WAS it as early as October 4, 2017, when a member of a drug importation syndicate claims he offered him $500,000 to sail from Tahiti to Australia. Or was it nine days later when he boarded a plane to pick up the yacht.
Or was it on November 14, 2017, after he completed the voyage and a day before he was arrested, that Craig Lembke, the sailor who skippered a yacht with 700 kilograms of cocaine into Lake Macquarie, became aware that there were drugs on board.
When did Lembke know?
It is the crucial issue that, once determined by Judge Jonathan Priestley, SC, could be the difference between the well-known Newcastle sailor and musician, now 50, being released from jail in his mid-60s or his mid-70s.
Mr Lembke's defence, led by Public Defender Peter Krisenthal, and Crown prosecutor Rob Ranken are worlds apart - as many as 42 days and half the length of the Pacific Ocean - when it comes to determining Lembke's knowledge of and involvement in the plot.
After a five-week trial in Newcastle District Court last year, Lembke was found guilty of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, which carries a maximum of life in jail.
Lembke admitted to sailing the 13-metre Skarabej from Papeete to Toronto, but denied knowing about the illicit cargo on board.
Drug importation has an extended definition, and the prosecution had said Lembke was guilty because he either knew about the importation plot before he agreed to sail the catamaran from Tahiti to Toronto or because he ferried another syndicate member out to the boat - after it had arrived at Lake Macquarie and after another syndicate member had offered him an additional $500,000 - so the syndicate member could cut holes in the boat and remove the drugs secreted in the hull.
The jury believed Lembke knew about the plot at some point during his involvement with the Skarabej. But exactly when he knew or when he formed the requisite state of awareness, either the day before his arrest or six weeks earlier, remains a dispute that Judge Priestley will need to be determined. And that determination will, in turn, establish Lembke's role.
Either it was a journey of thousands of kilometres, first by plane and then by yacht, which he sailed into Lake Macquarie knowing or suspecting it contained cocaine.
Or it was limited to a quick trip of some 150 metres as he ferried a syndicate member out to the yacht.
The prosecution say Lembke knew about the drugs before arriving in Australia because he had an encrypted phone, misled and kept information from his co-pilot and made comments on a listening device about receiving "another $500,000".
While the defence say he only found out about the cocaine after a meeting at the Toronto Hotel on November 14 and was "duped" by the other syndicate members, who purposely kept the existence of the drugs on board secret from him.
Judge Priestley will determine Lembke's role in and knowledge of the drug importation plot and deliver sentence on April 17.