Mike Stone – Business Owner
If you have ever had a passing thought that maybe you could try ocean sailing but let the thought pass thinking “I can’t do that” then bury that thought and book a berth on Ocean Gem. That’s the way I was thinking prior to Christmas 2018, but fortunately, I listened to David Hows who kept me enthusiastically committed once I said yes! I sailed the “Pittwater to Southport” race starting 2nd January 2019 and had the time of my life. I had committed to this race with very little yachting experience, but bundles of enthusiasm.
I met my 7 teammates in Sydney on New Years Day; all strangers to me on Day One, but feeling that I had made good friends, when we left the boat 5 days later. A word to the wise – take the “Paihia Bomb” (brilliant seasickness pills), when they are offered on day one, leaving the dock when all is calm. I thought I’d tough it out, pretending to be seasoned and paid the price of losing my dinner on night one, 5 minutes after eating. Once I took the pills on lumpy days, I was fine for the remainder of the race.
Being a novice I was grateful for the thoughtfulness of skipper Dave and some of the more experienced crew. Throughout the trip, I was encouraged to get involved in many aspects of sailing the boat, to whatever degree I felt comfortable. We had a range of seascapes from 3 metre swells with waves breaking over the bow, to flat and glassy with no wind one morning; covering just 1 mile in 3-4 hours. I loved that someone made lunch every day, leaving me to languish on the rail, but I would loved to have had a soft cushion for my numb bum. Sleeping was an experience with 3-hour shifts each night. I loved the night chats, the tacks and loved that bunk for 3 hours even more.
We were well fed, well looked after and entertained with natures beauty for 5 days. Highlights for me were the great company, all the sailing experiences I could handle, the company of dolphins every day and the achievement of an adventure and ocean race, I have dreamed of often over the years and now realised. Thanks, Dave for a fantastic introduction to ocean sailing, and a brilliant way to begin 2019. Time to look at booking another:)