Cruising on Iolanthe

The sailing adventures of Craig, Josephine and Sophie.

17 November 2013
11 November 2011 | Home
03 November 2011 | Coffs Harbour
26 October 2011 | Mooloolaba
23 October 2011 | Great Sandy Straits
22 October 2011 | Port Bundaberg
19 October 2011
13 October 2011 | Mackay to Kepppel Bay
05 October 2011 | Whitsundays
27 September 2011 | The Cumberland Islands
17 September 2011 | Digby Island
16 September 2011 | Middle Percy Island
14 September 2011 | Pearl Bay
12 September 2011 | Great Keppel Island
06 September 2011 | Pancake Creek
03 September 2011 | Kingfisher Bay
27 August 2011 | Southport
20 August 2011 | Coffs Harbour
30 July 2011 | RPAYC, Newport

An Update and a new blog

17 November 2013
Hi all,

Haven't been a lot going on lately, we have plans for another trip in the pipeline but working and being parents is keeping us pretty busy at the moment!

We also have transferred our Blog over to

All our old posts remain here and also at the new blog, but new posts will only appear over there.

Fair winds.

Heading Home

11 November 2011 | Home
Our last night in Coffs started with sundowners on Whimaway and then Kristi and Rick came around for a night of wine and cheese. Local cruisers we had met last time we were in Coffs when they had grabbed our lines and then shown two very tired and stressed parents/newbie cruisers overwhelming hospitality, they are truly the kind of people that represent everything cruising should be about.

Sitting back with them in the saloon and talking about the passages and experiences we had been through seemed like a very fitting last night.

With that pied piper now knocking loudly on the side of the hull, we decided to head from Coffs Harbour straight to Pittwater to get home as soon as possible. Slightly worse for wear (the second bottle of wine was probably not a good idea) we again left in company with Whimaway. It proved to be another magic overnighter, dolphins and whales close to the boat (a little too close!) and a fast sail with a near full moon.

By sunrise we were past Port Stephens and spoke with Mix'd Nutz on the radio as they were leaving Shoal Bay. Almost 36 hours after leaving Coffs we were inside Pittwater. The sight of Lion island brought tears to both of our eyes, we were home, but also our time aboard our beautiful boat was, for the moment, nearly over.

We pulled into our berth, not exactly gracefully, knocking the fire hose, in our only berthing incident in 3 months of cruising. Being our home berth, wide, easy to approach and very familiar, the irony was not exactly appreciated by all at the time. None the less, we were home, arriving in the middle of the "festival of sail" with boats and people everywhere, we could of been just another boat out for the day.

The band in the bar started playing "sitting on the dock of the bay" as we turned off the engine and opened a bottle of wine. The grandparents would be here shortly, eager to see Sophie after months away, then there were friends to see, errands to run and that piper character seemed to now be standing up at the bow shaking a finger at us and tut-tutting. For the moment, however, we just sat and listened to the music and chatted, laughing as we watched our gorgeous daughter attempt, yet again, to dismantle the autopilot.

"Josie, You know if we headed up there and left from Coffs Harbour in April we could go across to Vanuatu and do the pacific thing....."
"Yes honey, but maybe we should get some more corn chips and avocado first"...

Southport-Coffs Harbour

03 November 2011 | Coffs Harbour

After a few carefree days in Southport which also included couple of anxious phone calls home to our bosses and parents we were now very much behind our "intended cruise plan" ( the word schedule is very taboo in cruising circles, to use it even in whsipered tones is to tempt weather fate and most certainly doom one to all manner of storms and mechanical hold ups).

We left Southport in the middle of Melbourne Cup festivities in company with Whimaway to again take advantage of a very small weather window and had an uncomfortable start to the passage beating into large but decreasing seas. By the time Jo and Sophie went to bed however conditions aboard had improved considerably, by the early hours of the morning we had a warm westerly at 15 knots and with sheets eased and the moon shining as Dolphins swam past us and it was a magic sail. I put in my Ipod and decided to not wake Jo for her watch.

