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Routes Taken


Sonya looking 'Keen' to get aboard Sea-D

Sea-D was re rigged, new sails, new communications systems, instruments, radar and auto pilot installed. As our shakedown cruise to test all out we entered the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Annual Yacht Race. On Boxing Day we crossed the start line, we had on board with us as racing crew, Warren Cottis, Chris Burchell, Sonya Burchell. . Sea-D crossed the finish line at Coffs Harbour at 12.32 on 29th December, taking 1st place in our Division. Sea-D was ready.


RKB, Dick Gold Stiver and Pat Goldstiver going down the East Coast of New Zealand

In March we departed Sydney for Auckland, New Zealand, we had on board making the passage with us our sailing friends and often competitors Kiwis Dick and Pat Goldstiver, who had sailed their Yacht 'Suspence' from New Zealand to Sydney and later campained the Racing Yacht 'Ice Fire'. In April we departed Auckland heading for the A'tata Island in the Kingdom of Tonga. We were taking part in the New Zealand Island Cruising Regatta to Tonga.

The months May to October saw us cruising Tonga including the islands of the Ha'apai's and Vavua, then onto Fiji where Sonya Burchell joined us for a week, during which time she was offered a husband by Thomas the local Chief of Beqa Island.

Sonya looking 'Keen' to get aboard Sea-D

On to Vanuatu where we met up with Peggy and Fred for a while. We cruised to New Caledonia and finally returning to Australia to sit out the Cyclone season.

December 26th saw as entrants in the 50th Sydney to Hobart Yacht race, as luck would have it, in Bass Strait our wind instrument indicated that we were encountering 87 knots, although we had prepared Sea-D for the blow our 'triple reefed' main sail was torn forcing us to retire from the race and return to Eden. .

Had 'New Year's Eve' at the Eden Fishermans Club, then headed North making our way to our Marina Berth at the Mooloolaba Yacht Club.


On the recommendation of David and Valerie Wraight of the English Yacht 'Dutch Maid', we installed an 'Australian' designed reverse osmosis water maker, just in case we could not obtain 'Fresh' Drinking water enroute. It turned out that we did not take shore based water on-board again until 1999.

Cruised the East Coast of Australia and over the Top from Gove to Darwin as a participant in the "Over the Top Regatta"

Darwin to Bali Yacht Race which was the Australian feeder to the "Arung Sumudra" in Indonesia.

Arung Sumudra Celebrations

"Arung Sumadra" (Bali to Jakarta Yacht Race) along with 141 International based Yachts, 23 Tall Ships & 43 War Ships. Some of these craft travelled from the other side of Earth to join Indonesia in the celebration of their 50th year of Independence.

Thousand Islands Regatta Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, then Thailand for Xmas where we hoped the kids would join us but they had other arrangements.. great pity as The little French Restaurant at Phi Phi Don with a group of friends takes a lot of beating.


Crossed the Indian Ocean from Thailand to the Maldive Islands, then onto the Red Sea, Yemen, Sudan, Egypt, Suez Canal, and into the Mediterranean Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, Sicily, Malta where we hauled the boat out for the winter while we flew to Sydney in October.


Maltise Boat Yard

We returned to Malta in February, and after a comprehensive overhaul Sea-D departed Malta in May to return to Sicily then onto Italy, Sardinia, Corsica, Balearic Islands, Spain, Gibraltar and the Canary Islands arriving atPorto Morgan, Gran Canaria. From there we returned by a grueling 3 day's of Flights, Airport waiting lounges for Sonya and Richard's wedding in Sydney.

After returning to Gran Canaria from Sonya and Richards wedding, on passage to Lanzarote we heard the shocking news of the death of the Princess of Wales, Princess Diana. We flew our flag at half mast.

On 23/11/1997 at 13:00 we departed Las Palmas for the Carribean in the Atlanic Rally Crossing, one of 154 Yachts ( 3 Australian entries) making landfall at St Lucia.

Sea-D crossed the finish line at St Lucia on 14/12/1997 having completed the 2837 Nautical Mile Race, Sea-D finished 7th in our division out of 18 racing yachts. We were happy with the result, happy to make landfall and happy to 'down' a few Rum Punches.


We could see the Southern Cross in the night sky again- Sea- D was heading home.

Cruised down to St Vincent and the Grenadines, here in Cumberland Bay we encountered the 'Real' Pirates of the Carribean. On to Bequia,Tobago, Union Island, Grenada, Trinidad, Curacoa of the ABC Islands, where we 'ditched' our 'failing' Aquapro RIB, and purchased a 'Caribe' Dinghy which has the reputation of being the 'Best Available', this new dinghy changed everything, suddenly we were able to travel long distances in double qiuck time. It removed the need to relocate Sea-D to Towns and Villages when supplies were needed, particularly Tropical Islands as we frequently needed to anchor well out behind reefs.

From the ABC's we sailed to the remote and reclusive San Blas Islands meeting the South American Kuna Indians, at the time of our visit the San Blas Islands were in drought and we were able to supply them with Drinking water, made 'Fresh' that morning from our water maker.

We then carried on to Panama, Galapagos Islands, Marquesa Islands, Tuamotus where we met a Tahitian family Max and his 3 children. They came by to give MB shell necklaces on Mother's Day.

Max and Kids giving marion Mothers Day gifts  of Coconuts and Shell Necklaces

We continued on to the Society Islands, Tonga, Fiji, New Caledonia, Brisbane, Coffs Harbour, Lake Macquarie, Sydney.

Total distance traveled 34,000.90 nautical miles, which equates to 62969.67 kilometers, in 4 years, 6 months, 12 days 6 minutes.

We have literally hundred of stories to tell, this is a quote from our last news letter:

"As we reflected, we realised this experience will never be forgotten. We have learned many things. We have met many interesting people from different cultures and societies along the thorny path. It has been a wonderful Geography lesson.

We will miss the solitude of the oceans, the joys of landfall and exploration in a new Country. The camaraderie, the firm bonds of friendship, the 'open house hospitality', the wide circle of care afforded by the cruising community.

We can't wait to be with our family and friends in OUR OWN country again. We are ready for new challenges and horizons yet unknown, a permanent home and a cat!!"

We ( Ron and Marion Burchell ) were honoured to be awarded a Plaque and Perpetual Trophy for 'Best Cruise Overseas' twice by The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, once in 1995 for our New Zealand and Pacific Cruise aboard Sea-D and again in 1999 for our World Cruise aboard Sea-D.

Cruising Trophy !999