is (just) large enough in which to stand, and that has a Sanipottie toilet. Cleverly tucked back under the cockpit is another full sized double berth with a privacy curtain and a sliding, screened porthole for ventilation.

Four steps lead up to the cockpit; with detail typical of Sea Ray, the top one has a lip and is self-draining to help prevent water dripping down into the cabin. A double seat with stowage beneath is at the helm position, and has another double behind it for very comfortable seating facing aft. Across the back of the cockpit is a full width lounge that takes three or four people; it can be easily removed for more space on, say, a fishing trip. A second demountable table locates in the centre of the cockpit.

Across the transom is an integral boarding platform with a stainless steel drop-down ladder for climbing out of the water. The back of the aft lounge has a gap to facilitate moving into the cockpit from the boarding platform; a safety chain protects the gap when the boat is under way.

The cockpit carpet clips out and rolls away to reveal a large hatch that gives access to the engine compartment and bilges. Neatly and strongly mounted are the twin batteries and their master switch, the bilge pump and blower, and an automatic fire extinguisher system.

The helm position is comfortable with excellent 360-degree vision. The throttle and gearshift are on a single lever mounted to the cockpit side that has a good relationship with the wheel. The latter is relatively low, so that knees need to go to either side, and I would have preferred a little more footroom. The instrument binnacle is stylish and sets out all but the trim gauge in excellent line of sight over the wheel rim. A compass is mounted further forward, and a VHF radio had been located under the dash to starboard of the wheel.

There are several power options of MerCruiser petrol or diesel engines; this 230 had a 5.0LX MerCruiser Alpha 1 Sterndrive - a 5 litre V8 petrol engine that develops 205 horsepower to be a mid-range unit for the boat.

Power steering keeps effort on the wheel light, and the hull is nicely responsive to directional and trim controls. With a new engine to be respected, the throttle was used carefully but a top speed of between 65 and 75 kph is likely. Cruising at 3,000 rpm was most pleasant and the 166-litre fuel tank would allow a reasonable range.

Accelerating from rest resulted in little bow rise, but it was necessary to have the Alpha 1 leg trimmed right in to avoid prop ventilation. The same was true for turning where the best (and quite usual) technique was to trim in the leg just before turning the wheel, and to then trim it back out as soon as the 230 was steady on its new course.

Running the 230 Sundancer out toward Sydney Heads encountered quite large swells topped by some wind induced chop. The hull handled the conditions admirably, landing softly and displaying plenty of forward buoyancy when sweeping down the face of the rollers. The chines pushed displaced waters away from the boat, and only an occasional spot of spray was caught by the wind to splatter the screen. The tabs were useful to keep the boat laterally balanced, although the 230 needs less trimming than most to stay level.

Back at the marina, the comparatively high helm seating with its unobstructed vision made it easier to position the boat whilst reversing into the Sundancer’s home berth. Directional control when going astern was good.

The hull undersides are conventional with a deadrise of 17 degrees on a sharp vee keel, devoid of any planing pad, and two planing strakes each side. The boarding platform projects out from the transom to partially conceal the Alpha 1 drive leg below.

The level of inclusions is high and provides good value in the pricing which starts from around $65,000 depending on power and options. The 230 is a versatile boat that would suit experienced boaters seeking a refined quality craft as well as first time buyers looking to try different aspects of having fun afloat. The accommodations allow six to eight people to enjoy the cockpit, and the two sleeping areas do mean that four adults could comfortably overnight on board. Extended trips or holidays for a couple or a family of four would be delightful with economical performance, relaxed cruising and easy handling.


Length: 7.06 metres

Beam: 2.43 metres

Draft: 0.84 metres

Weight (dry): 1,950 kilograms

Fuel: 166 litres

Water: 41 litres

Power: MerCruiser V8 205 hp

Top Speed: 75 kph (estimated)

Pricing: from $65,000

6 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Graham Lloyd
2013 Bayliner Element Review
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted July 30 2018

2013, July; Berowra Waters: One of the keys to ongoing success in any line of business is adaptability, and that often comes down to recognising a market trend and meeting it as early as possible. Sensing that economic conditions have buyers looking for better value and smaller boats, Bayliner has taken a back to basics approach with this Element. It has a simple layout and no extraneous equipment in an easy-to-use bowrider-with-a-difference boat that offers safety, stability and a quite unexpectedly high fun-factor for both skipper and crew.

The last few years have seen the bad old Global Financial Crisis and consequent after-shocks hit boating companies around the world, and the huge US Bayliner organisation was no exception. The market was withdrawing into its shell somewhat with less new boats being purchased, and those that were bought were typically smaller as buyers downsized to keep within more restricted budgets.

Bayliner responded in a number of ways, including re-assessing what first-time new boat buyers were really looking to acquire. That was a good thing to do, regardless of the market situation, and the result was that this very appealing 4.9-metre Element is now available. It hits the target perfectly, and has been receiving a warm welcome.

Whilst the target market might be first time buyers, the Element is going to appeal to many more experienced boaties as well because it is such a ‘just right’ design. Buyers at the Melbourne Boat Show this year, where the Element was launched in Australia, frequently commented that the Element had them re-considering what they really wanted in their next boat after they had been looking at alternatives such as centre consoles and more conventional runabouts.

It’s all very well to go for a larger boat that’s packed with all sorts of features and equipment but, when it comes right down to it, you can have as much fun on the water with a smaller craft that has just the basic gear. There is a lower initial outlay, less to maintain, the boat is easier to trailer, launch, retrieve and store, and it’s quite likely that it will hold its value better when it comes time to upgrade in the future.

The Element’s layout blends ideas previously seen on bowriders and jet boats. The skipper has a neat helm console amidships to starboard with a pair of seats opposite, more seating up forward and a small sunpad aft. The boat has a capacity for six people and it accommodates that number very well for its length of just over four metres.

