Dead calm in the Tasman sea...
A sudden belting...
A beautiful sunset over Farewell Spit...
All in one day...
Dead calm in the Tasman sea...
A sudden belting...
A beautiful sunset over Farewell Spit...
Last modified on Monday, 18 June 2018 03:54
We picked up a good breeze halfway across Frederick Henry Bay and hoisted the sails to enjoy a cracking sail home.
We spent a busy 1 ½ weeks in Hobart picking tomatoes, weeding, and celebrating a significant birthday and then, when we saw a nice big weather window approaching, took the bus back to Beauty Point.
Thirty-six hours of light wind to no wind meant motor-sailing the whole way across Bass Strait. Not anyone’s idea of fun. But at least I wasn’t seasick!
We left Rusalka in RBYC for a week while visiting family and friends, all the while keeping an eye on the weather for opportunities to continue eastward on our circumnavigation of Bass Strait.
After a relaxing morning, we set off from Apollo Bay around midday, in order to arrive at Port Phillip Bay heads around slack water.
Apollo Bay is a pleasant beach town, with lots of families strolling the streets, fishing, playing in the waves, and generally enjoying the weekend.
The wind continued to blow from the east all of Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, just for variety, it blew from the west.
After less than 24 hrs on the mooring we noticed some chafing of our line where it was sliding back and forth on the bow roller.
We enjoyed 3 nights in Wynyard. We watched the local yacht club racing dinghies and took a walk along the river parkland to Fossil Bluff.
Devonport was enjoyable despite the fuel spill from the sunken tugs wafting past us with each turn of the tide. Our Devonport friends, Mark and Russell, were super hospitable as ever, bringing us home grown produce, home baked sourdough crumpets (YUM!), and home made jam and taking us on a Sunday drive to Wynyard for a fish and chips lunch and to check out the berthing possibilities there.
After countless bus trips to Launceston (one hour each way) for shopping and the chandlery we managed to finish all our jobs and decided to get away before something else broke!
The next day we pressed on toward the Tamar River. We’d been in contact with Cocomarje, another Hallberg Rassy 40 from West Australia, and wanted to meet them and see their boat before they left Beauty Point.
We woke up on Sunday, 16 Jan, the departure date for our summer cruise into Bass Strait, to warnings of a tsunami resulting from the underwater volcano eruption in Tonga.
Saturday there was a window to get through the canal and although it meant motoring into 15-20kts of wind and 1.5-2.5m swell we took the opportunity to finally leave Orford!
We returned to Shelly Beach on Sunday and picked up the public mooring for one night of peace of mind.
We had a lovely sail up to Schouten Island and anchored in Crockett’s Bay, next to Argos of Sydney.
We dropped the mooring in Quarantine Bay at 7:45am on Tuesday morning and motored uneventfully to Norfolk Bay.
Four nights and three days… We got back to Kettering on Thursday afternoon and Anna, our housesitter, drove us home so that we could pick up our car.
We’d hoped to set off for Port Davey in mid-January, but persistent westerly winds prevented us. Finally, on 22 January we departed Kettering, fully provisioned and fueled, with our friend Lindsay as guest and crew.
Pedra Branca is one of 3 rocky outcrops south of Tasmania.
After a long winter confined mainly to nearby waters, we decided to head off for a week or two further afield. Friends on Sheokee decided to sail in company with us and together we set off on a fine, calm morning across Storm Bay.
On Saturday morning we headed toward the Dennison Canal, accompanied by a joyous mob of dolphins.
Despite purging the clams overnight in seawater and many changes of fresh water, there was still a lot of sand in the clams, so I ended up using only the cooking broth and a little bit of the solid muscle in the chowder.
It was a relatively short run (32nm) from Bridport to Foster Inlet. We arrived around 4pm in a 15kt SW, which was rolling strongly into the bay.
The trip back down the Tamar was just as picturesque as the trip up, with the bonus of a light tailwind.
We were assured that the berth that we were in had enough water for our 2 metre draft. It was interesting then, to see the depth gauge reading 0 metres below the keel well before low tide.
