Saturday 19 October 2013

Off Smoky Cape, NSW

After nearly two days tied up at the Coffs Harbour wharf, at around  2:00pm this afternoon it was time to release the lines and make our way back out to sea; south to Sydney.

With the wind still blowing in from a roughly southerly direction, (but with the promise of northerlies to come), we prepared for the usual lumpy conditions – at least for the first 12 hours or so.

I mentioned “releasing the lines”, well in many cases you can just do that and drive away, but the problem we faced today was that the wind was blowing us side-on to the courtesy wharf (for which you pay $50/night) and to the front and back of us were either more yachts or another wharf.  The only way out was 90 degrees to the right, something we don’t usually do.

So with an audience of nearly 50 (it’s festival day here in Coffs Harbour and of course everyone likes  walking along a pier on a sunny day) including 3 old salts off another yacht heading south later in the evening, we embarked on a classic wharf-departure-strategy involving first releasing the bow line and then reversing onto a stern line so as to pivot the bow out from the wharf.  By overhanging the stern off the wharf we were able to pivot the bow to around 90 degrees and then calmly motor away.  Ai, it was a grand sight.  A text book manoeuvre.

It’s now nearly 9:30 in the evening, the seas have dropped and we have been tacking our way down the coast (with the aid of the motor it must be said) and we’re about to round Smoky Cape.

Sally cooked up a lovely dinner around 8:00pm, David did the washing up and Bob is now on watch till 10:00pm.  It’s then my turn on lookout with David and Sally taking over at 12:00 midnight.  Bob’s then back between 2:00 and 4:00 and I get to watch the sunrise.  By then we hope to pick up a wind change from the northeast.  Nothing like having the wind going your way !!

Arrival in Sydney looks like it might be very early Monday, with our plan being to set off south again soon after the new crew arrive – around mid-day Monday.

Thanks go again to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia for their generous assistance in providing a berth for us to tie up at – in Rushcutters Bay.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and oh to have the wind going your way !

Rob Latimer