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The Rock-itt : August 2010
A crew would be needed if his dream of sailing back to New Guinea to claim that illusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was to become reality, but those who sailed with him would have to be as madashewastotakeonsucha venture, especially on a boat like the "Sirocco". Errol began canvassing for three able bodied men who much to his surprise soon materialised from the ranks of his own friends and by an off chance, a once part owner of Sirocco also joined the trio. Trelawny Adams and Rex Long -- Innes were Errol's chums and Charlie Burt ,who ambled on board one day to pay his respects to his former vessel, was soon included. Errol's chums from Sydney jumped at the idea of heading for the islands, although Charlie Burt needed a little more persuading to take on the hair brain adventure. It would be a nice leisurely cruise up the east coast then a short hop across to New Guinea, nothing to it, just like falling off a bar stool at Ushers' Hotel on Friday night. In an effort to find out the weaknesses of the "old girl" they would take the "Sirocco" cruising around Sydney Harbour, getting used to her and learning to sail her the way she performed and handled best. Each time they took her out they would plan changes to her design to make her handle better and make her sleeping quarters more comfortable. They also removed the tiller at the stern and installed a ship's wheel just aft of the cabin which would make manoeuvring, especially around reefs and coral cays, which they would encounter plenty of on the trip, much easier. Next there was work needed on Sirocco's diesel engine, more sail cloth and of course provisions had to be stowed onboard for the trip which just about soaked up the rest of Errol's capital. By the time they were ready to embark on their adventure, apart from forty five pounds, which Errol had stashed for emergencies, they were just about broke. Once they had finished preparations, a farewell was organised and relatives, friends and well wishers came down to the dock to see the four adventurers off. They left amid waves and cheers but within a short time were back and tied up at the dock once more after finding that the diesel wanted to be cantankerous and started to cause problems. Twice more they set off and twice more returned after forgetting to stock water onboard and striking a storm as they were nearing Sydney heads. Finally, after making more returns than Dame Nelly Melba, they started their journey, leaving in the blackness of night without cheers or fanfare and despite striking inclement weather once more, they unanimously agreed nothing would turn them back now and made a port tack as they rounded the heads and began making for their first port of call, Port Stephens, which was a good two hundred miles up the east coast. Amid the howl of the wind and cool, lonely darkness of the night, Errol stood at the bow and watched as the lights of Sydney slowly faded into the distance, yet in his mind there was no fear of what could happen to Sirocco and her crew. Just the exhilaration of what lay ahead. Don't dare to miss a single instalment. You will have to grab September's issue of The Rock-itt if you want to be on board. www.therockittmagazine.com.au click on ARCHIVES for previous issues. Any problems email me on: email@example.com Cheers Pete. Sirocco under full sail The first leg of Sirocco's east coast voyage taken from Errol's book "Beam Ends"