After a restless last night in Devonport, including a 3am bout of indecision about our change of plans, we left the Mersey Yacht club on the morning ebb tide.
We’ve had a few days here at the Mersey Yacht Club, catching up on chores and enjoying the delights of Devonport.
We spent 2 days enjoying the Orford anchorage while the westerly winds blew themselves out, then set off early Tuesday morning for Wineglass Bay.
Sommers Bay is a lovely anchorage for northerly winds, but it is exposed to the south and gets a nasty chop in any sort of southerly. Just as I was beating the eggs for breakfast we heard the wind pick up from the south, a bit earlier than we expected!
We finished up all our projects and local commitments and we were ready to set sail anytime after Tuesday. However, a forecast showing a couple of fronts approaching and adverse wind conditions kept us waiting a few days.
We have a full cockpit tent that we use when at anchor on rainy days, but it is too restrictive to use while sailing.
During the night we heard the odd noise or two outside – maybe a block moving? maybe a few drops of rain? Nothing to get out of bed and investigate. In the morning all was revealed.
The weather has been quite benign, with light winds and comfortable temperatures, so we don’t feel in any rush to go home! We left Wineglass Bay and motored south into Mercury Passage, passing Ile de Phoques, with it’s huge seal colonies.
We left George Town at the almost civilized hour of 06:50, on the outgoing tide, and enjoyed a 2kt push out of the Tamar.
We enjoyed our stay at the Tamar Yacht Club, sleeping in and eating out. I thought I might get a bit of exercise and ride my folding bike (that we’ve been lugging across Bass Strait and back) to the shops to get some cheese to go with the champagne we’d planned to have in the evening.
We spent a week happily lounging around, visiting family and friends, and playing with our grandson, but with one eye on the weather forecasts. A 2-3 day window of light winds seemed to be consistently showing for the end of the week, so we gathered up provisions and motored out of of the marina on Thursday morning.
The wind at Oberon Bay howled all night at 25 kts, gusting to 30, but we managed a reasonable sleep. We got up at 5:15 and set off in the dawn light with the intention of stopping at San Remo, on the eastern side of Westernport Bay.
I was very pleased to see that my anchor drop the previous day had been accurate and we had indeed dug well about 1m from the small sandy spot I’d aimed at.
Binalong Bay turned out to be a horribly rolly anchorage, with the swell coming in on our quarter and slapping the hull outside our aft cabin. At midnight we couldn’t take the noise any more and decamped for berths further forward!
After a windy day and night at anchor in Shoal Bay on Maria Island (with strong wind shifts from the east, south and west), we set off for Wineglass Bay, further up the coast.
We were enjoying breakfast this morning while the winds blew moderately from the north. Suddenly the anchor alarm went off and we could see from the track on the chart plotter that we were indeed slowly moving southward.
We’ve set off on our trip to Victoria to visit family and friends! I’ll try to post every few days or whenever we get a reasonable phone signal.
We joined in on the Parade of Sail, along with hundreds of other boats, to welcome the tall ships and other wooden boats to Hobart for the Australian Wooden Boat festival.
We had been planning a 2 week trip to Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour with our friend Lindsay, but an expired alternator meant a change in plans. The weather in early January was too good to waste, so we decided that a jaunt closer to home would be enjoyable and more prudent with only a single small working alternator.
After one or two false starts we set off from Kettering on Saturday, the 22nd Dec. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed a gentle motor-sail across Storm Bay.
We’ve been following the GGR for over a year on their facebook page and website. This solo round the world race aims to recreate the conditions of the original GGR in 1968. There are only two “gates” in the race that the entrants have to sail through – one in the Canary Islands and one just south of Hobart.
Warning - this post is a long one! I decided to tell the whole story of our trip to Denmark in one post.
One should always have paper charts. We went one step further, 3D charts ie a globe.
It was a long, but easy ride down from Jervis Bay to Bryan’s Corner on Frecyinet Peninsula. Seventy-five hours of mostly motor-sailing, through easy seas with light or no winds.
