Passage from Sydney to Tasmania via Eden January 2015

Day 1

The weather forecast suggests a two and a half day window of northerly (good) winds before the famous southerly change (bad) arrives on Sunday morning. That should be enough to get to Eden at the southern end of New South Wales , and traditionally the last port of refuge before crossing the Bass straight to Tassie.  The southerly should last around 24 hrs then easterlies are expected promising a “pleasant” two day sail across the straight. To get a bit of distance in, we left Sydney a bit early in the afternoon in a light southerly wind with the promise of north easterlies from around 5pm.  Very overcast all day.  The promised northerly didn't arrive until just before midnight so we were mostly motor sailing until then with the odd bit of sailing in between (another case of our Russian friends engine onandoff et al.)  Before dark, we rigged the pole ready for when the wind switched and were able to sail with the genoa poled out from around midnight.  It was great having Helen as our 3 rd crew member – very enthusiastic she was too, to take her watch (a bit different from when she was a young sprog and would spend the day in her sleeping bag coming up at dinner time asking that time worn question ‘are we there yet?')  Had to gybe in the middle of the night – black night with thick cloud. It was very humid and damp all night, so a bit hot and sticky. No picturesque sun rise this morning either as we had thick fog until mid-morning but then the sun burnt off the fog and we were left with a lovely day.  As promised the wind started to build mid-morning and is currently around 25 kts.  We've just put a reef in and gybed again.  It is forecast to continue to build so hoping to get into Eden by around 9pm tonight for a bit of shelter.

Days miles:  153

Day 2 Arrival in Eden

As the day progressed the wind and seas got up.  We had 20-25 knots for most of the afternoon but as it was from behind we stayed with the genoa poled out with a reef in both sails and had a fairly smooth ride with very pleasant conditions.  With a positive current we were averaging around 9 – 10 knots.  Just as well we had the helpful current as our boat speed through the water seemed to be slow – think the bottom needs a clean. That will be the first objective on our layover in Eden . The water is already colder, and will only get colder as we go further south, so now is the time. At around 6pm we put the pole away and came on to a broad reach – bit of a shock to the system having the wind and seas more on the beam!   With increasing winds, we crashed down the waves for the last couple of hours and as we arrived into Eden at 8pm had wind gusts of around 40 knots!  The anchorage was bigger than expected and we were able to get a good place out of the swell.  Had a good dinner and a great sleep.  The wind is forecast to be southerly today so we'll sit it out in Eden and head off on the next leg on Monday when the winds go back to the east/north-east for the next couple of days.  We have about 400 miles still to go.

Total trip Sydney to Eden :  215.9 miles

Time taken:  30 hours 45 mins.

Average speed:  7.02 knots

Day 3

We spent a very pleasant day at anchor in Eden to let the strong southerly wind blow through.  We didn't visit the town of Eden but anchored in a very pretty bay on the southern side with long white sandy beaches.  Whilst Helen and I sat on shark watch, Matt braved the colder water and dived under the boat to give the bottom a well needed scrub – mainly slime and newly settling barnacles (or cyprids to give them their proper name – always handy to have a marine scientist on board).  Andy on Spruce kindly refilled one of our dive tanks, so ready to go again. Had a good walk along the beach in the afternoon and met up with a bunch of other cruisers waiting for the same weather window as us. Saw some Kangaroos on the lawn of a nearby house! We had a favourable forecast for the next couple of days to head across the notorious Bass Strait to Tasmania .  So after another good nights sleep we set off at 9am.  Most of the morning we were motor sailing into lightish head winds but by lunch time as we rounded Cape Hume , the engine went off and it has stayed that way since.  We've had near perfect sailing conditions with winds from the east of 10- 15 knots so have bean beam reaching and making good progress at 8 – 9 knots in reasonable seas with only the occasional lumpy bit. Throughout the afternoon we spotted several pods of dolphins but mostly they were too busy catching their lunch to get a bow ride, however later on we had two visits from Short-nosed Common dolphins riding alongside the boat.  We've had a reef in the head sail since late evening and have just put a reef in the main.  Have had company on the radio with several other boats doing the same passage, and have passed several Sydney Hobart race boats returning north, including the winner Wild Oats, who was motor sailing with only a tiny blade up. As of 8am we have around 150 miles to go to our waypoint at the Schoten channel (about half way down the east coast of Tasmania ) and if we keep up this speed will arrive in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

24 hours:  189 miles

Day 4

So we're back in the roaring fourties!  Although such a benign sea coming across the Bass Strait you wouldn't have thought it!  We had near perfect conditions up until around 11pm when the wind dropped we had to put the engine on.   Saw a couple of whales (possibly pilot but some difference of opinion amongst the crew!) and a few albatross.   Had about 5 hours of motor sailing under a full moon and starry night before dropping the hook at around 5am in Bryans corner on the west side of the Freycinet Peninsular and tried to catch up on sleep. Foggy this morning but hopefully the sun will burn it off.  The sand in the bay is so white it looks like snow!

Total miles Eden to Freycinet Peninsular:   336

Time taken:  44.5 hours

Average speed: 7.55 knots


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