How Lindsay Went To See The Sea

Hi, I’m Lindsay Turvey and I’m a Mariner. I’ve always had a job that was associated with the sea and I’ve got a few bits of paper to prove I have some knowledge of the sea. I’m an ocean yacht master, a commercial skipper, I’ve got some basic engineering qualifications and various add on courses like GMDSS, RADAR, etc.

So what’s this video all about?

Well for a start I’m creating the video, then I’m going to give you some insight into my background and try and keep that as short as I can. There’s a lot to tell you and I could get a little carried away, but we’ll try and keep that short. I also want to tell you a little bit about where I hope to go in the future with this site - toseethesee.com.

So why create toseethesea.com?

It’s to share the knowledge and experience of those who’ve gone to sea - share their stories. I’ll do that through podcasts. I want to create something useful for those that want to live a large part of their life on the sea, and I’ll do that through blog posts - teaching what I know, sharing my knowledge.

I want to help people avoid the mistakes that stop thousands of vessels putting to sea, trapped and unused in marinas. It’s a worldwide problem. You just have to look around some of the marinas and see the boats that are deteriorating - that aren’t used. Broken dreams, people that had big plans to get out there, got a little taste of it, but then got sucked back into society and couldn’t escape the job trap.

I’m going to take you back in time and tell you a bit about my story, just to help you get to know me a little.

I was always mad keen on boats, and you can see in the picture there I was easy to buy for at Christmas time. I was happiest surrounded with boats and what do you think about the cool 1960’s haircut.

Our family holidays were at Blue Heron Beach Camp. Remember that name - Blue Heron, it comes up again later on in this presentation.

Blue Heron beach camp was on Whangarei Harbour, New Zealand which is in the south pacific ocean.

We learnt by playing, learning the basics in modest boats - rowing, fishing, splashing about mostly, using them as diving platforms, filling them up with water, bailing them out, anchoring them - hours and hours of fun.

I also learnt some basics of sailing through the Whangarei cruising club. My parents bought me a little P Class yacht. I always had trouble getting back in because I had an oversized life jacket - all the buoyancy was in the front. We changed that later for a sailing vest which helped me get a lot better. I was capsized, I was dismasted. It was a steep learning curve.

When I was 11, I was old enough to join sea cadets. I sold the P Class and I started learning the basics through more formal training. I was there for seven years, learning seamanship and leadership, developing good sea sense, and I also learnt the secret to learning seaman’s knots from Warrant Officer Whanga. He taught me how to learn knots, not just how to tie them and I’ll share that with you at some stage in the future.

Towards the end of my time with the sea cadets, my parents nominated me for a berth on a youth training ship Spirit of Adventure. What I remember most about the trip was the cold morning swims, the rough sea, Bowsprit lookout where the bow was pitching up and down so much my feet were touching the water from time to time and the guy beside me was incredibly seasick, so I looked out over his sector as well. At night the watch systems and navigation skills were a good introduction for later on in life.

In May 1980 I joined the Royal New Zealand Navy - best small nation Navy in the world - google it. Their values were courage, commitment and comradeship. I joined the hydrography branch making navigation charts. The seamanship component of that branch was huge, even more so than some of the other ships. I developed really good sea sense and boat handling skills.

We surveyed high and low latitudes. Surveying five degrees south of the equator with Funafuti Atol and as far down as the Auckland Islands and Campbell Islands in the screaming 50’s.

We experienced our fair share of storms in the Tasman Sea crossing with Ingrid the polar bear below decks. It turns out polar bears like flying fish. We had plenty of flying fish lying on deck in the mornings, the guys would collect them up and feed them to Ingrid.

We got caught in the Cook Strait - a notorious piece of water between the North and South Island in New Zealand with a cold frontal system.

In 1994 we played a big part in the South Pacific rescue - the storm north of New Zealand that affected a large group of cruising yachts heading north for the winter months. The seas were 11 metres high it was incredible to watch how this yacht performed in these massive seas.

We battled force 12 winds on Cook Strait. Working on the top deck with the rain pelting into your face like you were riding a motorbike at speed, was quite an experience. We lost one of the survey motor boats over the side. Managed to save Peloris on the port side there. We saw the damage that the sea can deal out to anything that’s of substandard design. The rigging is what gave way on the gripes. That was quite incredible to watch this boat smashing itself in against the davits.

When I wasn’t at sea surveying, I’d be out on other boats. Any boat. Any time. So here’s some of them.

Navy Whalers - this photo’s about one of my crew navigating as we sail the hundred miles from Auckland to the Bay of Islands. On the way up, we’d have social rowing races against the locals at Tutukaka and the Navy Crown sailing venues. We were often out in those in the weekends.

