Patrick Bollen 13 articles
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A Sunsail Story - Part 2

  • Posted by Patrick Bollen
  • November 11, 2011 2:54 PM AEDT

After four fabulous days cruising around the Whitsundays aboard a Leopard 384 catamaran we headed back to Hamilton Island on Monday morning to change boats.We were met at the harbour entrance by Sunsail staff who escorted us to our marina berth alongside the monohull on which we would spend the rest of our Whitsunday cruise.

We cleaned up the catamaran and stowed our gear and provisions on the stunning newest addition to the Sunsail fleet, the Jeanneau 409, the 2011 European Boat of the Year.

Peter, Chris have always been monohull sailors.  Only I had in the past enjoyed the catamaram experience running the Sunsail operation at Hayman Island in 2001 and later as master of several catamaran’s during east coast deliveries. 

I grew to love the ‘Cat’ experience but once back aboard a monohull, well it’s like chalk and cheese. 

I do love the mono sailing experience.

Once we were out of harbour we set the main and headsail and defly set about the task of sailing or perhaps that should be motor sailing as the current in Dent Passage was strong and the wind was light. 

The 409 was very responsive and moved through the water with ease. When we cleared the southern end of Dent Island we set a westerly course to Long Island Sound, turned off the motor and made a comfortable crossing before easing sheets to glide down the pristine turquoise waters between Australia and Long Island.


In the light winds the 409 cruised at a comfortable 3.5 knots and as much as 5.5 knots in the few gusts that greeted us. 

The 409 is an easy boat to operate. The deck layout is clean with headsail sheets  leading back to primary winches well located in the roomy ergonomic cockpit with everything in easy reach of the helm. 

A great advantage with the layout is the stowage of tail ends which are led to a locker under the helm seat port and starboard. 

The 409 is a manageable boat. So easy in fact that a sailor can comfortably run this boat single handed.

 On first appearances the boat seems a little unconventional but over time particularly after some time aboard one cannot help but admire the beauty of this yacht with the hard chine aft. 

Below decks she is stunning. Sumptuous is one word that comes to mind. Bright and uncluttered with a good and functional galley and big breezy cabins. In short the 409 is a beautiful yacht. 

A charterer would not be displeased with this choice to go cruising the Whitsundays, the Meditteranean, the Caribbean or the many Pacific destinations.


We sailed into Cid Harbour and set the pick in 4 mteres of water before a refreshing dip in the  cool evening waters followed by several ice cold Crownies and a bottle of classic Aussie red with dinner which I might add, I prepared. A gastronomic feast. Believe it or not.. 

The evening sky was black as pitch and the stars were out in abundance. It truly was a spectacular night sky. Reminded me of ‘on watch’ in the middle of the Pacific and no one else around. 

The following morning we headed to sea through Hook Passage later anchoring just off Hill Inlet on the northern end of the worlds most beautiful beach, Whitehaven, on the top of the tide. 

Jumping in the tender we motored over the white sand bar in three feet of water. Every where there were stingrays big and small.  We took the dinghy as far as we could up the Hill Inlet. This is an experience every visitor to the Whitsundays must do. It is spectacular but this should ideally be done on a rising tide. Allow two and a half hours to enjoy the wonderful, natural beauty of Hill Inlet. It is gob smacking to say the least. 

At days end we again headed back to Cid Harbour via Fitzalan Passage for a last night. The advantage of Cid is that it is just 90 minutes from Hamilton Isle and as we were flying out the next day, spending the night at Cid was a no brainer. It meant we didn’t have to rush the next morning. 

Mooring stern to, back at the Sunsail dock we cleaned up before disembarking, grabbed a pie from the Bakery on Front Street then jumped the shuttle heading to the airport. In the waiting lounge we reflected on a Whitsunday experience we all agreed was probably one of our best. It was indeed a marvellous week. 

Check out Sunsail for your next sailing holiday. You won’t be disappointed.

Patrick 'Tenpin" Bollen

  • Richard Neilan likes this
  • Peter Richards
    Peter Richards

    Hi Patrick - I am a Cat convert myself - ever since I realised that anything beyond a 14 degree list gives me killer sea sickness although I do miss the monos. Is this a sign of me getting old or just a chronic land lubber-itis ?



    November 11, 2011
  • Julian Bradder
    Julian Bradder It is true what they say about Pete's sea sickness. Sometimes he may be surrendered to his cabin for days. 
    November 17, 2011