The seating is all set on integrally-moulded bases that form part of the inner liner of the hull. However, whilst it is a bit limiting for the skipper with no seat or wheel adjustment, the other seats works better than you might expect as most are designed so you can sit facing one of two ways. This gives options for the crew to face forwards, inwards or backwards. It’s rather clever and allows changing around between when running along and when at rest for communal chatting.

Even with all this seating, there is still good floor space for moving about the Element. As well, at the back of the boat are two boarding platforms on either side of the standard 60-hp Mercury four-stroke outboard. The platforms have a good non-skid surface as do matching boarding steps moulded in front of them on top of the transom. These steps are also intended as aft-facing seats for when the Element is moored.

All the seat cushions lift off to provide stowage below, with the skipper’s seat revealing a very spacious locker that runs back under the starboard side of the aft sunpad. The battery is in that locker, whilst under the port side of the sunpad is stored a removable 45 litre fuel tank. The cockpit sole is moulded in a non-skid pattern and the interior of the stowage lockers is finished in brushed-on grey flowcoat, so everything would be easy to clean. The seats are well finished in a dimpled white vinyl with grey accent panels. Again, it’s simple, but it still looks good.

The standard package includes a single-axle trailer, bimini cover and a removable 75-litre Igloo cooler. The Element comes with a good supply of drink holders and grab handles plus quality deck hardware including a combined navigation light at the bow. Options include a stereo system, digital depth gauge, bow filler cushion, mooring cover and a ’Sports Package’ which includes a choice of red for the main hull colour – the standard colour is black with accents in grey and silver - plus a watersports arch across the back of the boat with a board rack.

In profile, the Element looks just like a racy sports car with smoothly flowing lines and a small swept-back wind deflector at the helm. It’s deceptive though, for the cockpit is deep enough to be safe for youngsters and the topsides are high enough to keep out spray in all but very windy and rough conditions.

The hull configuration is interesting, and fresh, with Bayliner having a patent pending on its new ‘M-Hull’ design. This has a moderate vee centre section flanked by catamaran-like mini sponsons. In some respects, it’s similar to a cathedral tri-hull, and in other respects it’s like a tunnel hull. Yet it’s none of these and it suits its purpose very well with increased lateral stability, excellent buoyancy up front, quite a soft ride and less-than-usual banking in tighter turns. Especially for new boaties, it’s instantly confidence building.

The 60-hp Mercury four-stroke is another pleasing aspect of the Element package. It starts instantly, runs quietly and smoothly, and has plenty of power for cruising around with enough in reserve for casual watersports. It might struggle to haul out larger skiers or riders, but for youngsters it would be perfect.

This is a very open boat though, with no windscreen to protect occupants from the slipstream. We had our test run on a very cool and mostly overcast mid-winter day; I was concerned whether our crew of two teenage girls would be alright in the resulting rather low wind-factor temperatures, but they loved every minute of the run. Suitably rugged up, any family with even a trace of adventure in their blood would react in the same manner. On warmer days, the rush of air along the boat would be refreshing, and the bimini is there for shade from the summer sun.

The best bit is driving the Element. It is a beautifully responsive hull and is reminiscent of driving an older sports car like an early Mazda MX5 or an even earlier Austin Healy Sprite ‘Frog Eye’; those cars didn’t have a lot of power, but they had character and charm and excellent handling that made them great fun to own and drive.

The steering on the Element is pleasantly weighted and requires just a light touch with 3.5 turns lock-to-lock. That’s fairly direct and helps the wheel give useful feedback on how the hull is handling the conditions. We had calm waters and so resorted to swooshing through our own wake to check the ride; the hull proved family-friendly by avoiding any hard bumps and the forward hull sections worked effectively to push the wash and spray out and away from the boat.

The Mercury was spinning a 13inch pitch three-blade alloy prop which proved fine for typical driving; when accelerated into really tight turns, the prop ventilated a bit, especially if the Merc was trimmed up at all, but that would not be an issue in normal driving.

There was very little bowrise coming up on plane, and the design of the Element gives perfect 360-degree visibility. Cruising along, the running angle is quite level (as it should be) and the M-Hull and the four-stroke Mercury combine for very low levels of noise and vibration – it’s a smooth and comfortable ride.

The dash panel is ultra simple with a single, large dial for a speedo and an inset volts gauge. There’s room on the panel to add an after-market tacho and trim gauge if you want, and to fit a fish finder. Without a tacho we couldn’t check revs, but the Element was happily planing and low-speed cruising at 35 kph with mid-range cruising around 41 kph and a top speed of 49 kph.

However, it really feels a lot faster at all those settings with the breeze in your face and the water so close – it’s genuinely exhilarating! This is a great boat to take out even for a short run to blow away the cobwebs of the everyday world. The trailer is one that self-guides the boat when it’s being driven back on, and single-handed operation is easy when required.

The simplicity of the helm position is one of the compromises Bayliner has used to reach the top-value price point of the Element. With neither seat nor wheel adjustable, the comfort level of the skipper will depend on his height and reach; equally though, the vast majority of skippers will find the driving position totally acceptable, with maybe the help of an extra cushion behind the back of shorter-reach skippers. There’s a good angled foot rest under the wheel, and the throttle shift is well positioned.

All three drivers on our test run had no problems, and a common characteristic was the huge grin on their faces as they sped the Element through its paces and cruised back to the ramp afterwards. The only times that any of the crew were not grinning and smiling was when they were laughing at the fun of it all, especially at the times when the Element ran joyously through wakes.

All in all, this is a bonzer boat. It’s what real family and fun boating is all about. It’s fine for cruising and relaxed watersports and would be just as great for fishing; it has stacks of stowage space and versatile seating, is very easy to handle and tow, needs little space to store, and it’s less expensive than many alternatives. Go and have a look for yourself!


