Letter from Australia!
The owner of Oyster 62, Wishanger II, Brian Bonniwell, wrote to us from Australia – exactly one year and some 20,000 miles after departing Fox’s in September 2015.
“We are sailing along the Queensland coast of Australia having departed our home port of Guernsey, nearly a year and 20,000 miles ago. “We”, being skipper Brian Bonniwell and partner Claudine together with sons, Ben and Sam, aboard our 62ft Oyster, Wishanger II. We are enjoying the most amazing experience having already visited Madeira, the Canary Islands, the Caribbean, Columbia, Panama, the Galapagos, the Marquesas and Tuamotus, French Polynesia, the Society Islands, Tonga and Fiji, Vanuatu, and now Australia. And, there is more to come! We are next scheduled to visit Indonesia, Christmas Island, Cocos Keeling, Mauritius, Reunion, South Africa, St Helena and Brazil before returning to the Caribbean and our homeward passage to Guernsey in May 2017.
Throughout this adventure, we have been constantly reminded of the two months Wishanger II spent at Fox’s Marina & Boatyard undergoing a refit in preparation for this voyage. Due to the age of the boat, our insurers had stipulated that all standing rigging be replaced together with a few other requirements. Additionally, we had a number of items on our wishlist, so early in 2015 we considered our options. Due to a fairly tight timescale – being the months of July and August 2015 – we were seeking a yard where all work could be accomplished ‘under one roof’. The logical choice was Fox’s in Ipswich because Wishanger II, built for us in 2002 by SYS of Southampton, had originally been rigged by Fox’s. We also wished to replace canvas and add to the sail wardrobe. Ipswich was close to Dolphin Sails & Covers, whose excellent workmanship had been seen at a previous boat show.
Brian visited Fox’s facility in Ipswich and was shown around the yard by Managing Director, Will Taylor- Jones. The facilities available were most impressive. As well as their own marina and travel lift for haul-out the yard had a stainless fabrication workshop (for a custom Bathing Platform, Bowsprit, and a number of other fabricated items), a paint shop (into which Wishanger II’s 80ft mast could fit for a full re-paint), joinery facilities, impressive rigging facilities (Fox’s carry out all the rigging on new Oysters, a good pedigree for our replacement rigging), extensive outside space (for hull preparation including shot blasting) and a large ventilated shed into which Wishanger II could be placed for a quality Coppercoat antifouling treatment. An electronics workshop (for upgrading and installing a number of items) was also available. After agreeing the extent of the refit and the associated costs, a contract was signed. A key part of this was that work had to be completed by the end of August in order that Wishanger II would be present at our farewell party to be held at the Beaucette Marina restaurant in Guernsey.
Wishanger II was sailed from Guernsey to Fox’s at the beginning of July 2015, and immediately hauled out and positioned so that initial preparatory work could commence. Fox’s appointed project manager, Richard Hamer, constantly monitored work progress. As work progressed the project list grew, finally reaching 200 individual tasks by the time Wishanger was relaunched for sea trials at the end of August. Brian was present throughout much of this refit period, on hand to make immediate decisions and to carry out his own schedule of tasks. Throughout, Fox’s staff at all levels worked hard and showed their professional, considerable experience and resourcefulness on everything tackled. They were courteous at all times and a pleasure to work with.
Simultaneously to all the Fox’s activity, Dolphin Sails made a number of visits to measure and template and before departure completed a really smart set of replacement and additional covers, top down furler for the spinnaker (hence the bowsprit and mast mod) and a new code zero sail.
Despite the considerable number of added tasks, Wishanger II set sail for Guernsey at the beginning of September and arrived just in time for that “all important” party! She was berthed below the restaurant and together with some of the new features added by Fox’s and Dolphin Covers, much admired by the large number of friends who inspected her. We well remember the impromptu dancing down below and the expectation of a pole dancer to pirouette around the newly fitted feature in the centre of the saloon!
So here we are, in Australia a year later, still admiring all the work completed by Fox’s and Dolphin. With such a large worklist of items, there are inevitably some, which we would now like to modify or improve and we very much look forward to re-visiting Fox’s later in 2017 – circumnavigation completed!”
Brian, Claudine, Ben and Sam, SY Wishanger II
Australia, September 2016