FROM 1-34. Hobart-Sydney + Coming Home Party

Jan 07, 2006 - 0400hrs EDT

0400hrs 07 Jan 2006 EDT 36’44”S 150’02”E Ref 691

Then it was a black woolly night with bonus added rain – slow, persistent drizzle that runs down the sails, trickles along the boom and finds every tiny opening around the neck of the party jacket. Windless, motoring, visibility about half a mile, occasional glimpses of the lights of Eden through the murk. Bleah!

And a short sleep later, the rain has cleared, there’s a hazy curtain across the stars, Venus is pushing through and just trailing a sliver of light across the water and the coastal lights strung along the port side from Goalen Head to the north to Eden way behind us – still visible because of the bright lights of the woodchip mill.

Every time we come here, I’m amazed by the jellyfish – huge pink and brown and cream blobs of jelly with slimy almost fibrous cores and ectoplasm-ish sometimes almost invisible filmy ‘jelly’ around the outside. And huge – some nearly a metre across and by the million, just like currants in a fruit cake wherever you look. Occasionally the propeller chops one up with a great clatter but mostly they glide by in their massed anarchic disorder – all colours and sizes. One year we anchored in Twofold Bay and there were so many of them clogging the water it was almost possible to walk over them to the fishermans’ wharf across the bay.

We were surrounded by other yachts approaching Eden, but most of them peeled off into the harbour and we have one solitary cvompanion way out to sea – we can just see his port nav light on the horizon. For the first time ever, we have not stopped in Eden – it’s an odd feeling – but it seemed more sensible to take advantage of a period of relatively neutral conditions – no wind – and get as far north as possible before the forecast north easter sets in and bashes us. We are now 18 miles south of Bermagui – a possible stop, but I think we will keep going at least to Ulladulla 80 miles north or even all the way to Sydney. Sydney is just under two days away at our present tortoise like progress at 4 knots against a knot or so of East Australian Current. I think we have just enough diesel to get there if we get a little help from the wind somewhere along the way – but more likely that we will stop somewhere to refuel.

From John S.

What size storm jib and trysail do you use and what are your thoughts on the matter.
I have a Cavalier 32.

John S – we use a very small storm jib and trisail – I think they are cut as the designer intended from the sail plan. There is almost certainly a sail plan for the Cav 32 and it will have storm gear in it – go with that or talk to your sailmaker who should know where to find the sail plan. It’s important to remember that storm gear is emergency equipment rather than an extension of your racing sail plan and the trisail is not a fourth reef. I think there is a formula for the recommended sizes for both sails in the Yachting Australia Blue book – but I don’t know where you live and that may not be available. I’m sure there’s something in the RYA literature as well. Write to me again if you cant’t find the information.

From Mark L.

Re the ongoing website.

I’d hate to see it disappear. It’s been great to be part of this experience (albeit at very much arm’s length) that I’m experiencing a feeling of let down already. I wonder how you feel?

The adventures of Berrimilla will continue to interest me and the website could be expanded to provide tips for the novice yachtsman (given the advice already contributed). But with you and Pete as the trailblazers, has  anyone thought of retracing your steps – two man crews but a race this time – a dozen or so 60 footers – so every year, the Sydney to Hobart, the race to England, the Fastnet and then  race back to Hobart. Now that would be exciting!

When you’re back in Sydney and have time to settle down, it would be good if you could find some time to discuss my sailing aspirations. Potter and I have discussed some potential cruises (Lord Howe for example), but given my lack of experience, I’m reluctant to go offshore unless I’m confident that we can get back  – or at least survive any potential disasters.

Thanks for the last 12 months.

Mark L – interesting Idea re the website (or, at least, for your future entertainment!) and I’ve passed it on to the Petit Bateau mob -

From Nick C.

 Signed your guest book a while back and gather you got your Merlin reprogrammed…

 Here’s a thought you may find appealing:

 The pleasure of your website for me and so many others was being able to follow your voyages more or or less in real time, to live them by proxy as it were. So for more pleasure, more voyages… Open the site up to blogs from others on major passages, the more difficult the better. They email their stuff to you, you post it, we read it… I’m aware there are many sailing forums but I don’t think there’s anything like this. For what the idea is worth…

  As it happens I’m a Pittwater man (Lovett Bay) and I’m setting up my own boat for a solo circum-navigation which I aim to do in three years time, when I’m 60. John Witchard and Kevin Fleming put me on to your site and I must thank you for the invaluable information I’ve gleaned from your experiences. Also, may I congratulate you on a totally quixotic but totally excellent adventure. Wonderful.

Nick C too – thanks to you both and we’ll think about it.

G’day Dr Wendy – look forward to seeing you again.

From Malcom Robinson

Have spoken to Marcus (long skinny bloke on Wildfire) about the possibility of converting your video footage to DVD. He thinks that it wouldn’t be a big problem and, although he hasn’t got Video 8 gear himself, thinks he can get access to some if needs be. He suggested that it’s not a very difficult task and that you’re likely to find someone closer to home who can do it – but if not, contact him.

Malcolm – the video is already dvd – it’s a dvd handycam – but I don’t know how to put all the 8cm discs onto a big CD – I think the cam came with a package – will investigate.

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