SMALL SAMPLE FROM CHAPTER 11

This chapter has always been my favourite, because it was the building of “Tafua” that started everything for us and it was then that I always consider we did the near impossible and didn’t go broke trying. Jan always considers that living in the small residence’ I built at the back of the factory and having Kelly were the best years of her life and so do I.

“It was becoming apparent that we were going to finish Tafua and not run out of money, although we were close to the edge. I had managed to convince our local bank manager that we were a good investment, and he agreed to arrange a loan, once we launched the boat.

Each day was bringing me closer and closer to the moment I had always dreamed about!

One day, I finally opened the door from our humble abode, and in front of me the pile of aluminium had gone. Our giant 60-foot catamaran, with its green hulls and cream trim, was suddenly there. The 30-foot-wide factory was filled by it. The wheelhouse cleared the 18-foot-high trusses by only four inches.

Every morning from now on, I would smell the sea breeze in my nostrils and feel the wind in my hair—the ocean was just around the corner.

My brother Dave was returning from New Zealand after spending time with Mum, and he asked if I needed any help.

‘Do I ever!’ I exclaimed. I was eager to teach him how to use the to MIG weld, and then he could build the masts and booms and save me precious time. Over the years I have often called on ‘Dave’ when I needed help with a project, and I like to think that this was the last time I needed his help and couldn’t pay him for it.

On 4 July 1981, a 32-wheeled low-loader slowly pulled Tafua, with a little jockeying here and pushing there, out into the light of day. She spent that first night at the roadside while a 100 acquaintances and friends joining us for a pre-launch party.

At the first light of dawn we were then on the move. Hundreds of Woy Woy people had decided this was one Sunday morning they were not going to sleep in. During her short 2-mile run to the water, she touched branches of overhanging trees on both sides of the road and a friend stood on the deck and gently lifted power cables with a special pole.

The low-loader slowly backed onto the sand at low tide, and with the assistance of his hydraulic platform, he was able to lower Tafua down and remove the float, leaving her to await the tide. However, we had miscalculated the tide and she didn’t float until the next day, and even then it was with a bit of assistance.

One week later we had finished the final touches to the masts and with the use of a crane, we stepped them. It was only a short motor across Broken Bay and down Pittwater to Lovett Bay, where Brian and Carol had invited us to stay on their wharf (attached to a beautiful waterfront home they had built) while we added some finishing touches to Tafua.

We spent three months as their guests and enjoyed every moment.”