The Adventures of Tin Tin and the Spirit of Jack. Yacht Travel in Australia has provided Tin Tin with great adventures, Tin Tin is sailing from Perth in Western Australia to the sunshine of Queensland. Tin Tin left Perth in light winds and overcast conditions on the 20th May 2016 we had an easy sail down the West coast passing Bunbury at midnight and rounding Cape Naturalist at 6 am in the morning. We viewed the cape at a distance of 10nm before we headed south.
Travelling by Yacht and Sailing in Australia provides some amazing experiences, sailing into light southerly winds and a 3m swell, life was easy and the motion not to bad as the sun rose. Erno from Finland (nickname Eggi) and Rob from Perth both joined Tin Tin in Perth and were getting used to the motion of Tin Tin. I had recently sailed Solo down the coast on a shake down cruise for 3 days, this solo sail had allowed me to find plenty of little problems such as the main hatch leaked like a sieve when I got caught in storm front, good to know before you sail into the Southern Ocean and 12m seas.
The Capes can be beautiful viewed from the ocean but knowing some rough weather was coming we started the engine, our old reliable BMC Leyland diesel, Mr Stinky pushed us along at 5 knots to clear the capes before the next blow came through.
For a little more information on our yacht Tin Tin click here. We have found Tin Tin to be a very tuff well built vessel. I have spent the last 25 years owning a variety of sailing vessels. I used all that I have learned to purchase Tin Tin for less than a mid sized car and refitted Tin Tin for a short exciting sail across the Southern Ocean in the Australian Winter. We then sailed up the East Coast of Australia to explore the coast before spending time on the reef and prepping for the Next Leg the Pacific.
Refitting Tin Tin for a an extended ocean passage took a great deal of thought, planning, some hard work and a bit of money to get it right. Tin Tin was going to be scraped, he had been for sale for some time, the owner had passed and the family did not sail, he looked tired, the equipment was old and worn, standing rig dangerous, sails ruined from sun damage and the motor rusty and quite sad. That said Tin Tin had soul it was like this craftsman built boat from another time in history had an energy I cannot explain.
My approach was to keep it really simple and limit distracting technology. You can read more about the simple life of sailing in how and why we fitted out Tin Tin, it only took 4 months on weekends and a lot of sweat equity. I still managed a week in Rotto drinking beer and fishing over xmas and plenty of Saturday sails.
Let us Share what we have Learnt
You can go sailing right now and learn to sail for free, learn the basics while you sail through some of the most beautiful waters at no cost. Develop your plan and establish your timeline to learn the skill's needed for sailing on the open ocean.
Use a plan for buying a yacht before you loose your saving's on a lemon. Discover the best places to find good quality ocean going yacht's and sail boats. I could have purchased a dozen ocean going cruising yachts in great condition and all for less than $30,000, discovered whilst sailing to QLD.
Learn how to save thousands when you refit a yacht for your dream adventure. Tip, you only need the essentials to leave dock, you can always add to your inventory as you sail.
Tongue Bay to Butterfly Bay
What a day, clear not a cloud, sunny warm flat seas and a 10 knot breeze from the South.
We sailed off the mooring past numerous charter boats trying to figure out what we were doing, just slipped past one yacht by 5m. We sailed goose winged and then decided to pull out the spinnaker, I had never even flown these since I purchased TINTIN, so I pulled out our little asymmetric spinnaker, I didn’t know how big it was, it was a little bit little, but hey easy to handle and a nice blue tone. Fitted the sheets and we are flying the kite. It was a really great day sail, just rolling along with an easy motion.
60 foot backpacker trimarran
We started the day reaching out of the Bay.
Then ran before the wind goose winged before we dropped stowed the main and goose winged our baby spinny, no idea what it came off maybe a 24 ft skiff it really is tiny.
My main Spinnaker is just the opposite, and hand-full and really needs a spinnaker sock as I am always short handed or solo, when I do have crew it's to windy.
We round the headland dropped the kite and headed to Manta-Ray Bay for some snorkelling. Its not great but the water was warm and it was clear, we had lunch here then sailed further North to the beautiful Butterfly Bay, protected from all but a strong Eastly.
This anchorage was largish but too deep for most yachts to anchor, there are about 10 mooring and it is ringed by reef. All the moorings were taken and after about 20mins of exploring I found one spot in the head of the bay between two yacht that was about 25- 30m deep, after my second try I got the pick down where I wanted and dropped all 70m of chain, it held, not great but enough room to swing safely. That only gave me 2.5 scope to depth and I try to ensure we have 5:1 chain out to the depth and I add the length of the yacht 13m. This time I lowered my 20kg anchor buddy (an old piece of conveyer axle with a hole drilled) down the chain to the sea bed to keep the chain on the sea floor if the wind picked up. I do have another 150m of heavy warp to attach to this chain for deep anchoring, but that would take time and I did not have the room anyway
Manta Ray Bay for snorkeling
Toward last light a 45ft charter cat arrived only to find no mooring and no idea, they tried to anchor 15 feet off my starboard beam until I gave them some firm advice about what would happen if the bumped me this is after watching them drive around for 30 mins. They really did not have enough chain, no idea, would not accept help and eventually got the pick down in a really bad spot. Thankfully it was a quite night in the anchorage, I did keep an eye on them all night. Mainly because they had 6 kids on-board and were a danger to everybody. This was a trend I encountered a lot in the Whitsundays. Expensive charter boat, crew with no idea arriving late or at night putting their kids life in danger through misadventure.
Charter boats should have to be on anchor or a mooring by 1630hrs for their own safety, I did see plenty of skilled charter skippers but I saw more really bad ones, just listen to the charted yacht channel for a really good laugh and to learn about how poorly some yacht are maintained by charter companies. I don't know how many time chartered yachts drove around blindly in a small anchorage after arriving at 8 or 9 pm. There would always be kids and mostly without life-jackets on. On more the one occasion we would jump in the tender pickup a mooring and hand it to them trying hard not to get run down. The Islands can be challenging even for an experienced skipped when conditions turn to crap.
Off to Whitehaven beach
Yes I know, it does sound lame but we had been sailing for nearly 3 months and Whitehaven beach looked like a beach you should visit, and fuck me it is beautiful, calm, white fine sand, even palm trees, clear water and yes for Erno big breasted Australians girls in their hundreds, that’s what nobody tell you its crowed, "bloody crowded".
This is not a problem when your anchored 150m off the beach in clear warm water. It was busy ashore but then like a button had been pushed they get herded onto a dozen motor boats and leave, now it's all ours, well except for the 5-6 cruising and charter yachts anchored off the beach.
White sand, clear water and now peace. It was time to lite the BBQ and burn some meat for dinner, what a sunset, this is what sailing is all about. Then I started to notice it getting quite rolly, in my mind I had settled in for the night; rolly or not. It was wind, tide and sea all on different points. I played with the anchor, tried to use my anchor buddy and have the anchor pull from just forward of midship using a line attached to the chain ran thru a block to my rear winch. This helped to keep the bow pointed more into the sea but the motion was not great, as was rolly all night.
Looks whiter when photo-shopped, still very nice
I believe you Erno even if all your friends think you were
just drinking in Melbourne
I woke early to an amazing sunrise, this is the time to visit Whitehaven as it is just amazing, so quite calm no people. It was really worth an uncomfortable night on anchor. Charms and I took a walk along the beach for miles, not one person. We turn around to walk back to the yacht and wow.
We have been invaded, it was like a beach landing, large boats one after another and even a couple of super yachts. Then to my surprise we were attacked by helicopters, there must have been one every 3 minutes landing and shutting down. Out jumps some young stud and his glammed up stunner, all alone on a deserted beach, nice marketing, the perfect honeymoon moment except me walking through it, that and the fact there was a helo every 500m. not so perfect but still very nice.
Erno had gone off exploring white tipped beach sharks so we relaxed on the yacht watching the mass’s from a distance. On erno’s return we pulled anchor and sailed North to Tongue Bay it's only about 3nm if that.
We picked up a mooring in the bay and decided to explore Tongue Bay and the hinterland. The walking tracks are numerous. Tongue Bay proved to be a really comfortable anchorage.
Day 81 we leave Mackay early in the morning bound for Goldsmith island. It was still rough but easing, wind S/E 15-20 knots swinging to the S/W 15 -20 knots and later dropping to a rolly 10 knots. It was mostly sunny during the day and as we arrived at Goldsmith Island later in the day, nice protected anchorage from the southerly winds.
