Showing posts from 2015

Days 17-19 - A Peaceful Christmas followed by the Southern Ocean

We had a nice quiet Christmas in a good anchorage in Port Arthur. We spent Christmas Day wandering around the historic site. It was nice to get ashore! However it rained all day on Boxing day and so our planned trip to the tudor style Fox and Hounds Inn had to be abandoned! Then yesterday we did our next big sail from Port Arthur around to Hobart via Cape Raoul. The remains of the southerly front that hit the Sydney to Hobart race were still lingering so it was a bit lively and of course on the nose, which is never pleasant and made progress very slow.
We are not quite sure what happened but during one nasty gust the clew ring ripped out of the mainsail. So we had to reduce to a single reef which slowed us even more. But we dealt with it and eventually got into the marina at the Royal Yacht Club Tasmania, where we will be for a few days. This'll be a combination of seeing friends, the Sydney Hobart race and getting the boat fixed!

Day 16 - Slow but Spectacular

We left Maria Island at 0830 heading into a light southerly wind. With the exception of about an hour in the middle of the day the wind remained pretty light all day and so we motored sailed, taking care to look after the engine. It ended up taking us a total of 11 hours to cover the 45 nm to Port Arthur, a very poor 4 knots average.
The slow pace did, however, allow us to take in the spectacular scenery around the Tasman Peninsula. The dolerite pillars make for pretty impressive set of cliffs. We sailed through what is locally known as "the hole in the wall', a narrow gap between Tasman Island and the Tasman Peninsular with towering dolerite on each side. Not for the feint hearted and certainly not for the skipper who hates sailing close to the hard stuff. It did cut 5nm off the trip though! As if the scenery wasn't enough we were also treated to great views of dolphins, sunbathing seals and albatross. 
We are now safely in Port Arthur on a mooring and planning to spend th…

Day 15 - Maria Island

We had a relaxed motor from Orford for this morning and arrived on the west side of Maria Island in Shoal Bay around midday. There was a southerly breeze for most of the day and despite what you my think from the pictures it was actually quite cold.
Maria Island is a national park and was historically used as a penal colony. We went ashore for a few hours and managed to walk a massive 6km, quite a shock to the system. The island is lovely and quiet and the beach in the bay that we are anchored in must be well over a mile long. We saw a few wallabies in the bush and visited the remains of the prisoners cells. We finished off with a rather wet ride in the dinghy back to X-Pat but have now recovered with a few G&T's on deck.

Days 13-14 - Chilling

Wow this PredictWind Tracker has us doing some pretty mad things! It doesn't like it when we sit still and so seems to make up positions.
We motor sailed from Wineglass Bay to Spring Bay on Saturday and sat out another big blow but this time on anchor, which all went well. We then managed to get Ash ashore on Sunday so that he could get his flight back and so we are back to two persons on board.
We then moved to a mooring at Shelley Beach, Orford. Today we spent the morning ashore which was nice though not a lot was happening in Orford. Scallop pie and chips for lunch though! Our intrepid trolley came in handy again.
We tried a spot of fishing today but failed miserably. So I went in with the snorkel and mask to check out what the problem was. Note to self - 18 degC is bloody freezing even in a wet suit!
We developed a few engine issues yesterday, but checked back with our mechanic in Sydney today and he seems to think it's a minor issue so shouldn't be a problem. 

Days 9-12 The Bass Strait

We made it! We left Eden at midday on Wednesday in pretty much ideal conditions with a steady NE wind and the conditions held for pretty much the whole crossing. We were originally going to head for Orford but the wind changed to a southerly and we started beating into it, which after two days of champagne sailing was a bit of a shock. So after an hour off that we decided to divert to Wineglass Bay, a beautiful bay on the east coast of the Freycinet Peninsular. It basically took us 48 hours to make the crossing ably assisted by our friend the EAC! Not sure he'll be our friend on the way back as we had up to 3.5 knots of current on the way down. We had a few bits that failed on the way, mainly electrical. So a few jobs to do but nothing serious.

Apologies for the somewhat erratic track Predictwind. I don't know what it is doing but you get the basic idea.
After a good sleep in Wineglass Bay we motor sailed across Great Oyster Bay and are now anchored in Spring Bay sheltering from…

Day 7 and 8 - The Slow Road to Eden

Well here we are safely in Eden. After the blow on Sunday we woke to a beautiful calm Monday morning in Huskisson. We easily picked up Ash from the beach and then had a champagne sail for most of the afternoon, out of Jervis Bay and then 180 degrees south. Sadly the wind died in the evening and so the engine went on and even more sadly stayed on all night. Despite that it was a lovely trip down and Ash even got a view of dolphins swimming through bio-luminescence when on his watch.
We arrived in Eden at about 11am this morning and tied up with the fishing boats to get a bit more diesel and a few more provisions. We then headed across the bay and are now safely anchored in East Boyd Bay, next to a big Japanese owned wood chip facility and some beautiful beaches. We have scoured the weather reports and spoken to the locals and everyone seems to agree that the next few days should be "ideal" for a Bass Strait crossing. So after a good sleep tonight we will be off tomorrow for th…

Day 6 - Huskisson and another Blow

Things almost went to plan today! We motored across to Huskisson and picked up a mooring, then went ashore in the dinghy with our foldable trolley. Debi picked up a few provisions whist I went and got 40 litres of diesel to top up the tanks. In the meantime the weather had got up a bit and so we had a few dramas trying to get back to the boat. The main issue was trying to launch off the beach with a dinghy full of stuff. Debi managed to fall over the side and then a wave broke over the dinghy and filled it and our shopping with water! At that point a kind local swimmer came and gave us a hand and we successfully got away. A few more lessons learnt. The weather continued to build to 25 knots of wind and so we decided to book Ash into a hotel for the night whilst Debi and I sit out here on a mooring riding out the storm. It's subsiding now and so we should be ok to pick him and his hangover  up in the morning! Hey ho all good fun!