From Jervis Bay to Eden, hug the coast to avoid the slight north going current. But from Eden to Tasmania there are eddies begging to be used.
We’re on our way! We left Newcastle at about 3pm on Wed., once the SE wind had eased, and motor-sailed through the night.
Well, we did cross the Tasman back to Aus, albeit arriving in Newcastle, 260nm north of the intended destination of Eden.
Just a short blog to say that Rusalka arrived in Newcastle at around 4 pm. They made very good time yesterday and today with wind off the beam and a favourable current, reaching a maximum of 10.4kt over the ground! More details tomorrow, but just a note to say all are well and enjoying a well earned whiskey.
Rusalka spent the night trying to swim upstream, with a strong current (over 3kts) against her. It made for very slow progress. All night the winds were strong and Rusalka was pounding and bashing her way into the wind at 6-7kt through the water, but barely 3kt over ground. It was a very uncomfortable night for all.
Rusalka is still trudging on towards Newcastle. While the wind is now favourable, they’ve battled a current of 2kts against them all day and so are only averaging around 4 – 4.5kts. They are expecting the current to ease in the next few hours and are still hoping to make Newcastle on Saturday.
This is Alex's report on the events of the last two days:
How was it that we found ourselves in this storm?
It was quite a wild night. The severe weather was a series of events beginning on Monday afternoon and finishing early Tuesday. The effect of storm meant we could not go on our planned course to Eden due to wind and wave strength and direction that persisted afterwards.
It wasn’t a very nice 24hrs for the crew of Rusalka. Yesterday afternoon they were punching into 2.5-3m seas, making slow progress SW into 20-25kt WNW winds. About 6pm NZ time, while having mushroom barley soup for dinner, they crossed the magical “halfway” mark of 162.05E (halfway between Nelson and Eden).
Alex sent in the text for today's blog. They're nearing the halfway mark and getting ready for tonight's bad weather.
Storm Preparations: As Rusalka charges NW trying to get out of the way of the bad weather to come on Mon/Tues, Alex and crew are doing a few things to prepare for the wind and waves.
The topic of the messages that went back and forth with Rusalka today was “Weather”!
Last night was still, with glassy seas. This morning there was a very slight low swell and grey skies.
Here’s today’s report from Alex, with a few pictures:
No pictures today, I'm afraid! Just a quick update from Alex. Rusalka's course on Day 1 was NNE across Tasman Bay and Cook Strait, with wind more or less on the beam. A pod of dolphins escorted the boat out of Nelson - always a good omen!
I (Jackie) took the easy way home, by plane, on Easter Sunday. Alex, David and Anne continued to prepare the boat and wait for the right weather to leave.
Summer’s gone and it’s time to head back to Tassie. Alex has been checking the Predictwind forecasts daily and it’s starting to look like there will be windows available to get to Australia – at least somewhere in NSW, if not directly to Hobart, in the next week or so.
Since we had decided not to take Rusalka further afield than Marlborough Sounds, we hired a car to do a short road trip to explore the South Island further.
We spent the better part of a week in Nelson, doing chores and chasing up leads for crew for the return journey, so we decided that we deserved a couple of days of play in Abel Tasman National Park.
We woke up in Muzz’s Cove on Monday morning to heavy rain and low visibility, but decided to move on to another bay in Pelorus Sound.
As always, the weather guides our plans. With a forecast of two calm days before a Northwesterly gale we decided to leave beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound and head back around Cape Jackson to visit Pelorus Sound.
We booked the ferry to Wellington for Sunday for a short getaway, expecting to return on Wednesday. Cyclone Gita was coming, but it was uncertain when, where or how hard it would hit NZ.
After a couple of rainy days we were getting itchy feet and decided to spend a few more days looking around the inner QCS area.
Monday was a windy day with strong NW’s, but we decided to head up Endeavour Inlet to Furneaux Lodge. Some of the resorts here have moorings that they allow visitors to use for free – with the expectation that you’ll have a coffee or meal in their restaurant. They will even ferry you to and from your boat in their dinghy.
