Sydney to Hobart log 2005


After sad and rather apprehensive farewells at RANSA we let go our lines and motored down harbour in a light NE breeze. Away at last! A 15 knot beam wind which had us moving well in smooth seas died – not surprisingly – at sunset. By midnight we are motoring past Martin Island under cloudy skies. Only one trouble so far – a loose steering chain which slaps irritatingly against against the wall of the steering pedestal. The idler shaft below needs shimming to add some tension, but the retaining bolts for the bearings are not easily accessible because of the engine room insulation. A job for a quiet harbour.


Soon after dawn we round the bold cliffs of Point Perpendicular into Jervis Bay to anchor at Green Patch for a 6 hour sleep, swims and gear sort-out. Then the afternoon gives us a lovely broad reach under full main and yankee. Nothing to report other than loss of our trolling line and lure to some denizen of the deep.

By sunset we are 20 miles N of Montague Island. Dave tries to atone for his multiple spills of red wine in the cockpit by conjuring up an excellent pesto and mixed salad. He probably succeeds.

2000h – Breeze backing and freshening during the evening.

2200h – Running square at 8 knots under full main alone. This unusual rig was recommended to us for by Hedley Calvert, who discovered it by accident while running mid-Tasman when nobody could be bothered reefing or going forward to put up a smaller headsail. If there is not too much quartering sea we have found that the boat tracks beautifully under Aries with this rig and it has become one of our standard techniques. Looks odd, I’m sure, but who cares.

24000h – Tucked in the first reef with difficulty (didn’t round up for the procedure so the luff slides stick and the battens snarl the aft lowers).

2430h – Gybed onto starboard. Rain.



0100h – Cold WNW wind, rain. Hardened sheets and unrolled the yankee.

 0730h – Calm and cloudy with lurking thunderstorms. Motoring.

 1000h – Entered Twofold Bay and tied up at Eden. Ian and Claire leap ashore for showers, food and shopping while Dave and I sit quietly enjoying a cold beer in the cockpit.

Southerly change Eden
Southerly change Eden

 1500h – Black and ominous-looking thunderstorms bring brief downpours and short-lived southerly squalls. Gale warnings for the entire S coast – frontal systems moving north. An excellent warm chicken salad and pancakes earns Claire fulsome praise from all.


 In view of renewal of gale warnings we moved to the better protection Old Boydtown. A grey, squally day, well spent ingesting Claire’s pumpkin pie. Strolls ashore exploring Boydtown, then longish tipple till bedtime.


SW gale in Bass Strait. Here a gusty SW force 6.


VMC renews all warnings. Fresh and cold SW breeze means we’re here another day. Deck jobs, steering repair and trysail rigged to spare mast track. Motored across to Snug Cove for a change and a shorter track to Hobart (shorter by just a mile!).


An early start in cold 20 kt SW breeze. After a curiosity-fuelled visit to Bittangebee Creek we had a long work down the coast to Gabo Island in a 20 knot S breeze. Blue skies, sparkling spray and cold beer. A lovely sail.

At sunset we anchor and send a stern line to the Gabo lighthouse jetty. A tight little spot with inadequate swinging room if adequate scope is out. Motnionless in 11 feet of crystal clear water we watch hundreds of fairy penguins coming ashore for the night. A lovely calm spot. Russell tells me this anchorage can be tenable even in a SW blow. I reckon you’d want to be ready to leave at short notice though.


We leave at 5 am under clear skies after undisturbed sleep. A shame not to have had time to explore ashore but Tainui will surely be back here. The cold land breeze dies early and by 10 am we are motor-sailing into a light SSE breeze. A fresh SSW change is forecast in 36 hours, which gives us ample time to get across the paddock first. The wind backs after lunch, allowing us a splendid broad reach over smooth seas. 1 shark and 100 dolphins.

At midnight the first reef goes in with no loss of speed (there usually isn’t, is there?). On Tainui reefing is never fun on port tack, because the reefing winch is on the starboard side of the boom. This means that you are winding in the clew pennant while standing, with the winch handle above head level. This is at the very least a nuisance, but in bad weather it is a positively dangerous state of affairs. I know how to solve this problem but haven’t gotten round to doing anything about it.

[note – it was about 18,000 miles before I finally put a turning block on deck to bring the line across the top of the winch, then down through the deck block and across to one of the halliard winches. It is so easy and much safer now. Amazing how long you can just put up with irritations like this before finally doing the obvious, simple modification. Our cockpit table strut was another example (Strut always slipping or breaking. We finally tossed it and simply hung the forward end of the table from the bimini frame above, on a 6mm line. Took me 4 years to think of that!)]


1000h – we are abeam Cape Barren and still romping along with yankee, staysail and full main. SydHob-1011

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