Day 5 - A Busy Few Days?

Well this is relaxing at it's best. On Thursday we sat in Darling Roads on the mooring just chilling out and waiting for another big southerly which came through yesterday evening. We managed to squeeze in some swimming and snorkelling and a nice walk along the beach. Today we have come to the northern part of Jervis Bay and have now picked up a mooring at Callala Bay. The plan is to pick up Ash tomorrow at Huskisson and also do a bit of shopping. We'll then review the weather for setting off to Eden.

Day 2 - A Day of Contrasts

Well this was the first big day. with the aim of getting to Jervis Bay.  We set off from Spring Cove, Sydney harbour at 0615 hrs, a bit later than planned in light rain and no wind. So we motored south for a few hours until we started to see some wind and then motor sailed. By 1100 hrs the engine was off and we had idyllic downwind sailing doing 7-8 knots and sometime 9 knots. We even had a brief view of a dolphin following us as we passed by Bondi beach.
By 1700 hrs we had sight of Point Perpendicular, the entrance to Jervis Bay, and we were pretty much going to schedule. As we entered the bay we decided to motor sail in but then the dreaded southerly change occurred. Quite staggering how quickly we went from idyllic conditions as shown in the photos below to in excess of 30 knots on the nose. The main came down very quickly and the poor engine struggled to make headway. At one point we were down to 1 knot and it was gusting to 37 knots! After two hours of battling we came into our pl…

Day 1 - We're off!

Well we got away at around 8am this morning and headed south. Our original plan was to get to Port Hacking today, but the forecast suggests strong NE winds tonight and our planned anchorage was quite exposed to this wind direction. So we have stopped short and are now tucked up in Spring Cove, Sydney Harbour for the night with four other boats. It's raining! Hopefully the weather will calm down so that we can depart tomorrow. 

Day Zero

Here we are all provisioned up, everything onboard and ready to go. The plan is to remain tied up here tonight at the Quays Marina to charge up the batteries and cool the beers in the fridge and then tomorrow we'll be off!

We have Water!

We finally got around to firing up the water maker for the first time yesterday. It only took 10 minutes to make  20 litres of the finest Eau d'X-Pat! A great feeling of independence.

Sydney Shake Down

This is the first live blog from X-Pat. Currently sitting in Sydney harbour having sailed down from Pittwater today. Everything good although we have some problems with the VHF radio. Weather not looking to good tomorrow so we may have to chill out here and head back early on Monday.

Slipped, Anti-fouled and Ready to Roll

In the interests of not transporting NSW marine life down to Tasmania, we did the responsible thing and slipped and anti-fouled yesterday. Interestingly there was no sign of the remains of the mooring around the prop! She wasn't looking too bad but it's nice to have a clean slippery boat to set off in! Thanks to the guys at Q-Service!

Oops Another Mishap!

Well we were all ready for a practice sail down to Sydney harbour this weekend. The forecast was 15-20 knots on the nose so it would have been a good shake down. However, misfortune got in our way once again. As we left the mooring we had a bit of a breakdown in communications between bow and helm and managed drive over the top of our mooring and get it wrapped around the prop. We managed to get free with the help of our friends at the Quays Marina, who secured the boat, whilst Pat got the snorkel gear on and with knife in hand cut the mooring. Fortunately X-Pat is coming out of the water on Tuesday for a pre-trip antifoul so we will be able to deal with the rope around the prop then. 
On the plus side we stayed onboard on Saturday night and had a pleasant evening and also managed to get a few more jobs done. Lots more lessons learnt!

Provisioning Phase 1

The weather has been rubbish for sailing this weekend so we took the opportunity to get started on the provisioning. 

Finally back on the water

Well we finally got back on the water on 4th October and have had a few nice trips since then. It's been frustrating that the weather has been wet and miserable for the last month and so we haven't had much enthusiasm to go for very far afield. 
The upgrade has continued and the second water tank is now connected. We have a new outboard and and new sheets. The rig has all been inspected and we are due for an anti-foul next week. We have installed an Iridium Go! Satellite wireless system and all of our friends will now be able to track our progress. Not many weeks to go before we depart for Hobart. Time to start thinking about provisioning!
New Crew! Florence on the helm
   Debi giving Florence a Safety Briefing.

First sail for a while across Broken Bay

Not there yet!

Well since the last post progress has been slow due to a combination of waiting on parts and taking priority in the boatyard but we are getting there. We are now waiting on the weather to die down to go out for a test run with the engine.