‘Prime Mover’ begins her epic journey around Australia

‘Prime Mover’ begins her epic journey around Australia

Leg One: Martha Cove, Victoria to Hobart, Tasmania and return to Martha Cove.

Andrew Luxton always wanted to do something significant in his 50th year of life and after listening to veteran seafarer and Riviera owner Ian Reynolds speak about his journey around Australia, Andrew was inspired to do the same.

At the age of 79, Ian Reynolds circumnavigated anti-clockwise around Australia, a distance of some 9,000 nautical miles in his 56 Enclosed Flybridge.  Andrew followed Ian’s journey through articles published in Riviera’s magazine and enews and he attended a presentation at the Sandringham Yacht Club, in which Ian spoke about his adventure.

Circumnavigating around Australia in a large boat is something that Andrew has always wanted to do and after spending a lifetime around boats, he felt confident in himself as a skipper and with the robust and solid build of his Riviera 51 Enclosed Flybridge.

“My parents are my mentors because I have spent so much time on boats as a kid and I love the adventure,” he said.

“My father was the driving force behind me buying a boat, although he would have preferred me to have bought a yacht, but it is too hard to enjoy a beer when the boat is under sail.”

Andrew previously owned a Riviera 38 and had undertaken many blue water voyages in that boat, including her maiden voyage from the Riviera factory in Coomera to Hamilton Island where he spent three months before travelling home to Melbourne.  He has also enjoyed several trips to Flinders Island, Deal Island, King Island, Wilson’s Promontory, and circumnavigated Tasmania.  So when he bought his 51 in 2012 he was confident in the boat’s performance and comfort.

“The boat is well equipped with a night vision radar and I added another satellite dome for the telephone and internet.  I spent some time before the journey making sure everything was right mechanically even though I keep the boat in pristine order.

“When you go across the top and bottom of Australia it is important to keep track of your fuel mileage.  Fuel management will be really important during these crossings because it’s a long way between fuel stops.

“I was hoping to get some tips from Ian about travelling around Australia and through the Kimberleys because I know in some parts we will have to rely on fuel bladders, but I plan to take it slow through this part of the journey and enjoy the scenery.”

Martha Cove to Hobart

Crew Melbourne to Strahan: Andrew and Jayne Luxton, Paul and Lachie Stuart, Simon Barker, Emily Sweet, Simon and Cheryl Kelly.

Crew Strahan to Hobart: Andrew Luxton, Paul Stuart, and Simon Kelly

Fully prepared and excited about embarking on one of life’s most challenging and rewarding adventures, Andrew and his wife Jayne, along with their crew consisting of Emily Sweet, Simon Barker, Paul and Lachie Stuart, departed Martha Cove in Victoria at 4.45am on Boxing Day 2013 bound for Three Hummock Island, some 150 nautical miles away and located just off the coast of North West Tasmania.

“After a safe crossing of Bass Strait we spent the afternoon at Coulomb Bay on Three Hummock Island where I caught my first fish, a large pike.  We anchored for the night in Shepherd’s Bay on Hunter Island and enjoyed a barbecue dinner,” Andrew said.

“On day two we explored the north east corner of Three Hummock Island at Cape Rochon and anchored in Telegraph Bay for the night, but after an uncomfortable north easterly change, we decided to up anchor and move to Chimney Corner which is on the south west side of Three Hummock Island.  We spent the day ashore before moving to Cave Bay for the night to shelter from the strong west south west winds.”

The crew spent the next few days exploring the region and enjoying the stunning scenery before embarking on their next destination, Macquarrie Harbour and into Birchs Inlet, where they celebrated New Year’s Eve on day seven with two more crew, Simon and Cheryl Kelly.  Andrew said they had this beautiful anchorage to themselves and toasted in the New Year with a glass of Moet.

“After a slow start to New Year’s Day we moved off at 11am for the very scenic four hour trip up the Gordon River where we tied up to some pylons and deployed our tender ‘Mini Mover’ as we explored this magnificent river through the rapids and along the Franklin River to the view amazing rugged terrain in cold rainy conditions,” he said.

The next part of the journey to Port Davey included overnight anchorages at Eve Point on Day 10 where they encountered 45-knot winds, which forced them to shelter before travelling around to Clayton’s corner on Day 11, and then on to Schooner Bay.  Days 13 through to 18 included stop overs at Cockle Creek and Recherche Bay where they spotted some seals and dolphins, anchorage at Partridge Island for a spot of fishing, and a scenic trip down the Huon River with a breakfast stop at Cairns Bay.

The 34-day journey around the southern tip of Australia took them to some of the most beautiful and pristine anchorages including, Maria Island, Schouten Island, Wineglass Bay, Deal Island, Wilson’s Promontory and Refuge Cove.

