20 April 2018 | Kristiane Well Reefed
Did you ever see the HBO Mini-Series, Band of Brother?
There's this guy, Lieutenant Sobel, a petty tyrant who torments his trainees during inspections with "chicken shit" nit picking. "PASS REVOKED!!" he screams at a soldier after spotting an imaginary piece of fluff.
Tas Maritime was our Lieutenant Sobel as we waited for a weather window to get us back to mainland Australia across the notorious Bass Strait. Each morning we'd struggle and fight our way out from under the duvets and tune into Tas Maritime. And every day, "North to northwest twenty five to thirty. Forty later. Seas, three to four metres."
Time Bandit! PASS REVOKED.
We didn't waste our time though. There was a tidy little marina at Triabunna. Gary the Harbour Master said he could squeeze us in but only for two nights. A week or more later as contrary winds blew, every second day we pleaded for just another couple of nights. And so, while it blew we enjoyed full on electric, hot running water, a pub with a colour tele showing how well Australia was doing in the Commonwealth Games and, when the sun was out, long walks, hand in hand from one end of the peninsula to the other. Hand in hand, not because we're so deeply in love but just to keep Anne out the coffee shops.
Finally a window looked like opening, and anyway, Gary needed to chuck us out, so we headed out to Wineglass Bay, the last stepping stone before leaving to await the coming breeze.
And it was another case of "Huv ye no looked oot the windae?"
Forecast: 20 to 30 south to south west.
Actual: make sure yer hat's tied on really tight, fresh pants and hang on.
Windy! Jings. It blew like stink. It was blowing thirty before we got the anchor up at seven o'clock. On the whole, that was fine in the lee of the island. Kristiane who we'd been cruising with were ahead broaching in every gust. We just did our normal. Heeled over a bit and powered on. Offshore a few hours later it was a bit breezy and big, big breaking waves made things a bit exciting. We just stormed along, surfing down the big rollers or getting a good drenching when we hit one side on. For most of the crossing we looked like the Pope Mobile in a car wash as we'd left the "clears" up. And didn't they serve us well. Two reefs in the main, genoa half furled, occasional staysail but full on plastics, bulging into the cockpit like a balloon about to burst in the gusts. Good to forty five knots! And we stayed dry.
Door to door over the three hundred or so miles we averaged 7.7 knots. And we deserved that average. Genoa in. Genoa out. Pole up, pole down. Reef in, reef out. We weren't just sittin' aboot in the Popemobile, such was the motivation to avoid another night at sea in these big scary waves. We made Eden just after midnight. A quick Pussers Rum to soothe the nerves and back for another fight with the duvet.
Wake to calm and sunshine. Ashore for lunch at noon. Beers at one. Massage at three.