Sydney to Hobart but not racing! 43:03S, 147:16.2E
The first boats home in the Sydney-Hobart yacht race completed the 628 mile course this year in just under one and a half days, us mere mortals take a bit longer. We sat in Rose Bay, Sydney looking at the weather forecasts, it looked like we had a good window for this passage starting on Sunday afternoon or evening. The wind would start to back from the southerly which had been blowing for a few days and settle into the north east. We had until the following Saturday with settled conditions then a front would move in from the Australian Bight giving gale force winds from the north changing in a matter of hours to the south. If the wind turns unfavourable there are a few stopping places on the way, Botany Bay, Jervis Bay and Eden but the advice we’d been given was if you see a good opportunity to go then take it even if you have to motor. The weather can be unpredictable and violent when crossing the Bass Strait.
We left on Sunday afternoon and sailed out of Sydney Harbour through the racing fleets with the wind still in the south taking a long tack out to sea then turning southwest. At 20.00 hrs the wind died and the engine went on, it was turned off again at 18.20 hrs on Tuesday when the wind picked up again to 10 knots. We were able to sail until 04.00 Thursday and it died again and we motored and motor sailed till our arrival on Friday. We actually managed to sail properly for about 16 hrs out of four and a half days.
Dolphins join us and put on a display.
On a number of occasions we had large pods of dolphins visiting us and we saw several sunfish.
As we plan to return north up this piece of coast we expect to make a number of stops then and our passage is likely to be a lot slower. At times on the way south we had assistance from up to 2 knots of current, this will be against us when we return but for now we have to make the most of being in Tasmania.
We have stopped in Margate marina just south of Hobart to have a clean up of Serenity, wash all the salt off, and use the laundry facilities. Its been over three weeks since we had such luxury as we’ve been anchoring all the time since leaving Coffs Harbour and we didn’t find a self-service laundrette in Sydney. Tomorrow we will leave the marina and hope to meet up with friends Inge and Thomas on Saga and Kevin and Mei on Whisper HR. We met Kevin and Mei in Panama and crossed the Pacific at the same time as them, the last place we saw them was on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand, in 2018. As we approached Hobart Phil was looking at the AIS traces of yachts in the area and there was Whisper HR a few miles ahead of us.
Along the footpath to Margate village we came across this lovely book exchange, unfortunately we didn’t have any books with us to exchange!
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