In 2016, John and Sue set off from the Caribbean on their 62-foot sloop, Marilyn, to sail across the Pacific Ocean.
They were in no hurry to complete their journey preferring to take their time to really experience destinations along the way. After cruising across the Pacific, they found themselves in Australia and Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard (GCCM) specifically. Yet the journey there was greater than the sum of the parts.
John is a native Californian who spent much of his life on the country’s east coast. Boating was a significant part of his life, sailing and helping his dad build a boat in the driveway of their home. Marilyn, is John’s third boat, coming into his life 20 years ago. Originally designed and built by the Lazzara family, he found her abandoned in a boat yard in Florida. She repaid his next four years of methodically and lovingly making her into his perfect boat with many adventurous trips down the US east coast and cruising the Caribbean.
In Bonaire, a tiny island off the coast of Venezuela he met Sue, an Australian with very little sailing experience. After two laps of the Caribbean, and with a little subtle convincing, she committed to a passage across the Pacific Ocean with John. The seemingly long trip was made up of short passages between destinations in the Dutch Antilles, Colombia and Panama and the 22-day sail from the Galapagos to French Polynesia. It was in Tahiti where a chance meeting with Trenton Gay would eventually see John, Sue and Marilyn at GCCM.
“We met Trenton at the Pacific Puddle Jump Rendezvous and got on really well. He mentioned he was involved in a marina and shipyard facility on the Gold Coast of Australia. We were intent on cruising the South Pacific but kept it in the back of our minds,” explained John.
Sue and John spent months island hopping and thoroughly enjoying the easy cruising and the South Pacific culture.
When asked their favourite destination, Sue explained, “It is hard to pick a favourite as each island and nation has some different and delightful to offer and discover. It is easy cruising and we were loving it. Like all of our cruising friends, we were mindful of the approaching cyclone season and the backlog of boat maintenance. We weren’t up for the cold weather in NZ, and headed for Australia. We took Trent at his word and decided GCCM would be a good place to work on the boat.”
In 2017, Marilyn sailed into GCCM. Over the last three years, the yacht has been lifted three times. The first time was for some hardstand storage as John and Sue had some time ashore. The second was to complete a fairly major refit including a full hull repaint, work to the rigging, and replacing the teak decking.
“We were conscious of our budget and were keen to do as much as we could ourselves. The GCCM team was so accommodating, helpful and supportive of allowing us to do this. The yard guys are great. We could easily find everything we needed. It was so easy to get things done. It seems like anytime we need something or some assistance, the solutions appear,” offered John.
With a freshly refitted boat, Sue and John set off north up the Queensland coast reaching Townsville before health issues saw them return ‘home’ to south east Queensland.
“Cruising the Queensland coast is very different to the South Pacific and the Caribbean. The coastline is magnificent and challenging. The stretches between destinations are longer. We had to return for health reasons but now we are keen to head off again and wanted to lift the boat for antifouling,” said Sue.
It was clear when the boat was lifted the antifoul paint was holding up really well and didn’t need to be reapplied. Operations Manager, Travis Slatter explained, “John and Sue have been great clients of GCCM. After a wash, it was evident their boat didn’t need to be stood on the yard so we left it in the slings overnight allowing them to change the zincs and complete a minor job to the prop before putting her safely back the following morning. It saved them time and money.”
“We were so appreciative. Great outcome for us. Once again the yard team showed us they really have our best interest in mind. It felt like someone just gave us a week of our life back!” said Sue.
Now John and Sue are looking forward to the next leg of their journey. When quizzed on their next destination, they say south. Maybe a little north, then south. Perhaps Tasmania. They say they are in no hurry to be in any particular destination. And who would be when your boat is this beautiful?