November 16

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Activation 05/11/16

Skipper: Fin Forbes

Senior Crew: Rod Wilson

Crew: Jim Dunn

Task: Medivac –  200m off Cannonvale Beach

Brett from QAS Rockhampton rang at 2240 asking if VMRW could help in a Medivac from a 32 ft. Sailing catamaran in Pioneer Bay.

We left APM with two Paramedics on board (Claire and Ash) at 2325, and arrived at the vessel (and the relieved occupants) at 2335.

The Paramedics were transferred to the Catamaran so they could do their assessment, and then the patient and companion were transferred back to VMR1. We also secured their tender to the side of our vessel and towed it back to APM with us so they could get back to their boat whenever they wished.

We were unloaded and back in our pen by 0025.

Once again I thank the crew for their skills, and also simply for answering the call at this difficult hour, about when most have not long been asleep.

Time on job:  1 hour


Activation 07/11/16

Skipper: Paul Catts

Crew: Stu Applegate, Ron Roberts & Norm Fraser

Task: Tow –  Little Black Reef

VMR1 was activated through VTS Hay Pt; a member in a 7m fishing vessel was having ignition problems at Little Black Reef, approximately 50 NM from base. Fortunately, weather conditions were good.

With crew on board and all checks completed, we topped up the fuel and got under way at about 1445.

The trip out at 21 kts still took 2 hrs 25 mins, arriving just after 1700.

We made a quick investigation of their electrical issues before initiating a tow home.

We could only manage around 13 kts with the tow so it was a 4 hour return trip.

Dropped the tow at ramp, refuelled and were back in the pen by 2200.

Time on job: 7¼ hours


Activation 08/11/16

Skipper: Ray Lewis

Crew: Roger Wodson, William Kamsteeg & Dewi Hughes

Task: Tow – Luncheon Bay, Hook Island

Received a call from Fin that a vessel had broken down at Luncheon Bay.  From the name of the vessel, I knew that it was a large charter vessel so I asked Fin to make it clear what the conditions and cost were while I proceeded to down to VMR1.

We departed APM at 0935 to find perfect conditions; a flat sea and about 8 knots of wind from the north east, so it was a beautiful run across the passage to meet up with the stricken vessel.

On arrival, we attached the tow line and started our journey home.  As the conditions were so good, we were able to cross the passage at 8 knots with an economic fuel consumption.

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Why are there 2 black balls hanging in the rigging?

On arrival outside APM we shortened the tow rope and proceeded slowly into the marina where I swung the vessel around so that its bow came into its berth on G arm.  A line was passed to a person waiting on the pontoon and a tender pushed the vessel to complete the berthing.

We refuelled and were finished by 1350. My thanks to the crew for a smooth operation.

Time on job:  4¼ hours


Activation 10/11/16

Skipper: Ray Lewis

Crew: Tom Manning, Norbert Gross & Lance Robins

Task:  Jump Start – Stonehaven Bay

While perusing the Whitsunday Times after breakfast, I received a call from Fin stating that a member was stricken at Stonehaven Bay with flat batteries, so I made my way to APM while Fin organised a crew.

We departed APM at 0815 and made our way to the 37 foot fly bridge cruiser with 2 POB.

After tying up and getting the paperwork organised I tried to start the engine with the small jump starter but it had insufficient power.  There were house batteries as well but as we could not find a bridging switch, I used the heavy jumper leads to get it started.

The owner had only purchased the vessel three months ago and it was in excellent condition but he was not familiar with the systems, so we had a discussion and advised him to have the batteries checked and to have a bridging switch fitted.

Back to APM fuelled up and berthed by 1030 hrs.

Time on job:  2¼ hours


Activation 16/11/16

Skipper: Gary Nicol

Senior Crew: Rod Wilson

Crew: John Youngsmith

Task: Tow – Muddy Bay?

Celia rang at 2:17pm to report that a 6m tinny had broken down out front of Port Of Airlie with 2 POB and required a tow. Sounded simple enough.

We were underway at 2:55. The next piece of information Celia provided alerted me to perhaps we should look a little further than Muddy Bay out the front of Port of Airlie; she said they could still see Airlie Beach. Where was the tinny?

