Our Dream

Emma Ward

Our world with Emma Ward

All crew pumped and ready to race. Captain Pete, Neil, Jenna, and myself. Prepped and ready to roll. We had to dampen our enthusiasm for a bit as the start was delayed for 15 min to accommodate a huge tanker traversing the course.

Oil tanker delaying the race start.

After the tanker had moved off, the race got underway. Emma ward got off to a flying start and was just pipped across the start line by a smidgen. She cleared away from the rest of the field and headed round the first buoy with a good lead. Unfortunately, as we headed into the second leg, one of the traveller blocks broke causing a delay and a slight loss of maneuverability. This allowed the field to make up the time and as we rounded the second last buoy we were neck and neck with Qcumber. Heading upwind into a 20+ knot wind and sailing close hauled, the crew had to hang on and at the same time replace the traveller block shackle.

Turning for home with all repairs complete, we couldn’t make up the gap from Qcumber who after some great sailing by her skipper and crew crossed the line 3 min ahead of us in first place. Emma Ward crossed the finish line in a well deserved second place.

After the race we had to wait for about two hours before we could access the lock. So we dropped the anchor, flashed up the barbeque and kicked back with snags and a beer.

Here is the link for Race 2 results:


Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there for the first race due to interstate work commitments. Captain Pete, Greg, Neil and Jenna were there to ensure Emma Ward looked her best for the first race.

There were some tactical errors, a problem with the traveller and the main sheet block broke. “A bit of a disaster” was the Captain’s words. All in a days’ sail.

Next weekend we get to do it all again.

Check out the race results.


For quite some time it’s been on the Captain’s long list of ‘to do’s’ in wanting to change the navigation and anchor lights to LED. We are very conscious with regards to how many amps are being used on our short trips away as Emma Ward’s solar panels are quite aged and in need of replacing – definitely another thing on the to do list. The old bulbs used just over one amp per hour, so having them on all night used about ten amps. The new LED bulbs use about 0.15 amps per hour, which is a total of 1.5 amps over ten hours. This then will save us 8.5 amps each night.

Well, the day finally came in needing to change those bulbs.

We started our day at the Yacht Shop NT. Who can resist an end of lease sale?? We were chatting to Wayne Bateman regarding impending works for Emma Ward when the discussion turned to replacing existing bulbs to LED. Wayne showed us the universal bulbs he designed and developed, as through his many years of experience, other brands were not performing well. Here is a picture of Wayne’s product at a cost of $45. We bought two and received a generous discount of $10. One for the anchor light and one for the navigation light.

So, now it’s determined that today is the day for going up the mast. We were going to get Wayne to complete the task before heading out for a week of sailing. but really, it’s a task that we need to learn how to do and should give it a go. So up the mast it is for our Captain……as I have already been 🙂

Yacht Shop NT LED Navigation and anchor light bulb.

On the marina, we collect all necessary tools for the job, an assortment of screwdrivers to loosen the screws for the light housing, some WD40 if the screws need assistance in being removed and said bulbs. Up I winch. Winding, winding, winding. Captain gets to the top. Tries to take of the housing, no luck. Down down down he comes.

First dilemma. How do we actually take off the housing? Good ole Google. What would we do without you. During smoko break, I find out that some require screws, no not ours. Some require a push down and twist motion, maybe ours. One fellow on a forum I read used a strap wrench to loosen the housing. No problem, ‘what’s a strap wrench?’, I ask myself. Google again to find out it’s one of these. So off we head to Bunnings to make a strap wrench purchase. Well, actually two strap wrench purchases as we were not sure of the size and figured they would come in handy anyway.

Strap Wrench

Up the mast take two. Captain has decided that he would go up the 60 ft mast and bring the housing down in order to clean it and we could then note the model and make number in case it ever needed replacing. Up I winch winch winch.

Task complete. Down down down.

We clean the housing, note the model and make number for future reference and collect all necessary tools for the next task.

Up up up I winch winch winch. Captain replaces bulbs and puts the housing back on.

Up the mast take 3 is now complete. Navigation light works. Anchor light works. A task well done. Hip hip hooray…….we did it and saved few dollars. In fact, amps of them.

This weekend we decided to start our scheduled engine service. Being our third year into owning a yacht, we are still learning, documenting and trying hard to remember all that needs doing…constantly.

First step was the impeller.We thought that would be a nice easy start to our engine service. Last year we had a lot of difficulty with getting the plate off. I had tried to use a flat head screw driver. Nope, I couldn’t budge those screws, so ended up calling our engineer friend, who swiftly made a trip down to the marina and talked us through every step of the impeller change. This year, we were very confident in managing this task ourselves. I now know that we need an 8mm spanner to move those screws. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t drop anything into the bilge. Butter fingers fail. Lucky Pete has long arms. Fantastic, we got through step one. Getting the old impeller out proved a little bit tricky. Eventually, and I will not disclose how long it took, we got the old one out. Putting the new impeller in should be a breeze, right. Well, it will be now that we know it needs to be greased first.

