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December 1-24, 2006
For the past year, we have been back in the US where Bradley took a short term job and Kathy mostly worked on her golf game. Now it's time to return to the water to continue our Shear Madness adventures. We are happy to welcome our new crew member, Ori Cohen from Israel. Ori is 23 years old and served 3 years in the Israeli Navy as a ship's engineer before obtaining his Yachtmaster certification and beginning his career on recreational boats. He's a fun guy and a good cook too. We're happy to have him with us.
From August through November, Bradley and Ori had their hands full with a variety of maintenance tasks. Shear Madness was hauled out of the water, had her bottom re-painted, bowthrusters repaired, a new sail made, and was generally cleaned and scrubbed from bow to stern. Soon she was itching to go again.
In early December I arrived in Mooloolaba to begin our preparations for departing Australia. I was able to fit in a couple rounds of golf with a fellow yachtie, Bob at a local course inhabited by numerous kangaroos. We had several nice dinners with our good friends Salvaldore and Jackie and had some good visits with Viv, a good friend who had visited us in the Whitsundays last year (whose partner John is in the middle of an around the world sailing race!). Bradley and I played at the local bridge club, where Bradley had been playing with a variety of parnters prior to my arrival, and we took a first place on our last day there (our first top finish together)! Finally we got a wonderful send-off from our friends and neighbors on D-Dock at the Mooloolaba Yacht Club where we had stayed, complete with a custom song written and performed by our friends. It's tough to leave after so many good times in Australia, but it's time to move on the the next adventures - New Zealand, here we come!
Due to some scheduling conflicts, it turned out that the plan involved Bradley and a crew sailing from Australia to NZ, while I was to visit some friends in Sydney before flying to Auckland to meet up with a friend and then join Shear Madness when she arrived. In addition to Bradley and Ori, the passage crew included Kim, a good friend from NZ, Wendy, an experienced sailor from England, and Matt, an aspiring sailor from NZ looking to accumulate some off shore sailing experience. Bradley and Shear Madness seemed to be in good hands as I headed south to Sydney for a few days.
In Sydney, I stayed with our good friends Renate and Allen, who we had met in Tasmania a couple years ago. They had been there as part of a classic car rally with their beautifully restored TR6 which caught Bradley's eye. We've been good friends ever since and I was delighted to have a chance to visit with them in Sydney. I ate WAY too much, attended a fabulous holiday party hosted by Renate's German friends Mara and Dave, and had a chance to catch up with Angie, who used to work for Landmark (my old company).
I also had a chance for another round of golf - this time at a beautiful city course right in Sydney. I played with Dave, the stepfather of another Landmark associate. Dave had moved to Sydney a couple years ago. After winning money from me, he and his wife Nancy treated me to dinner.
Finally it was time to head for NZ. Meanwhile, Bradley and crew had already departed and were well on their way. It's about a 1400 mile trip from Brisbane to Opua, at the north end of the North Island of New Zealand, so the trip was expected to take 6-9 days. As it turns out, they had a delightful passage, with good weather, light to moderate winds, and mostly smooth seas. They caught a beautiful bluefin tuna, were able to relax, read, take showers on the back deck, and generally experience the best kind of sailing. They celebrated Hannukah and Christmas at sea and arrived safely in Opua on Dec 27th.