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Larger Sailboats

   David and Eldene Smithh, Lloyd Borrett

David and Eldyne Smith
with Lloyd Borrett,
Adelaide, circa 1995

My dad's best mate from his childhood and sea scouts was David Smith (7-Aug-1930 to 6-Feb-2001), who our family always referred to as Uncle David. He was a boilermaker by trade and built his own 33 ft Temptress sloop rigged, steel keelboat, plus others for clients.

(Uncle David was a quietly spoken man of few words, yet he left quite an impression on all he shared his life with. Uncle David built a large commercial tug boat, the Leeton, which later in his life he worked as a deck hand on. He eventually qualified for his masters ticket and became captain of the tug boat he built, which must be a unique achievement. In his lifetime he was honoured with life memberships of the Whyalla Yacht Club, the Whyalla Gliding Club, the Whyalla Croquet Club and the Whyalla Art Group.)

The Smith family would often spend their holidays sailing around the wonderful bays and islands of the Port Lincoln area. As some of the family didn't like the long passages involved, Uncle David would sometimes get a crew together and sail from Whyalla down to Port Lincoln. The family would drive down to Port Lincoln and the crew drive back to Whyalla. At the end of the holiday the cycle would be reversed.

One time I was invited to be a part of the crew for the return passage. We left Whyalla on Friday afternoon, drove to Port Lincoln and slept on the boat that night. In the morning Aunty Eldyne and others headed off by road, and we set sail for Whyalla.

Conditions were less than ideal. A strong, nasty northerly was blowing and we were headed directly in to it up Spencer Gulf. About two hours out I felt crook, heaved over the side, washed up and went back to eating my apple. Everyone had a laugh at my expense, but I was fine.

We anchored in the shelter of the lee of the Sir Joseph Banks Group islands for lunch, and then sailed on. By nightfall, it seemed everyone else on board was suffering severe sea sickness, even Uncle David!

With most of crew laid low, through the night I had to do multiple watches as we pushed on in to the strong winds and copped a pounding in the turbulent seas. I'd periodically report to Uncle David that we'd been on such and such a heading for so many hours and ask what course we should steer now! We made it safely through the night and the next day, but we were much later than expected getting in to Whyalla. This had caused certain people (i.e. Mum) to become extremely worried. It was a really memorable experience.

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Last modified: Monday, 01 April 2013


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