The Smithers Noelex

Most of my emails make me smile - some make me really happy - spread the lurve

Hi Dylan. Loving your latest posts, you are as busy on the keyboard as you are with your boats. May I take a few of moments of your time to read this.
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In my teens my brother and I did fortnight long horse rides through the Barrington tops area north of the Hunter Valley in NSW. Just us with 2 horses and all we needed for 2 weeks in beautiful mountains. I have always said they were some of the best times I have ever had. No doubt you understand this well. I have now had a similarly worthwhile experience.
I sailed 3 times as a kid on Sydney harbour, once on a laser like thing, once in a dingy and once on an old fellows 30 foot wooden yacht That's it!. Never had the opportunity after that ,as I lived in the mountains ,and knew nobody who had anything to do with boats. Life took me in other directions. BUT I never forgot that amazing feeling of when the sails take the strain of the wind, and the boat begins to move. That feeling is still what I love about sail boats.
Over the years I read many books, all the well known circumnavigators, and the like, and always dreamed of sailing again, but the odds of that looked slim.
Time went by and now I am 52.
A few years ago I was able to retire due to a change in our circumstances, and my mind swung back towards boats. The internet is an amazing thing, and during my rather constant and obsessive research I read and watched everything I could find, including your wonderful journey with boatsl. I have basically done 3 years intensive study of sailing, and even did some expensive sailing courses. I know your thoughts on sailing lessons but we did not have the benefit of many years of associating with boating people that you have.
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Anyway the time came to either act of this gnawing desire, or abandon it as a silly dream. At age 52 and with a dodgy back it was now or never. So last year I took the plunge and bought a 25 foot Trailer sailer - an Australian made Noelex 25. After all whats the worst that could happen.? It was a huge leap both financially and commitment to a hobby I was new to.
Fast forward to now. I have just returned from 12 days of what I can only describe as sheer bliss.  I always sailed with my wife and only 1 night out at a time. I needed to learn how to single hand the boat. I was packed and ready, but the weather gods held me back for 5 days. You must know that frustration. Finally my chance came and off I went by myself for the first time, planning on 3 nights out.  We sail on the Richmond River in northern NSW, not particularly the most picturesque ,but its our closest and has about 30km of navigable water. .The first day had 20 knots and I ripped the jib, and was really beyond me ,but I had fun and it moderated. I learnt a lot!. Expected visitors cancelled their visit so I had more time, so just stayed out. My understanding wife gave me free rein so hence my 12 day sail. Im sure she enjoyed the house to herself and the day sails she enjoyed with me.
No reason to convince you of the joys  and pleasures of such an undertaking. However I had the time of my life and had to pinch myself to see if I was really there. Had all sorts of weather: very hot still days followed by very close lightening strikes, perfect sailing days, heavy rain, and periods of calms The wildlife was great : many dolphins, once in water so shallow they were resting on their bellies and swimming with half their topsides fully exposed!. A jumping stingray and jumping school shark. Millions of small fish splashing around the boat at night. Pelicans galore, birds of prey, and 2 species of endangered waterbirds ( a real treat) I anchored single handed and tied up to pontoons and all the rest ,for the 1st time alone. Perfect mirror smooth mornings and clear full moon nights in different spots each day.  I did peaceful slow drifts through moorings. I even experimented with skinny water motoring and now understand your love of mud banks at low tide. (we had negative 0.2m lows and I have a keel up draft of 30cm)  I did hit pontoons hard, scraped nav. marks, ran aground, rip the jib, and even destroyed my brand new trailer winch 2 days after you did (my stupid error of not winding up the keel enough)  Just the daily process of living on a small boat for a while was for me great fun. Cooking ,washing, sleeping, cups of tea and wine at night. I could go on and on, just superb.
So the real point of my raving is to thank (blame) you for turning me on to this obsession I have developed for small cheap boat sailing. Cant wait till my next trip. Probably the Clarence River which Simon Carter did a video on.
Thanks again mate and look forward to seeing Cornwall as we plan on a visit there in 2017. By the way yesterday I did my boat licence course. We had to use a mobo with a 175hp outboard. What a stupid mindless lot of noise,spray and bashing. Honestly what the f***!
Regards to you and Jill
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This is about Dylan Winter's Blog.

8 Responses to “The Smithers Noelex”

  1. 11 October, 2015 at 10:57 pmPaul Rogers says:

    These boats are a New Zealand design and there are lots in our Club, here in NZ. They perform well and are easy to sail – note the self-tacking jib. We ran the World Blind Sailing Regatta here in 2009 using 22 of these boats.

  2. 12 October, 2015 at 8:33 amdylan winter says:

    world blind regatta – just tell me how thatworks – very curious

  3. 12 October, 2015 at 9:21 am[email protected] says:

    In my experience, people with visual impairment are much better at ‘feeling’ the wind than I am!

  4. 12 October, 2015 at 9:36 amdylan winter says:

    That is probably true

    I often close my eyes for a few minutes while holding the tiller – and then see how far off the wind I have drifted


  5. 12 October, 2015 at 10:51 amPaul Rogers says:

    Blind sailing is carried out with a VIP (visually impaired person) as helmsperson, and another as mainsheet hand. There is a sighted “tactician” and another sighted person to help out if required. There are three grades of VIP: B3 have tunnel vision or peripheral vision only, B2 can only see shapes and shadows, B1 can see nothing ( one guy had two glass eyes). They all enjoyed the sailing, and rely on other senses to help with steering and mainsheet tension. The tactician tells them when to tack for example, or when to alter course to round a mark or avoid another boat. The best sailors would be competitive in any sailing fleet.

  6. 12 October, 2015 at 11:12 amdylan winter says:

    well there is a thing

    I do remember at school we had races where each leg had to be sailed in a different way – one going backwards, another sails down and paddling, a third no rudder

    one of the legs involved the helmsman placing a bucket over his head and sailing according to instructions from his crew

  7. 12 October, 2015 at 2:30 pmEade says:


    I used to to some work for Stichting Watersport met Gehandicapten, now SailWise, and we had these handy compasses that could be set on a course. When the ship would leave this course the compass made noises; a high beep when going to on side and a low beep when going the other way. These sounds would also be louder and more frequent when the deviation from the set course got bigger. I recon there are apps now to to this:

  8. 13 October, 2015 at 12:25 amjon sutton says:

    I reckon I’ve spent most of my life with a bucket over my head.

    Uplifting tale from down under

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