This blog is about planning and preparation for a circumnavigation of the world in a 39-foot sail boat followed, hopefully, by a diary of the actual circumnavigation. You can track the progress of Pachuca by visiting http://www.pangolin.co.nz/xtras/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=VNW5980
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
the team are getting a good soaking. Mother nature (the ultimate boss) has decided to turn on the water and wind.
Here is today's sms (Saturday 26th July 2008);
NOON 26 JULY EST. 36S27 155E05. MANY SQUALLS. DOING 6.5 KN WITH 2nd REEF & SMALL JIB. NOON-NOON = 129 NM.
If you want, please checkout their current location at this website, i.e. as the green marker
I thought it would be a good idea to see what it would be like (on a small boat)
in a squall, so put on your lifejacket and head to this website; http://tinyurl.com/6futce
The above video is not from Pachuca and requires a good internet connection.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
We decided to stay in Eden one more night. My head is still full of cold and Arnold was still throwing up into the early afternoon.
I visited my friends at Customs and got their OK to depart tomorrow (Thursday) morning. I then visited John at the harbour master's office and told him our plans and paid up for the last two nights at the jetty ($10 total!). John told me about the boat that had sunk during the recent blow. It is owned by a doctor who isn't very good at boat maintenance. It is a dive boat with two engines and large cockpit open to the weather. Water started lapping over the side into the boat but because the automatic bilge pump was not working the boat eventually heeled to one side and half sunk. John says that one engine is ruined but there is some hope that the other one can be rebuilt. Our boating friend must be a slow learner because this is the third time that the boat has sunk. I wonder what the insurance company will think. While I was there I mentioned to John that I planned to get nylon mooring lines because they stretch and put less load on the deck fittings. He told me that I could get that done by the net maker up the road.
On the way back to the boat I got into a conversation with the skipper of Kingfisher, the fishing boat ahead of me. I mentioned the 50 kn winds and he said that they were more like 70 kn winds given the effects that they had on the town. Arnold had seen the first squall coming and he said that it looked like a fog bank racing across the bay. When the wind hit Pachuca the B&G wind indicator reported 50 kn, which is the limit of what it can report. Arnold wasn't sure whether the instrument had pegged out at 50 kn and the actual speed was higher. Having said that, we know that we got a lot of protection from both the jetty and the boats upwind of us, particularly the fishing boat Kingfisher directly ahead of us. We were pointing SW with the jetty on our starboard side and as luck would have it, the bulk of the wind was coming from about 10 degrees off our starboard bow, yielding maximum protection to us from the jetty and the boats. Without that little bit of assistance the night would probably ended in disaster. The man also expressed surprise that my midships bollard had not been ripped out, which was precisely one of my big fears of the night. I fitted the cleats with four s/s bolts, each with three flat washers between the underside of the deck and the nuts: one very large one, one smaller one, and one smaller yet. The idea was to spread the load across as much area as possible. However, I never expected these cleats to take the load placed on them during the blow. I credit the survival of the cleat to the thickness of the fiberglass deck. These older boats are built like tanks. One explanation given to me is that in the early 80's builders were not sure how strong fiberglass was, so they built solid.
At 4 PM Arnold, Brenda, and I picked up Pachuca's new mooring lines. All lines are of 20mm nylon – nylon because it stretches and therefore reduces the shock load on the deck fittings. The forward and aft mooring lines are 8 meters long with a loop at each end. The springers are 12 meters long with a loop at one end. We tried them out and they work OK. We plan to get heavier and thicker barge boards in NZ.
Pachuca is steadily being transformed into a battle-hardened cruiser.
It is evening now and Arnold is on the mend. I brought him back an ice cream cone and he wolfed it down – and held it down, in contrast to the instant noodles that he had tried an hour earlier that ended up over the side. He enjoyed it so much that he got out of his bunk and went to the cafe and had two more double cones. He's now returning to his normal self. ... Who needs a doctor when 5 scoops of Macademia nut ice cream will cure the ailment.