Length (overall): 4.93 metres

Beam: 2.13 metres

Draft: 1.10 metres

Weight: 712 kgs

Capacity: 6 persons

Fuel capacity: 45 litres

Power: Mercury Four-Stroke Outboard (45 kw, 60 hp)

Top Speed: 49.1 kph

1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Graham Lloyd
Super Maxi Perpetual Loyal: Behind the Scenes on Boxing Day
Jessica Watson
Posted December 24 2015

While the fleet heads out of Sydney Harbour ready for battle, I had a chat to a few of the professional sailors on one of the fleet’s well-known line honours contenders, Super Maxi Perpetual Loyal.

These are sailors at the top of their game, unsung sporting heroes, and they’ve generously given up a few minutes of their time to answer some questions about their race day preparations and how they’re feeling.

Adrienne Cahalan

Adrienne Cahalan is the petite navigator. She is the first woman to sail 20 Sydney to Hobarts – the winner of six line honours and two overall wins – a Volvo Ocean race veteran, a lawyer and a meteorologist – and that’s just to name a few of a long list of impressive achievements.

Jess: Talk me through the morning of the race, your last-minute weather checks and preparation.

Adrienne: The morning of the race I meet with the forecaster, Roger Badham, as well as review the weather and the weather models which continue as we race. Christmas afternoon I always go to the boat and run the weather models and check all the equipment one last time before racing the next day.

Jess: Do you have any race day traditions or superstitions?

Adrienne: A St. Christopher medal is with me.

Jess: After all these years and Hobarts, are there any nerves on race day?

Adrienne: Always nerves – you just want to do your best, have all the equipment work and not miss anything in the weather and strategy offshore!

Michael Coxon

Michael “Cocko” Coxon is the sailing master. He’s the CEO of North Sails Australia, a tactical genius and a champion sailor across multiple classes.

Jess: Talk me through the morning of the race.

Cocko: Once I have a handle on the race time wind[SB2] , I start planning the harbour exit in my head and the what-ifs to ensure we have a clean exit for the harbour and best sail choice for when we round the sea mark.

Jess: Any race day traditions or superstitions?

Cocko: No – after 27 races they all tend to blend into one for me!

Jess: What will you be packing in your crew bag?

Cocko: I keep it light, but as I am up the back of the bus I do not need as much as those forward of the mast. I take a spare pair of thermals and a wool jumper. ©Christo-Sailing

Peter Calligeros

Peter Calligeros is a well-respected sailor and holds a backup role, helping out all over the boat. He is also the very important man in charge of feeding the crew.

Jess: Talk me through the morning of the race – any last-minute checks or preparation?

Pete: The last check I always do before I leave the dock is to make sure we have coffee on board. It would be such a long couple of days without coffee.

Jess: One top of your sailing role, you’re the one who takes charge of feeding the crew. What does it take to keep them happy and fuelled?

Pete: This is a really underestimated role. Looking after 24 crew is a full-time 3-day job. The secret to this is preparation, preparation, preparation – it needs to be spot on.

I have all the meal plans laid out so I know exactly what's going to get eaten and when. This is if it all goes to plan. You can throw in some bad weather and it’s just too rough to eat, so you also need a backup plan for this situation.

Joe Akacich

Joe Akacich is the boat captain and an ex-Navy diver. Don’t let his tough attitude and appearance fool you – he’s always got one eye on the welfare of the crew.

Jess: Do you have any race day traditions or superstitions?

Joe: My Hobart starts on Christmas Day. I always sleep on the boat – I like to spend the night with her.

Jess: What will you be packing in your crew bag?

Joe: A change of thermals and spare socks. Then, in my bum bag, I have a swimming cap and swimming goggles, plus my AIS beacon, PLB, knife, whistle and safety things like that. ©ROLEX/ Daniel Forster

John "Flano" Flannery

John “Flano” Flannery is the bowman. He’s the guy who has to run to the front of the boat while white water surges down the deck with so much force that sailors at the back are doing everything they can just to hang on. He’s also the guy who climbs the 50 metre mast while healed over at sea with the agility of a ballerina.

Jess: Talk me through the morning of the race – any checks and preparation specific to the bow?

Flano: Hopefully the morning of the race is pretty relaxed because if we've done our job all is in place, but first thing I do after stowing my personal gear is to check all the furling unit bags to make sure all is in place. Then a quick check of the halyards and chicken lines as I lay them back to the rig.

Obviously we'll know what the first couple of changes coming out of the start will be, so we get set for those and talk to the pit team about what gear we will be on.

Jess: What will you be packing in your crew bag?

Flano: Not much – just the very basics. My Musto dry suit should keep me pretty comfortable, and I hate being cold so merino wool thermals, a bear suit and mid-layer top. These boats are extremely wet up the front, so I'll always have a backup under layer in my bag. Spare Leatherman, spare headlamp and that's about it.

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1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Extreme Sailing: Who said sailing isn’t a spectator sport?
Jessica Watson
Posted December 15 2015

I’ve often been told that sailing isn’t a great spectator sport. Apparently the rules can be too complex (and AFL rules are a piece of cake?), the action happens too far away and adverse weather can disrupt racing. Then there are those who think that it’s all just a bit too slow (in comparison to golf?!).

Well, I have the answer to all of these gripes. Last weekend, Sydney hosted the final event of the Extreme Sailing Series (EXSS), an action-packed series that sees powerful 40-foot catamarans – known as Extreme 40s – race in eight cities around the world, from Oman to Hamburg and Singapore.

You don’t need to worry about the rules being too complex in this competition: the courses are short and simple, and spectators are provided with fantastic commentaries by the likes of renowned Australian sailor Nick Moloney.

