Bella

20 October 2011
15 October 2011
14 October 2011
14 October 2011
10 October 2011
10 October 2011
10 October 2011
09 October 2011 | Leos Isl
07 October 2011 | Dirk Hartog Isl
07 October 2011 | Shark Bay
28 September 2011 | Exmouth
28 September 2011 | Exmouth
28 September 2011 | Exmouth
23 September 2011
23 September 2011
23 September 2011
23 September 2011
18 September 2011
16 September 2011 | Broome

Cape Melville

21 July 2011
Well we headed off and had a lovely sail leaving Lizard Island with 20-25knts behind us and the forecast to ease, particularly inshore waters. We reached Howick Island before midday to find the anchorage a little unsettling so agreed to keep going and enjoy the run to Cape Melville and Bathurst Bay which is a nice big safe headland to anchor behind. On approaching Bathurst later in the afternoon the wind suddenly blowing 35-40knts with gusts to 46-48knts! What the? This wasn’t in the forecast!!!!! The last few miles into the anchorage we had a scrap of sail and gently motoring into the headwind making a mere 3-4knts speed and going sideways almost as fast. There have been but a few times we have seen the tops of waves being blown off in spindrift, white sheets of water racing away downwind- hadn’t planned on seeing that today!!! In an attempt to get in touch with the Weather Bureau we were given the automated forecast of 20-25knts easing inshore– NOT! I’m curious to know why and how the Weather Bureau failed to forecast this gale (roughly Force 8-9 or 90km/h). Thankfully we managed to seek refuge in time, dug out the ‘OMG’ anchor ready on deck and sat and watched our wind vane go off its nut while we listened to the rigging shake & rattle in the gusts. NOT HAPPY! Lets hope this is the worst of it and the Bureau got something right and it does ease off. Just as well we hadn’t planned on doing any big passages offshore on this leg, and thankfully we decided not to stay at Howick Is. This is the third time in three months that the Queensland Weather Bureau has failed to forecast a strong event and put us in a nasty situation. Thankfully Bella is easy to reduce sail with the furling sails and she has proved herself worthy of handling the conditions until we’ve been able to seek refuge and wait it out.
Much later that evening we used the sat phone and managing to get in touch with the on-duty forecaster at Townsville (in his nice dry comfortable office) who tried to tell us that the strongest wind we should be getting is 25knts! Wrong again. It took a little convincing that we’re not imagining this and our instruments (along with Illusion V anchored alongside) are not faulty. He was not very reassuring nor did he seem too bothered of our circumstances. I think we’ll need to keep our storm tactics up our sleeve...
Monday was spend at anchor while we waited out the gale behind Cape Melville after spending a long night on anchor watch. After holding well and the anchor proving itself we now have a little more faith in the ‘fast set plough’ which came with Bella. We made the most of a lumpy anchorage and started Kieran’s school term early so that he can gain a few free days. But it was a long day onboard in not the most pleasant conditions. Our strongest wind recorded over the two days was 48knts and Illusion was 51knts.
Comments
Vessel Name: Bella
Vessel Make/Model: Dufour
Hailing Port: Mandurah
Crew: Chris, Heidi, Kieran, Drina, Max and Tinka
About: We have taken 6 months off of work and school to sail our new boat 'Bella" from Brisbane, hopefully back to Mandurah, if not we will just enjoy what we see, weather dependent.

Who: Chris, Heidi, Kieran, Drina, Max and Tinka
Port: Mandurah