So once more our water tanks are full, the batteries are charged, and we are prepared to sail early in the morning.
Attached are photos of Peter's Tasmanian-made cray boat that he is beautifully restoring. There are also photos of the unfortunate dive boat.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Last night the head cold that I had been battling seemed to get worse and I took to the bunk at 9 PM with a headache and two panadols. Arnold had been expressing symptoms of the same cold and this morning he has vomited at least three times. I guess that this is all a manifestation of nature's survival mechanism: once the danger is over the health debt is paid.
Anyway, we cannot complain. Neither Arnold nor I received any serious injury, though there was great risk of accidents such as getting a finger or arm caught in a tightening rope or slipping into the water between the boat and the jetty during the frenetic nocturnal activities.
Pachuca is OK too. From the jetty I can see no damage to her exposed tumble home hull, other then some superficial marking from the fenders and tyres that a little polish should take care of.
If Arnold is up to it we will leave today for the comparative safety of the Tasman Sea in winter just after lunch, after we have topped up the water tanks, returned fenders, tyres, and boards that were loaned to us, and thanked our benefactors wherever possible.
We hope to make the passage in under two weeks, though it may take longer to reach an Internet facility for sending an account of our passage.
Monday, July 21, 2008
I am composing this blog under difficult circumstances. This is the second day of howling SW winds and the restaurant with the wireless service is closed. Fortunately they've left their wireless service running so I've dragged a table behind a plastic barrier, set up the laptop, and am on my knees with my jacket draped over the laptop and my head to make reading the screen possible.
We have had a very difficult day and terrible night. Two nights ago we prudently moved from the jetty at Snug Cove to anchor on the Southern side of Twofold bay in anticipation of predicted high winds. The winds did not come that night as predicted. In fact, Pachuca drifted over her anchor. In the morning we decided to motor back so that I could visit Merimbula, about 30 km away to visit a Medibank Private Office so that I could suspend my insurance and take out travel health insurance. I also needed to present our passports to Customs to get final clearance for ourselves and Pachuca.
Brenda and I left Arnold in charge while we went to Merimbula by bus. That turned out to be a somewhat useless visit because contrary to what the Eden chemist and the Eden Information Centre had said, there is not Medibank Private presence in Merimbula. (They must have confused Medibank with Medicare.) Neverthless by telephone and fax we managed to get my suspension papers away. While we were having lunch Arnold telephoned. He was battling high winds, going to 50 kn for minutes at a time. A rope had parted and one of the barge boards was broken. He was having a hell of a time.
It took over an hour to get back. By then the wind had settled to 35-45 kn. I visited customs and got our passports stamped and the boat clearance.
The night was difficult to say the least. Fortunately we got help. Arnold got advice to clear out while we had the chance. But another sailor, after providing great advice on how to set our ropes, told us that our 22 hp engine was not powerful enough to claw us against the wind to the other side of the bay. He had seen several boats try it and wind up on the rocks. We had to stay. He also produced a tyre which he and Arnold hung on one of the jetty posts. Later on I "borrowed" another tyre not being used and set it on the other post.
During the night a man appeared from nowhere and asked if we needed barge boards. We said Yes because Pachuca's barge boards were small and one had splintered. He returned 30 minutes later with three beautiful pieces of timber pre-drilled for our ropes. I asked him if he was an angel sent from heaven and he modestly replied that he was just another sailor. Then later into the night another man appeared and asked if we needed large fenders. I told him that we needed all of the help that we could get. Shortly he produced two large fenders that made Pachuca's 6 fenders look like toys. We put them cross-ways opposite the two posts.
The night was a series of adjustments of the tyre heights to match the changing tide, fiddling with ropes, and serious crises where we would be hit by squalls with 50 kn winds where we would have to assist by fending off by hand while the boat pitched up and down wildly and slammed into the jetty. At times the nose of Pachuca would be totally immersed in water then she would come up with a sheet of water racing across her deck. We took turns sleeping when we could.