They took time out to visit some of Tasmania’s iconic locations, such as Port Arthur and the MONA Gallery. The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is the largest privately funded museum in Australia and is home to a collection of over 400 artistic works, including Sidney Nolan’s Snake.

Hobart to Martha Cove via Flinders Island, Deal Island and Wilson’s Promontory

Crew: Andrew Luxton, Andrew’s sister Katrina and her children Bronte and Spencer (who departed the boat at Flinders Island), Mark and Janine Slocombe (who also own a Riviera 51 G2).

Andrew said Port Arthur was better than he remembered as a child in 1978 and he could have spent the whole day there.  After exploring Port Arthur, it was back on board for the journey to Maria Island.  They hugged the coast between Cape Pillar and Tasman Island up to Maria Island where they spent the next couple of days enjoying the scenery and fishing before heading on to Schouten Island.

“There was a bit of swell and lots of dolphins were spotted along the way,” Andrew said.

“It was a sight to behold with babies jumping out of the water alongside their mothers.”

The crew took a detour via lle des phoques (White Rock) where they witnessed a large colony of seals and shag birds before anchoring at Morey Bay, Schouten Island.

“We headed up Bear Hill, which is an amazing climb through shrubs and then a scrabble across granite face with only orange markers tied to trees.  Stunning views across to Freycinet and down on to Schouten and then an even trickier climb back down.  Well worth the effort and a great day.”

The next day was met with very calm sea conditions and an 11 nautical mile journey to Wineglass Bay for the night and then on to Clarke Island where they anchored in Rebecca Bay, some 100 nautical miles north of Wineglass Bay.  After a rough night in Rebecca Bay they headed to Trouser Point but the windy conditions forced them into the safety of Lady Barron Wharf for the night where they refueled ready for their final six day run back to Melbourne via Deal Island and Wilson’s Promontory.  While at Lady Barron, Andrew and Katrina caught up with old family friends James and Lindsay Luddington who run Flinders Island Adventures.  James took them on an amazing car tour and provided a very informed history about Flinders Island.

“We took a detour past the wreck ‘Farsund’, which was wrecked off Vansittart Island in 1912 on a trip from Argentina to Sydney.  The wreck was a lot more intact than expected,” Andrew said.

“We stopped at Killiecrankie Bay where Mini Mover was deployed so we could explore the area ashore.

 “We visited the old shack belonging to the Stackhouse family where our family stayed at in 1975. It was my sister, Katrina’s first visit in 38 years.  We even got a tour by the family that now owns the renovated hut, bringing back many fond memories.

“Killiecrankie has changed a lot in this time with the Stackhouse land being subdivided and many houses built and mains power to all houses.  We looked up Allan Wheatley who we had not seen since 1975 and who is the official ‘go to man’ in Killiecrakie Bay.  Allan joined us for a couple of drinks and few good stories on the people in the area”

On day 30 they departed Flinders Island for a quick run to Deal Island where they stayed for two nights.  Katrina, Mark and Janine enjoyed a trail walk through an old airplane strip and sheoak trees with lovely views of the coastline.

On day 32, they celebrated Australia Day with another adventure on Deal Island, this time exploring the lighthouse and WWII plane wreckage.

“The next stop was Squally Cove where the shipwreck Karitane still sits.  It was a very rocky cove but picturesque, as is all of Deal Island, and while it was time to say goodbye we decided to do the short hop to Wilson’s Promenade and Refuge Cove for the night.

“What a wonderful start to the day – the sun was shining, the water was so blue and there was not a cloud in the sky.  Refuge Cove is such a beautiful place and it just happened to be Janine’s birthday so I couldn’t have picked a prettier place to anchor.”

After enjoying a walk up to the lookouts, everyone enjoyed a swim back in the bay where they encountered a huge 1.5 metre wide stingray.

“The water was so clear we could see him swimming around the bay all day.”

That evening they enjoyed a three-course meal onboard to celebrate Janine’s birthday and prepared for the trip home to Martha Cove.  At 5am they departed Refuge Cove to beat the south-westerly change that was coming in and enjoyed a smooth ride home where Prime Mover was prepared for the next leg of the voyage from Martha Cove to Cairns, which we will follow in the next Edition of R Experience.

Just prior to publication, Andrew made a mercy dash to Cairns for a forced evacuation of all boats from the marina before Cyclone Ita hit the coast.  Previously classed as a category-five cyclone, Ita was downgraded to a category one as she travelled inland bringing winds of up to 230km/h and leaving a path of destruction in her wake.  Fortunately for Andrew and Prime Mover, tropical cyclone Ita had weakened by the time she reached Cairns with wind gusts of 90km/h and 400mm of rain pounded the popular tourist destination.

R Experience will follow the progress of Andrew and Jayne Luxton and the crew of Prime Mover as their adventure unfolds during their circumnavigation of Australia.