Navy Bosuns and the 14 Footers - They sort of died away over the years, but they were pretty old even then.

I bought a New Zealand Moth which is a very flat bottomed boat, and sailed it across to Waiheke Island.

I got a Laser dinghy which was fast and tippy and exhilarating. I used to push the limits in that sailing up Auckland harbour The Waitemata harbour, and racing some of the Wednesday night fleets down with a stiff south-westerly. I learnt about balancing while planing, how the steering and the control of the main sail really help you stay upright. When I got it wrong, it was pretty spectacular.

I got a little family boat - Captain’s Gig. I used to do day sails and explore up rivers.

I did quite a bit of club racing. I went out in Tyros which was a ballasted mallet boat, and that’s where I learnt about extreme weather helm and needed quite a bit of strength to keep the thing sailing downwind and on track.

We did some more club racing with Jimmie Tweedie - a Ross 780. Fantastic little boat. Very fast and very lively. Had a lot of fun in that.

Later on I sold Jimmie Tweedie and purchased Pacemaker which is a Pacific 38 made by Alan Smith in my hometown Whangarei. Excellent sea boats. Point really well to windward and that’s where I learnt a few skills about sailing well to windward and getting the advantage on other boats.

I did a bit of team racing in Elliott 5.9 at Kawau Islands. Great little boats. I remember getting a pretty sore arse stacking out on those though.

I cruised the Hauraki Gulf with my friend Jane on her lovely Ron Holland design out around Great Barrier Island. I remember we went through this massive school of king fish. Had plenty to eat that night.

And of course, the Charter Boat Tania which was a Carpenter 29. A weekend away, I proposed to my wife. Sunset, walks along the beach, cheese board, champagne - how could she say no.

I also got to sail the Australian Navy sail training craft 660 nautical miles in a passage from Sydney to Bundaberg with a few stops along the way. Their boats were a Kim Swarbrick design. Pretty lively and I had a lot of fun on that trip.

I did some more club racing with Chubasco which is a Chico 30. Fantastic little boat again. We did the two handed series including a 1260 nautical mile around the north island race.

I’d been in the Navy eight years and I was getting itchy feet. I wanted to leave but my chief advised me that there was this option of taking a year's leave without pay. I managed to get a berth on a Lidgard 37 - Katie II. We sailed from New Zealand to Tahiti, to Hawaii and then on to Victoria, Canada. 9000 nautical miles as the crow flies. Five months on board and that was a great experience. I didn’t realise half the lessons that I was learning until much later on in life.

One of the most enjoyable ocean passages I did was a delivery of Lion NZ, which is Sir Peter Black’s Whitbread Maxi. We sailed from Fiji to Vanuatu, and then to Mackay - 1635 nautical miles. What a brilliant sail.

After I sailed to Canada I was pretty sick of sailing for the first time in my life. I spent some time with friends in Calgary, then stayed with my cousin in Seattle and decided to buy a car and travel around America in search of superyachts on the east coast. I drove across the top and I did the tourist thing. I looked at Yellowstone Park and went up to the Great Lakes, up to Toronto, out to Cape Cod, touched the Atlantic and went down the coast. All the time I was talking to people that knew a little bit about the superyacht industry and I started to think twice about it. There weren’t too many people that were happy in the industry. They didn’t like the transit lifestyle - the fact that they could be heading off with a day's notice to some other country. I wondered if maybe that was in fact the life for me.

I drove across the bottom and got working making yacht masts in Los Angeles before flying out when my Visa ran out. That was a great experience and a big turning point in my life. I had to make a decision to stay in the Navy, or go.

After much thought I went back into the Navy and while I was away, they’d been working on building four new sail training craft. For the next five years, I started working towards getting the best job in the Navy.

During this time, having worked out a plan while I was away, I started getting together a crew as well. Meet my wife Lynley, Hamish and Kate.

We started training the crew early. As early as possible. We hired boats - in this case we were on the Farr 1020 and it’s always good to learn how to row as young as possible. You can see Hamish in a boat that we were given by a good friend.

After five years I finally got the job in 1995 of the Navy Sailing Master and I kept that job right through until 2007. It was always good to see young people coming out to sea for the first time. Some of the people that joined the Navy had never been to sea. They’d come off farms and it was our job to get them better seasense and help them learn to work ropes under load. We taught traditional and modern navigation skills, often sailing through the night.

For the next twelve years of my Navy career I was teaching sailing, racing, navigation and helping develop seasense within those that were in the defence force. We did some fairly major adventurous training expeditions. One of them was from Hobart, Australia to Wellington, New Zealand after the Sydney to Hobart race - which another crew did.