We got through the night with no serious apparant damage to ourselves or the boat. Fortunately no more ropes parted and the midships bollard held. We had redundant lines all over the place to try to avoid a crisis during the night.
Unfortunately it is not over yet. We do not expect relief until tonight.
We sort of trapped ourselves into this. In hindsight we should have waited at the anchorage. But had we done that Arnold would have overstayed his 3-month visa, causing possible problems. Hindsight again. Arnold looked at his stamped passport and saw that he got his exit stamp dated one day before the expiry of his 3-month visa.
At this point we plan to sail out of Eden for New Zealand tomorrow morning. If we do not depart by Thursday we must notify customs.
Attached are some photos of our setup.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
17 July 2008
This is the end of our seventh day at Eden and I must stay that it has been superb. We arrived at Eden at the end of a period of high winds and at the beginning of what has been a week of calm and peaceful conditions.
On Friday the 11th Arnold and I motored to the proximity of the small marina at Quarantine Bay and elected to drop anchor outside of the breakwater and on the edge of the mooring area. I commented to Arnold that the anchor trip line would be good insurance because these mooring areas tend to be littered with abandoned moorings and there was a risk that the anchor would be fouled on a ground chain or piece of mooring junk. This turned out to be prophetic.
Brenda had traveled to Eden from Sydney the previous night and had taken a room in a chalet in a small holiday village next to the yacht club. We met her on the beach in the late afternoon when the wind had calmed down and brought her to the boat for the first time since Esperance. The next day David and Barbara, friends from Canberra, arrived to stay at one of the chalets. From Saturday until Monday we enjoyed each other's company and got a lot of practical help from them with transport, showers in their chalet, and access to the complex's wireless Internet facility from the comfort of Pachuca! In the second and third mornings at the anchorage I was forced to dive in the water to free the trip line float and line that had become wrapped around the propeller. Fortunately I did not follow through on my threat to cut the trip line and instead solved the problem by adding an extension to the line and making off the bitter end off at the Samson post.
We waved goodbye to David and Barbara just after lunch on Monday and thanked Barbara for the Mississippi mud cake, muesli bars, and other treats that she had given to us, and began to discuss moving the boat to the public jetty closer to town. We had been having chronic battery charging problem due to the cloudy weather and calm wind, and we were running a little short of water. On Wednesday morning we weighed anchor and it was weighty indeed. The anchor stopped rising no matter how much force we put on the winch handle. I had a closer look below and saw that the anchor had broken out of the bottom and was suspended with what appeared to be a dark line across one of the flukes. Yes, it was a mooring ground chain. We were able to drop the anchor and back it out using the tripping line which is connected to the crown of the anchor and allows one to pull the anchor “head first” to free it from snags. This saved us what probably would have been a day-long drama because we would have had to engage a diver to free the anchor. This experience has ensured that a trip line will always be part of Pachuca's anchor management protocol
We motored to the “skinny jetty” at the aptly named Snug Cove and found ourselves in the best public jetty situation that we could hope for. We've got power, water, and a strong steel ladder next to the boat. There is a nearby modern toilet block with free warm showers open 24x7. The immediate area is serviced by cafes, restaurants, wholesale fish outlets, and a small boat shop. The centre of town is a kilometer accessed by a very scenic walk. All of this for a princely sum of $5.00 per day!
Yesterday afternoon a yacht named Beatrice from Hobart pulled up behind us. On board were Erryn, his wife Joss, and friend Dan. Erryn and Joss were moving to Sydney and decided to visit New Caldonia “along the way”. (“Along the way, huh?” Any excuse to visit a tropical island!) They had motored most of the way from Tasmania due to the light winds. Beatrice is a 35-ft Adams with a steel hull. A previous owner had circumnavigated the world in her over a three year span, of which one year was of actual sailing. They left this afternoon after a stay of only one day to get to Sydney before some bad weather that has been forecast on Sunday and Monday, which is expected to bring 40-kn winds.
