All posts filed under “Europe to Australia

All posts about sailing from Europe to Australia

The official end.

I am writing from the top floor of a pretty terrace house in inner-city Melbourne, staying with the friend of a friend, truly homeless. As I look out of the window, writing upon someone else’s desk, the sky is grey, there is the sound of birds and traffic (rather unlike the sea), and it is three hours after arriving at Melbourne airport from Sydney.

This morning I packed the old windvane paddle from Windy the Windpilot, and a set of charts for Palmyra Atoll into my backpack, started up a borrwoed two stroke outboard for the last time, and buzzed onto the dock at Cammera Marina, in Sydney. It was humid and rainy, and the last filmic moment of this whole crazy voyage, was Constellation fading away into the background as I motored ashore. She sits on a mooring in Sydney, the keys are hung up in the office, and a fresh owner has taken over with new dreams and impending oceanic madness…

The last month has been spent moving Constellation from Coffs Harbour to Sydney… Originally I thought I would have the gumption and technical resources to sail her to Melbourne, however as things ended up happening (always by the cusp), we sailed no farther than Sydney harbour.

In some respects it is a very sad day. But in others, as one door shuts, new ones open… As they already have… I may not have Constellation the physical object, but what memories! And those memories can never be taken away, or even sold.

I plan to write an exhaustive post on the statistics of this voyage, and thank all those that have helped me come this far… But for now, just a farewell and a few small images from the last month…

Me and Chris, the new owner.

Flying from Newcastle to Coffs with Chris

Downwind to Sydney

Catching a tuna the first night out

On the public dock at Port Stephens (thanks Brad!)

Great friends and amazing supporters of my trip, Paul, Duane & Marty

Moving all my personal stuff off of Constellation

Thank you everyone,


The voyage continues (south)

So I’ve been home in Melbourne for the last couple of weeks… Staying with friends, couch hopping… But something is missing… Constellation is nowhere to be seen. Thanks to encouragement and support from friends, I’ve decided I must keep sailing, and arrive officially ‘home’ to Melbourne.

I will pick Constellation up in early Jan, and sail nonstop to Sydney, and then hopefully nonstop to Melbourne. I don’t think it’s going to be a particularly enjoyable sail (due to weather and the nature of the Australian coast), however it must be done!

There needs to be more:


Entry, Constellation for sale

Nearing Australia, I saw another sailing vessel and radioed to ask if they knew whether Customs ran 24hrs or not. The radio crackled, “Customs? Where are you coming from, over?” … “Tonga” … “Tonga? Please repeat, over”, “Tonga, in the south Pacific” … “Oh.”

The message was relayed to the VMR station, and thankfully Customs awaited my arrival, as we flew into port at 7kts with a racing tide behind us. I radioed again to await direction, as you must be invited into harbour, you cannot simply sail in. I was given the all clear, and sailed in. Several people saw the yellow quarantine flag, and for those that knew, they realised I had come a long way. Some waves from other boats and many strange looks. I motored around and berthed, the Customs agents said “where is your welcome party?” and I said “You’re it, make some noise!” … And so after nearly two and a half years, Constellation was firmly tied up in Australian waters. There was no one I knew in Coffs Harbour, and so my arrival was like an arrival anywhere else… Somewhat lonely. In fact, it was much like my “official” departure from Holland, where I simply slipped the lines, said goodbye to the dockmaster, and began my 28,000km voyage to Australia in a small boat. Maybe it sounds a little sad to some, but actually, I think there is something mildly romantic about the idea of departing and arriving quietly, as if by secret from long voyages. It reminds me of Bill Tilman, undertaking enormous trips through Greenland, only to arrive as if nothing had happened a few months later and tying up at his berth in Lymington.

As Customs searched my boat, removed a lot of my food and a few trinkets, I watched on slightly nervously. Not because I had anything to hide, but because it’s strange having someone go through your home. Everything was wet or rusty, but eventually the paperwork and search was over, and my latest problem arose: The tax and import duty on Constellation. I hadn’t planned for such an expense – I thought I had 12months to go through the process, but apparently that wasn’t the case. So the very next day, I was on the phone, calling, emailing, and researching the problem. By 4pm I had a customs broker working on the case, and 4 days later Constellation was imported. I had no money for such a thing, but, through the graciousness of friends and their credit cards… Constellation officially became Australian (well, from a tax perspective!).

Jack the filmmaker arrived some days later to sail south with me and film, but after all the tax problems and stress of the whole ordeal, I had to get off the boat and go home… So, on a train we went, and rather quickly, we arrived in Sydney. It’s amazing how much faster you can get places, when you travel at speeds faster than 4kts…

So what’s next? I don’t know. Well, that’s not entirely true, but, in regards to Constellation I’m not sure. I sent out a Twitter update a week ago exclaiming she was for sale – And she is. Many people messaged and said ‘No, you can’t sell her!’ But unfortunately, that’s really how things must end. I can’t really justify the expense of putting her in a marina so she can be sailed around the bay on sunny weekends in summer… It’s sad, and I wish I could just build a museum for myself, and put her in it, but alas, unless the six figure book deal and equally profitable film distribution arrangement appear from nowhere, that’s it. The sale from Constellation is also what will fund part of my future ideas and projects… So for anyone interested, you can contact me, or just out of general interests sake you might be interested to see what’s onboard in her for sale listing. Presently she is on the east coast of Australia, tax paid and would be suitable for an Australian, New Zealand or European buyer because there is nothing else you need to hand over for governmental revenue collection…

Tomorrow I will fly sail at 600kts upwind, and be in Melbourne for a month while I sort myself, my finances, and everything else out…