Red Sky in the morning...
jT, cool with 50% cloud cover, red morning sky
01/03/2012, Denison Canal pier
Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning! That is the old sailing adage and was the case at 5:30am this morning as I brewed my coffee. With the Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race behind us, I'm sitting in the cockpit and trying to pull together my thoughts to blog and chronicle the race and after race festivities. Over the next week, I'll be posting blogs BACK in time, so make sure you refresh your browser and go find the older posts in chronological order.
I am delivering the boat back to Sydney with our friend and normal race navigator, Del Elson. As I will catch you up over the next week, suffice to say that we are shorter handed delivering Nemesis back to Sydney with only two up.
Based on conversations with other friends and yachties, I wanted to take the short-cut home via a narrow and shallow canal just below Hobart. From the famous "Iron Pot" lighthouse, we turned left and in about two hours pulled up to tie up alongside some friends, Maluka of Kermandie and Menace. We sit here in the morning waiting for the bridge operator to start at 9am. Once the bridge is hoisted we'll travel the ~12nm to the sea, cutting off over 50nm if we had to return via Tasman Island (as in the race).
Gale force South to South-Westerlies are predicted up and down the East coast of Tassie today, so the red sky in the morning was a pretty key indicator! We'll see how is goes as we move up the coast in the shadow and lee of Tasmania.
Glad to be back blogging and look forward to sharing the rest of the Nemesis story with you... "The Long Road to Hobart" is finally concluded!
We Made It!
12/31/2011, Constitution Dock, Hobart
The start of some serious NYE celebrations, the after shot soon after our arrival into Hobart just before 5pm on NYE.
Where's the Wind Gone?
12/29/2011, 185 Miles to Go...
Day 4 of racing and after 3 days of working uphill in 20 - 30 knots of southerlies we are now drifting down the Tassie coast waiting for the wind to fill in from the north so we can finish the race! We were becalmed for an hour or so yesterday so most of the crew took a quick dip in Bass Straight to cool off - substitute shower... a couple of hours after that someone sighted a very large fin just about 10 meters off our stern as we were back in 30 knots of southerly pushing south.
The wind died down last night - its been slow going ever since - we now have our small spinnaker up and are moving along at about 4 knots in about 8 knots of wind. We have had minimal damage to the boat which is great - probably the biggest inconvenience right now is a backed up head - gotta love the bucket.
All the crew are in good spirits - the end is in sight - fingers are crossed for shore leave for NYE - come on wind.
I cant sign off without mentioning Liv's birthday yesterday - 23 - she celebrated with a lot of sail changes, a dip in Bass Straight and a piece of her Mum's very yummy fruit cake.
All good on board and the next update will be from Hobart - bring it on.
The Southerly Buster hits!
jT - S-SE 30, with gust to 40 and Rain
12/26/2011, Tasman Sea with 88 other yachts, NSW
It's only been a few hours, but on the horizon, over land, we see the infamous roll cloud indicating the Southerly is coming! Dinner is in the over and Liv's mom has whipped up a yummy looking lasagna! People quickly eat as we watch the cloud grow, much smaller than last year but significant none the less. As it closes, I call for the kite dropped and up with the #2 jib. This is done in quick order and we can then pole out the #2 for the last of our downwind run. The rain starts just as the wind backs to the West. We just have time to drop the pole and peel up the #3 as we tack and drop the #2 to the deck. It's also time to bang in our first reef of the race. Thirty knots of wind on the nose and we tack offshore for a run down the coast. The swell,due to the remnants of tropical cyclone Fina still sitting off of Queensland, is making for very bumpy seas in the 3-4 meter range. We end up putting in a second reef in quick order and then de-power down to the #4.
The boat is moving well as we settle into the first night watch of the race.
