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Boating from Pittwater to Hamilton Island


Picture this – You’re aboard a beautiful catamaran. A strong wind billows through the sails as you carve through the waves. The sun is shining down, warming your winter-chilled cheeks. You’re about to sit down to a lunch of freshly-caught fish before you spot a pod of dolphins cruising by…

SMART Boating’s Pittwater to Hamilton Island trip is always a calendar highlight. And for good reason! The trip is the perfect opportunity to experience something wonderful and learn lots about boating along the way. Having the boats up north during the winter means their owners can enjoy plenty of time aboard in the sun. And let’s be honest – there’s nothing quite like jumping aboard your boat, escaping a frosty Sydney winter and heading north to the land of perennial warmth! Ahh, that sunny boat life…

This year, SMART Boating co-owner David Grice joined a handful of owners across two boats for a whopper of a blue water adventure.

Let’s get into it.


Boating duo

The Lagoon 42 catamaran ‘Mirage’ and the Hanse 455 ‘Spectre’ made the perfect on-sea duo for this year’s blue water sailing trip. David spent the entirety of the voyage aboard ‘Mirage’, but ‘Spectre’ was never far behind…

“The boats actually sailed together, which made it interesting. We were never more than 10 miles apart,” David says.

A talented crew along with four owners came along on the trip, with a few swaps along the way…

“Two owners joined us for the first leg of the trip up to Hervey Bay. When they hopped off, an extra owner jumped aboard for the rest of the journey to Hamilton Island. We also had a small crew change.”


Perfect conditions

The stars were aligned when it came to the weather. Well, almost.

“We did start with rain, but we were comfortable in the Lagoon 42’s spacious saloon. Plus, the auto-helm was on, which steered the boat for most of that time,” David says.


Aside from a slightly wet start, the crews enjoyed pretty perfect weather the rest of the time.

“We had favourable weather. The wind was blowing behind us, so it was a fast trip up there. The fast conditions made for great blue water cruising!”


En route to adventure

The group made a few fun stops in Keswick Island and Percy Island before hitting their final destination. They also took a tricky route inside Fraser Island.

“We navigated behind Fraser Island, which is a considerable feat as we had to work with some challenging tides. We sailed on White Bay Bar and stopped at Hervey Bay for a crew change,” David explains.

A Whitehaven Beach stop was also on the itinerary. Who could resist that creamy, white sand and that deliciously turquoise water?

Thankfully, the crews aboard both boats were fabulous.

“We had a fantastic crew and everyone got along really well. We all cooked, laughed and joked the entire time…” says David.


On-sea highlights

Whale and dolphin sightings made it to the top of the list…

“We saw lots of dolphins around the Gold Coast. And we caught some incredible footage of a whale breaching the water. It was magnificent!”

Fishing was another major highlight. Oh, and the food. The freshest of fish, of course!

“Chris, the skipper on Spectre, is a great fisherman. He caught lots of fish that everyone enjoyed. He caught a whopping 2.5m long marlin, which he let go. He caught a 1.5m long Spanish mackerel that we very much enjoyed… We caught and cooked up so many fish that we even gave some away to others in surrounding boats.”



When asked if there were any tricky moments during the voyage, David shakes his head.

“We were lucky to experience great conditions. We did have to be careful with navigation, but that’s the norm. We had some strong winds, but we sailed the boats appropriately. It really was the perfect trip.”

David has a substantial racing background and Spectre’s skipper, Chris, has plenty of experience under his belt, so that definitely helped.


Glowing reviews

This trip was the first blue water sailing experience for most of the owners onboard. And now that they’ve dipped their toes in the pond, they’re gearing for many more adventures on the deep blue sea!

“I’ve received emails from everyone that came along and it’s all rave reviews. They had an absolute ball on the trip. They told me that they learned a lot and that it was all a great learning experience. Everyone is super keen for next year. It’s great to hear,” says David.

Mooring in the marvellous Whitsundays for the winter is the perfect chance for boat owners to enjoy some time in the sun and warmth of the north.

The SMART Boating team wants you to savour every single boating moment… that’s what this trip is all about! And this year’s was certainly a corker!

Keen to come along next year? Check out SMART Boating’s fantastic range of boat shares.


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