Thurs, 26th August 12:00 hrs 32 25’S 153 19’E
The past few days since the last update have delivered a mixed bag. Since Sunday, which started off with glassy sea & not a zephyr of breeze, we’ve had a bit of everything. From what started out as a light Nth Westerly that moved slowly around the clock, died out again, then built to 25-35 kts from the North & North West for a rip-tearing 6 hour blast, before settling from the West but still blowing hard. As the sometimes gale force wind hovered in the SW quadrant, exactly where our course to Sydney is, this made for a pretty ordinary Tuesday. Double reefed main & staysail, lots of water breaking over the bow and cascading down the deck, some of which always finds its way inside the boat, an ugly, bumpy sea making it difficult to move about – and to add to the discomfort, heading not where we want to go! Still blowing hard, the decision was made later in the afternoon to tack and head for Australia rather than New Zealand.
After 20 hours of bashing away towards Australia (Queensland, not NSW!) tacked back on to a course that at least ran parallel to the coast, not directly to Sydney, but at least roughly in the right direction. Not long after tacking, “Ray”, our autohelm gave up – not an electrical or electronic problem, but most definitely a dodgy installation job. Nevertheless, Chimere is well balanced enough to steer herself with a little help from “Oscar” (couple of cords lashing the wheel), as she did for several days on the way up to Vanuatu 4 months ago.
Still the usual jovial ship even under these conditions, due in no small way by Rhod’s endless cordon bleu presentations from the heaving galley.
Contact was made with Customs, advising of our ETA (VERY estimated) of Friday, only to find that Robert L had also passed on the same info; then twice in as many days, the same information was given via VHF radio to the Border patrol Lear jet that whipped overhead. I think they know we’re coming!
Since tacking South on Wednesday morning, it’s been a steady bash towards home. At this point in time, with approximately 130 nm to go in a straight line, we could possibly get in by close of business Friday. But unfortunately, we probably won’t be able to travel in that straight line! We’ll have a better idea by early tomorrow morning.
Until then – stay tuned!!
Fair Winds & Smooth Sailing (I wish!)