This (boating) life

TubasaPosted: 24 February 2014.

A client of ours selling his beloved Fountaine Pajot – Athena 38, “Tubasa”. He has sent us this wonderful story of his journey through life and boats. It was too inspirational not to share. Thank you Colin for this insight into your boating life!

This (boating) life by Colin Creighton.

The first boat was definitely a team effort. Us younger kids kept watch for cars while the older kids prised bitumen off the country road to melt in the fire. The tar filled the nail holes in a few sheets of old corrugated iron flattened and shaped to make two hulls of a catamaran. Add a few sticks and one especially long stick called a mast and we were sailing. Alas a strong nor–easter against the tide and we literally sailed the sticks out of her…. with the hulls sinking like well… corrugated iron. The first of many a long Clarence boating swim.

I won my first real boat– with a jingle competition for Brylcream. I never heard my jingle on the radio – “Brylcream – the absolute dream when it comes to haircream” but that sailing dinghy got me through adolescence and away from a fractious island home.

Seadreamer was a 72’ prawn trawler, the queen of the Yamba fleet. I was proud to be Jim’s deckie as we chased a livelihood along the east coast. Jim joked that he could not swim so watch out if he went overboard. It was me that went overboard one Royal Red Prawn trawling day. It was Jim that tragically got the wheel through the guts as the dreamer ploughed into the Clarence bar. Back to Uni for me and a career in natural resources.

Pequod was a £600 inheritance from a uncle much removed and unknown in Canada. Pequod, an old cedar and huon pine 4 man rowing whaling boat refitted out for river and snapper fishing helped me explore the Clarence, advocate an end to wetland drainage, the local banning of deildren and generally intiate the processes of protecting what little fish habitat was left.

The fifth, a sailing moth led me to a girlfriend… “can I keep my boat below your house on the Lake?” and while the moth didn’t survive a bushfire the girlfriend became wife and mother of my two children. A move to Pittwater with 2 young children definitely called for a trailer-sailer – safe and efficient transport to The Basin where many a day was spent in children’s water play. As the children grew we sought bigger horizons. A move to Townsville led to boat number 7, a 29’ sloop, weekends at Magnetic Island in advanced children’s water play and holidays at the Palm Islands where my daughter quietly went about the challenges of learning to sail while my son talked underwater chasing fish and turtles. My father-in–law rapidly became the sailing father I never had and I, the sailing protégé he had never had.

Life and my wife moved on. Some time later with my children finishing uni it was time for the main event – the big catamaran. With a new partner sharing the dream, Tubasa – Japanese for “wings of the bird” seemed just right to fulfil our hopes of Pacific Ocean adventuring. Life intervened with cancer taking my sailing companion before we had done much more than a few shakedown cruises. The dream was realised a couple of years later, a motely crew helping me sail to Vanuatu, cruise the Banks Islands and distribute several fish tubs full of clothes and school supplies.

Today I packed away a few more fish tubs – this time of navigation equipment and other sailing gear, Tubasa now the platform for another’s dreams. Tubasa was always a place of solace, single handed sailing the east coast, time away adrift, island exploring, immersing in nature and weather, riding out the start of a cyclone with my son, thinking through with my daughter a career move to London, and introducing a new partner and then her children to this boating life.

This boating life will continue and the next boat ….well, we will have to see what the other parts of life brings forward.

Quick Link:

Tubasa is a very rare owners version of the popular Athena 38 by Fountaine Pajot.  Built in 2005, she has had just two happy owners and is now reluctantly offered for sale after providing much pleasure cruising the East Coast, Whitsundays and offshore to Vanuatu.  The entire starboard hull is dedicated to the owners with a large aft double berth and large bathrooms forward, plus two guest cabins with shared ensuite on the port side.

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