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Weekends, when the sun’s out, and even when it’s not, you’ll find Colin Wheeler and Lindsay Wallace bobbing on the Broadwater or cruising leisurely northward to Moreton Bay aboard “Gem”, their Integrity 440.

The couple has been boating in various vessels for decades. In Colin’s case, since he moved to the Gold Coast in 2002 and bought a home on the waterfront.

“It seemed a shame not to have a boat when everybody else was having so much fun on the water,” he says. “Call it peer pressure, or pontoon pressure more accurately!”

In July 2021, fortuitously, Colin’s close friend, mentor and former boss was looking to sell his Integrity 440 sedan, named “Gem” (an acronym for his initials), and Colin was pleased to make him an offer.

“He was incredibly particular about his boat. It was very well maintained, well thought out and it was exactly the classic look we were after. Three months before we bought it he had fit it out with solar panels, so it makes most of its own power with the sunshine,” explains Colin.

Already low maintenance with its single engine and solid construction, the Integrity 440 offers Colin and Lindsay all the space and comfort they were looking for in a coastal cruiser.

“I’ve had fast boats most of my life, so this is a real change of pace. At top speed, she’ll do 10 knots, which is just fine by us. The journey has become an important part of the whole experience.”

Both working full-time, boating is something the couple enjoys on weekends, and sometimes mid-week when they can manage it.

“The Broadwater is so much nicer mid-week when it’s not as crowded. Our Integrity is berthed at Southport Yacht Club. We enjoy cruising up to Jumpinpin, fishing, swimming, walking on the beach, or just relaxing with a book, the paper, music.

One of their favourite anchorages on the north side of Jumpinpin bar in a northerly, when the tide is right. It’s tranquil and picturesque and there are rarely any people there.”

While their adult children are all busy with lives and pastimes of their own, Colin and Lindsay are just as content to cruise as a couple, or invite a boatload of friends to go out with them.

“It’s a very beamy boat at 4.3-metres. The aft deck is incredibly spacious. We can host 12 people around the table. There are two double cabins, plus two inserts in the saloon and aft, plus air-conditioning below decks and in the saloon.

“It’s like a beach house on water. The boat’s more comfy than our apartment in many ways!”

With three layers of clears on the aft deck, guests are totally protected from rain, hail, shine and intense summer storms.

“When we were out overnight recently and a storm hit, we pulled down the clears and we were as snug as a bug,” states Colin.

Close to one year into ownership, Colin and Lindsay are planning their cruising adventures further afield.

According to Colin, “The whole of the east coast is on the cards”.

“The boat has a 1,500 Litre fuel tank and uses 10 to 14 Litres an hour, so we can easily cruise to the Whitsundays and back on one tank. We might go up for Hamilton Island Race Week this year. I’m sure I’ll be able to find some crew among our friends at Southport Yacht Club.

“We could easily cruise south to Sydney as well. She’s an incredibly stable and sturdy little boat and she has that classic, timeless look everybody comments on. We just love the whole package.”

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Published in print April-June 2022