For a year Trevor and Mary Gregory had been readying the boat to eventually take it home to Brisbane. A previous owner had sailed Tranquillo to Fiji and Tonga but the rules and regulations for off shore cruising have become tougher. After much time and expense Tranquillo met all these requirements. On Friday 23rd August 1997 Tranquillo departed the port of Tauranga bound for Tonga and eventually Brisbane.
Well what can I say – Herreshoff knew what he was doing when he designed the H28. 14 days after leaving Tauranga Tranquillo dropped its pick on Minerva reef. It had been no easy sail. – Two gales and more than enough head wind. We had spent 11 days sailing and 3 days going nowhere. The first gale came 4 days out and we lay 24 hours on our parachute (15ft diameter on a 300ftnylon rope). Seas bigger than I could have imagined towered above us as we both lay on the floor trying to get some rest. At times we appeared to be a submarine as seas crashed right over us. The crashing against the hull was incredible. Just how the hull stood up to it I shall never know.
Deploying a sea parachute is a major task – attached to the bow but played out over the stern, the power of the parachute took us by surprise and was only curtailed by using two winches as we tried to deploy 300ft of nylon rope from the confines of an H28 cockpit in a raging sea.
In planning our trip back to Australia the ability to stop and rest for a two person crew was very important. We did this procedure again 4 days latter in the second gale.
The other rest day came with no wind – we all know how frustrating that can be