The secluded Goldsmith Is
When we anchored we owned the island but after an hour or two it had become crowded and the swell had started to wrap around the headland. We decided to take turns exploring the beach as some yachts looked like they might drag onto use, as in my opinion they were stingy with their chain and a little too cosy to TINTIN. It was a rolly night but I still managed to get some sleep.
Charms cooked eggs and bacon in the morning so we were happy to wait for breaky, however we still had some lumpy conditions and I want to get sailing before it got worse.
We arrived 0600hr on the morning 4 Aug after sailing from Port Clinton on the East coast of Shoal Water Bay. We arrived into Mackay with a fantastic sunrise lighting up the entrance to the Mackay marina breakwater.
We were all wearing puff jackets as it was bloody freezing with a stiff 25knot South West breeze blowing. But As soon as we entered the breakwater we needed to strip layers off before dropping the main in the outer harbour and getting ready to take on fuel, but first we need find the fuel dock. Rounding into the marina we headed East along the fishing boats and found the fuel dock ,near to the marina office and to my surprise it consisted of a dozen pumps with both high and low flow pumps.
Mackay fuel dock
We tied up and need to wait until 0830 when marina staff clocked on. We fueled up and secured a berth for a couple of days, so that we could purchase more supplies before the next leg into the islands.
Mackay Marina would be the best looking marina I have stopped at since leaving Perth 78 days ago. The Staff were friendly, helpful and the marina well layed out. They even had dozens of the pesky little trolleys we rely upon to move supplies to our yacht.
Mackay is a great place to stop enroute the Whitsundays Group.
First it’s a great marina well protected, fuel is easy. Town is a few km’s away but there is a bus that picks up at the marina, we caught a cab back as it was easier with bags of fresh food.
We had spent about a week cruising up the coast from Hervey Bay where we had previously conducted a big shop to restock the yacht. Hervey Bay is also where my Wife Charmaine joined the yacht, Charmaine just back from cruising the Greek islands, Queensland was more appealing to her than weeks of beating into Easterlies and storms as we sailed up the East Coast, Her loss.
One thing was going to change on board, the food. We went from bloke food, I hear you ask, what is bloke food well what ever was easy, noodles, stew, burnt meat and veg on the BBQ and wraps anyway you can think of. Erno was fond of ¼ of a jar of peanut butter in one wrap.
Now we go to living the dream. Charmaine is a fantastic cook and with that comes a lot more food to find lockers for and shopping so much shopping. Erno and I previously turn shopping into competitive sport, I can do a weeks shopping in 45mins, Charmaine try 4 hours. Erno was however a willing helper as he loves his food.
It also gave Erno a chance to hit the town and explore inland as we stayed for 3 days. I enjoyed just catching up on my fix-it list and prepping for the next leg. During our stay the marina hosted a boat race, weather was crap but they still gave it a push in those race boats.
Race week in Mackay, well things got busy fast and it did pull the crowds, it was hard to get a seat in the pubs at time. All up just good clean fun for young and old.
Day 82 Goldsmith Island to Whitehaven beach
Yes I know, it sound lame but we had been sailing for nearly 3 months and Whitehaven looked like a beach you should visit, and fuck me it is beautiful, calm, white sand palm trees, clear water and yes Erno big breasted Australians girls in their hundreds, that’s what nobody tell you its bloody crowded.
This is not a problem when your anchored 150m off the beach in clear warm water. Then like a button had been pushed they get herded onto a dozen motor boats and it all ours, well except for the 5-6 cruising and charter yachts anchored off the beach.
White sand, clear water and now peace. It was time to lite the BBQ and burn some meat for dinner, what a sunset, this is what sailing is all about. Then I started to notice it getting quite rolly, in my mind I had settled in for the night rolly or not. It was wind, tide and sea all on different points. I played with the anchor tried to use my anchor buddy and have the anchor pull from just forward of midship using a line attached to the chain ran thru a block to my rear winch. This help to keep the bow more in the sea but the motion was not great.
We sailed into Port Clinton with the wind on the nose blowing Nth Est 25knots, most of the boats seeking refuge from this Northerly blow headed into the creek over the bar with the promise of a secure anchorage from all winds but at the cost of 2hours in and out. As we wanted to jump on a forecast Sth Wst breeze of 25knots in the morning and head to Mackay
I chose the head of the bay and motored into a beautiful little rocky bay with a sandy beach and anchored in 4m of water over sand with just enough room for one yacht to swing on all points.
It blew all night from the Nth Wst and to and to my surprise the wind did swing around to the Sth Wst and blew like a dog, I was glad I had a small island reduce the fetch of the wave action but it still had Tin Tin riding the anchor for 3hrs until dawn, with the rocks only 50m away I chose to enjoy the opportunity to wait for sunrise and ensure we did not drag.
I woke everybody early for breakfast and to ensure we jumped onto this wind. With this breeze we will be in Mackay in 20 hrs.
We arrived at Great Keppel at 1300hrs just after lunch with the threat of a storm brewing, typical BOM forecast they had no idea were the wind was coming from so we checked out Long Bay incase the Northerly swept through.
We then proceeded onto the Great Keppel Resort and anchored out front of the resort. This bay is shallow and we dragged the keel through some sand bars on our approach. It took me 20mins to find 2.6m and drop the anchor for some lunch.
We were close to the bottom of the tide but when I checked with my hand held depth sounder I only had 400mm under my keel. Reality check no wind and a rising tide it can only get better.
We went ashore to check out this Australian icon, I must say I was disappointed. The old backpacker resort is mothballed and there appears to only be private bungalows and camping.
Most of the island appears poorly kept but the corner store did have ice creams so we stopped for one before proceeding to the pub to see if it was worth having dinner there.
The pub was well maintained but reminded me of an old asian resort but without any people or life.
Still if your passing stop in and support the pub because they need the business.
Egki summed it up as stating its a great place to write a book, no crowds, quiet and low stress.
We left Pancake Creek for Great Keppel but with little to no wind we were only able to reach Cape Capricorn during daylight hours, we moored in the lee of the headland about 100m off the rocks, I was trying to eliminate the effects of the swell but it still proved a rolly anchorage. Tin Tin had quite a gentle action but some of the smaller yachts and stink boats were rolling like pigs.
Whilst I kicked back with a beer Egki climbed to the lighthouse and took this photo Looking North towards Great Keppel. It proved to only be another 4hours of sailing to reach Great Keppel. The cape is worth stopping at and if you reach this location first get in close in the small bay still 3m of water and a short row to shore.
This location was taken when we arrived by a very large 60ft motor sailer, it was great to see they were keeping up an aussie tradition of playing cricket on the beach nice drills.
Tin Tin is now in Pancake Creek Nth of Bundy in Qld. This is a beautiful little anchorage and has provided great protection from Southerly winds.
We sailed direct from Hervey bay arriving 0600hours on the sunrise. This was just after the top of the tide. We arrived as several boats were departing Nth and Sth. We motored into the inner harbour and found a great place near the beach in 5m of water.
The tide did drop 2m approx showing just how close we anchored to a sand bank but still plenty of room to swing if 30ft is plenty.
Tomorrow we push on to Great Keppel.
A new crew member wilson, He appeared on last nights night watch. Wilson always has an opinion on the direction we are travelling, thanks Egki.
Today we miss Richards 50th Birthday, but we are thinking about how sore your liver will be in the morning. Enjoy big Guy. We will be having G&T's Regards Mate.
Jacks Whale shark is now in whale country, we have seen more humpbacks than we could possibly count. We have sailed up the whole East coast with the whales from Kangaroo Island. It's amazing when we are just sailing as we hear whale sounds thru the alloy hull, or maybe they are just complaining about my country music or Egki's Duff-Duff music.
Whilst we stayed in Hervey Bay Peter and Jody from Blue Dolphin Sail Boat Charters the only Charter Yacht doing whale watching tours loaned us his car to pick up supplies and run around town.
I met Peter in 2001 when I went to Antartica on a sailing expedition to visit Mawson Hut. Peter proved to be the most knowledgable person I have ever met on wildlife. He would spend all day looking for whales.
If your in Hervey Bay take a tour on Peters yacht he only takes about 20 people per tour and at the same price as the big boats. I have been out with Peter every time I visit and I always learn more each time.
Photo taken from Blue Dolphin Yacht Charter and Whale Watching
Blue Dolphin Whale Watching Tours is the best money you will spend in Hervey Bay.
I sailed up the entire East Coast of Australia and passed many whales, I even had a few leap out of the water near my yacht. I thought I had sailed past a whale or two but I was totally blown away by how many whales surrounded the Yacht Blue Dolphin on my whale watching tour, it was like Peter was feeding these whales crack.