If you’ve previously passed up the opportunity to see live sailing because you’re worried about the yachts being too far away, EXSS is a sight to behold – if the action got any closer to shore, the spectators may well be scared! The venue, Farm Cove, is a great stadium too: boat owners can watch from the exclusion zone around the course, and VIPs are treated to views from an elevated platform on Mrs Macquaries Point. What’s more, SAP – one of the series sponsors – provide very schmick live leaderboards and 3D visualisations, which can be easily accessed via the free Wi-Fi. Worried about light winds – or no wind – disrupting the racing? Well, take a quick reality check and enjoy the sunshine and the view. After all, tourists fly from around the world to see the spectacular Sydney Harbour.

And as for those who think the racing is just all too slow, I’m not going to spend too much time addressing that. These boats are not slow, and there’s often no shortage of action – and even carnage! Collisions and capsizes are not uncommon throughout the series, and Sydney was no exception this year with Lino Sonego Team Italia capsizing when a bullet of wind gusted off the Sydney Opera House. Another highlight of the EXSS are the wildcard entries that are invited along to each event. For the Sydney leg this year, the wildcard was given to 33 South Racing, the only boat fully crewed by Australians and boasting two girls on board – skipper, match racing champion Katie Spithill, and Volvo Ocean Race legend Stacey Jackson.

The only other female sailor deserves a mention as well: this year’s ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the year, Sarah Ayton, was trimmer for The Wave, the boat that took out the overall series win.

Although I’m also a big fan of more relaxed varieties of sailing, events like this are so important to our sport. They expose and introduce sailing to a wider audience and help inspire a new generation of sailors. So next time you hear someone suggest that sailing isn’t a spectator sport tell them about the EXSS or better still bring them along to an event next year. The Extreme Sailing Series is guaranteed to get anyone enthusiastic about sailing!

(All photos credited to Lloyd Images)

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3 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Clipper Round the World: Abell Point and the Whitsundays ready to welcome the fleet
Mike McKiernan
Posted January 7 2016

Back in 1995 Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail singlehanded non-stop around the globe founded the Clipper Round the World Race to give amateur sailors the opportunity to race around the world. Twenty years after the first edition the race is as strong as ever with a fleet of 12 competing in the 2015/ 2016 competition.

With 50 Australian crew members spread throughout the fleet, 4 stop’s in Australian ports and the fleets participation the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart the Clipper Race has strong connections with Australia. Of particular note is Australian female skipper Wendy Tuck, leading the crew on Danang Vietnam and winner of the Clipper division of the 2015 Rolex Sydney to Hobart.

But while the sailors face gales, becalming’s and relentless competition at sea, back on shore the support team and ports hosting the fleet face the logistical challenges of welcoming over 700 sailors into 16 foreign ports, repairing any damage to boats and restarting the race, sometimes only a few days after the boat arrived.

In just under a week the yachts will start arriving at their final Australian port, Abell Point, Airlie Beach for the first time in the races 19 year history. With the boats in port for less than a week any damage will need to be repaired quickly before the boats head back to sea for the 6300 nautical mile leg 5 to Da Nang in Vietnam. Although the race support team bring maintenance crew and spare equipment to each port Abell Point's Luke McCaul says “the thriving local marine industry are waiting in anticipation for the Clipper Fleet and will be on hand ready to assist if needed”.

Race founder Sir Robin is excited to see the race visit Whitsundays, saying that “As well as being a stunning location for our crew members and partners, it is also an excellent international platform for the Whitsundays to promote itself and its strengths to our global race community.”

While the fleet is in town visitors are able to join the welcome celebrations, take a close up look at the fleet and watch the start of the next race leg.

Details and the full schedule can be found on the Abell Point Marina website.

1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
Exploring the isolated islands of Bass Strait
Tony Peach
Deckee Pro  Posted April 27 2016

A couple of Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania members, several months ago discussed how wonderful the Furneaux group of Islands are. This progressed to conversations surrounding Deal Island and the Hogan group. Well if we visit the Hogan group (One of these islands is Boarder Island, which defines the Victoria to Tasmania territories at 390.12 S) why not go all the way to Wilsons Promontory? The concept was born, and from March 22nd to April 10th 2016, a fleet to 5 boats experienced some of the best cruising in Tasmanian waters. Eight boats departed Hobart, but due to various business and family constraints, three had to return to Southern Tasmania, using Deal Island as the turn back point.

A tentative schedule was developed, with the Easter break included to allow those that are not enjoying retirement to come along. Serious consideration was given to the tide and related current flows. The effort expended on this analysis provided up to 4 knots of assistance in a few locations along the west coast of Flinders island.

Some of the fleet during the leg from Deal Island to Refuge cove, detoured to the Hogan group to see the area for themselves. Consideration was given to erecting a token Tasmanian flag, but with the gale force winds predicted we suspect that it would have been claimed by Bass Strait very quickly.

At Refuge Cove, obviously a very popular anchorage, our fleet shared the bay with five other vessels. Some were resting after a Fremantle to Victoria leg, others like our own fleet had come from Tasmania, and two were Sydney to Melbourne boats waiting for more favourable wind conditions prior to the final leg into Port Phillip Bay.

Originally there was a CYCT plan to visit Port Albert, but this was abandoned on the advice of the Victorian Ports Harbourmaster for the area. He was of the opinion that navigation across the bar‐way since speaking with him several weeks earlier was now compromised due to the preceding weather conditions causing a deterioration of the channel. He recommended that unless we had “local knowledge” aboard he would advise against this. The flotilla stayed another day in Port Welshpool and thoroughly enjoyed the visit. The meals at the local Pier Port Hotel were absolutely superb, and the publican (John) arranged transport for some of the crew members to travel to Yarram to re‐stock with groceries from the large supermarket there.

On the return journey, Dover Island and Erith Island in the Deal Island area were visited. We noted that two kayakers that had departed from Refuge cove four (4) days previously were resting on Erith Island at West Cove. It was surprising to encounter a 6.5 m Zodiac at Deal Island with four adults and one child who had come from Port Welshpool and were camping in the area.