This whole process took us close to three hours. I kid you not. The hard part is mainly due to the engine configuration. The array of hoses that get in your way and the lack of space makes an easy job take such a long time. However, the smile on our faces and the huge feeling of success was beyond words. We did it. By ourselves.

Step two, air filter change. Too easy, out with the old , in with the new.

Step three, extracting the oil and replacing the oil filter. Extracting the oil was easy this time, as we made sure we ran the engine for at least 15 minutes. Changing the filter and filling the oil tank was straightforward. Unscrew the old filter it will be filled with oil, so be careful. Get the new filter and line the seal with oil from your finger. Screw it in place. Fill the oil tank with oil. Check the oil gauge. Done.

Step three. Fuel filters. There are two of them a primary filter and secondary filter.

Remove the top handle from the primary filter.

Fill with fuel and insert new filter.
Screw the lid back on.

The secondary filter.

Easy as. Unscrew the filter. Line the seal on the new filter with fuel from your finger. Screw the new filter in place.

The last major step. Bleeding the Engine.

It was difficult getting photos of this process, due to the location of parts. Basically, I had to pump this little lever, (Pete says it is the manual fuel pump) which I couldn’t see just had to feel for it, until fuel flowed freely from this screw which was loosened to allow the air bubbles to escape.

It took a lot of pumping, eventually the air bubbles subsided and fuel flowed.

We started the engine with all fingers crossed hoping that we did everything right.

The engine started. the water flowed out of the exhaust and she ran really well, After running her for a bit, we turned off the engine and gave it a good clean. The end result, a fully serviced clean engine, ready for dry season sailing. A fantastic result.

The more we learn, the more confident we are becoming in our ability to do some long term cruising. With the knowledge we are gaining in rough weather during the Wet Season races and our ongoing knowledge of the engine and electrical system, we are confident in our ability to be somewhat self sufficient. If Captain Pete could learn how to catch a fish, that would be a bonus.

It was a great vibe at Dinah Beach for presentation night. All participants show tremendous support for each other and there is a sense of camaraderie among sailors and would be sailors. The event organisers and volunteers are to be commended for their commitment in organising the route for each race and presentation events.

Emma Ward has been involved for the second time in the wet season race series. We enter each race with the intention of refining and bettering our own skills. Whether that be trimming the sails, co coordinating putting up and taking down of the spinnaker and of course gaining experience in helming through a variety of weather conditions. Whatever the outcome, every day on the water is a good day where we learn something.

Our crew have been fantastic. Greg has sailed with us every year and continues to pass on his skills and knowledge. We have had many friends join us for race day. Hopefully we will inspire enough of them to become regulars for race day.

We were very surprised that Emma Ward won the most improved trophy. Well done everyone.

Greg , Louise , Peter

First race of the 2018/19 Dinah Beach wet season racing.   Crew all shirted up and ready to roll.


The conditions for the first race look good. A chance of rain, but the weather forecast will always say that for the wet season. We were practicing getting our timing right for the start of the race when boom, the heavens opened. Winds dramatically increased so we reefed both main and head sail. 

Thanks to Captain Pete who remained cool, calm and extremely collected we managed to start the race, albeit late but we crossed that start line.

Once the rain eased off we had a great sail day . Her kite spectacular. The saying of the day,

‘you can never have too much purple”. 



Did I mention we got second place!





Click on the link to see the results of race 1


Peron Islands six day trip.  July 2018

Since we’ve taken up sailing and owned Emma Ward, our goal has been to get out once a year for an extended dry season sail. We really are blessed living in the tropics, as the weather is so predictably gorgeous and sailing conditions are perfect.     

Last year we sailed to Dundee and Crab Claw Island. This year we decided to push ourselves a little further, to go somewhere new and head around to the Peron Islands.

We had a chat to our new neighbours at the Marina, who advised us of safe anchoring spots and directed us to a website called yachtingaustralia.com.au which was most useful in providing essential information on the sailing passage for our trip.


Day 1 Darwin Harbour to Fannie Bay July 14th       

Leaving the marina at 1530 for a very cruisey standard sail to our spot outside the Darwin Sailing Club. A great start to our trip.


Day 2 Fannie Bay to Bare Sand Island July 15th.

Spirits are high and ready to hoist those sails after our protein packed Captains breakfast of bacon and egg toasted rolls. Alas, no wind. Bugger. We motored for the bulk of the day. We were keen to use the water maker, so once anchored we would happily make some water and keep those tanks topped up.