We had whales under the hulls of the cat, poking their head up over the stern, leaping out of the water on the bow and swimming around the yacht in groups of three just like big Dolphins. I was amazed. So even if your are a yachty I recommend going out with Peter and Jody, Free lunch and drinks, you just sit back and enjoy the sail.
A great day out. Check Out Blue Dolphin Whale Watching
Tin Tin is now in Hervey Bay, We arrived in Hervey Bay Monday night after pushing through the great sandy straights, and after crossing the the Tin Can bay Bar. I feel we were quite lucky to have an offshore breeze, small seas and hardly any swell. The Tin Can Bay bar has a reputation of being quite nasty. We spoke with the coast guard the day prior as we had planned to cross the bar at last light on the bottom of the Ebb tide.
After the coast guard advised us that the bar was only 2.3m on the low tide. We decided not to cross the bar on the evening tide as we were not sure we could reach an Anchorage before last light.
Now after crossing the bar I am glad I stayed at Rainbow beach, just beautiful and the bar even a little confronting on a raising tide. My advice if you have a long keel (ours is 2m) wait for the rising tide.
We crossed the bar with little more than 10ft under our yacht on half raising tide, we then turned West picking up the leads for in skip point. We need to take a more Southerly path as a sand bar had built up to the North. We quickly picked up speed to 7knots under a reefed main only and the incoming tide.
I always keep the main up, deep reefed in dodgy conditions just in case the motor fails. Call me paranoid. It was a great day with the wind easing so we shook out the reefs and unfurled the Genoa, we reached 8 knots with the tide. It would be easy to ride the tide to Boonlye Point were you could then ride the outgoing tide to Urangan.
We stopped at Garry's inlet as Egki want to see a freshwater lake, so I gave him 1hr 30mins to go 15 mins and return. During this time the tide turned to the Ebb.
Egki returned 1hr 15mins having not found his lake. This is what happens when Gen Y fails to take their i phone. We then picked up anchor and headed to the channel, as I was not sure we had enough water under the keel on low tide to stay were we where.
On reaching the channel we found ourself pushing into an outgoing tide and only able to reach 3 knots. It took 2hrs to reach Boonlye Point.
The first Palm tree we have sight in is located in the middle of the great sandy straights.
Dusk in the Sandy Straights
Keeping with our current trend we push through the straights in water as shallow as 8 ft on a Ebb tide, we managed to stay out of the mud as Tin Tin pushed on in total darkness with full sail and Kevin working hard. We reached the Great Sandy Straights Marina at about 8pm. I needed to do a couple of loops outside the entrance trying to work out were the rock wall started and finished. Thankfully a tinny whipped through the entrance and created enough waves action to light up the rocks with ambient light and out spot light.
We tied up with little fuss, but it was not pretty.
Tin Tin is now in Rainbow Beach. Wow from the yacht, the ocean is just breath taking. The beach is full of people and 4x4's racing around, but out here we are all alone in 15ft of water swimming around the yacht, clear to the sandy bottom.
At last sun, warm water and yes its beautiful. We arrived Sunday Arvo about 1400hours, the water was flat, clear to 50ft and finally warm enough to swim.
Tin Tin has just received it's first hull scrub in 2800nm. We had plenty of green shit and even a few oysters growing on the bottom, I thought we had cleaned those suckers in Jervis bay.
Tin Tin is now sailing to Rainbow Beachin QLD before passing through the sandy straights enroute to Hervey Bay. Tin Tin departed Coffs this morning on a light Southerly and has made good time running goose winged up the coast. We should round the headland at Byron Bay at dawn. I did think of stopping for a coffee at Byron but the wind is turning to the North West and will become onshore at Byron by the morning.
We have been dodging Humpbacks now for the last 7 days, the last 3 days has just been crazy. Just this morning I had a huge Humpback leap out of the water and crash down only 25m from the yacht. I was cleaning the cock pit in almost still conditions except for the motor pushing us along.
It scared the shit out of me, not something you expect.
You guessed it, more whales. The money shot.
We were closing the headland to round up to the beach, and this big sucker photo bombed this photo of the headland. It was only 20m off the rocks at times.
We jumped onto a mild Southerly of 15- 20 knots. Again this was not forecast, Thanks for making our planning easy BOM. Egki thinks Australian Forecasting is done with chicken bones.
On waking Tuesday morning to a beautiful sunny day, I contacted the marina management in Coffs and had the wonderful experience of speaking with Eleise the manager. I was promptly told there were no berths available and I would have to leave the game fishing jetty ASAP as it was unsafe, this was after spending the night there without incident and no signage to reflect this imminent danger.
Coffs marina had experience significant damage after a large storm surge washed over the breakwater last month.
As I was waiting for an opportunity to access the fuel berth and a tuna boat was unloading and taking on fuel, I decided to visit the marina office and get a key to the showers and try keep this berth, I really needed power to try repair the main sail traveller track and some other repairs.
The first person I met was the assistant a lovely lady who could not be more helpful explained the situation and advised my to take one of the 2 x new moorings in the outer harbour. She was none fussed if I stayed on the jetty until a slot on the fuel wharf came up.
Then I met the Beast, this rather large tall blonde waddling into the office on a pair of heels struggling under the load. Reminded me of one of the wildebeest from the lion king just add heels. This person then abused me for visiting the office and not leaving the marina ASAP. I found this an interesting approach to customer service. I left thinking this fat pig was the rudest person I had meet in 2500nm and 2 months of sailing.
I went back to the yacht though fuck you, I'll stay here until I'm ready to leave when I get my slot on the fuel wharf only 50m away. It was a busy time with fishermen unloading and fuelling up. These guys were trying to earn a living and I was on holiday so no rush. Try get back into my sailing zen.
Egki then went to use the toilet facilities whilst we waited. As it happened he ran into the beast and asked her for directions, she promptly abused him and then waddled out my yacht to shoot her fat mouth off again. She had this interesting approach of abuse and telling me it was an OH&S risk and I had not been inducted. I found this amusing as she was standing in front of me in heels and too much cheap and tacky trinkets hanging around its neck making my think even more of the lion king and what an idiot the beast is. This was also after a whale watching tour group of 20 people including kids skipping down the dock had just walked past me not 5 mins ago.
I could see it was getting pissed and just continued to smile and agree yes so dangerous and go back to drinking my coffee whilst I waited. Egki returned a moment latter furious and it was then I learned she had abused him also. Half an hour later a slot came up and we left the hospitality of the coffs marina, fueled up and picked up a mooring.
We need to wash some clothes and Egki wanted a shower whilst I went to purchase LPG and food.
There was nowhere in the whole fishing boat area to put ashore so we tied our dinghy up to a stink boat pen, the owner only to happy to help.
Again we passed several kids walking around the marina as we made our way to the showers.
Not an hour later the Beast was again abusing Egki and demanding the key be returned and if we wanted a shower we would need to request it every time, this was after charging me $5.00 per person per shower and taking a security deposit for the key. Ekgi just fobbed her off, "I do not understand speak with the skipper".
A couple of work men then asked Egki and explained that this was the last key available and they were trying to do some maintenance work. You would think the barge ass manager could walk the 50m to the gate to let them in, she certainly needed the exercise. Egki gave them the key as you always help out a decent person and he had finished with the shower.
I got back to the boat an hour later to find a very pissed off Viking and no fucking key to the shower, so I missed out. So rather than waste breath on that fat hag I spoke with the yacht club who were only to welcoming and offered free showers and agreed that the beast was a piece of work.
So from the mooring just row ashore and chain my dinghy out front of the police station. From there the yacht club is only a 50m walk, for a good feed and cheap $5.00 beers.
I would encourage any person visiting Coffs coming in at night to tie up to the game wharf its rock solid, grab your fuel in the morning. Theres little chance of the marina manager kicking you off as I'm told it does not go far from its office. So don't ring or do and have her waddle down then be entertained by her approach to customer service.
Another person who would really love her job just if there were no people to disrupt her from her own importance.
Thanks Eleise you get awarded worst marina of the year award.
Coffs a really nice little town to stop whilst travelling the East Coast. Just don't waste your money on the ass clowns in the marina.
Tin Tin is now in Coffs Harbour, we sailed directly from Sydney on a lite southerly until the wind died completely and then turned to the North.
Tin Tin arrived in Coffs at about 2030hours on Monday night after tacking against a 25 knot Northerly for the last 6 hours. We did have a fantastic day sailing up the coast today after rounding tack point and sailing inclose to South West Rocks.
We sailed within 50m of several pods of Hump Back Whales, they would come in check us out and then continue up the coast. The whales put on quite a show this morning leaping out of the water and frolicking about.
