Town: Sunshine Coast, Aus.
Boat name: Rubber Dolly
Make: Ribtec 585
Length: 6m +
Engine: Mercury F115 Efi
Join Date: Jun 2007
Ribbing In Australia
Quick story for you which may be of interest to somebody. Moved to Australia’s sunshine coast in December, and of course, couldn;t leave Dolly in England. Every time I’ve been here, I’ve looked at the rivers and sea and thought ‘need a rib, need a rib’ so she was first into the 40ft container (with the two sea kayaks) and fortunately there was a little room left for other less important things, like furniture.
On safely arriving at Brisbane docks, the idiot stevedores removed five 40mm ratchet straps holding her down to the floor of the container, then attached a 3 tonne forklift and pulled.....the trouble being she was held down with SIX straps. Net result was $20,000 worth of damage (how hard must you pull a big ratchet strap before it breaks for Christ sake?) Bent A frame, scored tube, busted valve, bent trailer, damaged transom, bent seat back, busted transducer, torn boat cover. As an aside, they also trashed a sofa, fridge, monitor and lost three boxes (this was our own container – not shared......) Plus, you pay 5% duty and 10%GST (VAT) on the value of it all.
The battle’s still raging with the insurance company (Thank god I finally caved into the missus and agreed to pay a huge £750 premium to insure it all, I was against it – after all, what could go wrong???) who are being arseholes and trying to wriggle out of most of it. Its taken a while to get the boat and trailer back together well enough to use them, and repairs still need to be done properly, not happy with patched up tubes and an a frame that I (at least) know is bent!
Anyway, after that, you have to get the trailer registered which is a bloody nightmare involving Queensland transport weighing it, measuring it, applying for VIN numbers and takes days (plus you pay $130/year rego) Then you can register your boat which everyone calls a ‘Rubber Ducky’ or ‘tender’ which is also a nightmare and costs another $180/year (under 6m) and then stick on your 6” high black letter which look great and won’t peel straight off will they?
Then you take your boat test (no matter how qualified you are in the UK, your qualifications aren’t worth a penny in queensland!) and get a certificate which allows you a licence (another half day queued up in queensland transport) and buy yourself new lifejackets (your uk ones won’t do), a distress flag, fire extinguisher, bailer, epirb, flares, anchors and a million other things that you have to have by law.
It ain’t cheap! Or Easy. Then to cap it all, it rains and rains for a month, with a storms and even a tsunami forecast every time you even vaguely consider going out.
But.....eventually I have got out in her. My best mate’s been over from England, so we’ve headed out even when it’s been a bit crappy and had a brilliant time. Free boat ramps and parking everywhere, a million inland waterways to explore, beaches, rivers and channels with empty campsites where you can moor up in front of your tent. We’re behind a 30 mile island called Bribie Island where I live which has a meandering shallow channel all the way through with sections only 3ft deep, barely any of it is more than 10ft. At the end is a big nasty Bar which chews little boats up on nasty days, so that adventure still awaits. You meet some amazing tidal rips (see pic) We cruised the famous Noosa river last weekend and watched the Aussies playing cricket on a sandbank, checked out Branson’s riverside pad and watched the wildlife (can’t wait for whale season!) Its been superb.
They really don’t get ribs (rubber duckies) here tho. Fishermen just use ‘tinnies’ in the shallow waters, most bigger recreational boats are horrible fibreglass Quintrex fishers which need a 200 on them to do 30 knots/ Fishing is king, all boating is about fishing, they don;t understand cruising at all! Still pretty girls think Ribs are cute (“She’s gorgeous” one bikini babe shouted “I want to hug her!” – Happy Days!) Everyone’s impressed by the ‘massive’ 115bhp motor though -seriously, for here, she’s a monster! Dolly’s the perfect boat for these waters, shallow draft, the right size, economical (even tho fuel's half UK price), decent deck space and a stereo! When weather and confidence combine, the bar poses no drama for a competently driven 6m rib. Oh, need to let the tubes down a huge amount each time you put her away or the seems won;t last a week. The temperature range is enormous.
Having said that, I’ve joined the local volunteer coastguard. Primary boat is a horrible 8.5m Catamaran NoosaCat (they love these things for some reason) and they also have a 7.2m Gemini RIB and a little 4.5m RIB. The big rib came seriously to grief on the bar just before I joined – wave broke over the front and pulled out the entire stainless steel, double radar mast. Big enquiry and some red faces! So Bars do need some respect.
I’m importing some hovercraft later in the year too, with so many shallows, it’s the perfect place!
Still. Thats it. Getting her in and on the water is expensive and incredibly stressful. Ribbing in (this part of) Aus is a lonely and misunderstood game, but there is so much to do. Can’t wait to get to the Whitsundays (when they rebuild them!) and all the Central Coast waterways look great too. Blue - They look very, very blue!