Thursday, October 25, 2018

Escape from the Gold Coast.

We are currently sitting in Coffs Harbour watching 13 yachts trying to race out of the harbour in very little wind. A great turnout for a twilight.

Coffs Harbour looking west. Upstart can be seen anchored to the left of the old jetty.

We arrived yesterday morning after a dream voyage of 24 hours from the Gold Coast seaway.
We were joined by Jenni's cousin Jaime on Monday evening and left the dock at a leisurely 9am on Tuesday.
Jamie relaxing in the crew accommodation.

We had a forecast window of about 30 hrs to get to somewhere down the coast. We thought we would be going to Yamba which is the entrance to the Clarence River and 100 miles south. As it turned out we had fantastic sailing conditions with the wind behind us and quite strong at times. This meant that we were passing Yamba at about midnight, a bit before our scheduled arrival time of 5am which was to enable us to enter in daylight and cross the sand bar at the best state of the tide.
North Solitary Island in the moonlight.

We decided to push on another 60 miles to Coffs which was our original destination before we thought we only had a brief weather window. As it happened it was long enough and we took exactly 24 hrs to do the 160 miles, arriving half an hour before the wind started belting out of the south at 25kts.

It was the first time Jenni and Jaime had sailed through the night and it was perfect, a brilliant full moon, clear skies and brisk wind behind us, it was even warm. It was amazing to see the whole coastal landscape silhouetted in the moon light. We saw whales, dolphins and a turtle, Jenni steered us through a fishing fleet in the dark and we also sailed past Lisa Blair in Climate Action Now on her current challenge of sailing solo, non-stop around Australia.

The crew ready to leave the Gold Coast.

Coffs Harbour marina.

Jaime at the helm.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Up the mast!

Today we both ascended the dizzy heights of our 16 metre mast.
Chris did some work up in the rigging and  Jenni experienced her first time aloft, to take in the view and photo ops.
We rigged the anchor windlass to do the hoisting

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Off to the big smoke.

After four days of almost continuous rain and wind in Manly marina we left yesterday for a great day of sailing and a journey up the Brisbane River.
The time in Manly was well spent despite the weather.
Jenni successfully completed her survival and safety course despite being a bit traumatised by the whole experience. We think it was worth doing and well put together, Jen learned heaps of new stuff and came away with lots of resources.
We did lots of little jobs including fitting some grab rails inside the boat [which is starting to take on the look of an old person's bathroom], fitting the gas switch so that we can switch off the gas from the cooker, installed the lee cloths so that we don't fall out of our bunks while sailing,  and we now have a salt water tap in the galley.
We also got our sails back from Ben at Quantum Sails and spent half a day on Monday wrestling the mainsail and its cover back into position.
We had our new Australian made anchor delivered and fitted by Brett who also sells the Ozifridge which is what we have in the boat so he was able to help us to understand the eutectic system a bit.
So by yesterday we were more than ready for a day of sailing and a bit of an adventure, including a Crew Overboard Drill - it's okay, no-one fell in, it was a planned exercise!
It turned out to be a sunny day with interesting variable winds and great scenery from mangrove fringed beaches to the giraffe looking cranes at the docks which can be seen for miles.
Motor sailing up the 12 miles of the Brisbane river was great fun, lots to look at, bridges and power lines to go under and we ended up in the middle of a big city!
We are now tied up to the pile moorings right alongside the Brisbane Botanic Gardens.
Giraffes working hard on the docks
Going under the M1, will we fit?!
City views under the Storey Bridge
And we have arrived at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens moorings, right in the city centre.

Brisbane mooring

Friday, October 12, 2018

Our first passage.

We left our marina berth, snuggled in between the high rise of the Gold Coast this morning and headed north.
Now I realise that we are heading the wrong way but it wasn't a mistake. We wanted to do a trip through the Broadwater and associated islands and inland waterways to Brisbane so that Jenni can attend a sea safety and survival course over the weekend. We will also be meeting Jamie here who is going to crew with us for a week or two at the end of next week.
We left the pen at 6 this morning with a brisk south easterly blowing and a rising tide which gave us an extra two knots or so all morning. We motored for about 4 hours through the wiggly channels and ran the genoa out and switched off the motor as we emerged into Morton Bay. We had another two hours of great sailing with the south easterly behind us surfing at 9 knots at times.
We are now in Manly harbour which is just south of Brisbane along with about 2000 other boats!
We gave our new motor cycle communication units a try on the way in and we both think they are just the biz. So wonderful to be able to have a quietly spoken conversation across the length of the boat in a 25 knot wind.
We had our lovely new Australian made anchor delivered and fitted and our Australian made fridge unit tweaked by the same man so that we might have a freezer and a fridge. We are waiting to see what happens as it runs over night.
It is still very windy and pouring with rain and cold. Albany weather.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

And we're off!

Off to Brisbane with enough luggage to sink a battle ship.  Just as well we bought a nice big  a yacht instead!

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