First day's Spinnaker Run
jT, Slight clouds, all foulied up
12/26/2011, Tasman Sea with 88 other yachts, NSW
We continue to watch a few other boats carry their spinnakers, with the majority of the fleet heading out for sea. A Sydney 38, Fully N Pushing, was running about our speed and after putting the kite up starts to take a quick chunk out of the distance between us. Every thing is set on the boat for the kite, so I call "ready to hoist"... quickly people take their places and "bow set", "mid set" and "pit set" ring out. With that I call "hoist"... we put up our heavier 1.5 oz cloth spinnaker, white with orange and red in it. It fills with air after "made!" is hollered by Damian as it reaches the top of the mast. Trimmed in, it starts to pull and exert it's force from all of that area of material filled with air. We gain a few knots and start down the coast. Kirsty is downstairs for a nap when the photography helicopter finally reaches the back of the fleet. I call down to wake her and she doesn't want to get up. I keep at her, knowing that she will want to be in the picture. Last year, in every photo of the race she wasn't in ANY of them. (note, we finally have a race photo with Kirsty in it!)
We stick in, close to the rhumb line and watch as we pace and slowly pass a few of the others in the fleet. There are several kites behind us, so with the best handicap in the fleet, we are doing well! A few hours into the run I count over 50 kites around us, with the majority heading offshore. We also have a nice 1-2 knot current with us, so that never hurts. It appears that even the boats slightly out from us don't have this amount of current, as several eventually gybe their kites and head in toward our line after we pass them.
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Start
jT, Slight clouds, time for a jumper
12/26/2011, Sydney Harbor with 88 other yachts, NSW
26/12/2011 Poor Nemmy... always the bridesmaid, never the bride... This time for the race, I promised to get her to Hobart... before New Year's Eve Fireworks... with her and the crew safe. Simple goals, a few days of hell with be the price for achieving them I'm sure!
The starting area is cool, with a gray layer of clouds sitting over the harbor. We slowly join the parade of races going by the start boat with our bright orange storm jib and tri-sail hoisted. A call of boat name, sail number and POB (persons on board) and we are cleared to race. Down come the storm sails and we have a bit of time to loiter, finish a few safety instructions, have some lunch, and generally get ourselves into race mode.
A big party boat, hosted by CYCA and allowed into the exclusion zone with the race boats has our friends and family on board. It comes flying by, and a mission to somewhere so we give chase and find the gang on the back deck.... Tony and Fran, Ange, and James and Naoko all wave and take pictures as they steam past! Not slow and intimate like last year when Kirsty's Dad grabbed the intercom and gave us a long distance pep talk! That over we hoist sails and start tacking and gybing on my chosen West side of the start line. We slowly cruise back and forth, as I was looking for Del in his bright red yacht Chiara Stella, but couldn't see them for the crowds. A cat did pull up to the start line and I heard a call of Jeff... an old neighbor, Suzie, from our days at Woodley's was waving us good luck! Always good to see friends and friendly faces, but then you realize your about to start one of the toughest ocean races in the world, time to settle back into race mode!
We all take our places and are running up the line straight at the start boat. BANG! The starting cannon roars. We harden up and fly past the starting line as part of a long line of boats, all on a starboard tack. Looking over my right shoulder, at the fleet, I'm spotting holes that I can squeeze Nemmy thru. (It wasn't just us, as I later learned that Wild Oats - the 100 foot Maxi - had to tack three times in twenty seconds!) I pick a hole and call for a tack, we cleanly execute it all, ducking and weaving our way up the harbor. It gets easier in a few minutes as the lighter and faster boats clear out of our way. We make the heads and pick a perfect lay line to reach out towards the Z mark, a mile out to sea off of South Head. We watch the fleet pop kites and head out on heated up angles for speed. I'm really watching the other boats and the angles they are taking and hold off for a few minutes before we hoist.
My game plan for the race was: 1.) pop a kite in the North-ish winds and keep inshore to the rhumb line 2.) Once an anticipated Southerly hits, we would tack out 3.) Then we would keep our tacks saw- toothing just to the East of the rhumb line as we work down the coast. 4.) As we enter Bass Strait, I want to just be flirting with 150 59 E, just hitting 151. 5.) This is where we can hit a current, but not the counter-current closer in that would slow us down. 6.) Then down to Tasman Island. 7.) keeping to the starboard side out of the middle of Storm Bay and 8.) also keeping to the starboard side of the Derwent River 9.) leading to a magnificent finish in Hobart with sausages grilling on the BBQ (my hat tip to all the cruising we did!).
So, I guess you either already know, or will find out in the next few blogs how well we did, if the plan was solid, and all the outcomes...