When the wind died we sailed within 500m of the coast taking the advantage to enjoy the scenery on this coast, just breath taking. Green lush and mountains everywhere you look.
We sailed into Coffs Harbour again at night, its becoming a trend, one that I would like to break, thats the challenge of sailing, a slave to the wind. We passed into the outer harbour not to challenging, then into the inner harbour. Would be easier if there were fewer work lights making it hard to see the port and starboard light.
I did thank a couple of wise old fishermen who walked over and shined spotlights on the Western breakwater rocks as I was getting a little close and they were hard to see. We tied up to the game fishing wharf so that we could get fuel in the morning and also not to block the fuel jetty as the fishermen looked quite busy prepping for the nights work.
Tomorrow we need fuel, water, food, and its time to further repair the mainsail track. Change the Jib to Genoa as the Jib has lost one of the seams I stitched in JB, not bad after 2500nm of getting beaten to death. This sail has seen some tuff weather. I'll find a sail maker in Hervey Bay and give it a once over and restitch the seams, good for another 2000nm.
We have a no booze rule for sailing, its about the only way we ensure we dont do sundowners for breakfast, well at least some on the one in the bight I could have knocked back a few Scotch's.
We found a cure to last couple left in the fridge, drink them. It was a glorious day as we sailed from the heads and down the coast to Pittwater.
Tin Tin is now in Sydney, we arrived Thursday night 2100hr coming through the heads into a calm dark harbour, we had a 25 knot westerly blowing. This wind had only picked up as we entered the heads, it had been blowing 10 -15 all afternoon.
Given the wind was up and from the West, going into Manly was no longer viable so we headed to cobblers beach near balmoral. On getting there it appeared the whole area was Navy, so we motored into Balmoral beach, it was a lot busier than I remember but we drove past a large mooring about 200m off the beach and decided that if it was not being used at 2100hrs at night it was fair game. Once we had it on board it was oversized built for at least a 40 ft boat.
Relax set the anchor drag and sleep.
We left Jervis Bay at 0500, I had my alarm set for 0400 but it was so cold I stayed in bed. It was the coldest day we had had in 60 days. We both had all our cold weather gear on again. We motor sailed to the JB heads, reaching the heads at first light.
We made good time running along the cliffs with a Westerly heading North.
Several pods of whales were also sailing North and we were again privileged to share these waters with such majestic beasts. Often they would surface close to Tin Tin and then as quickly disappear. I think I only snapped one photo.
Once we left the protection of the cliffs we were again hit with 20 - 35 knot Westerly winds. I did question myself whether we had again left too early, but no the weather eased to a constant 20 knots N/N/West then swung to the West and died completely.
Big Kev was started and we motor sailed past Wollongong for several hours.
We decided at this time Sydney was not possible before dark so lets have a crack at Port Hacking and Bundeena, I have always wanted to visit this little town by yacht. Every inch of sailed was raised and we pressed forward at a staggering 7.5knots sometimes even 8 knots, take that you stink boats. But no it was dark one hour before we got there, having never been into Port Hacking to night I was not going to try that tonight, we have had to many adventures of late.
At least Sydney Harbour is huge, has leads and options for protected bays.
Coming into Sydney Harbour at night is always a challenge and even a slow moving yacht is confronting when surrounded by ships and ferries. My last time I went through the heads was on a jet boat at 30knot at night and nearly cleaned up a ship. Last night I could track every ship using my AIS including the ferries which is great, almost relaxing.
Tin Tin is back in Jervis Bay after we made a run for Sydney, The BOM predicted 20 -25 from a Northerly direction before the weather turned nasty, so on Monday we gave it a crack, a 40 knot Northerly turned us back. Last night we tacked back into JB and picked up a 20 ton mooring in the hole in the water in 20 ft of water about 100m from the beach. Last night it eased off turned to the Nth and gave us a reasonable night sleep after a hard day. We woke to 17 knots from the Nth West, we planned to have breakfast and move up the bay to Huskie.
The thing about plans is they only look good on paper or in your head. during breakfast it picked up to 30 knots and I started thinking this is going to get interesting getting off this mooring, it then quickly pickup to 40 knots and we find ourself in a shit position but glad we are on a 20 ton mooring. I was only thinking these are the best oversized moorings I have ever seen for casual use.
I then mention to Egki that I as soon as the wind eases we need to move. Egki reassured me this mooring is good to go, we even had backed the mooring line to a second cleat just incase one failed. Then Just as I stepped back into the cabin to make a coffee I heard a loud crack.
I was on the deck in a second only to see the bow falling away from the wind and Tin Tin surge toward the beach, "fuck". We have 90m before we are completely fucked on a lee shore. I didn't save Tin Tin from the knackers yard to loose him now, this boat has seen more big water than most boats will see in ten lifetimes.
Tin Tin has a lot of sea miles before we can find the most majestic place in the Pacific to release My Jack's Ashes into beautiful deep blue waters, I gave Jack a promise that he would sail the waters of the pacific one day and sail these waters he will if only in spirit.
It is during these times I am reminded of Jacks poem and what a deep little soul my boy was.
Jack always inspired me to follow the path less travelled. To live in the moment and value the small gifts like a smile on his face.
I give instructions to Egki release the anchor and do it quickly, we keep the big Delta ready to go when close to land. I lean into the cabin and boot kevin our old diesel in the guts, I was bloody surprised it started after only 5 seconds of pre-heating, normally it takes a few go's and at least 30 seconds.
I untie the wheel and throw Kevin at full thottle in to forward gear, instruct Egki to hold the anchor which nearly went over, at this stage we were 50m off the beach and so close to being stuffed we had nothing to lose, I had to turn toward the beach gain speed then round up into the wind, any shit on the keel got cleaned as we inched of the beach. The wind dropped to 27 knots and this gave a moment of mercy as we got the bow into the wind and gained 50m, then 150m. Mercy does not last long when the weather gods are hungry for blood. All I could hear in my head was not today, and not whilst I have air in my lungs.
I tried to tack Nth on bear poles as the wind picked upto 40 knots again, no joy, I was get pushed toward the rocks, I thought if we are going to lose Tin Tin its not before I punch a piston out of the engine, I push Kevin our 40 year old BMC to the red line, we were billowing black smoke like a semi labouring up a steep hill. We started to round up just a little after about 2 mins, then we had the bow into the wind and were a least holding ground. It took 1 hour to inch forward 500m to Scottish Rocks.
It was around this time I am sure I saw my boy standing on the toe rail holding the stays and keeping a steady gaze up the bay with the wind in his hair and a look of determination. I often get the sense of my little man standing on the helm. I often look out at the helm when the wind vane is working away and get a sense of Jack standing at the helm with a huge grin on his face.
The wind then picked up and blew even harder, the bow got forced around to the North and we lost 150m and things looked a little grim. I decided to gybe down wind and run hard to the shore and then bring the bow into the wind with more speed, down wind we easily reached 7 -8 knots in only a moment. Old Keven had nothing left to give and sails were not going to help on this occasion. It did work and getting closer to the rocks we got smaller waves and we started making some gains, we hugged the beach in the lee of the navy base only sticking our nose out to round the marina.
3 hours of using the same strategy we picked up a mooring off the Huskie pub just glad Tin Tin was intact and still above the waterline.
I am sitting on the mooring waiting for the next blow to come through tonight and it is reported to be a lot worse than to day, I can't get Tin Tin any further up the bay unless I put wheels on him. So we have added another rope to the mooring and set the anchor alarm. We are both a little nervy after this mornings close call.
Another one of lifes lessons - When your gut tells you to move just do it. Regardless of how comfortable that mooring is.
Yes it looks like a robust and bomb proof mooring, well in clm condition it was a pleasant location for a night.
The same mooring after a 40knot blow came through and snapped the mooring line. It is about 50mm rope. I just purchased 300m x 18mm for my warps and deep anchors and 18mm is rated at 7 ton.
The Huski mooring with added 3 ton rope for security and to act as indicator that things are getting bad, Wed morning the wind were upto 35 knots. The great thing about this location with a West or Sth West wind Tin Tin is protected from the worst conditions.
Day 55 Mon 11, The weather looked good for a hard run to Sydney. We prepped the yacht and sailed to the heads at about 0800 in a 15knot Northerly, easily knocking out 7 knots. We passed the North Head a very impressive sight.
It was lumpy outside and we set a course Nth N/East. The BOM forecast 20 - 25 knots turning Nth West, the following day was forecast for West up to 40 knots in the arvo and I thought we could make Sydney before that if we stayed hard on the wind.