At this point we plan to depart for New Zealand on Wednesday morning after the winds and seas have calmed down.
In the meantime we have been enjoying ourselves with plenty of good coffee, fine fish lunches, and (for me) plenty of wine. Yesterday I purchased an MP3 player so that I can listen to music during my nights at the helm. Today we purchased a steel trolley that we load tested out by bringing a case of beer, two casks of wine, and several bags of groceries from town.
Tomorrow we will visit the customs office in Eden and lodge our papers for departure. We all must present our passports and I must present the ship's registration and description along with an inventory of her electronic equipment. It is fortunate that Eden is a Port of Entry and we are able to do this here. Also I will visit a Medibank Private agent and attempt to have my Medibank insurance suspended without prejudice using a statutory declaration that I will present attesting to my bona fide overseas travel.
We did investigate the possibility of avoiding the rigors of the Tasman Sea by sailing farther up the East Coast of Australia and then proceeding East to the South Pacific along a warmer latitude. Unfortunately the book indicates that we would have a difficult time because the winds and current would tend to be against us. The recommended route to the South Pacific from anywhere on the East coast of Australia is via the Westerlies at the latitudes of New Zealand or even higher (i.e. farther south) in the summer. We will therefore “bite the bullet” and cross the Tasman Sea which we think that we can do in less than two weeks.
We might watch a movie tonight. Two nights ago we watched The Big Chill which neither Arnold nor Brenda had seen. Neither was very impressed by it. So much for my attempt to fill in gaps in their cultural life with a seminal and influential classic film.
Attached are photos of (in reverse order):
Beatrice and her happy crew: Joss on the left, Dan in the middle, Erryn on the right.
Anchorage at Quarantine Bay with one of many visiting dolphins
Pachuca at the jetty in Snug Cove (middle boat)
Our favourite eating place (with wireless internet!)
Million dollar shack at Eden
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Two photos are of the anchorage at Waterloo Bay on the East side of Wilson's Promontory.
Another is a photo of our chart plotter screen showing our track out of Waterloo Bay.
The fourth photo is of Arnold at the helm in Bass Strait before things got really heavy.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
American River to Eden
2 July 2008
We departed the jetty at American River at 8.45 AM. Allan and Carol paid an unexpected visit and gave us a float for a Dan buoy that we will put together at their suggestion. Then they casted off our lines. The previous day they had taken us to Kingscote for shopping and a bit of touring. We then spent the evening with them at their home over a yummy chicken dinner created by Carol and a 2 liter cask of white wine that we polished off entirely. It was sad to say good bye. After only three days they felt like old friends.
Following Allan's advice to stay only 20-30 m off the channel markers we did not encounter any depth below 3.4 m on the way out to deep water. We had a reasonable sail that day and night.
3 and 4 July 2008
At 9.30 AM the wind died when we were 11 nm west of Cape Jaffa. This turned out to be a very difficult sailing day with light and variable winds against a falling but still high swell. There was much flogging of rigging and twice we were forced to drop all sail and motor for a total of about three hours. While motoring we used the Autohelm self steering. That evening found us near Cape Northumberland. In the early evening I made voice contact with Allan via the HF radio and he “handed me” over to Mary at a VMR station in Tasmania. Arnold and I then took turns having the last of our pressure cooker stew, then some bacon and eggs.
Sometime during the evening we were confronted with two ships approaching us from ahead and another two approaching from behind. The AIS told us that the pair approaching from ahead would pass us well clear to starboard. However it looked like the rear pair would straddle us quite closely. One ship was going to be close enough to warrant a radio call. For those interested the dialog was along the following lines:
Pachuca: “Kamakura Kamakura Three Echo Papa India Six this is a small boat ahead of you.”
