By Caroline Strainig
It’s almost Christmas. And there’s no more perfect place to celebrate the festive season than on the water. Here, some of the Multihull Solutions family of boat owners share their special memories.
Gordon and Louise Fraser
Gordon and Louise live in Brisbane and own a Fountaine Pajot Salina 48, which they called Paikea, a Maori name, in honour of their New Zealand roots.
They love spending time on the water over the festive season, although they usually celebrate Christmas Day itself at home with family and relatives.
However, one Christmas they will never forget even though it is years ago was when they cut the ties with land a little earlier than normal, having Christmas lunch on Paikea in her berth at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly before setting sail afterwards.
“I will never forget that Christmas on the boat because it was extra-special,” Gordon said.
“There is always a special feeling when you are on the boat – it’s our beach house – but Christmas added another element again.
“It was before we had grandchildren, and we had our two grown-up sons and their wives along and our daughter. We had seafood and something hot and decked the boat out in tinsel and decorated the table.
“Then after lunch we headed out to Lucinda Bay, which midway between the Sandhills and Tangalooma on Moreton Island. This is a good anchorage in north-easterly to south-easterly winds and you can get some space and privacy there.
“The beach is two or three kilometres long, and usually there are only three or four boats there. We love it. We cannot understand why more people don’t go there.”
Gordon said they find other boaters always very friendly in Moreton Bay, but even more so over the festive season.
“The only downside to boating over the festive season is that there are a lot of boats on the water, so you have to be extra-careful. Someone has to be in charge also, so that means someone cannot drink alcohol.”
He and Louise love hosting guests, but pick the weather when they do so, and if children are aboard stay extra-alert.
“Obviously it’s no point going out if people are going to be uncomfortable, but we always have Motion Eaze seasickness oil on board, which you can get from Whitworths, and we have never had any issues.”
The Fraser family enjoying Christmas lunch afloat (from left): Daughter Fiona and DIL Lucinda, sons Scott and Tom and DIL Lauren, and Louise. (Gordon is not in shot as he is the photographer.)
Rob and Lynne De Haan
Rob and Lynne hail from Martha Cove in Victoria and own a Fountaine Pajot Helia 44, which they called Follow the Son, a religious name, in honour of the Son of God.
Ask Rob about his memories of Christmas on the water, and he immediately remembers a Christmas a few years ago.
“We use our Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 a lot over the summer, but there is one year I will always remember because it was so special,” Rob said.
“We took delivery of the boat in 2014 at Mooloolaba from Multihull Solutions only a couple of days before Christmas and then spent Christmas Day anchored off Noosa.
“We had our son, Brendan, and his wife, Astrid, and two grandchildren, Ellie (then 12) and Ollie (then 7) aboard.
“We didn’t have a chance to decorate the boat, but we hid the grandchildren’s presents all over and had a hunt for them. I pretended to be Father Christmas, speaking from down below.
“We swam into Noosa and went for a walk in the morning, and then it was back on the boat for a mid-afternoon feast of seafood and glazed ham, listening to Christmas music.
“It was sensational, Christmas with our family, on our new boat. I will never forget it and would love to do it again one day.
“This year we will be celebrating Christmas Day at home, but we will be spending a lot of time on the boat over the festive season, and inviting other people out as well as we love having guests on board.
“We have already taken 14 neighbours out for a Christmas day-sail, and will take another group out before Christmas.”
When it comes to hosting guests, unless you are safely at anchor and not going to move, Rob and Lynne have one rule: “Someone does not drink alcohol, usually me,” Rob said. “You’re the skipper, you’re responsible.”
They also try and limit overnight guests to a maximum of six, so everyone has plenty of privacy and room to move.
Rob and Lynne enjoying an outing on their Helia 44, Follow the Son.
TOP TIPS FOR A SAFE AND FESTIVE CHRISTMAS
- Be extra-vigilant keeping a lookout on the water because there is lots of traffic
- Someone capable of skippering the boat needs to refrain from drinking alcohol
- Make sure all guests are briefed on safety and keep an extra-alert eye on children and those without boating experience.
- Choose your weather carefully if you are hosting guests.
- Don’t overload the boat with overnight guests – privacy is still important, particularly if guests are not used to staying on a yacht.
- Pre-prepare meals when possible when hosting, particularly Christmas lunch, and don’t use every saucepan and plate in the galley – someone has to wash up!
- And, last but by no means least, have fun and enjoy!