In a word BOM you suck. I got bitch slapped by the weather gods 2hrs and 10nm we got smashed with 35 and 45 knots from the Nth. Tuff conditions turned really shitty in steep aggressive seas. Snapped another Main track runner as we put in the 3rd reef. So with just storm Jib and deep reefed main we were still getting a lesson in humility. Suck it up and turn back and wait for the southerly change in 2 days as we were not going to get to Sydney before it really got nasty.
Turn and run back to JB and then as luck would have it the wind turned 40 knots from the West, 2 hrs turned into 4hrs as we beat into a Westerly. This finally turned Nth West and we pushed thru the heads at 2 knots and then picked up a mooring a the Hole in the wall just on Dusk.
And yes it is lumpy but secured to a massive mooring is not a bad this in a big blow. We will move to Huskie deep in the Bay and protected from the Nth West tomorrow.
Lessons learned the hard way.
That elusive palm Tree.
A little sunshine and time for repairs.
Time to strengthen the Jib in 3 places as 3 x seams have started to fail after 2000nm from Perth, my stitches are not pretty but they are strong.
This sail has taken a beating but proves an old sail well built can last many years. This Jib looks like it is the original from Holland, It does not have a UV strip, as in Perth I normally carry a Genoa for the lighter conditions.
The bottom of the Clew ripped out about 5 days from Kangaroo Is, we repaired it with 4.5mm spectra and this has held OK. I did try to stitch another piece of tape into the sail but I could not even get a needle through the first layer. It needs to be drilled or a very heavy machine for stitching this sail.
Tin Tin is now in Jervis Bay in New South Wales about 80nm Sth of Sydney. Yes we are finally sailing Nth it does feel great after sailing Est for 50 days.
We left Portland with a stiff Westerly wind bound for Refuge Cove in Wilson Prom about a 3 day sail for Tin Tin.
As luck would have it a block on the vang exploded 10 miles from Portland 2000nm and 10 days in port and it fails 10 miles out, go figure. This was fixed after about an hour with some spectra line eliminating the shackle.
Then just for good measure the wheel autopilot died. I started with 3 x autopilots or windvanes, as we all know 1 is none, 2 is 1 and 3 is always better. Ivan the old heavy ship system who worked like a amp hungry trooper died on the way to Albany. Salt water in some curcuit causing it to do the crazy Ivan when switched on. We then relied on the windvane and wheelpilot to cross the Southern Ocean.
Thankfully the windvane was rebuilt in Portland after falling off the back of the yacht, we are again back to the basics, Betty as Egki named her because she can be challenging to keep on task. Well Betty steered us on a tight course to the prom in some very lumpy seas.
I must admit Betty preformed better than Egki who was again suffering with sea sickness after being on land for only 10 days, I almost won my beer for who throws up first.
I was going to sail direct to Eden as the winds were blowing 30knots from the West on reaching the Prom but Egki who had recovered from sea sickness now had the bloody man flu and now looked like death warmed up, he could do little more than sleep. As all men know the man flu the worst of all flu's could kill a horse. I decided if he did go down hill being in Refuge Cove I was close to Port Welshpool and a Doctor.
A course was set for Refuge Cove and after 4 hours we motored into one of the most beautiful little bays on the East Coast.
The anchor was dropped and the only viking cure we had for man flu, to eat so much bacon and eggs that you cannot move, seemed to work as he recovered by the next morning and looked a little more human.
It was at this time we discussed viking gods and why the ocean god was such a hungry bastard, as my gear toll was now getting expensive. We did however agree that viking Valhalla is the place to be dying if one needs to.
Valhalla, a place where you can fight all day and big breasted Swedish girls serve plates of bacon followed by beer all night. Bacon from a pig that never runs out of bacon. Now that's man heaven.
Well I spent the day whilst Egki slept off the man flu trying to repair the wheel pilot only to find out the gears had been striped and the nearest 3D printer was a bloody long way from our location in the middle of nowhere.
We left Refuge Cove about 10am the next morning. A Nth Wst wind at 20knts allowing us to sail directly out in to Bass Straight in to the vicinity of the Bass Straight Oil Rigs, we reached this location about midnight. The weather people in BOM predicted a Southerly buster at 30knts, this would have then pushed us to Eden in good time. Well that was the plan.
Well we did get a buster at midnight from every direction. We had thunder, storms and with lightning for about 4 hours and with these condition we also received 55knt winds.
Also as luck would have it the remaining autopilot the windvane Betty died about 5nm from the three Kingfisher rigs and about a dozen ships transiting this part of Bass Straight all in the middle of a 55knt gale.
Again more choice words before I had no choice but to hove to, positioning Tin Tin to drift away from the three oil rigs and a congested shipping lane, it always amazes me how many ships ply these waters.
This time a line had snapped on the vane leg about 30cm above the water. Not really a convenient location to fix or even inspect.
Egki managed to hang out the stern of the yacht and thread a new rope all whilst it bucketed rain, the bonus was the lightning lit up the work area, it was midnight and at time you would swear it was the middle of the day. He managed to get the rope thru the pully with some wire in the middle of this gale.
I then needed to remove my PFD harness and crawl thru the stainless bar work to retie this rope to the windvane leg. It required hanging by my knees upside down over the stern whilst trying to thread and tie the new rope thru the vane leg, I did not give this enough consideration to safety.
Egki correctly decided that this was way too dangerous or stupid. In hindsight yes he was on the money having waves wash over you whilst your hanging upside down in a gale, all in a 55 knot wind does seem a little stupid, But if sailing was easy then I would need to find another outlet. We got Betty working again and sailing within a couple of hours of snapping the windvane line.
Job done back on track and sailing for Eden we decided to kick Ivan in the ribs once again, sprayed half a can of INOX into it and Ivan managed to steer a course once again, the compass was out at least 180 degrees but workable. So again we go form no autopilot to 1 then 2, but the wheel pilot that's a factory job its stuffed.
Day 50 at 0200, yes 50 bloody days chasing the sun and we round Gabo Is and are now heading NORTH. 50 days chasing a rising sun. I would have thought I be moored off palm trees by now. But no it's pissing down rain and blowing 35 knots and I have 3 layers of warm clothing and wet weather gear on.
A visit to Eden, we motor in to Eden at lunch time in rain clouds so heavy I could not see from one side of the bay to the other. The sea fog has totally obscured the bay. Morgan a mate from the Snowy mountains was driving down to take us back up to the Alpine region for some skiing, shooting and of course drinking and talking shit. Sounded pretty bloody good from where I stood standing at the helm with the rain coming in sideways, big swell entering the bay and crappy viability. The rain and wind did help clear the fog "what a treat"
On arrival in Eden we pulled up on the loading jetty which appeared the only protected and logical choice for a yacht. Once tied up secure I visited the Harbour master to discuss berthing options, he was happy for us to stay there for a night but as we were chatted a fishing boat arrived from out of port to unload so I then need to move to the mooring Jetty.
I was given some advice by a local fisherman who was moored on the mooring jetty to park up behind him and that would protect the yacht from the South Easterly. The mooring jetty is an old timber jetty, as rough as guts and only suitable for steel fishing boats in my opinion, who by the way don't moor there unless they have anchors set off the jetty normally.
Within an hour of being on the mooring jetty and on returning from town with some fuel driven by Morgan my timber rub rail had been distroyed on two places from the motion. We then attached a line to the back of the fishing boat to warp off the jetty, They advised they were not going anywhere for 3 days. It was then decided we could not leave the yacht unattended in Eden if we wanted a yacht to sail.
One hour later I hear the fishing boat motors fire up and his about to leave the jetty, and as you guessed with my yacht still attached. Some loud words and my line was thrown off. We ended up finding some tires to further protect the hull in addition to fenders.
Eden should not be a port considered suitable for visiting yachts the only thing readily available is water, the servo is 3km away in town, they do have a fuel tanker for larger boats and he may provide small amounts on request.
None of the jetties except the loading jetty are suitable for yachts in any swell and there are no moorings for visitors. The best option for a yacht is to anchor if you do not want any damage. All 3 yachts tied up to the mooring jetty had been damaged.
Eden is a small town with a dying fishing industry and no foresight to embrace the recreational boat market. As a visiting yacht I still managed to drop $500 on fuel, food and a meal all in the space of 12hrs.
I wonder if these rocket scientists in the local council did the math on super yachts and larger stink boats with half a dozen women on board, some of these women could support a small country with the petty cash they spend on just non essential purchases, then add, food fuel, hotel, aircraft transfers and tourism and the money adds,
To establish a basic floating visitor berth is really needed. A Berth attached to the mooring jetty, this is a minimal cost and would make a huge difference to the welfare of smaller soft-skinned vessels.
