Are you talking about ‘BC’?

Have you noticed that people are beginning to drop ‘BC’ into conversations these days? The BC that they are referring to is Before Covid and definitely not the BC we learned about at school.

At the beginning of 2020, as in ‘BC’, our friends Martin and Gwen enjoyed exploring Tasmania on their sailing vessel (SV) No Soucy. Gwen became pregnant and experienced debilitating morning sickness. Ken and I didn’t think that sailing home to New Caledonia, as planned would be much fun, so we suggested that they fly home and that in April, we would sail No Soucy home to New Caledonia for them. We would fly back to Brisbane, where we keep a small car and enjoy a road trip back to Tasmania. It seemed such a simple and fun thing for us to do.

Martin and Gwen flew home to New Caledonia.

Then came Covid-19

Martin and Gwen arrived home in New Caledonia two days before all borders were shut and international travel of any kind ground to a halt.

We all kept thinking that things would get back to normal, and shortly, we would be able to sail their boat back home to them.

The consequences of Covid were significant for our friends. Usually they lived full time aboard No Soucy, however, because their vessel was stranded in Tasmania, they had to find somewhere else to live.

Covid-19 also meant paying marina fees for No Soucy every month she was stranded in Australia. A big financial drain for our young friends.

Unfortunately – there is more.

After thousands of nautical miles, many different countries, marinas and islands, and never having any issues with theft at all, in George Town, Tasmania, things changed dramatically.

First, their outboard motor was stolen.

Next thing, a rat got on board and succeeded in eating all dry provisions. It also soiled everything inside the vessel, chewed a hole in the mainsail and was very difficult to eradicate. Fortunately it didn’t chew any electrical wires.

The final straw was when low life people used bolt cutters to break into No Soucy, and after removing anything of value, they left her in a dreadful mess. We were very disappointed in the police deeming the crime was one of ‘opportunity’.

In order for the criminals to get into the vessel, they would have had a dinghy to get into the marina and strong bolt cutters to break the locks. The list of stolen goods includes a laptop, all tools, electronic equipment, a drone, all drugs, and wet weather gear. Interestingly, all the drugs were labelled in French and included the usual anti-biotics and pain relief customarily carried on board.

A last, international traveling resumes

In April, 2022, New Caledonia became open to sailing vessels and Australia permited her citizens to travel overseas again.

22/04/22 No Soucy departs George Town, Tasmania

Unbelievably calm across the Bass Strait

My partner, Ken, and I left York Cove Marina, in George Town, Tasmania, at 2:20 pm on Thursday, 22nd May. Our departure was delayed as we had to obtain clearance from the Australian Border Force (ABF) to move No Soucy, a foreign vessel, out of the Launceston Port Authority.

The plan is that Martin will fly from New Caledonia to Sydney, then he will take the train and meet us in Coffs Harbour. The three of us will sail No Soucy home to New Caledonia together.

The Bass Strait is usually a place to take great care when sailing, however during our trip it was unbelievably windless and calm. This image with Ken at the bow shows how flat the sea was.

The route – York Cove to Eden

Thursday, 22nd April

We left York Cove in George Town, Tasmania, at 14:20 on

We had no wind so used the motor until we dropped anchor off Bellingham, Norhern Tasmania. We had covered 24 nautical miles.

Friday, 23rd April

We woke at 04:00. We had trouble with the anchor winch so pulled the anchor up by hand. This delayed our departure and we got underway at 05:00. We were exhausted before the day had begun!

Meals on board are really easy to prepare when there is no wind or waves of much height.

Saturday, 24th April

Again, there was no wind, and so we motored 73 nautical miles and dropped anchor off Polana, Flinders Island. We often sail around Flinders Island; our yacht, SV Nichola, has a mooring there at Lady Barron. We enjoyed sailing past places we often visit on land. We had a good night’s sleep as there was minimal swell.

We were underway at 05:40, after pulling the anchor up by hand.

We covered 144 nautical miles in 24 hours. Again, no wind and so used the motor.

We arrived in Eden, NSW, just before 16:00 and were very lucky to pick up the last courtesy mooring available.
We had to check in with ABF (Australian Border Force) Eden in order to get permission to continue sailing No Soucy on to Sydney/Coffs Harbour.

Our friend, Ian came and picked us up from shore and we spent a very enjoyable few days with him and his wife, Maria. Ken and Ian enjoyed a game of golf and Maria, and I went walking.

Ian kindly took us back into the Eden ABF office where we were able to get clearance to move No Soucy on to Pittwater.

