Written by Paul Walden

A testament to one man’s life at sea – the restarting of another’s

Recently arrived are Satya 2, a cutter-rigged 32-foot steel yacht, and her proud new owner, Elwood local Paul Walden. Which would be me.

This is my hello/g’day/ahoy! to all ye fellow mariners and a quick intro to my fair lady, Satya 2, as well as a few words on the background of my good self.

Ladies first.

As for Satya 2, the previous owner, R.V., had originally acquired her in a “decrepit” condition, trailered her from NSW to the Lagoon Boat Club in Geelong and there spent years upgrading and customising her in almost every regard.

A ship’s engineer with decades at sea, R.V. knew exactly what he wanted. He lengthened the keel, changed the rigging, plonked in a new engine, swapped out the windows, rearranged the interior, installed an electric anchor winch, replaced the tiller with a wheel, redesigned the cockpit, set her up for single-handed sailing, and, and, and… R.V. is not one for compromises.

R.V. himself was ageing, though – he turns 80 this year – and it eventually wasn’t safe for him to sail alone anymore. So, reluctantly, he had to let Satya 2 go. And I was only too happy to adopt her.

As for myself, I’m a merry Swede (as in from the country neighbouring Norway – not the vegetable) who in 2003 moved to Australia for the rainforest and coral reefs of the Far North. I spent eight years up in Cairns, mixing my professional work as a copywriter (marketing consultant) with for-fun work as a dive instructor and freelance journo on various liveaboards and expedition boats. Did a lot of the long-distance itineraries like Northern Ribbon Reefs/Lizard Island/Osprey and was lucky enough to explore the waters up to and around Raine Island on several occasions. Brilliant stuff! Real wilderness.

Then private circumstances suddenly led me from Cairns to Melbourne.

In the month of July.

Trust me, after years in the tropics, that was an assault on the senses even for a Viking. But you adapt. You start by living in denial (taking a part-time dive job at the Melbourne Aquarium), then you start seeing the upsides (discovering the vibrant culture; joining St Kilda Lifesaving Club; buying your first surfski), and soon enough you’re comfortably settled (you buy your second surfski; expand your business network and start referring to Cairns as “a great place to holiday”).

Then, one glorious day, you find yourself a first-time yacht owner. You get yourself an RMYS membership. And a bright-red ball cap with the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron coat of arms in gold stitching.

Need I say more? Probably not. This is good. This is very good.

A nice note on which to finish.

Satya 2 out.

PS If you’d like to talk yachting (read, “teach yachting” – remember, I’ve only ever owned surfskis before) or see the truth (“Satya” in Sanskrit) for yourself, give me a holler on 0405 097 157 or paul@paulwalden.com.au

Written by: Paul Walden