FROM 1-32. Made it-Sydney

Dec 12, 2005 - 1725hrs UTC / Dec 13, 2005 - 0425hrs EDT

1725hrs 12 Dec UTC / 0425hrs 13 Dec EDT 43’27”S 147’04”E Ref 647

About 35 to RYCT, 27 to the end of the loop

We have just passed Cape Bruny. My glasses are fogged up. It’s cold. It’s pissing with rain and as dank and miserable a night for drinking the last Dr Wendy in the boat as you could imagine. However SE Cape is in the bag – we passed  it just after midnight and we’re looking to close the loop in the Derwent just north of the Iron Pot in about 9 hours. Cause for celebration. Yesterday was one of the most varied and difficult days any Examiner has ever tossed at me. Lovely dawn, Tasmania’s jagged SE corner silhouetted against the dawn and receding into the pink greying mist to the north. Things started to deteriorate from there.

Nice gentle NE breeze turned into a snorter of 25 knots – Richard Bennett came out in his Cessna to take our picture off Maatsuyker which was special [ed: see references in last log entry] - we were in T shirts and shorts nut almost as soon as he’d gone it was on. 25 knots rapidly became 40 and some urgent sail changing – out past the Mewstone ready to tack back towards the Cape and 40 became 50 true, about 55 -58 apparent with rapidly rising sea to at least 5 metres and some of them were much higher. Not perhaps my worst afternoon in a boat but definitely in the ‘not having fun’ category and it got worse.

And then a bit better, but the wind has been constantly on the nose or too little to be of any use then all over the place and now anywhere from on the nose to abeam. Not enough hands…we must have done at least 10 sailchanges – big ones – full main and 1 to 3 reefs and five – during the afternoon.

We are now in the d’Entrecasteaux Channel heading towards Hobart inside Bruny Island. We hope to meet a couple of friendly boats further up who have been waiting since yesterday and they will escort us in. Wooohooo!

Seems I have been misreported by The Australian newspaper, which I’m told said I was annoyed by Customs – far from it – they have been doing their utmost to help but within their rules which I fully understand and respect and all would have been well – the great bureaucratic principle of deniability would have been maintained and followed except that a huge fuss seems to have been made in Sydney about the decision not to allow us to resupply at Adventure Bay unless in an emergency. We weren’t and wouldn’t have been in an emergency so we just got ourselves ready by making more water and conserving diesel like crazy. No real problem – just another question from the Examiner.

Anyway – I would like to apologise to the Customs Department in Hobart for any grief our arrival may be causing them. It was not our doing and I very much regret any adverse publicity it may have generated. We have always been happy to go into Hobart as long as we have time in hand and that is what we are on the way to doing as I write. So – my apologies to you all -I think you do a really difficult job rather well and I have no argument whatsoever with your decision to stick to your rules.

And the diesel we conserved as a result is now getting us into Hobart against the wind in truly awful conditions so some good has come of it too.

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