Kamakura: “This is Kamakura to small boat, good evening.”
Pachuca: “Good evening to you, sir. We are a small sail boat about 6 nautical miles ahead of you doing about three and a half knots. Do you see us?”
Kamakura: “I do not see you but I have you on radar. Would you like me to pass inside or outside of you?”
Pachuca: “You're bigger than we are. I can see from your track that you will pass inside of us. We are happy with that.”
Kamakura: “Very well. I will leave you to starboard.”
Pachuca: “Thank you very much. Over and out.”
The Kamakura passed us about a mile to port, between Pachuca and the coast. At the same time a large ship was passing us about two miles to starboard. As the ships approached we turned on the deck light, illuminating our sails, to augment the mast head running light.
We passed Portland well before midnight and proceeded East at over 6 kn with jib only and a 15-20 kn northerly wind. Arnold, who had slept for 4 or 5 hours that day, sailed the boat from 10 PM until dawn of the following day. He had a splendid sail covering 40 nm in the night.
5 July 2008
I was up at 5.30 AM to make contact with Mary in Tasmania and we spoke immediately after her 6 AM weather report, giving our position and sailing conditions. I then emerged from the cabin to see first light with a clear sky. I helmed approximately from 8 AM until 2 PM while Arnold got some much-earned sleep. For me the sailing was great: clear sunny sky, calm sea, beam reach with jib only against a 15 kn northerly rocketing along at over 6 kn. In mid-afternoon the wind started to die so we raised the mainsail. At 4 PM we were crossing the meridian of Cape Otway. Our noon-to-noon distance covered was 124 nm and the prospects were good that we would exceed that in the current 24 hours. According to the chart we were leaving the Southern Ocean and entering the Pacific Ocean.
6 July 2008
We had a difficult sail on the night of 5-6 July. We were in that stretch of water between Cape Otway and Wilson's Promontory (WP), with the lights of Melbourne in the distance to port. We had entered the night with a double-reefed mainsail and jib rolled in to a number 1. The wind started to pick up and soon we were dealing with a 30 kn Northerly gusting to 35 kn and possibly more. We went to a no 2 jib profile, then down to just enough jib to provide some up-front drive and stability. It was Arnold's watch and the seas were getting rougher and rougher. He took three heavy doses of green water in the cockpit, one of which was heavy enough to activate the strobe light in his life vest. I took over the watch just after midnight and fortunately did not experience any “greenies” in the cockpt. At just after 3 AM Melbourne radio issued a strong wind warning for a large swath of the Victorian coast describing the conditions what we had been dealing with for 5 hours. Personal discomfort aside, the boat was sailing magnificently with a just-right sail configuration and we continued our steady 5 kn progress to WP.
We sailed through most of the day under the same conditions and in the early afternoon I was able to shout “Land Ho” as I sighted the top of WP. Our plan was to round WP and anchor in a tiny nook named “Refuge Cove”. It is indeed tiny: entrance about 200 m wide, and the cove maybe half a mile wide. I raised Melbourne coast radio on VHF 16. I asked them to pass a message to Mary in Tasmania that we were OK and that the HF reception had become too poor for communication with her. With their assistance I was soon speaking with Port Albert Coast Guard via their VHF 22 repeater located at WP. I gave our ETA at Refuge Cover as 9 PM. Unfortunately the wind started to die down at about 4PM and soon we were sailing with full main and jib and calm sea, but with boat speed down to about 4 kn and dropping. We eventually dropped our sails and motored for about 4 hours around the tip of WP and to our anchorage. Arnold heard radio chatter from a boat planning to anchor at Refuge Cover and we did not want to confront a situation of one or more boats in that tiny space. We finally decided on Waterloo Bay, which was bigger, promised the shelter from the winds that we expected (NE, N, NW, then SW when the front comes through on Tuesday.), and had the big advantage of shortening our travel time by an hour.