Well, it wasn’t to be, after much troubleshooting, we realized the water maker primer pump wasn’t operating. Having enough water is one of my “things”. We were carrying extra water but I’m still mindful of how much water is used. Funny, how you can have all this water surrounding you but not able to access it.

Oh, and the sail stop was missing. Am pretty sure we dropped the main too quickly yesterday and it fell out.


Day 3 Bare Sand Island to Sting Ray Head near point Blaze at the mouth of the Finnis River July 16

Finally, we get some decent winds to try out this new boom bag and lazy jacks layout we had just installed. I wanted to experiment with keeping the lazy jacks up or tucking them away as well as how much tension to keep on the boom bag. Sails are up and we are cruising very nicely for the morning. Great job. I’ve had some helm time, everything is going great guns. Until, the lazy jacks break. Crap. Not good. I was sure that when I ventured up the mast to tie them on, I had made a very secure bowline. We needed to reef the main. A very tricky task when winds are over 10 knots and there are no lazy jacks to hold the sail in place.  We managed to work out a system and got the job done as best we could. I was quite annoyed with myself and couldn’t understand why both lazy jacks had failed at exactly the same time.

The day was saved by four dolphins who decided to swim in our bow wave.    




Day 4 Sting Ray Head to Peron Island South July 17th

Yesterday had been quite a long and taxing day. After much deliberation, we decided that since we had come this far, we may as well make it to the anchorage at Peron Island South. I think we needed that great sense of achievement to reach a point where we hadn’t been before.

So, up went the spinnaker from Point Blaze to Peron Island North. Wow, she sure looks mighty fine.

The winds had dropped to five knots, as we sailed into our anchorage for the night at 1730.

Did I mention we saw a turtle


Day 5 Peron Island South to Dundee July 18th

Sure, it was going to be another long day, but when you are doing what you love, it’s not a chore. Winds were 10 to 15 knots for most of the day and Emma Ward was adept at sailing herself. Those sails were so perfectly balanced we didn’t need George (our auto pilot) or hands on the wheel.

A beautiful day sailing indeed. We anchored at Dundee by 1830.

Mental note –  check the bilge pump. It seems to have a mind of its own now.


Day 6 Dundee to Fannie Bay July 19th

Yep, another early start. Out here, living your passion, it really doesn’t matter about 5am starts. Sailing early is quite refreshing. Watching the sunrise with a warm coffee and clean fresh air around you. The ocean is calm. The water has that certain glow. It’s a great time for early morning reflection and gratitude.

Captain tightened the stern gland, after finding far too much water in the bilge. That was why the bilge pump kept coming on yesterday. I had the helm, great team work.     

We managed to get the sails up for a few hours and made a grand entrance with the spinnaker into our favourite Fannie Bay spot.





I have these memories of primary school, where the teachers used to have us play this game called ‘Port and Starboard’. I never really got the gist of that game. I would stand somewhat in the vicinity of the teacher as he called out ‘port’ and pointed to an area of the room where all the children would run to. Then ‘starboard’ for the same effect. In my confusion, I would take a couple of steps in the direction that a majority of the class had run off too, so at least I kinda looked like I knew what I was doing! The teacher could have been speaking double Dutch for all I knew – I didn’t even know my right from left!!!

Fast forward many years to the present. Notwithstanding that some days I still have difficulty differentiating my left from right, the parts of a boat make more sense to me now. Thank goodness!

I fell into sailing by way of meeting my partner. He had a 27ft Mottle when we met. For our second date, he took me out sailing. I had absolutely no idea what to expect or what to do. What will I do when he realises I forget my left from right? I was more concerned about that than falling off the yacht.

Sheets, cleats, Genoa, oh my. So many many things to learn. Why does everything little thing have a name? Main sail, reefing points, slugs, sliders, clew, halyard, outhaul, winch, just to name a few. Don’t even get me started on the knots.

Well, persistence and resilience are my middle names and I got there. From that first time on a yacht, it felt good. It felt like home. Every time those gates to the lock open, that mighty sense of freedom overwhelms you. When we get out of the channel and the sails are hoisted, the engine is finally turned off and its just you and the elements. Nothing else matters. That, right there is my favourite moment. The wind catches the sails, the yacht has a steady cruising speed and the sound of the bow wave is pure bliss.

Now, I am the proud owner of a 43ft Cavalier Sloop. She is big and she is beautiful. She came up for sale and just went to ‘have a look’. Let me tell you something, when an item has been price reduced and you go for ‘a look’, that there is a dangerous combination. Emma Ward felt comfortable and homely. She fit like a glove. I just had to have it.

