Sailing Sunshine to Gt Keppel

Sailing Sunshine to Gt Keppel

COVID-inspired adventure takes amateur sailors from Sunshine Coast to Great Keppel on 'floating deckchair'

Posted on 21.10.2020

Holed up during COVID-19 restrictions in Queensland, amid an endless cycle of “wake up, check the phone, work, eat, sleep, repeat”, Mike Swaine hatched a plan to escape.

“I probably wouldn’t have done it if COVID-19 hadn’t hit,” Mr Swaine said.

Over six days the two men were at the mercy of Mother Nature — at times nearly capsizing in brutal, 30-knot gusts with fully sheeted sails to zero wind and a dead motor in the dark.

COVID-inspired adventure takes amateur sailors from Sunshine Coast to Great Keppel on ‘floating deckchair’

Powered primarily by wind, with no quarters below deck, riding on a Hobie Cat means feeling every wave and movement of the ocean.

The small catamaran was a somewhat unusual choice of vessel for such a long, multi-day journey, but with international and interstate travel off the cards, Mr Swaine wanted to find a new way to explore his home state.

“We’re so lucky up here in Queensland that we still have a freedom in so many ways,” he said.

“And we took advantage of that and our little catamaran got us to see our beautiful coastline.”


Key points:

  • Two inexperienced sailors travelled up the Queensland coastline from the Sunshine Coast to Great Keppel Island on a 13-foot Hobie Cat
  • After feeling cooped up during the pandemic they were inspired by binge-watching YouTube sailing videos
  • They had a few close calls in heavy winds but took safety seriously, ensuring they were fully equipped with the right gear

“We live in the most beautiful place in the world whether it’s on the Sunny Coast or whether it’s the entire coast — COVID-19 has given us an opportunity to explore our coastline.”

ABC News




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