I confess I always feel like something of an imposter when I'm lined up alongside the others but here you go.
I was born, 1952, and raised in Sydney, Australia. My mother was English, my father Australian of Irish American stock. Yep...the Rodent is part American. Great great great Grandfather was a sailor from Boston Mass, probably a whaler, who washed up in Sydney early in the 19th century. My earliest ancestor in Australia was an Irish convict who was transported to NSW in the late 18th century.
Two views of a Rodent. Stetsons don't take kindly to a moist environment.
Lived most of my life in the harbourside suburbs of Drummoyne and Balmain and spent large chunks of my early years on or about the water, but not sailing. To be honest I was more interested in exploring the waterways of Port Jackson, Broken Bay and Port Hacking than I was in the choice of propulsion system. My family was a long way from wealthy and I well remember the unbridled joy when we would occasionally hire a launch from the boatshed at Bobbin Head and spend the day pottering around Cowan Creek and its tributaries. I was always in awe of the big old Halverson timber cruisers that plied those waterways and to be honest, sail did not enter into my mind until many years later. Largely, as a youngster I messed about in an old launch my family had bought and rowing around in our dinghy. School holidays were often spent on camping trips by canoe. Now that is a fine way to while away the holidays.
In my mid twenties I discovered sail. First on an old skiff that I bought for next to nothing and on which I muddled about Sydney Harbour, seemingly spending as much time capsized as upright. Later I replaced that with a hulk of a 22' timber sloop that was still a work in progress when I sold her and bought a 28' Northerner sloop. The Northerner was an Australian production sloop of the 60s, modelled on the Herreschoff 28. She was a good boat but a financial calamity saw me unable to afford her upkeep and she went to a new home. Sadly she lay neglected for some time before I sold her but this is her today.
A sister to the very first Womboat.
I was without a boat for many years after that, but about five years back we bought the current Womboat, Silver Raven. She's a 34' Van de Stadt sloop, multi chine steel. The Wombette and I spend as much time as we can on her cruising about Sydney Harbour and locales north and south of Sydney and we derive as much pleasure from a quiet weekend spent at anchor as we do sailing. Our preference for a sail is to head offshore away from the madding crowd, sailing off towards the horizon with no destination in mind.
Perhaps some day we'll simply not turn around and come home. Well at least that's the plan.
I've not done a lot of offshore stuff. Crewed across the top of Australia some years back but that's about as far offshore as I've been. I must admit I do love being out of sight of land for days on end but I never experienced any really bad weather , just a few tropical squalls, so I've only really seen the good.
In the Marina bar in Cascais with Alex's buddy.
Workwise, we own and operate a small architectural lighting business working predominantly with Architects and Interior Designers but are planning on retirement from day to day work sometime this year. Mind you I said that last year so it might be wise to watch this space.
When that day comes the plan is to cruise the coast of Australia with Tasmania and the North West Kimberly coast the areas we most want to explore. We have no serious thoughts of major ocean passages with New Guinea and the Solomon Islands being as far afield as we intend voyaging at this stage.
On the other hand we both have long had a serious love affair going with Spain (and more recently Portugal) and have it in our minds to sail the Iberian coast and associated islands. The PNW is also on our list though I suspect that if we do get to Europe or America we will buy something when we get there rather than do a circumnavigation. Then again, who knows. Nothing is set in stone.
Sister ship to the Womboat under sail cos I don't have any of the old girl herself. Raven is the masthead version.
Womboat at sea.
Off Sydney Heads
The Rodent's Retreat.
A Bat out of Water
And in her element.