Made it in to Marlin Marina in Cairns first thing yesterday morning, after a good practise run for the next leg in terms of negotiating reefs, Islands and other vessels. Going in to Townsville I had a lot of trouble getting the main down on the furler and decided to get it looked at while I was there. Yet another ex-Rockingham couple, Mal and Kay Wilson met me at the jetty. It was great to see them, I haven't seen Mal in years. Thanks for all your help Mal, and also Les who was on the boat next door to me. Between the two of them they knocked off a lot of jobs for me. Les was a great bloke to meet, he had fantastic lifestyle living on his boat and he'd done some amazing adaptations on it. Mal had a look at the furling system for me and while we were trying to get it working better it was that tight that it ripped the main sail. I then decided to get the professionals in to sort it out, which now included repairing the sail as well. Michael from Hood Sails was good enough to drop what he was doing to repair my sail, and John the rigger pulled the furl boom apart for me and got it working properly. The problem was the build up of salt in the cog system from all the water that went over it from the trip, and I should have really had it serviced back in Airlie. It's now working better than it ever has, thanks to John. So that done, I was underway that afternoon on the next high tide. The staff at Breakwater Marina were really helpful and friendly people and certainly made it easier for me with their support in coming in and out of the Marina. Thanks Graham for making sure I didn't end up in the mud!
Besides dodging the reef and a few boats it was another fantastic sail with the wind up my backside all the way. It got to the point towards the end of the trip that I wanted to slow Spirit up so as not to get in at Midnight, and despite taking down the headsail I still couldn't go slower than about 6 knots. Once I got around Fitzroy Island into the bay, I furled the main and drifted until morning. I ended up being dragged up the coast in the current and had a two hour sail back to Cairns in the morning. Not that I minded, as it was a beautiful view. This was the first Marina I ventured into without my shore team of Jo and Bella to assist - they deserted me in favour of another night in their rainforest hut at Mission Beach. I can't blame them, I'm not the nicest smelling person when I get off the boat and it did sound magnificent where they were. Joe and the guys at Marlin Marina in Cairns were great at helping me in, about 4 burly blokes materialised on the pontoon to tie me up (or rather tie up Spirit, not me) as well as an old friend of Wally Patten in Rockingham, Peter Battle and his mate Tim.
Will spend the next few days preparing Spirit for the next leg and will head off again this Friday 18th, weather permitting, this time for Darwin without stopping.