During the Deal Island to Refuge Cove leg, the fleet was passed by a 5 m long single outboard vessel heading north, who knows from where it commenced its journey? Almost the entire journey was conducted in conditions with the wind at 15 knots or less with the exception of the Badger Island to Binalong Bay on the return journey, which provided 30 knots plus.

It was fortunate that the current was on the ebb as planned and this removed a portion of the sea height while traversing the notoriously rough Banks Strait.

It is difficult to arrive at any conclusion, other than cruising in company with the associated shore barbeques, fishing, camaraderie, and networking of knowledge are near the highlight. The Deal Island group, Clarke and Badger Islands were superb, yielding remarkable scenery, and very good anchorages. For those wishing to visit Deal Island, there are caretakers located on the island above East Cove, and they will provide a brief history and information relating to the attractions on the islands and the key to the small museum. Murray Pass, which is the channel between Dover and Erith Islands to the west and Deal Island to the east, experiences currents of up to 4 knots which ebb to the north. Consequently, insure you are armed with the tidal information prior to a visit there.

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1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Tony Peach
6 Tips to help manage seasickness
Jessica Watson
Posted February 3 2016

You do meet the occasional person who claims never to have known the horror of seasickness but I tend to subscribe to the theory that anyone will turn green in a big enough sea, in a small enough boat! I’ve had plenty of not overly pleasant experiences with seasickness, but none in the last few years. I’m hoping that I’ve been cured for life but doubt that I’ll be quite that lucky. I’m sure a few years fully land-bound would put me back to square one.

It takes varying amounts of time for different people to shake seasickness and find their sea legs. Some find that they are cured after the first night while others take a few more days. I’ve met very few people who were still sick after three days, so if you can grit and bear it for three days you’ll be fine. This can obviously be problematic, as many people don’t undertake voyages longer than three days!

Of course many of these tips are simple and widely known but isn’t it the practical, boring advice that’s the most effective?

Eyes on the horizon

I’m sure you’ve heard this one before but that doesn’t make it any less effective. Alternatively, many people find it useful to have something to concentrate on, such as helming.

Shut your eyes

Obviously this isn’t a great watch-keeping technique, but some find that cutting out one of your senses stops your brain feeling quite so confused and lessens any nausea. When I’ve been sick I’ve found it very helpful to minimise the time between keeping my eyes on the horizon and keeping them shut in my bunk.


Whatever you do, test any anti-seasickness medication before setting sail as many of these drugs have the power to knock out an elephant. I actually wonder if the only effectiveness of some of these drugs comes from their ability to send you to sleep. Of course, those who suffer extra terrible seasickness will need to get medical advice on more powerful options.

Anti-nausea pressure bands

These are bands that are worn snugly on the pressure points on the underside of the wrists. While research and personal experience suggest that these can be quite helpful, worst case scenario they’ll act as a great placebo with no risk of side effects.

Ginger and vitamin C

Ginger and vitamin C tablets are readily available, and I know plenty of people who have found both helpful. Or there’s ginger cookies and ginger beer, which comes with a sparkle and helpful sugar hit.

Get your head in order

Although seasickness is most certainly a physical reaction, there is also an element to seasickness that is mental. Lots of negative talk and repetitively listening to bad weather forecasts is almost guaranteed to make you sick. But I actually prefer to believe it’s going to be terrible, strap on my tough attitude and then get out there and be pleasantly surprised. So have a think about what might work for you and share your mental plan with fellow crew members.


I’m sure you’re actually rolling your eyes at the simplicity of this tip, but I’ve included it because I still see many disobey this golden rule. And I can understand why: drinking water that’s going to come straight back up isn’t a lot of fun, but it’s your responsibility to look after yourself as well as possible. Slowly and consistently sipping water is the best approach, and I’m told sucking ice cubes is great for those lucky enough to have a freezer or icemaker on-board!

Do you have any weird, wonderful or just plain practical tips on managing seasickness? I’d love to hear them.

9 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
8 crazy boat fails
Mike McKiernan
Posted June 13 2016

Sometimes things don’t to plan, and while safety on the water should be taken seriously it’s hard not to see the amusing side of some boating blunders. Here are a few particularly bad days on the water.

America’s Cup challenger One Australia turns into banana

During the 1995 Louis Vuitton Cup, the round‑robin series leading into the America’s Cup One Australia, skippered by John Bertrand, broke cleanly in half. The crew could hardly jump off fast enough as an alarming crack emerged and the boat sunk, disappearing completely at an impressive rate.

Here’s the footage with the entertaining original commentary;

Whale breaches on yacht

Thankfully, no one was hurt and the whale was reported to have suffered only minor injuries when the huge mammal breached onto a yacht off the coast of Cape Town.

Remember, you need to stay at least 100 metres clear of whales, and 300 meters if a calf is present. You can find more advice about approaching whales here.

Team Vestas Wind hits reef

Even yachts crewed by the world’s most experienced sailors can come unstuck. During the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, Team Vestas Wind unexpectedly collided with a reef in the Indian Ocean.

Pasha Bulker’s unbelievable grounding

June 2007 saw the Hunter Region lashed with storms, widespread flooding, storm force winds, huge seas and a very large, unexpected and unwelcome visitor. After deciding to leave the area too late, the 225-metre, 40,000-tonne bulk carrier Pasha Bulker was washed onto Newcastle’s Nobbys Beach. At one point during the unfolding disaster, the captain headed below for breakfast and left his junior crew in charge.

Running onto the rocks on the Prime Minister’s doorstep

Running your boat into the rocks in front of the PM’s Kirribilli House is not a good day on the water. The iconic Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge provided an impressive backdrop for this boating blunder. The boat’s skipper is reported to have been drinking at the time of the incident, highlighting the need for responsible boating—a message that is reiterated in this amusing Norwegian video;

Yacht high and dry

When the yacht Knight Star ran aground during a race from France to the UK, the region’s large tidal range left the yacht high and dry. The boat suffered only minor damage, and the crew escaped with only bruised egos as photos of their mishap spread around the world.