We did adventurous training around New Zealand and it was pretty amazing conditions. I remember in Foveaux Strait, the crew was battling hale storms and headwinds as we tried to get from Stuart Island around into the Sounds. It was a wild and windy night that night, but it was worth it. Here we are in Milford Sound and Mitre Peak in the background.

We also sailed up to Fiji. That was an interesting trip. We had a very short turnaround, we had headwinds both all the way up there and all the way back. A new crew sailing back.

One of the things that I really enjoyed was racing the Chico 40’s, because they were identical boats it was a good test of our own skills. The coastal classic yacht race was an annual event that we often participated in. It was a race within a race, because an old salt had presented a cup many years ago called the Conthode Trophy, and we would race for that while we were racing up the coast in the coastal classic yacht race.

One of the sweetest victories I had was beating the guys with an all women's team. The women did all the work and I was only on board because we didn’t have any qualified skippers. I was allowed to give verbal advice, but I wasn’t allowed to touch anything to assist with the operation of the boat. We had a few set backs on the way up and the guys got ahead of us. Girls struggled to get a sail in at once stage - one of the big sails as the wind got up, but we gradually clawed them back and in the last few tacks as we approached the Russell finish line, the girls managed to stealthily overtake the guys. It was a beautiful victory made all the sweeter by the fact that the guys didn’t even realise we’d passed them on a dark moonless night.

During my time as Sailing Master, New Zealand won the America's Cup off the Americans. Only the second country to have ever managed to do that. They were building up for the defence of the cup towards the end of 1999. There was no way I was going to miss out on the action here so I mustered together all the leave that I could - my resettlement leave, my long service leave, my annual leave and a little bit of leave without pay, and managed to get six months. Of which time I was able to get a job as skipper of Corporate Club. We were right in the thick of it all down the Viaduct Basin in downtown Auckland and I just absolutely loved it. Manoeuvring this 1.5 million dollar yacht in and out of multi-million dollar yachts that were all heading out to the racecourse - thousands of boats out on the racecourse on a daily basis during the Louis Vuitton challenge to work out who was going to race New Zealand for the America's Cup. It was made all the sweeter by the fact that we were the first country to successfully defend the America's Cup and managed to have another bite of the apple. What a fantastic time as skipper of Corporate Club.

After the America's Cup was done and dusted we started looking seriously for our boat. We’d been looking for some time and working up the crew. We were always going to buy a boat to go and live on and cruise. When I saw Blue Heron, which is the name of the beach camp that we used to go as kids, I flew down to Christchurch and had a look at it. Fell in love with her and ignored all the things that I could see that were wrong with it. We changed and fixed things before moving aboard, having sailed around the coast a little bit of New Zealand and checking things out - working out what we didn’t like. I got very good experience in time versus money maintenance and improvements. It’s always a catch-22 whether you do the work yourself, or pay someone to do it. Either way it’s either going to take you time to earn the money, or time to do the maintenance yourself at a lower cost. I can help you with working out some of those issues in trying to find the best way for yourselves to get out there and go cruising.

Here we are before the refit with that, “new boat” feeling. Happiness is a boat to call your own until the work starts. Here we are removing the teak deck and replacing it. It looked beautiful when we finished and all the secrets that she had revealed to us at the previous few years we dealt with and here it is looking shiny and new as it came out of Kevin Johnson’s boatyard. The teak decks were removed, fibreglass and plywood were replaced and a two pot non-skid covering over the top. The guys did a really good job.

We also rewired everything on the boat. Replaced all the instruments, upgraded everything. The wiring that was on there was dangerous. DC wiring can cause fires if it’s not up to scratch so we replaced the whole lot. It’s incredible how much wire you can fit into a 13 metre yacht. There was over 300 metres of 2mm wire, not to mention the bigger stuff.

One of the things that’s really important when you go offshore cruising is to have a good tender. I couldn’t find a decent tender looking through what was already out there, so I decided to build one. I came across the design from a cruising couple from BandB Yacht Designs. I chose the Spindrift 11N because it was about the right size to fit on our 40, and here you can see us ceremoniously cutting the dinghy in half so it only took up 6 foot on deck.

There it is rested on deck ready for offshore cruising. We had hours of fun in this dinghy. The kids learnt to row some more. Had a very good social life in it as well, collecting other kids from around the marina when we were living on board. Kate’s learning to row off Kawau Island there, and Mum and Kate are rowing while we were doing a cruising.

The design is really good, you can see it here. Planning with just a two horsepower motor. It also made a good sailing boat. I put a Laser sailing rig in it.

