My progress over the last several hundred miles may have seemed slow.

Blog Post 32 by Jon Sanders: Bundaberg Queensland

I have arrived Bundaberg Queensland. My progress over the last several hundred miles may have seemed slow.

Ok, so it was.

My ETA was Monday morning, from New Caledonia, but I got here on Monday.

One can always slow down. That’s a bit easy. Speed up. Hmmm.. “get real”. Me anyway.

The heavies delivering on large ocean racing yachts with all the athletic talents, that I have not, would speed up and blow out a spinnaker or two. “Who cares.” Rich owners will think that’s normal. (Cruising yachtsmen insurance premiums increase. Funny about that.)

The passage from New Cal. was perfect. Quiet and mild, with some zero wind for several hours – some of the time.

Calm. That is when I connect the tiller and put the electric auto steer tiller pilot to on. It wasn’t working leaving New Cal., but I got it going with WD40.

I think moisture had found its way in. It stuck things and helped not the electric circulation.

The wind vane self-steerer, which connects to the wheel – not the tiller – needs a bit of wind pressure, but it’s reliable.

I had a nice reception in Bundaberg

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Entering Bundaberg, QLD

Departed Noumea, New Caledonia, for Bundaberg, Queensland Australia

Blog Post 31 by Jon Sanders: New Caledonia to Bundaberg

Departed city of Noumea, New Caledonia, for Bundaberg, state of Queensland Australia. I was going to leave on the Saturday, but didn’t.  Slack you say, common sense I think. Fresh west and sou-west wind forecast over the weekend, true and proper head winds, that means going nowhere much. Bumpy.

As it transpired, when asleep, as snug as a bug – in the protected comfort of Port Moselle Marina, Noumea – 5 yachts outside at anchor, or on moorings, went onto the rocks. Sadly damaged; I think nobody was onboard. Other yachts with crew all OK.

Come Monday, there was not a lot of favourable wind, as per forecast, with the swell becoming less and less. Nice travel stuff.

Engine at low revs. Soon to come there was a bit more wind, though just a bit. No engine, on course, maxed out comfort.

Tied up near Perie Banou in the marina were Pip Sawyer and John Sharpe, in their wonderful, New Zealand built, Elliot 45ft named Sharp Focus. Pip and John would entertain me with the odd evening meal.

A few drinks first, of course

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Noumea, New Caledonia: a long island that, kinda, lies southeast to northwest. 30 N Miles wide and 220 miles long, sort of.

Blog Post 30 by Jon Sanders: New Caledonia and drug busts

Noumea, New Caledonia: a long island that, kinda, lies southeast to northwest. 30 N Miles wide and 220 miles long, sort of. There is plenty of reef. The fringing reef comes well out, though with several well-posted passages into the lagoon.

Once inside the lagoon, one cannot steer a course direct to Noumea, or one would come to a grinding halt. Crunch! (coral reefs and islets)

Nevertheless, a small boat paradise is inside this beautiful lagoon. Plenty of places to anchor and overnight.

A naturally protected harbour, Noumea is with not one, nor two, but three marinas and plenty anchorages outside of them. Lots and heaps of yachts.

Port Moselle Marina, similar to Papeete Tahiti, is in the town. Fast ferries come and go. A floating jetty opposite the Marina office and the terribly important (I reckon) Brasserie. Very friendly staff, nice. But the negative is you need a gold card to pay for the beer. Anyway, it is the visitors jetty and pens.

There is no shortage of Australian flags and Australian accents everywhere

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Through the trade winds all the way from South America to Australia

Blog Post 29 by Jon Sanders: Australia bound through the trade winds

In my last blog I mentioned running through the trade winds, all the way from South America to Australia, i.e.: sailing between the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn.

I cleared Tahiti and headed for New Caledonia (a sizeable French elongated Island), both in the trade wind belt, and after Noumea New Caledonia on to Bundaberg where rum is made in Australia.

Going right way true. Trade winds, Nup. They stopped, so they did before I had sunk below the Tropic of Capricorn (close to 23 degrees south latitude).

Winter weather I guess. I ran into nothing. No wind at all. Swell died down, blue sky, blue oil calm sea. Nice.

Motor sailing at low revs. Good fuel economy. All day, all night, all day, all night…

The bloody thing is not an oil tanker.

When there was wind and when it came it was west and not a lot.

Wrong way wind. Must ration fuel and put up with going nowhere much.