Luxury motor yacht dropped from crane

The loading of this luxury motor yacht quickly turned disastrous when one of the slings slipped, sending the boat crashing back into the water far below.

Jessica Watson hits a ship

Is it biased to include Deckee’s own communications manager in this list? Back in 2010, Jessica collided with a bulk carrier on a sea trial before setting off around the world. The accident snapped her boat’s mast and damaged the hull. She tells us she learnt a lot from the incident and still has a healthy fear of ships!

1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
How to choose a boat name you won't regret
Jessica Watson
Posted June 22 2016

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that, as a young girl, I obsessed over boat names, writing them in my diary and drawing them onto boat sketches pinned to my bedroom walls. But when it comes to actually naming a boat, rather than fantasising about it, things become a little more difficult.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s pulled my hair out over naming a new boat, fending off hundreds of helpful and not so helpful suggestions from friends and family. And then, of course, there are the superstitions that surround renaming a boat, with some particularly superstitious sailors simply refusing to rename a boat.

Chris Lloyd-Parker, the owner of Boat Names Australia, has seen a lot of boat names over the years so I thought he’d be a great person to share some tips on choosing a name.

Chris Lloyd-Parker

Practical considerations

Firstly, Chris advises boat owners not to rush, saying, ‘People think of a good name but then, a week later, think of an even better one. Usually they don’t bother changing it, but we had one guy recently who changed his name three times in three weeks.’

While funny names are great, don’t order your stickers before thinking about the different scenario that you might need to use the name. For example, Chris tells that one of his staff once heard a mayday while sailing the Whitsundays from a boat called Just Joking. As you can imagine, this caused a great deal of confusion and with the crew of the boat told to stop fooling around. With bad reception, it took some time to establish it was a genuine distress call.

Another thing that should be considered is the length of a name. ‘I do have some [names] that end up being 3m down the side of a 4m boat,’ Chris tells me. And even those with bigger boats should consider whether a lengthy name could be squeezed onto the small stern of a yacht or onto other desired positions.

Chris also advises properly consulting on boat names with your partner.


So where do you start? Well, I think a great first step is to consider a boat’s personality. There might be something about the way she sails or motors along that could lead to a good name.

Chris likes names like Ragamuffin, Hobo and Sea Tramp which reflect the cruising lifestyle, but he also appreciates some of the clever and funny names that people come up with such as Control Alt Delete.

He has a lot of orders for names which are made up of the names of two or more family members and suggests that while naming the boat after your girlfriend or boyfriend is another approach, the longevity of the relationship should be considered for those who are superstitious about renaming their boats.


So what do you do when you find a lovely boat with a name that you just can’t bring yourself to repeat over the radio? Well, there’s a common consensus among superstitious boaties that a proper renaming ceremony will elevate the good luck associated with renaming your boat.

While there are any number of renaming ceremonies out there, Chris suggests that boaties need to appease Poseidon, or Neptune, the god of the sea, by firstly removing every trace of the old name, including where it might be recorded on logbooks, maintenance logs or lifebuoys.

Next is the fun part: buy a good bottle of champagne (surely the quality of champagne coincides with the quantity of good luck?) and invite friends along. With friends gathered, Neptune (and possible any long-suffering family members) should be acknowledged before the champagne is either smashed or poured over the bow of the boat. If you are a fan of smashing a nylon stocking will prevent glass going everywhere. If signage for the new name has already been applied, it should be covered and not revealed till the ceremony.

You can find more helpful boat name suggestions and instructions for a renaming ceremony on the Boat Names website.

Are you superstitious about renaming your boat? Have you ever regretted a name choice? Leave a comment below and let me know.

3 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
The story of Deckee, so far
Jessica Watson
Posted July 23 2016

This week I wanted to take the opportunity to tell a slightly different story. As we welcome new members (and continue enjoying the company of our existing community!) I wanted to share the story of Deckee. That is, the story so far – as there is a boat load of exciting things to come. Let’s call this chapter one.

Deckee is…

Deckee is about you, the sailors and the boaties. We all know boating has a great word-of-mouth culture. Boaties like to share their recommendations on the best local businesses, the best marine products and boats and locations, but, before Deckee there wasn’t a place online to find these trusted recommendations.

Deckee is the place for boaties to find information to make their lives easier, to help plan adventures big and small, and it’s a community of like-minded boaties who want to help each other out.

Deckee will always be free for boaties, and we are dedicated to making sure the website is as useful and enjoyable as possible, while also giving businesses a platform to build their reputation, primarily by giving their customers a place to share their experiences with others.

Aussies often have an aversion to talking about things like values, but we’re not scared of talking about ours because we’re serious about them. Here are the three things that shape the way we work:

Share - a sharing, inclusive boating community is a better boating community.

Be Real - everything we do, and the way we do it, is genuine and heartfelt.

Build Value - every day we focus on building real value for the boating community in everything we do.

If you think we ever stray from any of these – even just a little bit – do us a favour and call us out. Honest reviews and opinions are a big part of our website, so when we say we love feedback (good and bad) we mean it. Don’t be shy – tell us what you really think so we can keep growing and improving!

Mike and the inspiration behind Deckee

As you may be aware, Mike is the founder of Deckee. He’s a skilled graphic designer who spent years working in the marine industry. During that time, Mike realised there was no definitive online resource that helped boat owners find, share and discuss the things they love – things like marine businesses, boats, products and locations. Mike realised that over the past decade, the internet had enabled so many industries to grow and improve, but boating had been left behind.

So Mike started on a huge amount of hard work to bring Deckee to life, a process assisted by his inclusion in the Slingshot Accelerator, a program designed to develop start-up businesses. The result of the program was the first version of the Deckee website, which went on to win national awards for innovation and tourism.

