Magazine Article (Print) – Cruising Helmsman

Published in: CRUISING HELMSMAN, JUNE, 2018

Title: When Opportunity Knocks: Diary of a Blue Water Virgin Part II


Chesterfield, or not?

Iridescent blue patches sparkle across the waves and schools of flying fish burst from the water, their gossamer wings opaque as they glide just above the sea. Floating across the tops of the waves for hundreds of meters they disappearing with tiny splashes.  

Seabirds wheel and plunge headfirst into the water as they chase baitfish, or maybe flying fish, tells us that we are closing in on Chesterfield Reef. A small dark bird wings its way past the stern, dipping its breast into the water periodically.  It doubles back several times to check out the boat for a potential resting spot, but changes its mind and flies on. 

The forecast, 25-30 knot winds and 4m swells in coastal offshore waters around Bundaberg within the next three days, has sat heavy on my mind overnight.  An easting wind has forced us to push our course further south into the reach to maintain speed and our current heading will miss the lead waypoints into Chesterfield. If we are going to Chesterfield, we want to arrive before dark. 

Right now, we are on track to arrive around 2pm, but we haven’t yet decided if we will stop and wait, or try to outrun the weather.

A broken restrainer

The morning schedule call with Gulf Harbour radio completed, Paul brews coffee while Nik catches up on some sleep.  It’s quiet onboard, conditions are nice, a steady 15 knots with 1.5m swell.  

The calm is shattered by a loud noise, like something under high tension letting go suddenly. Springing out to the aft deck, Paul and I begin searching for the source of the noise. We find it quickly. The boom restraint block has given way on one side, it’s barely hanging on. 

We turn further into the reach, disconnecting the restrainer and centering the boom.

Taking the broken block below, Paul reappears a few moments later with a replacement block. I watch on in amazement as he quickly removes the old block and replaces it with the new one. 

Less than 20 minutes later we are operational again, resetting our course.  

Decision time

Our arrival time at Chesterfield creeps towards late afternoon as fluctuating wind makes it hard to maintain a constant speed.  We really do not want to negotiate the entry through the reef, and the several miles through the lagoon to the south-eastern anchorage in the dark.

Mid-afternoon an email arrives. Easy Tiger, a catamaran who left Vanuatu a few hours ahead of us has snapped their prodder. Without their large MPS in the easing winds they can’t maintain the needed boat speed to beat the weather system. They advise they are diverting to Chesterfield to wait it out.  

Bossanova, another large catamaran, and Class 7 a smaller monohull, also a few hours ahead of us decide to keep pushing.  Bossanova has calculated they’ll need to maintain 8 knots minimum for the next three days to beat the developing system. They have full sails and motors assisting.

We look over the weather data again, and redo our calculations. 

Read the rest of this article in Cruising Helmsman

Magazine Article (Print) – Cruising Helmsman

Published in: CRUISING HELMSMAN, MAY, 2018


Title: When Opportunity Knocks: Diary of a Blue Water Virgin Part I


A completely impulsive decision

The last few days have been a blur. Sitting on the tarmac in Sydney I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Yesterday, later than planned due to weather, I sailed back into Mooloolaba after three months cruising the Queensland coast with my partner and fourteen year old son, on our own boat, Another Angel.  

Shortly, I’ll be in the air, on my way to Surunda Bay, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. I’m joining skipper Paul Dow, to undertake my first blue water crossing, crewing on his boat Skellum from Vanuatu to Bundaberg via Huon and Chesterfield Reefs.  

A completely impulsive decision led me to this moment. Now as the plane begins it’s taxi, a small knot of doubt sits like a hot coal in my stomach. 

Blue water virgin

The sum total of my sailing experience before my partner and I bought our first boat in December last year, was learning to sail as a teenager, living with my family on a 48ft catamaran for 4 years, 30 years ago, and a few weeks in coastal waters on my father’s catamaran in 2016, when we were seriously considering this lifestyle. 

My partner Steve has never sailed before, so I skipper our boat and he crews, and we learn together. Our dream is to sail around the world, but I’ve never been offshore.

When a post recently appeared, in a Facebook sailing forum (WWSA) asking for crew to help bring Skellum, a 46ft aluminium catamaran, home to Bundaberg from Vanuatu, it felt like opportunity knocking and I impulsively decided to say “Yes!”.  