I’m supposed to be in the trade winds!

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The South Pacific trade winds reach all the way across the Pacific

Blog Post 28 by Jon Sanders: The South Pacific trade winds…

The South Pacific trade winds reach all the way across the Pacific. Although, first one has to get into them from Panama, then you have them with maybe a lull here or there. In some years your sails might flop along in a light wind, but alas, the trade wind is there.

Soon after passing Tahiti one passes through the Cook Islands, an archipelago of scattered islands. Holding one’s course, you’re likely to see zero of them.

Seven times I have passed through the Cook Islands and stopped once at Rarotonga, with Nathan (hi Nathan), chief town or capital.

In this region I have always found the trade winds fresh; same again this year. Often 25/30 kts southeast. Broad reach. 2 reefs mainsail and 1/3 my normal small working jib. Nice.

Progress steady and good

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I’ve noticed that island regions influence wind strengths, often beginning at several hundreds of miles away

Blog Post 27 by Jon Sanders: Wind, Eggs and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

Wind

I’ve noticed that island regions influence wind strengths, often beginning at several hundreds of miles away; generally, the effect is less wind, either up-wind or down-wind. Vision Rodrigues, Mauritius, and Reunion islands and in the South Pacific: Tuamotus, Tahiti and Society islands. On the other hand, the Trades in the Caribbean (the Islands I visited or pass on route) are more reliable.

As I tend to sail with a shorter rig, it might look a wee bit strange departing Tahiti with my mainsail reefed and not much wind. Sure as eggs, as the distance gets longer the wind becomes greater. It’s lots easier tying the reef (neat as) when at the dock than it is at 2am.

Each day the swell gets bigger from the south, south-southwest and the southwest.

Something is down there!

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Taina Marina and the Oyster World Rally

Blog Post 26 by Jon Sanders: Taina Marina and the Oyster World Rally

The Hon. Ian Campbell, former Australian Senator and Federal Minister, has an Oyster 68 ft single mast yacht. It is said, and one believes, more material (not to forget, etc., etc.) goes into these UK built stock production cruising yachts to stand the ocean rigours. The Swan yachts in Finland appears to have a similar reputation, as they emphasise the ocean racing ability in their design. Perhaps their designers do not consult mother enough. All that aside, I am a Swan fan. Anyway, I am parked at Taina Marina, and

at the upgraded downtown Marina de Papeete there are lots of Oysters, though not the sort you eat

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A lot of years back France resumed underground nuclear testing at Mururoa, southeast of Tahiti

Blog Post 25 by Jon Sanders: Tahiti

Now Tahiti.

A lot of years back France resumed underground nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll (south-east of Tahiti) approximately 450 to 500 N Miles south-southeast of the track I took thru the northern portion of the Tuamotu Archipelago.

At the time of nucler testing, the amicable Polynesians rioted. The headline in the West Australian Newspaper (home) read “Something in Paradise” (I think “Chaos in Paradise”). It worked, France brought the testing to finish sooner.

So, here I am in Paradise

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Sails. Something I have not mentioned much is the things stuck up in the air

Blog Post 24 by Jon Sanders: Sails

Sails.

Something I have not mentioned much is the things stuck up in the air. No, it’s not the mast or the stainless steel Super Wind (turbine) support down the back (oops sorry) ‘aft’. The Rolly Tasker Sails built in Thailand.

I know Sven Cornelius CEO of Rolly Tasker Sails reads this. Poor bloke.

“Hey, Sven” (Kerry Tasker proprietor and much more). If you would like to write this into your Newsletter, I would be delighted.

When I was a wee lad, or at least decades younger, Kerry likewise; she was then the receptionist and Sailing Secretary Royal Perth Yacht Club (and me a member). Rolly Tasker AM would build my sails.

Later Kerry married Rolly. (Lucky man).

Rolly Tasker has built my sails since I was a teenager. First in Perth Western Australia and now Phuket Thailand.

A long time ago, Xmas 1984, my S&S34 was at the Cruising Club of Australia, Sydney, preparing for the Sydney Hobart Race.

I, at the bar, as one does, a beer or three with some crew of the more remarkable – at the time I reckoned they just ‘sat on rails’ – they acted more important and knowledgeable. The reality is they could shin a mast or climb out on a set spinnaker pole in 30 knots of wind (and much more). I could not.

Anyway, they were ribbing Rolly as competitors do. I remember saying to them.

“How many State titles have you won?”

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