Even the amenities at the port are marginal or just plain pathetic, a 2 min free shower? really. I wonder which tight fisted tool thought that up. How hard would it be to provide a better service, they even have most of the essentials in place, I would have happily payed $50 per night for a safe berth and a hot shower. I will not stop at Eden again unless they pick up their game.
We left Eden after one night into a 35 knot gale, I could not afford another night on that jetty one night cost me $2000.00 in damages and they want $25.00 per night, really.
We made course for Jervis Bay a 16 hour sail and 24 hours later we arrived after 5m swells rough seas and then no wind. Initially we punched out 30 miles but found ourself in the East Coast Current only achieving 3.5knot with a 35knot tail wind. I can only put it down to the little orange fish Nemo swimming south with his mates and hanging off the keel just for shits and giggles. We then set a course into the coast within 2 nm and managed 7-8knots again. The wind swung around to the West, this settled the seas and we had all sail up which was nice, stripping off the miles to JB.
We entered into JB through the two most daunting headlands on the East Coast at 1700hr (last light) and headed due south to a place called "the hole in the wall". We sailed into what was eerily flat water not even a ripple and really light wind, it also turned black as night, we could see not a thing.
Heading to a shallow beach in total blackness to find a mooring as advised by a local mate, I found this a little confronting after having been on the open sea getting thrown around.
I backed off the engine as we got nearer thankfully, some idiot was moored in the location we wanted to visit but with no lights on, it was only Egki who picked him up with the spotlight. Going around this yacht we found a mooring, picked it up and relaxed after a hard sail. Beer always helps.
The next morning found us located in a beautiful little bay with a white sandy beach and several moorings that could hold a tug. Its nice to feel that secure on a mooring.
My mate Ben picked us up and we had breaky in Huski, a really nice little town.
On returning to the yacht we dropped the mooring and sailed up the bay to Huski grabbing another mooring just off the local pub.
We took the dinghy into town for a feed and a few beers, need to practice surf negotiation with Egki, it was not pretty and I spent the arvo sitting in the pub with wet jean, a wet ass looking like I had pissed myself.
It looks like we may be in JB for a few days as there is a Northerly Blow coming down the coast.
Day 54 Sun 10 July, we had spent a couple of relaxing days moored out front of the Huski pub, topped up the fuel, hand stitched the Jib in 3 places, checked the dodgy clew repair (still OK Just) replaced the 2 x top batterns that had snapped, replaced 2 x main sail track runners "need to buy some metal ones" and then checked the rig. I also checked engine oils, coolant and belts. The old BMC 2.52 has never run better, clean fuels and a fuel system overhaul make a difference, I know my sinus has never been cleaner after all those chemicals we used to clean the injector pump.
Ben and Mel invited us over for pizza and beer, Both Egki and I had a great night sitting around a open fire chatting and saving the world as usual. We went back to the yacht completely stuffed full of home made pizza.
Moored off Huskison township in Jervis Bay. I have not worn thermals for two days. Nice, I do need to burn those bloody things.
Rounding the South Headland of Jervis Bay at 1700 hours just on dusk, it was black by the time we cleared the headland. This is not a place to lose a motor or the wind. Jervis Bay should be on every sailors must stop at location, preferably in summer. In winter it can be a very harsh place.
Tin Tin is tied up behind the big green fishing boat on the right (mooring) jetty. A jetty not even suitable for tugs.
Do not tie up to this jetty unless you are mad or its perfect wind blowing offshore conditions.
This old British Neco autopilot had worked a treat in Perth and thats why I kept it, then it got a gut-full of salt water on the south coast near Albany in a 50 Knot gale, but after 2000nm Ivan as we now call him was put back in to service and steered a fantastic course through some terrible conditions in Bass Straight in winds upto 55 knots, Ivan has a massive chain driven motor connected directly to the rudder, could steer a 100ft trawler. Not to bad for an old bugger. Ivan is lucky as he was on his last legs, he was named Ivan as when turned on he would start doing some mad deception legs without warning "the crazy Ivan from Red October". May need to to find a new head unit, but if you have a good Neco head unit send me an email I like old gear built to last.
Refuge Cove a really protected bolt hole half way to Melbourne or Portland. Even calm enough to try fix my autopilot, you don't see the dozen loose ball bearing out of shot.
It was blowing 25- 35 knots off the headland of Wilson Prom, lucky for Egki he was sick. He looked like death warmed up, as I would have preferred not to have to sail into these conditions normally. Took several hours to beat into Refuge Cove.
Tin Tin is resting out on the end of the T berth. My only complaint of the Portland marina is there is no amenities block and toilets are only open office hours, you need to walk into town for a shower.
That considered I would always stop at Portland for a beer.
Portland is a great little town, one of the oldest settlements in Australia. It has a vast fishing history and is a very busy port shipping woodchip.
We tied up to a reasonably new floating style marina that caters to commercial and recreational craft, The marina has power, water and security gates after hours.
Scott the marina manager is very helpful, even offer to assist with filling jerry cans for yachts. Larger power boats can get a tanker at the local fishing wharf. Tankers are not keen on only providing only 200L when the are used to filling fishing boats with 5000L.
Scott put me in touch with Peter a local shipwright who provided me with plenty of advice and tools to tackle cleaning the tanks and fuel system, including pulling the injector pump apart and cleaning it.
I should have purchased a fume mask, as some of the nasty carby cleaner and other chemicals used to clean the tanks and fuel lines coupled with compressed air left me vomiting and feeling unwell for several days.
Well Tin Tin is now running well with a fuel tank so clean you could bath in that diesel. We have installed new fuel pickups, lines, filters and some nice clean diesel. We also now have a fuel indicator that works.
We managed to rebuild the Airies Wind Vane that got ripped off in the last storm. Still need to restitch the clew on the Jib, I am sure the dodgy repair in the bight will last until Sydney, it was blowing 40knots when we left for Melbourne so getting it off was not an option and Portland does not have a sail maker.
There are still plenty of little jobs 2 broken battens, 2 broken blocks on the traveller, it appears they no longer make the ones I need. Sounds like another engineering shop fix. Replace the jib sheet on the traveller. But all said the big job is done, the motor is again running well, all the oils have been checked, grease nipples greased. Given the steering a once over, I am glad it is completely over sized rack and pinion style because we have taken a beating over the last couple of months, I would never go back to cable, I have had to many cable blocks wear away on a trip.
But thankfully none of these will keep us from sailing. The plan is to depart tomorrow for Eden, we have winds easing to 20-30 knots Sth Westerly and then 15 - 20 Westerly for a couple of days before the next big low. It is hard to imagine because as I write this blog it is blowing upto 45 knots in the marina and has been a very wild cold day.
I should mention the local pubs only a 5min walk from the marina, they have a great range of real pub meals, we choose a big blue stone pub that served cold beer and $10 lunches, its hard to beat a roast for $10 bucks. Quite a bit of inspiration was needed to start the tank job, thankfully they didn't run out of beer.
Well Tin Tin is about 1 month overdue for sunshine and G&T's in a nice anchorage with some bloody palm trees. Sunshine here we come.
Tin Tin's 40 year old and generally reliable Leyland BMC 2.52 diesel, you can see the fuel tank inspection plate after we ripped up the floor and stripped most of the engine compartment. The injector pump is on the left next to my battery box. I was going to swap this engine out but now I use oil thickener and will rebuild this engine when it gets too smokey, its the most efficient and simple engine I have ever used.
We cleaned 70L of contaminated diesel and about 1.5kg of sludge from the tank. Not a fun job, using a couple of food ladles sacrificed to achieve getting this gunk out, 2 dozen nappies and 2L of metho to scrub the tank and absorb the water. Egki and I spent the best part of a day hanging in the bilge covered in black death.
I installed a new fuel pickup as the old one was just a length of hose resting on the bottom of the tank. The new alloy pick leaves about 20L of fuel or water in the bottom to be pumped out once a year. We also installed a new primary filter with a 7 micron water separator, new fuel lines and cleaned every inch of the fuel system including the injectors. After cleaning the fuel tank indicator it started to works again, now works a treat. No more guessing fuel capacity based on use. When filling the tank I took my time and re calibrated the gauge into liters with a 40L fuel reserve.
This is something I should have done before leaving, if you are reading this and have not cleaned your tanks, you should its easy with a high pressure air line, liquid extraction system and solvent cleaner under pressure, try finding those in the Southern Ocean. I did clean the water tanks, never got sick so that was bonus, I dose them when full leave for a couple of days, once before every big trip, dump the tank and refill with clean water.