Ian takes our technology to new heights

Soon afterwards, Ian joined Deckee full time as Chief Technology Officer. Not only did he bring unbeatable skills and experience to the table, he has also completed an MBA (Master of Business Administration) and an MIT (Master of Information Technology).

With Ian on board, we made a big decision to move on from version 1 of Deckee and Ian embarked on months of hard work to build the new website that you see today. The new Deckee is built using graph technology, which means over time we can map out the entire world of boating and then put that resource in the hands of our users. This technology is unprecedented for our industry and sets a new standard.

If you're interested to learn more about the technology that makes Deckee work, Ian will be sharing plenty of great insights on our dedicated Deckee Tech blog. Deckee and the wider boating community is very lucky to have Ian on board!

And me, Jess

You might know me from my solo voyage around the world in 2010, but beyond that boating and sailing is a huge part of my life. I love boating’s fantastic characters and want to help the community become more connected and inclusive online. And I want more bums on boats!

In my time with Deckee so far, I’ve been inspired by the support and generosity of the cruising community. But I’ve also come across doubters – people who don’t think Deckee will reach its full potential. That sort of doubt reminds me a little of those who said I couldn’t sail around the world.

Where to from here?

We are constantly rolling out updates and improvements to Deckee, and there are a few big, exciting things in the works as well - stay tuned! We’re going to be taking part in a whole range of great community events and partnering with some very exciting companies.

But more than anything, we need you to share your opinions on local marine businesses, products, boats, or your favourite anchorage or destination.

So you could sit back and make a mental note to check in on Deckee six months down the track. Or you could get involved and help make Deckee a fantastic resource that makes all our lives easier. Surely it’s more fun to be part of the journey?

Mike, Ian and I are very appreciative of your support. It is you – the wonderful, knowledgeable, generous, well-travelled boaties - that make Deckee possible.

2 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Marine Travel Insurance: What’s all the fuss about?
Philip Chandler – Topsail Insurance
Posted September 28 2017

This article is a guest post from Philip Chandler, Senior Travel Underwriter at Topsail Insurance. Philip has 6 years’ experience as a Travel Underwriter in the Lloyd’s of London Insurance Market, and recently moved to Sydney to work for Topsail Insurance, the highest rated marine insurer on Deckee at the time of writing.

We all know that talking about travel insurance isn’t the most enticing topic. Take it from someone who works in the industry – it frequently kills the conversation as soon as it’s brought up. However, as with most insurance products, travel insurance is often hugely undervalued until such time as it’s really needed, and as a result I believe it’s important to share the reasons why it is essential to have a suitable travel policy in place before you embark on a trip, whether that includes a boat or not.

Why should I buy travel insurance?

When you travel abroad or away from home, travel insurance provides you with financial protection and medical assistance to mitigate against a variety of unplanned events which would otherwise leave you significantly out of pocket or worse, in severe debt, and/or in a medical emergency without help.

One of arguably the two most important sections of a travel policy is Emergency Medical Expenses, which usually covers you up to 5 or AUD 10 million, and will pay your medical costs if you are accidentally injured or become ill whilst on a trip. In my career, I have had many customers ask me why this limit is so high, and the simple answer is that medical costs can be extortionate. For example, the average cost of an appendectomy in the US is AUD 42,000 (at current exchange rates), but this can rise to over AUD 200,000 in rare cases. More complicated procedures can cost significantly more, which is why arranging medical expenses cover via your travel policy is vital to avoid incurring those huge costs yourself.

The Cancellation Section is often viewed as the second key component of a travel policy, and will reimburse the costs you have already paid towards your trip (or the remainder of it) if you need to cancel or curtail. For example, if a close relative passed away and you needed to cancel your holiday or business trip, you would be able to reclaim the cost of your flights, hotels, car hire and other un-used bookings so that financially you are no worse off. Depending on the trip and how many people are going, these costs can escalate quickly into the thousands, so it’s important to make sure that you buy a travel policy with an adequate limit and as soon as you start booking flights or hotels.

Most travel policies will also have some combination of cover for Baggage, Legal Expenses & Personal Liability, Personal Accident, Money & Credit Cards and Hi-jack, as well as many others which have varying degrees of value depending upon your circumstances.

Traps to look out for when buying travel insurance

Travel insurance policies are complicated and there are many different products available, so it is important to understand exactly what you are covered for (which can be easier said than done) and not to just focus on the price.

A key pitfall to look out for is ensuring medical conditions are fully covered. Insurers usually apply a ‘pre-existing medical condition exclusion’ which means they won’t pay for claims arising out of any existing medical conditions you already have, unless you declare them and get them specifically included. You don’t need to declare medical conditions if you don’t want them to be covered, but if you do then make sure you declare these fully and honestly and you have written evidence they are included in the policy.

The variety of polices available means some only offer meagre covers and limits, so it is important to find the right policy for you and your circumstances. Some examples of things you may want to look out for include ensuring you are covered fully for any activities/sports you are doing on your trip; you are not outside the age limit; your destination is included in the covered area of travel; and that you can read and fully understand the policy yourself.

If you have any questions about the policy at all, you should ask the insurer or broker before you purchase.

What about if I’m sailing or on my motorboat?

People will often have travel insurance included as part of their bank account or credit card, but check carefully if you’re going on the water as most of these policies will have strict restrictions or limitations when boating, even if you’re just within a harbour, close to shore or chartering a boat.

Who are Topsail and what is Yachtsman’s Travel Insurance?

Topsail Insurance was launched in 1996 in the UK and since then has provided specialist Yacht, Motorboat and Yachtsman’s Travel Insurance to a worldwide marine community, backed by Lloyd’s of London Insurers. Topsail Australia opened in Perth in 2015 and was set up by Mark Ainscough and Cathy Charlick, who themselves are both ‘cruising yachties’ and enjoyed a 4 year sailing adventure around South East Asia prior to setting up the Company (more info).