After the big blow we spent Friday getting ready for a week of cruising – food shopping, fueling the boat, having one last restaurant meal. We left Nelson on Saturday, in light winds heading for the notorious French Pass, that would let us slip under d’Urville Island and avoid some exposure to Cook Strait.
Extra-tropical cyclone Fehi was heading our way and had been forecast to hit NZ several days in advance. We came back from our mini-trip to the Abel Tasman NP and tied ourselves securely into our berth to await the storm.
A few videos of the relaxing passage
Our original plan was to head off towards the Marlborough Sounds as soon as we were all settled on the boat, but there was an “extra-tropical cyclone” forecast for Thursday which sounded pretty nasty so we decided to be in the Nelson marina when that hit.
For those interested in how much fuel we used, and so on, here are The Numbers.
Showers, beer, whisky, laundry, shopping, no watches.... we have arrived
This is just a placeholder. Judy B. and I (Jackie) are flying over to Nelson on Saturday to join Rusalka and to sail in the Marlborough Sounds. We might not post for a few days while we get ourselves organised and provisioned, but then we'll share our pictures and stories on this blog site. So keep watching.
I've had a phone call from Alex. It looks like they arrived early this morning and cleared customs around 10:30am NZ time. The photo is from Andrew Boon. I'll update when I hear more.
All in one day...
News flash! Rusalka can be seen passing Farewell Spit from the lighthouse webcam (just a dot on the left hand of the picture at 7:49pm): http://www.takeabreak.co.nz/webcams/126/farewell_spit_webcam
Well, the fine weather and seas have given way to give a commonly heard of introduction to NZ. What started as a beautiful early morning, sailing gracefully, by late morning we found ourselves in the midst of a mild belting.
1230 Wednesday 24 January 2018
We are closing in on our distination. We will arrive on Friday 26 Jan. Customs has been advised of ETA 1400 on 26 Jan.
Morning Wednesday 24 January 2018 (Position report to follow this afternoon)
So what do we do when we're off-watch? Well, it's hard to say, but one thing is certain, it is not boring. It's been a very good passage so far....
Sorry, no pictures from Alex today, but here is today's report from Rusalka:
Not much to report from Rusalka today. More light winds and calm seas. They finally turned the engine off again at 1pm today and are doing 6kt under full main and genoa.
ADDENDUM: 17:50 21 Jan. Ten minutes ago, just as the spaghetti bolognese was being served, we passed the halfway mark!!!
Morning, 20 Jan. 2018.
Settled into the routine of 3hour watches. All together for the main meal at about 6pm AEDT.
9am Fri. 19 Jan: Quite bumpy overnight. Winds 24-28kts, gusting into 30's as predicted. Seas mainly wind waves, not too bad, occasionally nasty. Water in cockpit every now and then gets down below!
Rusalka sailed on today, passing Tasman Island around midday in calm conditions.
The weather gods (Predictwind and MetBob) decided that there would be a good window to leave from this evening onward, so Alex and Bill brought the boat up to town from Kettering this morning, stopping to fuel up at the RYCT dock and to raise the CYCT burgee!
Alex and crew are ready to go! The boat is ready, passage planning is done and documentation is in order. Provisions are stowed and meals are cooked, frozen, and waiting to be loaded on board. But the weather is refusing to come to the party!
We'd made a long-standing promise to our friend Pam to watch the Hobart fireworks from the water with her nephew and his wife who are visiting from the US.
Christmas Eve dinner on Rusalka in Norfolk Bay. Quail in herb, champagne, and cream sauce with veggies and beetroot salad. And dessert!!
After many weeks of maintenance chores and getting ready for summer cruising, we finally got away for a few days to make sure everything is still working and to remind ourselves how to sail!
Servicing continues. It's time for a new prop shaft seal after perhaps 7 years life of the old one
Back in Kettering after a relaxed 4 1/2 motor and sail from Kermandie.
Rusalka has been with Dean Marks in Kermandie undergoing annual antifouling and other tasks in preparation for the planned trip in January. After 20 days at Kermandie, today we brought Rusalka back to Kettering.