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We had been sailing in some really tuff following seas and the wind vane had been working like a trooper never missing a beat. It was then when Tin Tin experience some light rolly conditions we swapped to the electronic autopilot to help steer a better course, it was about 6hrs later I heard a nasty clunk and some grating sounds.
Looking over the stern I was shocked to see the airies windvane hanging on by only one bolt and its steering lines, conditions made it impossible to lift on board, its about 40kg and quite a beast when swing wildly from side to side. It was decided to lash it to the stern, so began another challenge trying to tame the little nasty beast without losing a finger, it was lashed on and towed into Portland looking quite sad.
Its about 40 years old and tuff as an old boot. A few running repairs and some fabricated parts and she is bolted back on for another 3000km, QLD or bust.
We have been fortunate to have a close encounter with 3 whales about half way to Portland. We had been struggling to keep the motor going and it had just died again so mid ocean in 4m swells we started stripping the fuel system again, during a period of creative language Egki heard what he thought were whale sounds echoing through the hull, we often hear dolphin sounds. He stepped on deck to find a pod of whales only meters from the hull, they appeared to have a calf in the pod. They may have been glad to hear the motor stop as it does echo thru the alloy hull. Sorry no photos as they only surfaced once.
A cup of tea and a break watching whales gave us the inspiration to get the motor running for another day. Portland is known as a ship graveyard so this did give me a great deal of concern.
Cape Jaffa would be best described as "build it and they will come" there are bugger all boats, Tin Tin arrived at last light and tied up to the fuel dock as the marina berths are all security gated.
This would not have been a problem as there are no facilities at the marina, the nearest shop is about 1km. Its sells everything including "beer" and the local caretaker who came down to check us out was kind enough to drive us down there.
We stopped at Cape Jaffa to wait for better winds as we were beating into a 30 knot southerly.
The marina has a consistent 3m depth, it is secure and a safe location, to hide from a Southerly Buster. The Marina has power and water and has fuel by appointment.
Just take a wide route around the head land it can get shallow. I would get an update on the entrance before going in at night as you need to stay in the leads and there is a possibility of the entrance silting but we had 3m.
The white building is a fuel container.
After 48 hours of light or no winds we managed to tack or drift along the Island until we were only about 7nm from Kingscote, we finally tied the dinghy along side and our little 3hp outboard managed to push us safety from the rocks and towards town. This involved taking a long detour around the mud flats. The little outboard did really struggle and after a few hours the wind came in allowing us to steer a nice reach down the bay and then tack back upto Kingscote. Finding the right location to anchor by sail alone proved interesting tacking and gybing a 40 ft ketch like a dinghy around boats shallow patchs, rocks and wharfs after three weeks in the Southern Ocean got rid of the cobwebs.
Tin Tin was finally able to anchor off the main wharf and about 200m from the beach in 20 ft of water. We have good holding in what appears sand with some weed. We chose Kingscote as it was a larger town with more facilities.
Kingscote has all the facilities you need to restock, fuel, food and in our case a marine mechanic in Brad Jameson from Jameson Marine.
Word went out in the Variety Australia crew and Chris Moore from Perth who comes from these parts was able to steer us in the right direction. We were given the name of a great marine mechanic in Kingscote, Kangaroo Is and also Chris family decided we need to sample some of the finest Kangaroo Is produce, Jaqui came down to the boat with some lamb, Havelberg snags and some fresh eggs from their farm, never one to refuse fresh tasty food it was gratefully accepted. The freshest and tastest meat and eggs on Kangaroo Is visit Fryers Kangaroo Is free range eggs or visit www.Kieggs.com.au.
Brad went the extra mile to get Mr Stinky running again, he managed to unblock our injector pump and get the engine running. As you can imagine I am pretty happy camper. It is nice to know we are sailing to Portland with a motor as this can be a challenging waterway. I have greater respect for my forebears sailing these waters using only sail, I guess a large crew and sweeps may have helped to ease the stress of getting wrecked on the rugged sea cliffs.
I was also to learn that Brad does a lot of service work on large marine diesel engines in the cray industry but also in luxury boats from Adelaide his quote are often 70% cheaper than companies in large cities. Makes a boat trip to Kingscote a cheap holiday when you save $10 grand on servicing. He has a growing Client list of people who visit for holiday and to get their motor cruisers serviced. If you happen to be travelling around Oz Give Brad a call and give the big regional locations a wide berth.
We have had some truly amazing weather in the last 2 days, with this comes a serious lack of wind. The bay has been like glass, its a nice way to finish a day of cleaning and preparation for the next leg before rowing in for a beer at the local.
The Aurora Ozone Hotel located directly on the waterfront is very nice, and yes has cold beer and a wide choice of meals. The beer was reasonably priced $7 for a pint. Meals about $20 for a burger up to about $40 for something a little more fancy or a steak.
We have another cold front coming through late today or early tomorrow, it appears to have weakened and providing we can get some wind Friday looks good for our departure to Portland.
The Aurora Ozone Hotel on the foreshore Kingscote, Kangaroo Is South Australia. We found the management very welcoming and provided use of the gym shower for a well deserved hot shower.
Tin Tin is the yacht furtherest out from the beach.
We sailed in on a stiff 15 - 20 knot breeze after 2 days of no wind. Not knowing if the bottom was solid and having no working motor we dropped the pick in 20ft with enough sea room to drag down the bay if needed. I fitted a new 25kg Delta as the primary anchor on 70m of chain just before our trip. The delta dug into the sand and weed bottom like a knife in soft butter, we dropped the whole 70m and then dropped our 20kg anchor buddy off the bow to ensure the chain had no chance of lifting off the bottom. It did look like the wind was going to blow like a dog but thankfully it eased off after dark.
Tin Tin Southern Ocean backup anchor is a 20kg Fisherman's anchor with 15m of heavy chain and 150m of 20mm anchor rope as a back up in these waters where thick weed on sand can make it difficult to anchor.
I have found these anchors worth their weight in gold in these Southern Waters, the fisherman will hold in a weedy bottom were most will simply drag. I was advised by a crusty old fisherman to sharpen the points of the fishermen until you can cut meat with them, this will ensure they slice through tough weed and dig in. I have sharpen most of my anchors, it does appear to help. We also carry another 3 anchors,the biggest a 50kg Danforth. The bottom will be littered with steel and rope before Tin Tin drags up the beach.
Trying to dry out the boat, gear and repair sails and lets not forget to climb the mast to recover the mizzen halyard from the top of the mast. The halyard was lost in the middle of a storm when trying reef the mizzen to Hove To. The mizzen was just a little too much sail even with a reef. Tin Tin did settle down with just storm Jib in 50 knots gusting to 60 -70 knots.
The last week has been cold and wet, it feels like Tin Tin is soaked but after 2 days of sunshine we are a little dryer and more comfortable. For the last week we had no heating except a candle, it did however raise the cabin temp by 4 degrees.
Now with the motor going again all the woollen gear, including socks can again be dried on the motor when we charge batteries at least once a day in these parts, the engine also helps to provide radiant heat within the boat. If I do another winter crossing of the southern ocean I am going to install a boat heater, one of those little cute coal/chip heaters would be my choice. There is no logic they just look good with a warm glow and that radiant heat and I grew up as a boy in the country lighting the chip heater in the morning to have a warm shower.
In these waters I use leather and wool lined riggers gloves, they can also be placed on the engine heat exchanger, this was a trick I learned traveling in Antarctica. All those new expensive fabrics look a little burnt when placed on a hot motor, leather and wool however dries nice and toasty.
Are we there yet?
The weather has eased and the wind is dropping to 10knots, still rolly as hell. Time to fix everything before the next round.
We are about 250nm (500km) from Port Lincon. Maybe 2-3 days if the weather eases and we motor sail through the light winds.
Bonus also found that the clew on the jib fitted to the furler has all but torn out, it is only being held by the top section of fitting. Now I really need calmer weather just to change this sail or to drop it on the deck and try a repair.
Time to Leave this sail, go and make a cup of tea. About an hour later we have a plan and about 6 hours later its calm enough to have a crack at achieving a repair.
We are still getting worked, the white capped monsters are beating the shit out of Tin Tin. We are Hove To again, some of these waves hit with such force they drive the boat 20 - 30 feet to port before we heel right over, water squeezes though hatches that have been locked down tight. There always seems to be a bloody drip finding me.
Trying to stand in the yacht is like an Olympic sport and using the head now there's a challenge, I am considering fitting a race harness for "shits and giggles". Once watched a crew member get thrown out of the head mid motion by a large wave, was a little nasty.
I am bruised and battered all over.