Topsail’s Yachtsman’s Travel Insurance has been specifically designed to address the lack of suitable travel insurance for mariners, by imposing no restrictions or limitations whilst aboard yachts, motorboats or Tallship’s, and by including other benefits such as Yacht Charter Excess Waiver.

Full cover is also given for ‘non-marine’ trips that do not involve any sailing or boating, meaning that an Annual Multi-Trip Yachtsman’s policy can cover all your trips you take whether you are sailing/boating or not.

As well as offering this cover at a competitive price, Topsail’s Yachtsman’s policies also offer:

• Full worldwide, offshore cover

• Onshore racing cover as standard

• Search and Rescue, Yacht Charter Excess Waiver and Crew Replacement

• Annual multi-trip polices (as little as $150) or single trip policies (as little as $40)

• Ability to cover groups or families under one policy

• A straightforward, easy-to-read, 20 page Product Disclosure Statement

• Full cover for non-boating trips

• Ability to cover anyone up to 79 years old, or higher with referral

• Discounts if you also purchase boat insurance with Topsail

• A quick and simple online quotation tool, meaning you can find a price within minutes

To summarise, make sure you have adequate travel insurance and that it is suitable for your needs. You’d be surprised at the peace of mind it will give you.

14 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Philip Chandler – Topsail Insurance
Finding difficult to find spares
Posted December 8 2017

I would like to give a business a huge shout out...Fenquin Pty Ltd.

I am a proud owner of a 20 year old Hunter Passage 42, she was built in the US and as such often sourcing replacement parts has been challenging. Recently, we had an issue with our onboard generator set. We worked out that we needed to replace the two belts. I tried a number of stockists, and provided the model number and specification from the gen set manufacturers plate.

This proved quite difficult as according to a number of businesses it didn't exist, please insert a 'frowny face and despair ' here!  I spoke to a fabulous man called Alex Rump at Fenquin, Ingleburn, NSW. He said he would investigate, and he did.  Over a couple of weeks and a few emails later he has managed to source the spares and the 'sea kit' for this generator.

Alex Rump, was a very friendly, knowledgeable person and very willing to 'go the extra' mile in his search for spares for my non-existent generator. I cannot recommend Fenquin P/L highly enough.

One very happy customer

3 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank spiriani42
Mitigating fatigue at sea
Jack and Jude
Deckee Pro  Posted December 20 2017

"They’ve upgraded their warning. The storm's going to be a lot worse." And so starts the drama of staying alive in “The Martian,” which is one of our favourite movies because not only are the effects impressive and the acting convincing, but also because crossing an ocean aboard a small boat is something akin to being isolated on a faraway planet. Help can be a long time coming so self-sufficiency is paramount to our safety. Jack and Jude have crossed a lot of oceans and have survived some horror situations, and so following on from last week’s great article on storm tactics by Jessica, I thought I’d record what I think is equally important. That is fatigue.

Shorthanded crews thinking of sailing the world as well as coastal sailors will find tips here on how to mitigate fatigue and survive. So here goes.

Preparing for an extended voyage is daunting. It’s a tiring task ensuring everything is in good working order, then gathering long lists of provisions and getting them aboard. Doing so takes heaps of mental concentration that’s sometimes not evident until the lines are cast off, when relief floods the mind as we slump to gaze at the land slipping astern.

Take all the rest you can get

In our earlier days of sailing when we took other people across oceans, we’d often have to tend to their mal d’mer or keep them company with their amazement or anxiety. Or they’d slump below and fall asleep because the sudden never ending motion simply knocked the last bit of energy right out of them. So the rule is. Take all the rest you can get.

From firsthand experience, fatigue deepens over time and that can cause bad judgment and the inability to focus on a problem. In the extreme, I’ve even hallucinated, when one night I imagined that a passing vessel had turned about and thought they were pirates, only to find it was another craft.

Sea berths and hammocks

So, rest all you can, even if it’s just a lie down. Falling asleep is a bonus. A good sea berth helps. One that is low, fore and aft, and a tight fit so you don’t roll back and forth. Stuffing cushions in around your body and head helps. I sometimes use our hammock. They take a bit of getting used to, but once you’re asleep, it’s like being on solid ground, so much so, getting out can be tricky. There’s a reason the navies of the world had their crews in hammocks besides saving space.

As the days go on and on, our set routine for off time is invaluable. I generally always lie down. Even if I do not sleep, just lying horizontally polarized gets me ready for my night watch. In rough conditions I might go two or three nights without sleep and I find lying down, mind as blank as I can, refreshing.

Prepare as much as you can before departure

Another point is to prepare as much as you can before all the rocky-rolling action begins. Jude prepares meals in port and stores them in the fridge, which is so handy the first few days out when we’re at our lowest. Tasty prepared food is also available off the shelf, very handy for a single late night meal.

On board Banyandah, unless the wind is expected to lessen, we’ll put a reef in the main during the midnight changeover, ensuring the off watch doesn’t have to get up if conditions freshen.

Learn to hove to

For us, crossing an ocean is not a race, so the next tidbit is to learn to hove to. It’s a handy technique to avoid arriving in darkness as well as getting much needed rest. Therefore, when you get buggered battling the bad stuff, take a break and be refreshed. Just so you know, at the other extreme, when there’s no wind, we mostly drift. Why spoil all that peace and isolation with a noisy engine. While drifting we’ve had the most magnificent seabirds paddle up to us, looking for a hand out.

That favorite movie of ours ends with the hero standing in front of a classroom of new recruits delivering a humorous, yet serious monologue that we all could follow.

“When I was up there stranded by myself, did I think I was going to die - yes, absolutely. And that's what you need to know because it may happen to you. This is space. (pencil in ocean) It does not co-operate. At some point, everything is going to go south on you, everything. And you're going to say, this is it. This is how I am going to end.

Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That's all it is. You just begin. You solve one problem. Then you solve the next one. And the next. And if you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”

From our blog

7 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jack and Jude

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