Fortunately the weather was crap and few boats were out and about so I decided to steam toward a smudge on the horizon west of Pioneer Rock and as it turned out it was the tinny in trouble with 3 POB; always expect the unexpected.

After hooking up Tom’s hook we steamed back to Able Point at 15kts and rafted up in the duck pond where I proceeded to drop them off at the public boat ramp.

“A little unexpected” again raised its head as someone had placed a poly boat on the dock and left. We eventually moved the obstruction out of the way and docked the lads on the jetty, a good hour and a half’s work thanks to the crew.

Time on job: 1½ hours


Activation 29/11/16

Skipper: Fin Forbes

Senior Crew: Ray Lewis

Crew: Roger Wodson & Norbert Gross

Task:  Tow – Funnel Bay

Bill, our 24/7 Phone Holder, rang at 1230 looking to put together a crew.

The crew had us leaving APM at 1305, on this beautiful Whitsunday afternoon. We arrived at the 35 ft cabin cruiser at 1320 and had it in tow within 5 minutes.

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We put it alongside VMR1 just inside the Marina in lovely calm conditions and Ray maneuvered it into its tricky pen at the inside end of T arm.

We did not need to wash down or even refuel so we were safely back in our pen at 1430.

Time on job: 1½ hours


Activation 30/11/16

Skipper: Geoff Smith

Crew:  Greg Walker, Dewi Hughes & Bob Mansfield

Task:  Escort, potential Tow – Cape Gloucester

Got the call from Bill on the 28th for an activation on the 30th.

The owner of a 45ft boat was having intermittent problems with the twin diesels and didn’t want to chance the Gloucester Passage with a potential engine failure.  They were safely anchored off the Eco Resort and had plenty to eat and drink, so we could go and get them when it suited us.  Early Wednesday the 30th looked good, little wind predicted and a flooding tide if we had to tow.

We were all on board by 0600, checks done and on our way in perfect conditions.

At 0645 near Edwin Rock Dewi spotted something odd to our port.  Everyone had a different idea of what it was; I thought it was a fish trap.

On approach it proved to be a 3m Stacer tinny, half full of water, with a small outboard on the back.  The bow fitting was broken, possibly how it had been tied onto something, and even though there was a newish reef anchor on board, no chain or rope.  There was a newish inflatable lifejacket floating around as well.  All very puzzling.

No bow fitting and no trailer pulling point so Tom’s Hook was used on the front apron and off to the eastern beach on Grassy Island to anchor it before going back to our original mission at 0715.

En route to Gloucester we called Bill, who did the chasing round for us, and we were asked to collect the tinny on the way back if we could.

No more dramas and we arrived off the Eco Resort just after 0800. Paperwork done and after tying alongside the motor boat we left, heading back along the passage.  At the eastern end of the passage the boat dropped our lines and carried on on its own with us as escort.

South of George Point we went ahead to get the tinny sorted.  After rigging a bridle from the front thwart we went out to meet the rescuee who was still doing a steady 10 knots towards APM.

At APM we tied the tinny alongside and followed the rescuee to their pen.  No hint of the intermittent problem all the way home.  Then off to the Police dock at 1045 to drop off the tinny, then to the fuel dock to refuel, then back to our pen by 1130.

Time on job: 5½ hours


Activation 30/11/16

Skipper: Fin Forbes

Senior Crew: Rod Wilson

Crew: Lance Robins

Task:  Tow – Pioneer Rocks

I got a call from Bill Harrison at 1300 on a perfect Whitsunday fishing day;  he was looking for a crew to help a VMRW member.

We left APM at 1330, found the 25 ft power boat and were towing him back to the Whitsunday Sailing Club by 1350.

We rafted alongside when we got just outside the rock wall and did the necessary paper work – and also got him organised to be dropped off at the Sailing Club pontoons.

Our only minor problem was going to be the depth of water in there.  The Sailing Club ‘boys’ were getting ready for their Wednesday afternoon twilight sailing – but were still observant enough to notice our tow would probably need a little help (as he was by himself) and promptly came down to render any assistance if needed – thank you guys –boaties helping boaties.

We had him dropped off at 1420 and we were back in our pen by 1430.

Time on job: 1 hour


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