A barrage of bewildering but ­urgent-sounding nautical commands is flying across the deck. Slack away forward. Trail a long line aft. Fenders up. Slack away painter. Make fast throat halyard. Square the ledger. Sooner or later I sense there’s going to be a cry to scrub the decks. I take it as a shot across the bow to retreat to a secret hideaway spot I’ve discovered. It’s nestled in netting suspended from the bowsprit of Yukon, the Danish gaff-rigged ketch that’s conveying me (much like a grocery item in a string bag) from the port of Franklin on the Huon River to Bruny Island, in the southern reaches of Tasmania. According to the nautical chart I’m studying, directly behind lies a place called Eggs and Bacon Bay. If we keep going straight the first land we’ll hit is Antarctica. Together those words are sublime, ridiculous and surreal all at once.

Yukon is 24m long and weighs 60 tonnes but carves through the water with supreme grace and stealth. The little wooden dinghy we tow behind makes more noise sloshing through the chop. But there’s another, completely unexpected but enchanting sound floating up from below deck and filling the air: the sound of a clarinet, courtesy of a crew member practising for a recital. I’ve always loved the peacefulness of sailing, riding the wind and the waves, harnessing only what ­nature gives you, but the melodious accompaniment to this classical pursuit is almost too perfect. I’ve waited a long time to go to sea on a beautiful, pea-green boat — just like the owl and the pussycat from my favourite childhood poem — and I won’t forget this moment in a hurry.

Our clarinet maestro is Kristopher, the 19-year-old son of captain David Nash and his Danish wife Ea Lassen. Their 16-year-old son Aron is also crew on this cruise and we’re told he wields a mean trumpet. Ea is our cook, and there’s no chance of scurvy setting as she serves up an astounding array of gourmet meals, all somehow emerging from a galley the size of a broom cupboard. “I like my kitchen,” she tells me. “I can reach everything from one spot.” I’ll say…

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