We had a scare with the motor. Our practice is to start the motor before we drop sails. This time the engine would not start. There was not even the click of the solenoid. I checked the electrical system as best I could and found no problem. I slid back the engine cover and asked Arnold to try again for the 4th or 5th time. This time the engine started with no intervention from me. I'd seen this before. I was taught the trick of using a heavy screw driver to make a direct connection to the starter to jolt it into action. If this is the same situation then I am very disappointed because two years ago I had the starter replaced with a refurbished one to at a cost of over $800. I flaky starter is dangerous and therefore intolerable so if there is a repetition I'll have to have the problem dealt with, preferably in New Zealand when I have the engine serviced.
The motoring around WP to the anchorage was somewhat unnerving to me. The tiny sliver of moon was low in the western sky and hidden by cloud, so visibility was extremely poor. There were islands and rocks all over the place and lights flashing seemingly everywhere, with the channel about 3 nm wide. We went in using the autopilot, chart plotter, and radar. The radar was a big confidence builder because it corroborated the information from the chart plotter. The chart plotter was reporting a good track but the boat direction was vectored toward the rocks to starboard., probably due to the big currents to reported in the chart. Basically we trusted the electronics while identifying lights and peering at shapes in the darkness as best we could.
Arnold picked up a “hard” radar target off our port bow which he said must be something in the water. Twenty or 30 minutes later a darkened boat lit itself up and passed less than a mile off our stbde side. After we made our turn he spotted more targets. One was a lit boat of the stbd side. I put the cursor on the target in front of us and reported to Arnold that whatever it was was traveling toward us at an alarming speed. Then that boat lit itself up and looked to be some sort of work boat. It passed between us and the coast line, which was only about a mile away.
In the late afternoon I had removed the 45-lb plow anchor from the roller and set up the 50-lb Swarbrick “fisherman” anchor. As we approached the anchorage I turned on the deck light the went forward and position the anchor cross piece while lying on my stomach. Fortunately conditions were very calm. We motored in gently until we reached the pre-planned depth and dropped the anchor in 20 of water. I fumbled the anchor drop due to stupidity of the inexperienced but after some anxiety concluded that the anchor would hold. For the next 30 minutes I carefully recorded our position to all 3 decimal places and confirmed that we were not dragging. We set the anchor alarm on the chart plotter to a .04 nm diameter.
At 1 AM we heated up the pressure cooker stew and had a good hot meal (and white wine for me). Then went to sleep at 2 AM.
I woke up at 9.30 AM and my first thought was that we were still floating (Hooray!). I then went on deck and saw the glorious and magnificent view of our anchorage, with its rocky vegetated hills and occasional stretch of sandy beach. Soon Arnold was up after our coffee and toast I had the interesting experience of watching him eat bricks of Weet Bix (a cereal) liberally covered with peanut butter! We plan to have a day of rest, with a few activities such as cleaning the boat and updating this blog. Our biggest challenge for the day will be to have our first bath since we left American River. For me the big questions are whether I would do a proper job and go for a swim in the freezing water, and whether I will have a go at shaving this beard that I have sprouted. Late in the afternoon Arnold had his warm-water bucket bath and soon after I lowered the boarding ladder while making snide comments about wimps who were afraid of cold water. And yes, the water was cold – really really cold: the kind of water that seems to burn your skin. We realised later that the Waterloo anchorage was about as far south as we were likely to be until our return to Australia. Even Whangarei New Zealand is farther north. So the days are getting longer and we are headed more to the north.
We weighed anchor at 0900 with a weather forecast of variable winds in the morning and SW 10-15 in the afternoon. For Tuesday and Wednesday the winds would be favourable with the highest wind at 35 kn on Thursday afternoon. The morning winds were indeed light and variable and for several hours we were forced to sail in a SE direction. However, in the afternoon we were able to sail a steady NE course.
