Captain To Captain

By Captain Brendan O’Shannassy – MY Vava II

Welcome to the Great Southern Route edition 3. The production remains a credit to all those involved: to Ocean Media and personally to Captain Richard Morris of Australian Superyachts who campaigns so heavily for the Australasian region and truly goes the distance in providing the inspiration for others to extend their experiences.

Richard and I have known each other now for over a decade. He first provided me direction when I looked to change from a Commercial Maritime Career to yachting and then again when seeking to upgrade my qualifications. With this as background when I received an email from Richard asking if I would provide some words for the GSR3 I was very flattered. I was also somewhat amused at the timing.

Flattered, of course to have the very captain who introduced me to my own career ask me to write an introduction to this latest edition of GSR.

Amused, as when the email was received I was thumbing a well-worn copy of GSR edition 1. This was in aid of route planning to take a recently delivered 96-metre yacht through a two-year Indian and Pacific Ocean traverse. This planning was work, hard work, but work I was very pleased to be undertaking as I knew if presented well I would not be squeezing into the well-worn anchorages all readers of this guide would likely be familiar with. Some famous ports you will not see in this GSR edition 3 include – St Barth’s, Tobago Cays, English Harbour, Virgin Gorda, Pampelonne Beach, Golfe Juan, Cap d’Antibes – all of which I have jostled amongst many other yachts for space in the past six months alone.

It is important that before continuing I disclose two important points about my own situation. I am a European resident, though Australian by birth. I also spent the first formative nine years of my Maritime career in South East Asian and Pacific waters spoken of in GSR 3. It may be the hues of time that make me view this period in sepia light but with many more years at sea since those first nine I am yet to encounter anything close to the wonders that I greet with familiarity through the pages of GSR 3.

To introduce the GSR I have made some assumptions. I have assumed that you, the reader, has an interest beyond the casual in actually planning and executing a voyage. I have assumed, as this is a professional guide, that you are either decision maker (Owner) or operator (Captain). I have also assumed that on first picking up GSR 3 there are already some well-formed views on worldwide cruising.
In indulging these assumptions I am going to begin with a rebuttal against some well-worn dinner table arguments against any form of extended cruising and then end this introduction with a note for each of the readers that I think most benefit from the GSR 3.
To begin with, let’s look at some of the standard arguments against attempting a long voyage:

To enter the Indian or Pacific Oceans is too far away?
Away from what? I can truly say I have not seen a change in the traditional yachting areas in ten years. I think missing a summer (or two or ten) in the Mediterranean will not be to miss out on any new experiences. A true foray into the Southern Hemisphere should be across a minimum of two calendar years, with three to five being favoured. To shorten is to dampen the experience and not give the value it deserves. Come on! Tear your calendar open for a couple of years.

It costs too much in fuel?
I have modeled many yachting programmes to present detailed budgets for demanding yacht owners. I generally use the terms ‘single season’, “dual-season’ and ‘on-call’ to define the different approaches. If you operate a dual-season programme then largely it does not matter where you sail. There are only so many days in any year and so many miles you can cover when you take into account port, anchorages and maintenance. You are going to spend the same on fuel regardless, so go somewhere special with your steaming miles.

There is no logistic support?
As you will see in these pages the support is everywhere. Indeed I would argue that the level of support away from the yachting hubs far outweighs that which is provided within. There is something to be said for being a unique and a sought after client. Something you will not feel in certain well-frequented ports and maintenance centres.

What if the yacht requires maintenance?
I refer to the above note and back this with my own very humble experience of having had very successful and substantial works undertaken in many far-flung places including: Northern Australia, Auckland, Singapore and Hawaii. There are many other equally good facilities that you will find through these pages that truly ‘want’ your business and have the skills and resource to execute.

Security is a problem?
Yes. Security is a problem, yet this is a global issue. The current situation emanating from Somalia is a blight and will continue to be so for some time. A transit through these waters must be approached with diligence and by following best practice. Fortunately there is exceptional support from UN forces working in the region and their best practice guidelines are the first reference for anyone attempting this transit.

In further acknowledgement of the likely readers of GSR 3 I will complete this introduction with a personal note, a plea to the readers.