RL24, RL28, and RL34 Trailable Yachts
from Rob Legg Yachts

Adventures of Minstrel in the Kimberleys

by Pauline Fowler

Episode 1

On the road to Wyndham

I am a 28 foot trailer sailer yacht built by Robert Legg in 1982 and known as an RL 28. I have a swing keel and a drop rudder and I live on my trailer in a shed in Denham, West Australia. I belong to Dexter and Pauline Fowler.

I first realized that a “big trip” was going to happen when I was woken from my hibernation in the shed and fitted with a new 9.9 hp 4 stroke Yamaha outboard motor. Over the next 6 months I got a new solar panel, new mainsail, a new Engel Fridge, and 2 new deep cycle batteries. Wally made me a shade canopy and altered my bimini. Wendy made me some shadecloth side screens . The wheels of my trailer were taken off and my bearings and tyres checked. A new tyre was required. I was loaded up with clothes, food, fishing gear, generator, bedding, water, cameras and all sorts of other things. Finally I was hooked up behind the Toyota Landcruiser and we were off on our road trip.

It felt good to be on the road again and heading to a new adventure.

First stop was Carnarvon where Craig of Craig Marine gave my motor a thorough service and P and D bought some more food. Next night we stopped at Barradale; the next was at the Degrey River north of Port Hedland; and finally we arrived at the plantation of Jason and Tan Fowler at the 12 mile settlement 20 km east of Broome, a journey of 2000km. We spent a week there helping on their organic herb farm cutting lemon grass and letting P and D’s twin 4 year old granddaughters, Indira and Jasmin, explore me thoroughly.

Friday 5 May

Met up with Jim and Liz Dabelstein towing” Levanter” and we were off on the road again another 1000 km to Wyndham. Levanter is an Ensor 28 trailable yacht that is towed by an Isusu truck. Spent the night in a park bay near Fitzroy Crossing.

Saturday 6 May

Levanter’s trailer blew a tyre and one of my trailer tyres had to be changed because it developed a bubble. When we arrived at Wyndham we parked near the boat ramp and settled in for the night. We were “entertained” by the local aborigines who spent the day fishing, carving boab nuts that we were persuaded to buy, and drinking, getting noisier as the night wore on.

Sunday 7 May

P and D spent all day loading me up, raising my mast and preparing me for launching. I couldn’t believe what they put into me. $3000 worth of tinned, dried and fresh food, four 9kg gas bottles, 250 litres of fuel, 150 litres of water, generator, tools, my new mainsail etc etc. I felt ready to burst and was sure I would sink when they put me in the water.

I am very impressed with the Wyndham boat ramp. The jetty floats and goes up and down with the up to 10 metre tides and has rubber fenders on the side. On the slack tide I slid off my trailer ever so gracefully and gently nudged up against the jetty. My little aluminium dinghy sporting a brand new 4 stroke Honda 5 hp outboard motor was tied to the back of me and we motored out and dropped anchor in the estuary.

Monday 8 May

After Levanter was put in the water, Jim and Dexter took the vehicles and trailers to the BP Garage for storage and the police were notified of our plans which were to sail to Broome taking approximately 12 weeks, arriving at the end of July.

Monday afternoon I finally got to put out my jib and with a good wind behind me, we sailed north up the Cambridge Gulf. At first it was a bit hard to make headway with the tide against me but once it turned, I flew along at up to 7 knots.

Sunset was at 5.30 pm so we found an anchorage near Otway Island just out of the main channel with its strong tidal flow, to spend the night.


Tuesday 9 May

We left at 6 am to take advantage of the strong outgoing tide and with all sails up, including my new mainsail, we sailed north up the Cambridge Gulf. In places the water was over 70 metres deep and my top speed reached 8 knots although mostly I averaged 6 knots. It felt so good to be on the water with the wind in my sails.

Once out of the narrow channel and out into the open top end of the gulf, the ocean was quite rough and when the tide turned against me, I had to motor the last couple of hours. We anchored in Turtle Bay on Lacrosse Island at 2 pm, 40 nm from Wyndham.

P and D went ashore in the dinghy and found a turtle nest and freshwater stream.

to be continued....

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