We ran before the SW wind all day with a greatly reduced jib only, doing over 6 kn. We were recording 30 and 35 kn over the mast, which means that the true wind was 5 or 6 kn higher. In the afternoon we were in the oil platform area of Bass Strait when Arnold took a call from one of the coastal marine safety stations asking our condition and position. This is when we first heard that there were gale warnings for Bass Strait. I got the full weather report from the HF station at Charleville Queensland that evening and learned that the entire Victorian coast and the south coast of NSW were under a gale warning. Bass Strait is no place to be in gale conditions but there we were and there was nothing to be done but to get on with it. Going back was impossible and there were no safe havens for us until Eden.
One expects rough seas in gale winds but the seas in Bass Strait seemed all out of proportion to the conditions. The waves were huge, often breaking, and throwing the boat from side to side as it slide down the waves from each quarter. Arnold said that at one point he looked behind me at the wheel and saw a huge wave that looked like it would overtake the boat. I told Arnold that I had learned from my previous venture into the Southern Ocean on Angie to not frighten myself by looking back or indeed to any oncoming wave. Whenever the boat got hammered the only thing that mattered was me, the wheel, and the compass. I'm pretty sure that Arnold played it the same way.
I had the watch from midnight until 6 AM. We had reduced the headsail to just a few square feet but were still traveling at 5 kn because of the 30-35 kn followng wind and the frequent surfing down the waves. The steering effort was very intense because a lapse in concentration of only a few seconds would see the boat turning across the wind. During lulls I would engage the Autohelm for a minute to attend to the boat or a call of nature. At about 3 AM the wind seemed to abate slightly then came back hard – harder than ever. I thought shit, how much worse is this going to get? Mercifully this turned out to be nature's last slap at Pachuca to put her in her place and like a miracle, dawn found us in a falling wind, calmer sea, within a few miles of Cape Howe, about 30 nm from Eden.
Arnold took over the watch at 6.30 AM and we went to full main and jib trying to make Eden against a dying wind that had veered to the NW. After one long tack that got us only about 8 miles we decided to motor in the 21 miles to Eden. During this leg I took a call from the Mallacota Coast Guard at Gabo Island, wanting to know our situation. He expressed surprise at our fast progress. I told him that it had been a very interesting night indeed. He then made some comment wondering why we had been in Bass Strait during the gale. I replied that I didn't want to be critical off the weather service, but that when we left our anchorage at Waterloo Bay no gales were anticipated. He replied along the lines of Yes, things can change very quickly.
We dropped anchor at 3 PM in what the locals call Quarantine Anchorage and the chart calls Nullica Bay, about .8 nm from the western shore of the bay, in 10 m of water. The Swarbrick anchor had ridden on the roller during the entire leg. This is possible because the shaft of the anchor is flat and not round. The anchor happily sits on the roller with the flukes in horizontal position and the stock folded along the shaft. We also lashed it down with ropes. Preparing the anchor was therefore relatively fast and easy. I put out a modest 20 m of chain because of the calm conditions but was forced on deck at 2 AM to pay out another 10 m due to a rising wind. We had an extremely comfortable night with very little pitching or rolling. In the early evening we established telephone communication with Stephen and Brenda. Brenda was in fact on a bus traveling from Sydney to Eden. She had flown from NZ to Sydney and was on her way to Eden in anticipation of a timely arrival by us.
The wind is still too high (gusts of over 30 kn) to risk taking Pachuca to the town jetty. Brenda has rented a chalet overnight next to the marina. The plan is to drop an anchor inside the breakwater of the marina later in the afternoon when the wind calms down and take the Zodiac ashore for hot showers and a meal, with food that we will take with us.
The pressure cooker has been a terrific asset. One evening I concocted a stew of four potatoes, two carrots, two sticks of celery, two onions, three tomatoes, an entire bag of red lentils, several large brussel sprouts, and two large pieces of prime beef steak cut up into bits. That dish fed us for the next three nights and it seemed to taste better with each passing day.