The dream of selling up the land life for that of the sea is fast becoming a reality. A goal has been set. A date marked on the calendar. Every time I need to make a decision, it is with the knowledge that I will be selling up and living a sailor’s life.

Oh the adventures to be had. So far around the coastline of Darwin, Australia we have sailed with the dolphins seen turtles and an abundance of birds and flying fish.

I love the unpredictability of each sail. Our monsoonal wet season in the tropics can be a testament to that. Hanging on to the boom in rough weather whilst trying to reef. Clinging to the mast to untangle a sheet, glasses so smudged and fogged up, wet from the rain but not feeling the cold because the adrenalin rush takes over as you do your best to rectify a situation to keep sailing. Thinking on your feet. Being so aware of the surroundings. What’s the swell like? How are the clouds forming? Do they show signs of rain? Where’s that weird noise coming from? The yacht precariously tilted on one side, yet never once feeling as if it would flip over.

Sights are set on a circumnavigation of Australia, then watch out Northern Hemisphere. No time limit. Just one incredible sail to see the world from an ocean view.

Oh, and I have learnt my right from left now. When you do something every day, it becomes automatic.

Follow Emma Ward on – Instagram emma_ward_88. Look her up on Facebook, ask to be her friend and I will confirm our friendship. I look forward to continuing our journey together and share our love of adventure and sailing.


So, Emma Ward was fitted with a new boom bag on Friday. A very nice fit indeed and the colour match to the headsail is halfway to making her new look complete.

So, with that comes a new configuration of lazy jack lines. Captain and I discussed some configuration options with Scott the sail maker and made a mental list of what we needed to purchase in order to get the job done. We had a diagram to go by so we could double check everything that night. After much studying and discussing, we had it all worked out. Then came that look. The look you get when the Captain gives orders without saying a word. The look that says, ‘it’s your turn to go up the mast’. Damn it. It was my turn. Captain had been up the mast to fix some lines in our early days of ownership. I remembered saying that to keep things fair, I would have the next turn up the mast. Damn it.

Off to The Yacht shop we went. We needed two new swivel blocks and some new line for the lazy jacks.

Well, there was no point in stressing about it. Thank goodness it was a calm day. On went the safety gear and up, up, up I went. Pockets stuffed with equipment needed and my phone tucked into the front of my shirt for that all important birds eye photo of our boat.

I was a little shaky, understandably. After all, I have difficulty mastering a common step ladder! A few deep breaths,  telling myself to stay calm, I did what was needed to be done. I had to cut the old lazy jack line which was attached to the mast on a saddle. Then attach the new line and thread it threw the swivel block, pass the line down the mast and repeat on the other side. I must have been up there for at least half an hour. I can tie a bow line no problem on deck yet when it comes to tying one under a slightly stressful situation, it takes me a tad longer.

I didn’t get that birds eye shot. I was clinging so tightly to the mast, I just couldn’t manoeuvre myself around to comfortably take the phone out of my shirt front. I was actually more concerned about dropping it.


Whilst up there, I did have one thought about clothing. Pockets were kind of useless when you are sitting in the Bosun’s chair. You can’t really get your hand in the pockets, or even wriggle enough to assist. So, I stuffed as much as I could into my shirt front and let my bra hold it all in place. Very handy storage indeed.

Right, so we’ve both been up the mast now. I guess next time a job needs doing, we will have to draw straws.


Since Cyclone Marcus hit Darwin in March 2018, we have been using a borrowed head sail, which we are most grateful for as it meant we could keep on sailing during the weekends. We’ve been using the fabulous dry season weather to refine skills regarding adjusting the sails, presenting the main sail, noting the tell tales and taking a more detailed note of the environment in which we are sailing. For example, noting where the wind is coming from and how to adjust the sails accordingly whether that be by use of the traveller or main sail sheet. Also, adjusting the cars for the head sail to get a more refined trim.

So, while we have been busy with sailing and general maintenance, sails have been ordered.

The head sail has a purple trim. As you can see in the picture.   

So, we thought we may as well get a new main. A little bit of an extravagance but it seemed logical as her current main was well aged. Now we know that the sails are new and fresh and current.

Basically, it started with the spinnaker.  So, I’m kinda working backwards here. After much research and deliberation, we decided on an asymmetrical spinnaker. Mainly for ease of use. When we cruise full time, there really is no way that Pete or myself will be able to manage a spinnaker pole on our own, it’s far too heavy and cumbersome  to maneuver.  Pete gave me full reigns on colour and design. Colour was easy, the design, so very complex. I looked at so many designs, so much so that the mind gets cluttered with colours and colour matches and all the related costings. Sometimes, simple is best. Less is more. With that in mind, purple will do just fine. What do you think?