Thursday, November 1, 2018

Wild Ride to Port Stephens.

Tuesday seems to have become our day to leave lately and according to plan we left Coffs Harbour on Tuesday at 9.30am.
The forecast once again was for a 24 hour window of northerly wind, light during the day and then stronger in the night, returning to southerly in the morning on Wednesday. Therefore we had a day to sail the 170 miles to Port Stephens. A bit of a big ask but we reasoned that the southerly at the end would be light to start with and that we would make it without having to struggle against a strong wind.
It all went according to plan of course and our first ocean voyage with just the two of us on board was fantastic and lots of fun. We put up the big asymmetric kite as soon as we left in a light building breeze and were soon scooting along at up to 9kts.

Flying the asymmetric spinnaker for the first time.
There was about half a dozen other yachts waiting for the breeze to go south and we all left on the same morning so we had company all through the day and the night and we could see several of them all the time.
In the late afternoon we thought the wind had risen in strength enough for us to take the kite down for the night and put out the jib with a pole to keep it steady. The spinnaker has a 'sock' which is pulled down over the sail to contain it before it is lowered which meant that it was very easy for the two of us to manage it.
The wind continued to build until the middle of the night and we were soon speeding along again with the top speed record of 13.3 knots going to Jenni on the helm in the wee hours of the morning. Once a hoon always a hoon, right?
A misty dawn showed us the pretty profile of the hills of the Port Stephens area and we motored  the last two hours in through the few islands close to the entrance and anchored just inside the harbour, which by the way is larger than Sydney Harbour. As it happened we made  the 166 miles in 23 hours, an average of 7.3 knots for the trip.
Approaching Port Stephens harbour entrance
We had a day of rest overlooking a little holiday town called Shoal Bay and this morning climbed to the top of the hill on the southern side of the harbour entrance for some great views. We even both went swimming on the ocean side, chilly but very nice on a deserted beach.
Shoal Bay anchorage on the right. Zenith Beach on the left.

Shoal Bay from the top of Tomaree Head


Zenith Beach - all to ourselves for a refreshing swim.
The wind has now gone back to the north for a couple of days so we have moved to a more sheltered spot at Nelson Bay and tomorrow we will go exploring deeper into the harbour.

4 comments:

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  3. This is Diana, I think I can talk to you now...
    We will see...

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  4. Totally failed with a profile picture

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