Friends are invaluable

Ian and Ken loaded the dinghy onto his vehicle, so we didn’t have to leave it on the beach when we went to stay with them for a few nights
Ken takes a load of fuel drums in the dinghy to No Soucy. No Soucy is the furthermost vessel on a mooring close to the beach.
Photo taken from the bow of No Soucy, shows the mooring and the jetty on the left hand side. We couldn’t launch the dingy from the beach because of onshore breaking waves.

Eden to Pittwater

28th April

We left the mooring at Eden at 16:45, we figured the it would take us about two hours o get to Merimbula where we hoped to pick up a mooring for the night. We picked up a mooring at 19:45 and it was lovely and calm after a very large and choppy, side-on swell.

29th April

We left the mooring at 02:15 and picked up a mooring at Bateman’s Bay at 17:00. Fifteen and a quarter hours to cover 70 nautical miles, averaging 4.7 knots. We were sailing against the current with very little wind to assist us.

30th April

We left the Bateman’s Bay mooring at 07:45. Raining, windless and very much against the current again.

We picked up a mooring in Jervis Bay at 16:45. Fifty-four nautical miles were covered in eight and a half hours.

1st May

We left Jervis Bay at 01:15. Mild weather with no wind in the bay at all.

At 16:20 we picked up a mooring in Bundeena, Port Hacking.

We took advantage of the courtesy mooring buoys whenever we can
A beautiful sky welcomed us at Jervis Bay when we stopped for the night
On the Hacking River mouth, we picked up another courtesy mooring at Bundeena, Port Hacking.
Sunrise on the water is always special. This was taken near Sydney

2nd May

Ken’s birthday. He was thrilled to have landed two good sized tuna before we were out of the bay.

We arrived at the Broken Bay refueling dock in Pittwater at 14:15. Always easy refueling this way, unlike having to fill drums with deisel and transport them in the dinghy back to the boat.

We picked up a mooring at America Bay at 16:20 and enjoyed a good night’s sleep.

Refuelling at Broken Bay, Pittwater

Pittwater to Coffs Harbour

3rd May

We woke early, as usual, however we were fogged in and unable to see much at all. The fog began to lift around 09:00 as we made out way out of Pittwater, past the Barenjoey Lighthouse and northwards towards Lake Macquarie.

We picked up a mooring at America Bay, Pittswater, just north of Sydney. We awoke to thick fog that only began to clear at 09:00.

At 17:00 we picked up one of the three courtesy moorings available close to the Swansea Bridge in Lake Macquarie. Seven hours of sailing and 42 nautical miles were covered that day. Again, no wind and so motor sailing.

We took the dingy ashore and met friends, Suzanne and Trevor for a meal at the local RSL club next to the jetty.

Bron and Ken as we stepped out of the dinghy to meet special friends, Suzie and Trevor, at the Swansea RSL club near the bridge. No Soucy was on one of the three courtesy moorings were people usually wait for the bridge to be lifted in order to gain access into Lake Macquarie. You can make her out behind the catamaran in the centre of the image.
This was one of the images sent to Martin to show how unbelievably little wind there was on our journey from Tasmania to Coffs Harbour. The smoke from the factory was vertical.

We were very aware of the fuel costs building as we made our way up the coast and used to send Martin daily videos of the conditions. On one occasion we sent an image to show how calm it was, twenty minutes later we sent another one to show the change from not much wind to ‘glassy calm’ conditions.

Lake Macquarie to Broughton Island

4th May

At 05:30 we left the mooring at Lake Macquarie and headed to Broughton Island where we dropped anchor at 14:00.

Sailing past Sydney, or any other major port, one has to look out for other seafaring vessels. Not only the huge tankers but also small fishing and other recreational vessels.

There are the added hazard of craypots one needs to avoid. A craypot line around the propellor is a serious thing to be avoided.

We had to change course to avoid a collision with a container ship heading into Newcastle.
To save money replacing stollen sailing gear, Ken and I bought rain jackets from local op shops. Ken stayed dry but rather hot in this plastic raincoat.

Broughton Island to Coffs Harbour

7th May:

We pulled the anchor up by hand of Broughton Island and got underway at 06:15. There was a glorious double rainbow before the sun rose. Despite a wind forecast of between 10 – 15 knots northerly, it was blowing from the east at 3 knots. No wind in the sails yet again.

We tied up to the Coffs Harbour International Marina at 13:50.

We have motor sailed about 800 nautical miles in 15 days.

Martin arrived on Friday night and he and Ken spent the past few days ensuring No Soucy is ‘ship shape’ and ready to sail the 900 nautical miles across to New Caledonia.

For more photos and stories about our adventures, visit

The next blog will be posted once we have arrived in New Caledonia.