Putting my dreams to the test, I needed to get out there. I wanted to see if I could really cut it on the open ocean. Now I’m hoping I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew.

My first challenge

Landing in Luganville on sunset, it feels like a long way from home. The skipper’s brother Nik will arrive in a few days to complete our crew, but I have come early to help Paul provision and get to know the boat before the crossing.

Collecting my backpack, I head outside looking for “Greg” the driver, that Paul organised to collect me and bring me to the beach at Surunda Bay.

Thirty minutes later it’s dark. The airport is emptying and there’s no sign of Greg. The airport is set to close with no planes due until tomorrow.  A little voice in my head is wondering what I’m doing here, but I ignore it and jump into a local taxi. I say a small prayer that the right place on the beach at Surandu Bay won’t be too hard to find on my own.  

My driver Opat is entertaining on the fifteen minute drive out to Surunda, but he has no clue about where the boats normally anchor.  We try a few dusty driveways in the dark without success. Finally we find one that takes us to the edge of the sand. I cross my fingers that I am in the right place and Paul is still waiting for me.

Read the rest of this article in Cruising Helmsman

Magazine Article (Online) – Adventure Parenting Asia-Pacific

Published in: Adventure Parenting Asia Pacific, September, 2017

Title: Travelling with Teens

As a 13 year old, my parents sold our home in the suburbs and bought a sailing boat. They pulled my brothers and me out of school, and set off on an incredible 12 month adventure to sail the east coast of Australia.

I. Hated. Every. Minute. <Read more>

Magazine Article (Online) – Adventure Parenting Asia-Pacific

Published in: Adventure Parenting Asia-Pacific, August, 2017

Title: Letting your children make bad decisions is good for them. Really.

It doesn’t make you a bad parent if your child makes a bad decision.  Let’s get this one out of the way right now.  Your child’s bad decision is not a reflection on your parenting.  What is important is actually how they (and you) deal with it, and what your child learns from the experience.

We all want our kids to have happy successful lives. <Read More>

Article (LinkedIn Publishing) – Online Content Marketing


Got your eye on an office with a view?

We’ve all heard the old adage – ‘if you want to move up in your career, you have to act, think, and communicate like a leader long before that promotion’, but how can you prove your leadership capabilities without a team to lead? <Read more>

Article (LinkedIn Publishing) – Online Content Marketing

How to Position Yourself in Front of Your Competition

Do you have people within your LinkedIn network who seem to be killing it with blog posts?  Are they defining their personal brand and niche. Providing educational, informative, interesting content that you read, like, share and think “I should really get onto doing this myself” before your phone rings, a client calls, your boss or team members need to talk to you, your meeting reminder alarm goes off, or your email folder clammers for your attention again. <Read More>


Article (LinkedIn Publishing) – Online Content Marketing

Trying to write your LinkedIn summary or blog post? 8 steps to take your business writing from ‘Blah’ to ‘Wow’…even if you only use Step 8

Sitting down heavily, he plonks the coffee mug down next to the two cold, half-drunk mugs already beside the keyboard. “Right,” he says out loud to no one in particular and impatiently scratches that spot on the back of his head before leaning forward with his hands poised ominously over the keys. He frowns. His fingers don’t move. Slumping back in his chair again, he stares at the screen.“It really shouldn’t be this hard.” he mutters to himself shaking his head. Is this you every time you go to update your profile, write a new blog post, or draft that winning proposal?  <Read more>


Article (LinkedIn Publishing) – Online Content Marketing

Inspiration for Your Next Blog or LinkedIn Post – No matter what profession you’re in

Deciding to write a regular blog or LinkedIn posts to share your experiences, thoughts and ideas can enhance your professional reputation and help to establish your position as a thought-leader with your clients and peers.  There’s even evidence that writing a regular blog will help you win that promotion.  <Read more>

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Article (Online Blog) – Saltwater Everyday Blogger

Nurturer AND Executives?

In my day job, as a business consultant and manager, I had the privilege of working with many amazing, brilliant women. Women who, in my humble opinion, could be outstanding leaders in any organisation. I was also an activist within my workplace for diversity, inclusiveness, gender balance and reducing the unconscious bias that can occur in the workplace. One evening, we hosted a women in leadership networking event and heard two outstanding female executives speak about their experiences and their successes and how they achieved that, but it was a story a colleague shared during the discussion following that really caught my attention. <Read more>