The Autohelm self steering has been another great asset. It has proven itself capable of handling whatever we've thrown at it, including 30-knot winds and big following seas. We use it extensively when motoring, when the sea is calm and the two alternators are producing plenty of electrical power; and to give us short breaks for going to the loo, checking our position, adjusting sails, listening to the latest weather report, etc. It seems to use remarkable little power – about half of what the refrigerator uses; an average of about 3 amps.
4 and 5 July, have set a new, though modest standard of cruising on Pachuca. We ate well, had long sleeps in warm, dry bunks, and felt fresh and relaxed. This was a far cry from our worst days, out of Esperance, when we were dealing 40 kn winds and monumental seas, were surrounded with overhead leaks with ensuing damp clothing and bedding, and were frantically searching for the source of the alarming amount of water being shipped.
The electrical power situation has been good. The solar panels have not been able to make much of a contribution because of the usually overcast skies but fortunately the wind charger has come into its own in the moderately high winds. We have managed to keep the refrigerator running constantly to support the luxury of plenty of fresh meat, fish (contributed by Allan and Carol). Nevertheless the wind charger has not been able to support the entire load. Fortunately we have resorted to the engine at just the right times for genuine propulsion needs to bring the batteries up to full charge, and have been able to avoid idling the engine just to charge the batteries.
I must rave again about how great our electronics has been. The AIS is an invaluable ship detection and communication system which has reduced the risk of being run down by a ship to near zero. I had the radar installed at Arnold's urging, who has experienced boating in foggy conditions in the NW coast of the U.S. However, the entry into the WP anchorage demonstrated to me how useful it is to validate the chart plotter and to spot unlit boats at night.
The small boat marine safety support has been phenomenal. At Waterloo Bay in Wilson's Promontory a “tracking sheet” was issued giving our plans. Stations along the coast were aware of our presence and three made contact with us during the sail to make sure that we were OK and to note our position.
The weather service, on the other hand, has not fared so well in our eyes. They didn't predict the strong winds during our crossing to Wilson's Promontory. Then during the days around our visit to WP the forecast changed from day to day. One day there was a strong low in the Bight and 40-knot winds were predicted two days hence. The next day the low was weakening and predicted winds were much lower. The next day and oops, 50 kn winds were predicted in two days. Then the 50 kn winds were off the board and 35 kn was the highest. Then the gale warning came ... during the gale. All day of the 10th the gale warning was in force with predicted winds up to 40 kn off shore. In fact that afternoon was very calm with winds as we entered TwoFold Bay here at Eden down to about 5 kn. The wind stayed calm until about 2 AM early the 11th.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Here is the sms for today;
10 JULY EST. 39S05 149E53. ARRIVED IN EDEN 1500. ENCOUNTERED GALE WINDS IN BASS STRAIT. MOTORED LAST 25 NM TO AVOID MORE GALE WINDS.
And for the curious, here is where Eden is located;
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
good progress has been made. Lets hope the Bass Strait crossing is smooth..........
Here is the daily, sms;
NOON 5 JULY CST. 38S54 14E08. APPROCHING CAPE OTWAY, NEAR MELBOURNE. SAILED 124 NM LAST 24 HR IN CLEAR SKY WITH NE WIND.
And here is Pachuca's approximate location;
Friday, July 4, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
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- GeeWiz it's Gale.........
- The halfway to NZ sms......
- Life is a breeze..............
- Showing "hose" boss.................
- Goodbye Meat-pie.....
- One More Day in Eden
- Cove is Snug Again
- Windy in Eden
- Photos - Adelaide to Wilson's Promontory
- Photos - Wilson's Promontory
- Photos from American River
- American River to Eden
- A little blowy................
- Giving A-dam about the Eve of arrival in Eden
- The Return to Eden....
- A late sms.........
- Strait and Narrow............
- Flat tack............ (fast)
- A location.....
- "?" is a question mark.....
- Towards Eden....
- On the move again......
- Photos from American River
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