Alex Ball and his family took out the Axopar 28 for a pleasant Fathers Day out on the water © eyachts.com.au
Alex Ball and his family took out the Axopar 28 for a pleasant Fathers Day out on the water, little did they know what was going to happen...
Father's Day is always memorable for me as I get spoilt by my four beautiful kids and my wonderful wife. It's a day that I usually plan and look forward to for weeks leading up and reminisce for weeks after. This Father's Day started out no different but ended up as one I'll never forget.
The weather was about as perfect as you could get. Mid 20 degrees and an ever so slight breeze had Pittwater sparkling. I had arranged to go out on the Axopar 28 T-Top for the day as a surprise for my family. The lure of 40+ knot, fish and chips for lunch and cruise up the Hawksbury is my idea of a perfect day. Needless to say, the kids were ecstatic when I told them my plans!
As we walked onto the marina, the kids were asking "which boat is ours dad?". This went on for quite some time, to which I simply answered "Look for the best-looking boat here.... We will take that one". It was with no time at all they spotted the Axopar and yelled almost in unison "That one!"
This Axopar is a special one. It is fitted with the BRABUS Pack which heightens the stealth-like appearance. It also is fitted with a 400 Hp Mercury, so not only was the best-looking boat on Pittwater, it was one of the fastest.
As we pushed off, all the kids were safely seated in car-like seats. They all had great vision and with the deep walk around bulwarks, I had the peace of mind that they were all safe.
We slowly idled through the 4-knot zone making sure that everything was secure. The aft cabin proved invaluable for not only a bed for my little 4-year-old, but storage for the luggage that we had with us.
With the no-wash zone now behind us, I slowly picked up speed. The grin on all our faces grew as the speed increased. Within seconds, the Axopar was sitting at 40 knots. It was smooth, comfortable and incredibly quiet. In-fact, I couldn't quite believe just how comfortable the boat was and was continually checking my speed. We were chatting without having to yell at each other. Wind noise was minimal and the growl of the 400Hp Mercury only added to the sense of occasion.
We headed across to Pearl Beach and Patonga via Barrenjoey to show the kids the seals. As a kid myself growing up on Pittwater, seeing the seals sun baking brought back memories that I had forgotten. To be able to share a small piece of my childhood with my family was amazing.
Broken Bay was reasonably lumpy as the week prior had been wet and windy. A larger than normal swell rolled relentlessly through which saw many other boats turn back. Not for us. The Axopar dealt with this sublimely. I now have a true appreciation for the hull design. It never slapped, slammed or crashed off the waves. We didn't get a drop of water over the bow and with such as narrow entry, didn't need to slow the boat down. It really is a game changer!
We aimed for Refuge Bay for lunch and a walk to the waterfall. It was flowing strongly as the week of rain had left it as a beautiful back drop to our lunch stop.
As we picked up a mooring line, we started to prepare for lunch and admired the tranquil surrounds. The peace was only interrupted by the squeals and screams of kids playing on a Lilly Pad a few boats away. Or, that is what we thought. After only a few moments, we quickly realised that the screams of laughter were indeed screams of terror. With arms waving and adults yelling, we dropped the mooring and went to investigate. As we drew near, it was clear that, that day out for this family had quickly turned into a disaster. With smoke billowing from the cockpit and the kids all in life jackets on the Lilly Pad which was off the back of the boat it was clear that they needed to get off the boat.
We slowly nosed up to the boat and allowed all the kids and wives to jump aboard. Six kids and two adults quickly come aboard while the two fathers went to put out the fire. We circled the boat for hours making sure that the dads were okay and driving out to the Hawksbury to pick up phone reception as we found ourselves in a small spot of no service.
After several calls and a couple of hours, the fantastic volunteers of the Maritime Rescue arrived. They were well equipped with fire-fighting equipment at the ready and heavy tow lines already in place. Once they had arrived, it was decided that we would take the wives and children back to Pittwater on the Axopar.
By this stage, a reasonable South Westerly had picked up and we were faced with a very lumpy return trip. It was full of people and gear with the possibility of a very rough ride home; however, it was at this point where the boat impressed me the most! With everyone seated (including in the bow seats) the boat cut a smooth path with absolutely no fuss. Dry, comfortable and at 30 knots. Credit to the incredible hull design and engineering that has gone into its development.
By now the adrenaline has started to fade and the conversation switched from the boats to boating. As you can imagine, now with 10 kids on-board, it wasn't long before the inevitable question was asked.... "How fast is this boat?" Not wanting to disappoint the kids, a gentle push on the throttle, quickly saw the Axopar reach 43 knots! We made a slight detour back past the seals which the other kids hadn't seen and loved as we were able to slowly creep right up to the rocks... close enough you felt like you could touch them (you could certainly smell them!). After seeing the kids look so scared a few hours earlier, it was great to see them smile at the seals.
We dropped off the family and made our way back to Bayview. With the kids all safely seated, returning the berth was simple. A few touches of the bow thruster and we were neatly tied back up with no fuss. In fact, so easy is the boat to manuvor and the walk-through centre steering position, I was able to pick the lines up single handed and drop them onto the beautiful black cleats.
So, Father's Day 2019.... what a day! It will be a memorable one and for many reasons. We were able to help a family in-need. The good news is that no one was hurt and through the quick actions of the owners, the boat only suffered minor superficial damage. Secondly, I had a day with my family that reminded me of why I love boating so much. No artificial, electronic, social media entertainment. No distractions from jobs to be done and nothing to do but to spend time with my universe. Finally, I got to experience for the first time what makes these Axopars to special. Performance, practically and style that can not be replicated. It is a head turning boat for so many reasons but the best way to find out is to take one for a drive.
Looking forward to seeing you out on the water!