The 5L soup pot has been tied to the stove for the last few day, reheat, add one can of anything found in a locker and try take one cup out without wearing it. All meals are considered a surprise. The Soup pot was a trick I learned off Chris the skipper enroute to Antarctica. Wraps Crackers energy bars and a rich thick soup served in dog bowls so they don't tip over, have since upgraded to Tupperware bowls with vented lids, you can chase a bowl of soup around the cabin and it stays warm for ages.
Wet weather gear gets slept in and every thing in the boat is wet.
Barometer 1022 and rising, thank F###
Tally so far:
2 batterns snapped
1x main track runner snapped
2 x traveller blocks shattered
3rd reef line worn through 80% (new rope)
To dangerous to fix this evening, its a tomorrow job, hope it holds.
Time to tighten the mizzen stays, I found 2 stays had loosened with constant rough weather, one stay was so loose it was a little scary. Note to self be more vigilant on morning rig inspection and use tie wire on rear main stay's. The pins were removed when the new rig was fitted.
Need to get on top of the rig, the shit weather is chasing us down and closing fast.
We got smashed, it came through like a freight train 20 -30 quickly building to a constant 35 then 45 with 60 knot gust, we tried running but it was just bloody horrible conditions we ended up hove to in 60knots. Just hanging on the storm jib and still doing 3-4knots.
I Locked the boat down tight and went to bed to get some sleep, we could see next to nothing and the cockpit was getting drenched, it was not a safe place, we had to pump the bilge every few hours as water just seem to find its way in.
Let the AIS pull a watch and keep us from getting steamed over. The best money I have spent in a long time. The GME AIS uses less than 1 amp and lets ships see our location and more importantly us to track them even in the worst storms we could still track a ship out to 10nm.
After about 8hrs the storm started to ease off enough to consider sailing or asking yourself what the fuck your doing here?
Erno learning to sail in Viking Bath Water
Time to bake Bread, how hard can this be? people have been doing this for ever.
Prep Tick, I have got this shit covered.
Place in mix in the sun to warm whilst the wind vane slog's it out with a building sea. It was sunny but bloody freezing. Did not rise at all. Ok lets try the next.
Mr stinky to the rescue, few extra wraps to keep the diesel flavour out. We did get some improvements.
OK next step, is it only me getting bored but 2 hours in prep is pushing a friendship, the novelty is wearing thin.
Nice buns, Yep bloody great damper. Calling it bread is stretching the truth unless it is one of those exotic southern ocean hard man loafs. Baked small to minimise carbs, you know that shit will kill you!
Right after too much beer, 12 year old scotch, female drivers, big black ships, oh and lets not forget 60 knot gales and 12 meter seas with an attitude and those screaming witches trying to tear the rigging apart, yes ear plugs would have been handy.
New direction on bread making, damper or bloody big scones win hands down. Quick no frills a thousand Grandmas must be on to something, scones good with jam, cream, thick butter or soaked in gravy, man food simple no bullshit made in one dish and cooked in another and tossed back in to the original dish when it comes out of the oven.
Tacking East again, this time toward Cape Arid and some offshore Islands. So much for my bloody Westerly winds. We keep punching into 15 - 20 knot Easterlies. Today we have fair weather, clear skys with some low cloud. We still have a High hanging around to produce the Easterly winds.
I did get the first sign of a change when the Barometer dropped 10 points, always a warning of interesting things to come.
Making some Easting at last.
Day 14 - Time to Reflect
We tacked South East against a stiff Easterly working our way in to the Bight. Leaving late in the season had us arrive in Albany close to the 1st day of Winter. I thought we may get more Westerly winds, well it was a plan. As they say every plan is great until you step off and you then need to change it. I like to think it was Jack just mixing it up for us.
Motoring through the port
Leaving the port entrance
Sailing through King George Sound now heading East
A last glimpse of the West coast and a fantastic sunset. The calm seas did not last
What a view, we have endure 4 gales for one glimpse of sheer beauty. I will sail for a week in storms for a sunset like that. Only another 1000nm for the next beer. Hope its cold. The Southern Ocean can be amazing.
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Tin Tin tied upto the Albany Town jetty well protected from all winds and only a short walk for a beer.
We arrived off the coast of Albany Thursday 6pm about 10nm from King George Sound. Thinking it would be an easy sail to town and hope for a beer before last drinks were called we set a course for the local.
The weather gods had other ideas.
We found Tin Tin 5nm from the headland and Breaksea Is only to find building seas. An hour later we were in 35 knot winds a sloppy sea and sea cliffs that looked less than attractive at night in a gale.
Mr Stinky had no chance of pushing Tin Tin and a thirsty crew in for a beer we now had a constant 35 knots with 45 and 55knot winds making me think more deeply of razor sharp rocks and that lee shore. No choice but to Hove To and wait this nasty little blow out. We drifted back 10 nm. I initially thought just couple of hours and we may get Tin Tin in by the morning.
After a sleepless night of big water, heavy seas high winds and bloody big black sea wolves hunting in packs (cargo Ships), we found the sunrise.
The morning only bought a solid 35 knot breeze on the nose and a day of bloody hard sailing. We motor sailed and tacked our way back to the headland.
It took 12 hours of solid work to reach the town jetty and a safe berth. It was not until we were inside the main harbour did the wind ease off. My Finnish Viking crew member Eggi earned his viking sea legs this day.
He now considers the local waters of his home town little more than viking bath water after 6m swells, big seas and 50 knot winds. I don't have the heart to tell him it is only going to get bigger as we cross the bight. He has learned a new Australian term (tuffen up princess) "want to call yourself a viking then learn to love the big green water".
We quickly tied Tin Tin up. Had a shower and found ourself at the Pub Six Degrees for a very well earned long cold beer and a feed.
After a day on the town jetty we moved to the main marina for hot showers. Its $50 per day and is a WA dept of Transport Marina. You will find the contact numbers on the entrance gate. The marina has hot showers, washing machines, dryers and clean toilets. Another option is the visitor berth between the marina and commercial berths near a coffee shop. looked a little shallow and close to the rocks for me but I saw a Swanson 38 berth in there so must be good for 2m. When we arrive it was blowing onshore so it was not an option.
Yes cruising is about stopping at great little towns for a cold beer or 3, I found the Albany pub good for a $10 lunch and $15 for a pint and lunch.
Albany is great place for a beer, plenty of pubs easy going attitude and log fires, I admit it is getting harder to find a pub that serves beer to a thirsty man, most are trying to sell some metrosexual meal, no meat and a coffee what happened to the days when you could get a decent feed.
Try the White Star, and Six Degrees and the new local by the Harbour. The Six Degrees has a bloody good burger and beer, good crowd.
I had the privilege of meeting Peter and Warren who teach at the local Tafe, they dropped into the Yacht with some beers to have a chat about boats and a coldy.
After drinking the boat dry we ended up visiting most of the local drinking holes for a beer or two. The boys promised they would give me a hand getting some fuel and moving supplies to Tin Tin. Fuel is 1.5 km from the marina.
True to their word they turned up with hang overs and we all proceeded with sore heads to restock Tin Tin. They even took charge of some repairs that need sorting and provided some frozen fish for the trip. I am always overwhelmed at how generous people can be.
Albany is a very friendly nice little town, and yes you should stop for a beer or three.
Using preventers to stop my mainsail boom from getting damaged in the event of a crash gybe, Tin Tin in very rolly conditions during days of line squalls and thunderstorms of upto 50knots
Erno learning to sail in a 50 knot Gale, I just thought this was normal for Finland.
Big seas and a building storm leaving Augusta Marina on course for Albany
The Storm fronts continue most of the night whilst Tin Tin tries to avoid ships. The joy of sailing hard at night.
We had planned to sail to Albany in one push but with Gale force winds predicted we rounded Cape Leauwin at midnight and made a course for the new Augusta marina, in a building swell and light winds it was getting rolly.
We arrived a Augusta just at day's break finding a well kept and clean friendly marina a moderate walk from town. Just enough to earn a cold beer at the local country pub.
The South West Coast is known for some lumpy weather from time to time, as luck would have it we have 2 gales passing the Capes when we want to also sail down to Albany.
Tin Tin is currently tied up safely hiding from 50 - 60 knot south west gale force winds.
Augusta marina is protected from all wind directions and swell.
We experienced 50 knot + winds whilst tied safely up to a very robust well built marina. Expect to pay about $50 per day for your money you get power water and clean facilities. The town is about 5km walk but Denise the Harbour manager is good for a lift if you ask nicely, he will also help you move fuel to the yacht in fuel cans. There are no refuelling facilities but larger stink boats may be able to arrange a deal with one of the cray boat operators who have there own fuel trailers.
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