Sydney to Melbourne
16 September 2007
Left Pittwater at 2.30 PM on the 6th of September 2007.
I gave John Kersal my travelling friend a quick run down on Moody Blue as we motored down Pittwater channel heading out to the Tasman sea. We motored sailed past Sydney Harbour, Botany Bay, the winds were not as expected so running the Volvo and picking up any advantage from the wind shifts was going to be the plan. I made sausages for dinner and we started our 3 hours on 3 hours off stints. It became obvious that sleeping would be a problem with the consistent hum of the volvo. Friday morning saw us around Port Kembla with the wind still in our faces and building, we ploughed on regardless until we were 5 miles past Jervis Bay, the waves were starting to crash over the bow so we decided to head back to Jervis Bay to shelter and wait for a wind change. This rest gave us time to shower and eat a decent meal, not to mention sleep without the throb from the Volvo. Jervis Bay is a great sea mooring. It is protected and they have mooring buoys about 100 metres out from the shore which still gives you plenty of depth. We left the bay at 2.30 PM and enjoyed some nice light sailing for a few hours accompanied by the odd Dolphin.
I learnt from the night previous to make the evening meal well in advance so I also took the time at Jervis bay to make some Spag bolognaise. As per the usual the wind quickly swung to the direction we need to take, this was becoming frustration because the forecasts were for SE-E winds and they were S-SW winds, this time they were only light so the Volvo did it easy. We went back to our nightly routine and found ourselves at Naroma at first light on Saturday morning.
Dawn at sea is something special, not sure what it is but it just makes you feel something deep, like a huge respect for this magnificent Ocean, its power and its beauty. I sailed for two hours while John slept but once again the wind was just not playing fair. The Volvo was paying its way and slowly pushed us into Eden at 1 PM. Eden is the ideal place for a Marina. Unfortunately they only have a rustic pier, which is for short term visits only.
The winds were swinging to the North so we quickly got some supplies and headed off for Gabo Island and then Wilsons Prom. WE had a nice smooth evening and I put some steak on the Barby with some fresh greens, John must have been thinking how good was this, he was on a great ocean Yacht and eating like a king and being paid for it, doesn't sound right!!
The winds from the north were light but a nice help for the engine. As I sat there on my 12 to 3 am stint the winds were picking up lifting Moody blue to near 7 knots, the sky was full of stars, its just an amazing place to be, but I must say, one feels so vulnerable out here on the ocean, its like she is saying yes you can pass, This time.
Early morning on Sunday we were having nice light northerlies and slowly building to 15 knots, John and I just commented we need this all day. We did not have a good angle so we decided to put up the Genaker to try and boost speed, after fumbling around for a while we had her doing 7.5 to 8 knots, our luck ran out and by 10 am we were using the good old faithful Volvo. We have to push to Refuge Cove some 100 KM away to avoid a lurking low that we didn't really know its position. The rest of Sunday we motored getting the occasional puff from the god of winds and our position was 10 KM north of the southern point of Wilsons prom. Monday we will keep pushing and should make the turn by 3 am. We expect Northerlies all day and quiet strong that will hopefully have us close to the heads by 5 or 6 pm.
Passing around the islands at 3am was a little errie at times but very exciting, at around 4.30 we set course straight for Melbourne, we did discuss heading west to sail close to the coast for added protection just incase the wind did get up. Our decision proved to be wrong as the wind built up from a strong wind warning to gale force at times hitting 45 knots, we did manage good speed at times 8.5 knots. By the time we were 20 miles from Western port the wind was swinging more from the west and our boat speed was down and the Yacht began taking some big hits with the gunnels unable to drain the wash from the waves, I made the decision tack and head for the cover of Westernport bay. The yacht struggled to make head way crashing into some big seas. By 5pm we were safely cruising towards Westernport marina where the coastal patrol had already booked us a safe berth. Finding our way to the marina was a little tricky but the maxsea software was very accurate and we could basically just follow the chart and put her on the spot. Electronic charts are fantastic when they are well charted and up to date. We berthed at 6.30 pm and our passage from Queensland to Melbourne was just about complete.