This is a tale of two halves.
The sailor and the non-sailor. Both loving boating… and both enjoying time on the water together.
I met Al and Sue McIver on their Hanse 325 ‘Windemere’ just before they went out for a couple of days on Pittwater. I asked them how they’d found the first few months on their new yacht.
‘I began sailing 15 years ago.’ says Al smiling ‘Initially I was a crew in the twilights on a Triton 24. But once I’d got the hang of it my competitive spirit came out! I bought exactly the same boat as my old helm and set about learning how to beat him over the line.
I got there in the end! It was a great way to learn to sail. Then we had a Northshore 31 for 7 years. She was lovely and we enjoyed some wonderful times in her, but last year we decided it was time to upgrade.’
I can’t wait to the sail her down to Sydney Harbour and test her out in the twilights on the Lane Cove River.
Also this is the first time I’ve had a wheel – it’s taken me a little getting used to but I love it.
The centrally mounted mainsheet is easy to dump – as Sue is not really a sailor I need the mainsheet available easily to me on the helm – and this arrangement works really well.
The 325 is also really easy to park – she’s really responsive in reverse.
I was nervous the first time I parked in the marina here at Bayview, especially as there were lots of people watching… but it was breeze! Then there’s just little things like the big, strong metal handles on the coach roof. These are great to grab onto when you go forwards in a swell.
On other yachts we looked at the grab rails were small wooden affairs you could barely get your fingers under.
For me the appeal of no wood on deck is fantastic. I can just hose her off – there’s no maintenance to worry about. The walk on stern was another huge factor for us…
We are on a mooring on Sydney Harbour and we need to get onto the boat from our dinghy… and we’re not getting any younger!’
‘We just wanted a bit more luxury. Our Hanse 325 just gives us a bit more space than our old Northshore. I love the interior… to me it looks Danish… with smooth lines and everything neat and tidy. You need ventilation on a yacht so the opening hatches are essential to me, especially in summer.
Compared to our old yacht, we’ve now got a bigger bathroom that’s well laid out and easy to clean.
And I love the headlining it’s not vinyl like in our old yacht but a smooth finish which is incredibly easy to clean and won’t go mouldy.
I’m not really a sailor. I don’t like a swell and I have no interest in trips outside the heads.
I go boating for the relaxation and closeness to nature. With the self-tacking headsail I don’t have to do much – I can just sit back and relax. It’s funny though… I never took the tiller in the Northshore but I love the wheel steering on the Hanse 325… I keep finding myself on the wheel having a go!’
‘We like head up the river and poke around bays looking at boats and this is easy in a small yacht.
We stop in quiet corners for lunch and read our books.
We also meet our friends with their boats. We usually have the smallest yacht – but there’s still 8 spots in the cockpit for drinks.
We’re planning some holidays – I reckon we can fit 3 weeks food on board no problem. 32 foot is perfect for us. It’s just a bit bigger than our Northshore but still cheap to maintain. To be honest I just love it… I’m so glad we didn’t go bigger.
Al was quick to talk about Team Windcraft. ‘I feel we have to mention the after-sales care. Everyone here at Bayview is always friendly and pleased to see us. We’re used to sailing on the Sydney Harbour and down there we have to almost beg to get things done.
But here we e-mail Windcraft’s service department to ask for something to be done… and they e-mail us back and say they’ve done it! We can’t believe it! We haven’t always been the easiest of customers… But the sales process was also quite something.
Mary’s honest and straightforward approach and attention to detail was outstanding. She wasn’t pushy and she worked with us to find the us perfect yacht.’ Al has promised to let me know how he gets on in the twilights… I can’t wait to hear whether the Hanse 325 helps him beat his old rivals.