Arrived Pittwater after 62.5 hours
25 December 2014 | Refuge Bay, Hawksbury river, Pittwater, NSW
Refuge Bay, Hawksbury River near Pittwater, north of Sydney
Position 33 35.811'S:151 15.020'E
It took us 62.5 hours to sail here from Mooloolaba, around 480 nautical miles. The favorable EAC for much of the way certainly helped. It's so lovely to be here! A tranquil sheltered spot with just a mooring to pick up. Just as well as it was 11.30 pm last night in the rain. Lucky we had been here a few times before.
The northerly picked up yesterday but as it was straight behind, to stop the sail flapping about, Bill poled out the jib. On Valiam he has to wrestle with it to get it in position and when taking it down. As the waves and wind increased we were flying along at more than 10 knots. Thunder head clouds loomed in the distance. Visibility was poor as ships appeared around us. Luckily most of the ships were anchored, no doubt the crew enjoying Christmas dinner.
I was becoming increasingly anxious as the radar showed storms ahead of us. I pleaded with the captain to take down the poled out jib. After watching him wrestle with the pole again on the bouncing foredeck, I was happier with just the reefed mainsail. Motoring at first to keep our speed up, the wind increased enough to turn it off. We were still doing 8 knots without a current. It was a grey whipped up sea with thunder in the distance. The rain started slowly and the sky gradually became darker. The radar on bom.gov showed several storms around us. Oh well we were in it now. A packet of crisps and another stugeron pill.
30 miles from Pittwater we couldn't see a thing except for the lights of another yacht. Baranjoey light didn't appear until about 3-4 miles away. Then luckily for us the rain cleared a bit and we could see the shoreline. Using our electronic chart on the IPad we aimed for the middle of the channel, took down the mainsail and slowly motored in. It was lovely and calm in there. Raincoat on, a head torch and boathook in hand I stood at the bow peering into the rainy gloom. The droplets looked beautiful reflected in my head torch beam. Slowly slowly we motored towards where we knew there were mooring buoys among the outer yachts in Refuge Bay. The first one I saw we grabbed. It was a private yacht club mooring but we were tired. In the morning we would shift if we had to.
Just before midnight we celebrated our arrival and Christmas with champagne, beer, a heated up Thai noodle packet ,fruitcake and custard. Our heads hit the pillow and we slept very soundly indeed.
It's our Christmas Day today and we are baking roast lamb with potatoes and beans. It smells divine and my glass of cold champagne is delicious. I have some supermarket eggnog we could add a little whiskey to. A southerly has just come in and we don't care. It's secure and protected in here with an afternoon nap to look forward to.