Sydney Harbour, Australia

I have entered lot’s of harbours, but few are as natural and magnificent as Sydney

Blog Post 35 by Jon Sanders: Sydney

(Not everyone reading this blog is a yachts person or a sailor residing in Australia).

I have entered lots of harbours, but few are as natural and magnificent as Sydney, although Rio de Janeiro Brazil comes to mind (both natural harbours).

Sydney Harbour is surrounded by a modern city and some parks, it is busy though not just commercial, with big boating activity. By world standards, leisure in the Harbour is huge. Clean – some might say not clean enough (it’s pretty awful in a lot of Asia; not here!).

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has a busy marina, and it is all masts

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Cruising Yacht Club of Australia

Yacht Club Inside the Seaway, waterways of the Gold Coast, Queensland

Blog Post 34 by Jon Sanders: Gold Coast to Sydney – Yacht Club Musings

Queensland’s Southport Yacht Club is located inside the Seaway, waterways of the Gold Coast. The Seaway runs parallel to the ocean beach, its construction helped to make the Gold Coast what it is today. Big towers and lots of people in them, expensive, I suspect, looking down at the yacht club and its Marina.

The ladies in the Marina office were nice and very helpful (so too the ladies at Coffs Harbour). Taking one’s lines on the finger when parking on the finger. I should sometimes write parking and re-parking. What do I mean re-park? Because the idiot just birthed in somebody else’s pen or T-end of the jetty. I’ve got to move (i’d arrived after hours – night time). I did not know where to go. Lost in a Marina!

When I came in I had the two bow lines either side of the bow at the ready, as well as two spring lines for the middle – either side, likewise two stern lines. When possible, I pick the windward side of the finger, dock or wharf, come alongside near-to; stop the yacht and let it blow sideways onto the dock (fenders are out). Fenders, wind and friction hold the yacht in place sufficient to step off and connect the mooring lines.

Easy – just in the wrong bloody pen

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Lush green and plenty of rain. Hmmm, I must be talking about in other years. It’s dry!

Blog Post 33 by Jon Sanders: Southbound, beyond Bundaberg

Bundaberg Queensland: East coast of Australia. Bundaberg region population near 100,000. Lush green and plenty of rain in the region. Hmmm, I must be talking about it in other years. It’s dry!

In Perth, on Australia’s west coast (the other side of the continent, i.e. the other side of the desert), it has a Mediterranean climate: rains in winter and dry in summer; homeowners and tenants in the suburbs hand water their lawns.

Not in Bundaberg. They are not used to that. The lawns are brown and dry. They won’t be that way for long, as the northern storm season is near.

In the meantime, the fronts and low-pressure weather systems come from the west to the southern portion of the south-west region of Australia. They sweep across the Great Australian Bight bringing rain, wind, gales and storms.

In the Bass Strait region, this weather can squeeze with other lows and depressions (The Bass Strait being between the Island state of Tasmania and the south-east of Australia), causing fronts with gales to sweep northwards along the Australian south-east coast.

The Equinox period (September) bring gales, sometimes severe. One must pick; ‘be picky’ and sail between the weather patterns. It would be stupid not to be picky (when possible, that is).

Bundaberg was a nice experience; in fact, everything has been A1 Read More

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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