In planning this trip I had expected to enjoy the pretty places we would see, the islands and the beaches, to have fun meeting the new people we would meet, however it was these quiet but magic moments on sailboat moving easily before the wind and the moon that I had not expected.

We entered Coffs Harbour in the afternoon, had a very enjoyable dinner at the Yacht Club with Whimaway and thought about how much had changed in the short few months since we had last arrived tired and terrified in Coffs Harbour after our first overnight passage.

Mooloolaba- Southport

26 October 2011 | Mooloolaba
After crossing the bar early in the morning we arrived into Mooloolaba in the afternoon after another great sail down in lively conditions.

After tying up at the Marina we had a BBQ ashore with the other Alfreds boats, to celebrate what for some would be the end of their cruise. While it was not quite the end for us, it was the end of a stage. No longer were our thoughts on pretty anchorages and new adventures, for us and for the remainder of our little fleet the focus was now on getting the boat back home.

With a delay again because of weather we enjoyed a couple of carefree days in Mooloolaba, including catching up with Jo's brother Adrian, wife Anna and Sophie's Cuz' William.

With time now a real factor, we had a small window of weather on the weekend to get to Southport. We left Mooloolaba early in the morning and just made it in through the Gold Coast Seaway on Sunset. Luckily friends came in handy again and as we pulled into Southport Yacht Club in the dark Silk Road were there to take our lines. Southport would mean another weather delay, however again we made the best of the situation, enjoying a roast at the yachtclub with Silk Road and walks along the beach.

Great Sandy Straits

23 October 2011 | Great Sandy Straits
Finally, after more than a week the weather was looking ok to leave Bundaberg. An easy morning departure in company with the 'Alfreds Armada' saw us beating into some still reasonably steep seas for a while until we managed to get far enough across to receive some protection from Fraser Island. By lunchtime we were enjoying a nice sail in flat water as we were coming into the Great Sandy Straits.

That night we all anchored in South White Cliffs with sundowners aboard Mix'd Nutz as we discussed our proposed assault on Sheridan Flats the next day. The shallowest part of the Great Sandy Straits it requires spot on timing to take full advantage of tide in order to cross in a keel boat. Given that we had 7 keel boats to get through, and we had heard reports from other boats of possible issues with the marker buoys we were a little apprehensive. With Cariad the shallowest boat going first and calling depth soundings back to the rest of us we all made it through ok and anchored at Elbow Point for early sundowners on Windsong before literally queing up early the next morning to cross the Wide Bay Bar with several other yachts in rolly but otherwise benign conditions.


22 October 2011 | Port Bundaberg
Within a hour of being at the dock, with the latest weather forecast in one hand and a Gin and Tonic in the other( Storm Recovery) it became very apparent that we would be spending some quality time in Bundy. The forecast predicted various levels of doom and gloom for at least a week.

So we did what cruisers do in such situations. We took our cleverly devised, foolproof plan to have the boat home ontime and ripped it up all over the cockpit floor, poured ourselves another G & T and launched into a week of eating, drinking and socializing. With 8 other boats from Alfreds tied up in the Marina in a similar situation, The Port to Port Rally in full swing, A friendly little Yacht Club, small town charm(and prices!) and a bunch of other cruisers we had met up and down the coast it was an easy enough accomplishment.

Our time passed relatively easily, a trip to the local markets, a BBQ with the Port 2 Port sailors, The Coral Coast Rendezvous dinner, 2 for 1 Steaks at the Lighthouse Tavern with the boys off Cloud Nine.....meeting sailors from all over the world, some who were circumnavigating others who were on their second/third circumnavigation.....sundowners every night with the Alfreds clan........and talking all the time to everyone about the weather!

Vessel Name: Iolanthe
Vessel Make/Model: Martzcraft 35
Hailing Port: Sydney, Australia
Crew: Craig, Josephine and Sophie
About: Sophie our 6 month old daughter is very much the admiral on this expedition. Along for the ride are Craig and Jo are who are basically there to keep the boat floating and heading towards the sun and to make sure madam is never wanting for toys or mashed banana.
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Iolanthe's Photos -

Who: Craig, Josephine and Sophie
Port: Sydney, Australia