Victoria couple returns from 5-year sailing journey around the world
Two-person crew of the SV Terrwyn arrived in home port safe and sound, but with some stories of close calls
"She's a beauty — what can I say?"
Bill Norrie speaks with clear pride about the SV Terrwyn, the sailboat that took him and his wife Cathy around the world.
The couple have just arrived home in Victoria after first setting sail five years ago, and Bill says the Terrwyn is in better shape than when they left.
"We've been dolling her up as we go," Bill said of the 25-year-old, 11.3-metre-long fibreglass double-ender. "Sailors have a lot of time on their hands."
With no refrigeration, water maker or electronic navigation, the Terrwynn is a comparatively spartan vessel.
"She's a very sort of traditional sailboat," Bill said. "She was a bit of a racer in her era."
Sailing around the world was a dream Bill had been holding onto for 30 years — but Cathy had never sailed offshore until the couple first left port in Victoria.
The initial going was a bit rough, but Cathy soon found herself taking to the nautical life with gusto.
"By the the time we reached French Polynesia, that was it," she said. "It was my dream too."
The pair chronicled their adventure on their blog called Voyage of the SV Terrwyn.
Between a near miss with an African tanker and being capsized by a whale, the voyage wasn't without its share of close calls.
Cathy told the story of a particularly brutal stretch of weather off the east coast of Africa, also known as the Wild Coast. Seas swelled in a storm that exceeded all forecasts, and Bill found himself manning the tiller for almost 18 hours.
"I was below deck thinking, are we really going to get through this?" Cathy said. "This was the first time it really hit me that we were so vulnerable."
But that's exactly what Bill loves about sailing.
"Those were the best [kind of] days," he said enthusiastically.
Five years may sound like a long time to spend on a boat, but Bill and Cathy are already thinking about their next trip.
With files from Stephanie Mercier.