News

New boat, new adventure

Peter Charles on his trimaran; he sailed the first Darwin to Ambon race and at age 72 after the death of his wife and losing everything in the Bundaberg floods, is competing in the 30th anniversary race. Photo: Iain Curry / Sunshine Coast Daily
Peter Charles on his trimaran; he sailed the first Darwin to Ambon race and at age 72 after the death of his wife and losing everything in the Bundaberg floods, is competing in the 30th anniversary race. Photo: Iain Curry / Sunshine Coast Daily Iain Curry

THEY say the cure for all that ails a man is saltwater, whether it be sweat or tears of the sea.

Peter Charles is a saltwater man.

Commando, engineer, builder, tour operator, auctioneer - he has toiled hard in his 72 years.

And he has had to: natural disasters have forced him to start again twice.

After emigrating from England as a "ten-pound Pom" in 1968, he lost everything when Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin in 1974.

Last year, he and his wife of 30 years, May, lost everything they owned in the Bundaberg floods.

And then he lost May when her health took a turn for the worse last October.

After a year of sweat and tears, Peter has turned to the saltwater.

He left Mooloolaba last Thursday, bound for Darwin, to sail in the 30th Darwin to Ambon race.

Peter competed in the first Darwin to Ambon race and estimated he had perhaps done the run 20 times.

But, as his daughter Rachel explained, this race is a little different.

"He's had to draw on every ounce of strength and courage to do this," she said.

Saltwater has always been good to Peter, who has been sailing for 50 years.

When he was 18, he designed and built a 2.4m (8ft) boat to cross the English Channel at its widest point.

The trip earned him 250 pounds from Yamaha, which benefited from the publicity it received for a new kerosene outboard motor, and put desperately needed money in the bank for Peter.

Like all sailors, Peter has tales to tell.

During one trip, he had a craving for a cold beer, and made contact with a passing oil tanker, declaring his need for a beer and any meat he could cook.

The obliging captain pulled up the ship over several miles and had a basket lowered to Peter's little boat containing a carton of orange soft drink, a carton of Toohey's draught, and 1kg of bacon.

"People at sea are just good," he said.

Not all, though.

During a trip across the Indian Ocean from Darwin to Mombasa in 1987, Peter's boat was raided by pirates who stabbed him in the legs.

He drifted for four days before he was picked up by a ship.

Leg problems prompted him to buy a new boat, a trimaran named Wings, for the Darwin to Ambon race.

"The tri is a bit more stable - easier on the legs," he said.

Although Peter has a perfectly good "grandad flat" to stay in with Rachel at Rosemount, he feels more at home sailing on the water.

"It's so peaceful. I think there's the personal achievement you experience getting from A to B," he said.

Peter has no words of wisdom on how to pick yourself up when life has knocked you down.

Recovering after Cyclone Tracy was easy for him.

"When you're young, it's easy to start again," he said.

Recovering from grief and loss at 72 is harder.

But he believes that life is there to be lived.

"You've got to enjoy it," he said.

"You spend a long time dead."



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

KICK THE KILOS: Mackay jumps ahead of Bundy

Who will take out the glory? Just two weeks to go in the ARM Kick the Kilos competition.

MACKAY has finally jumped in front of Bundaberg.

'Like handing over a baby': Indulge's new chapter

WRITIgG A NEW CHAPTER: Indulge head chef Amanda Hinds is moving on from the Bundaberg foodie institution.

The news has brought out emotion in Bundaberg

Local Partners

'He can see!' Mum's tears as boy fights Taipan bite

TWO-year-old Eli Campbell continues to amaze his parents and doctors as he bravely takes on his recovery from a near-fatal taipan bite.


What's on: Saturday, December 3

Not sure what to do today? We've got you covered

Head to the sugar museum for a sweet taste of history

Cutting the ribbon to officially open the revamped Sugar Museum at Fairymead House is Mayor Jack Dempsey and Fairymead House Team Leader Hayley Vale.

Learn about the industry that made Bundy what it is

List of gigs happening around Bundy

KEY NOTE: Country singer Alex Peden. Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail

There's a live show for everyone

Kiwi's plea to Ellen DeGeneres to save bakery after quake

Ellen... we need your magic.

Family had to be helicoptered out after powerful quake

Seacrest: Things are "going better" for Kim and Kanye

Ryan Seacrest says things are "going better now" for Kanye West

Jonah Hill involved in a car accident

Jonah Hill was involved in a car crash on Saturday

Katie Holmes' empowering directorial debut

Katie Holmes

KATIE Holmes as made her directorial debut

Jennifer Lawrence gives keys to new partner

Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence

Oscar winner settling down with new partner

Rogue One star proud to lead new Star Wars film

Felicity Jones leads the new Star Wars film

Star Wars lead proud to be in front in sci-fi

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

Prices jump in trio of mining towns

THE boost in coal prices in the past six months has triggered a house price jump in at least three mining towns in Central Queensland.

Boost in coal prices triggers a market turnaround

INSIDE STORY: Disused pipeline stops hundreds from building

TRAIL OF TEARS: Route of the disused Santos oil pipeline which is stopping hundreds of Ipswich residents from building.

Santos responds but Tully says easements issue must be addressed

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!