Felt like I needed a change so I left the Navy in 2007 and got a job as Ferry Master at Fullers Auckland. What a breath of fresh air. I loved that job. Learning new skills as master of these seven quite different vessels.

The first one was Tiger Cat. A really well balanced vessel and handled well in storm conditions on one windy night.

Then there was Harbour Cat - the budget vessel of the fleet. It’s had a refit since then so it’s probably a lot better, but it was always noisy and rattly.

Then there was Seaflyte - slightly underpowered and it was quite hilarious having to get passengers to stand up on the bow in order to get up on the plane when we had a full load coming out of Half Moon Bay.

One of the older boats was Quickcat II - quite heavy and short in the water line. It always kicked up a big wake, so you had to be careful what speed you traveled around wharfs and marinas.

Wanderer was one of the newer boats that arrived while I was there. It was an interesting boat. It had an unusual fuel system and you had to be very careful not to run out of fuel as I did in one occasion as I was pulling into the fuel berth - lost one engine.

Her bigger sister Adventurer was an awesome boat for doing harbour cruises and commentary around Auckland the Waitemata Harbour. I really enjoyed that boat.

But my favourite was Starflyte - 32 metres long, a thousand kilowatts each side and very versatile. You could put that in any berth, any destination that we had to go to. It was a great boat to drive.

After the refit on Blue Heron we moved onboard and we cruised the north east coast of New Zealand over holidays. Created a lot of memories like a Christmas cruise with the Devonport yacht club where there was a lot of sports events including dinghy racing where I proved that I’d made the right choice in a dinghy for Blue Heron.

Our social life improved when we were cruising, especially the kids. We explored all the local islands around the Hauraki Gulf, and here we are at Great Mercury Islands.

We got to know the boat a bit better, testing its limits including a race - entering it in the Coastal Classic yacht race doing pretty well.

In 2008 we departed New Zealand on Blue Heron, for Fiji. We’d lived aboard for four years at this point and it was just time to go. The kids were growing up fast and it felt like now or never. We waved goodbye to our friends, family and tenants who snapped this photo of us as we were leaving Whangarei Harbour, and then cleared customs.

Cruising life has got a lot of treats and some of the things that I remember is Hamish doing the lookout duties at sunrise at sea, as we got closer to Fiji and finding flying fish on the deck and showing the kids.

Once we got to our destination shopping in our destination was always fun, and playing on tropical beaches, chilling out in the pool at various resorts.

This is our trip - we went from New Zealand to Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Bundaberg then down to Brisbane. When we arrived in Australia we were greeted by summer storms. I snapped that wicked photograph of lightning to the south of Mooloolaba as we were sitting in the pond.

The Christmas Parade was quite a sight at Mooloolaba. Really enjoyable.

We needed to earn some money so Lynley started teaching and I did a 1100 nautical mile yacht delivery to Hobart, Tasmania on “Ayoung” - an Endurance 38. I also tried internet marketing and failed, then got a job.

In June 2010 I started work as engineer on vehicle ferries, starting off on Quandamooka, then learning Minjerribah and later on Seabreeze, then there was Moongalba, Stradbroke Venture, Morton Escape and Lakarma.

So there it is - some insight into my life and boats I’ve crewed and skippered over the years. A lot of the skills that I learnt on those boats were transferable onto other boats. It’s been a great life and the kids are now at the point where they’re leaving home. Hamish has started his career in the superyacht industry and is currently on a 60 metre yacht going through Panama Canal, and my daughter is at University soaking up knowledge - who knows where that will lead.

That raises the question, where to from here?

You see, I’ve got this deep down feeling that I haven’t peaked yet. I want to start creating something useful for others. I’m going to do this by blogging - sharing my knowledge, and podcasting - sharing the knowledge of others because my little take on the world isn’t going to be nearly enough. There’s a huge amount of people that are successfully out there sailing and enjoying a life less ordinary. By interviewing them and sharing them on my podcast, hopefully it’ll inspire you to get out there and get the most out of life.

The world’s changing fast and change is good, but you have to adapt to what you can’t control and take advantage of the opportunities that change brings. The internet is one of those changes. We’re only just starting to realise its full potential. If you think I may be able to help you get to where you are heading, follow me here at www.toseethesea.com, be sure to interact with any of the social media pages that I’ve set up, and also on the comments or contact me forms on toseethesea.com. Let’s see if we can make something great together.

I need to know what you want so give me plenty of feedback and I’ll try and answer your questions in as best you can.

Thanks very much for watching through to the end. Bits of it might have been a bit boring, but there it is. That’s my life.

Thank you very much and we’ll see you at toseethesea.com.

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