Fri 10 Nov 2023 01:36
Coffs Harbour, Australia
We have made it to the other side of the world! At 06.20 on the 8th November, we sailed into Coffs Harbour, Australia. A great sense of achievement but also relief was definitely felt by us both. The last passage was probably one of the best for us. Flat sea, nice breeze with a beam reach carrying full sail, no rolling or slamming with a good following current…sailing heaven! It’s good to end on a high but makes it harder to sell her when she’s given us so much pleasure (we’re not forgetting the pain).
We’ve sailed 13760nm, which is the equivalent of 25483km. We’ve spent 114days at sea which is 2736hrs giving us an average speed of 5kts. It’s taken us about 9months to sail from Falmouth to Australia (if you minus the 3months in the Azores) which isn’t bad going.
Our top speed through the water was 14kts whilst surfing down a wave, our 24hr distance record is 176nm and our engine hours are 530.
We have sailed to 11 different countries, 27 different islands and 58 anchorages/harbours. We’ve certainly had to move fast but that’s kept us motivated and on top of the endless boat maintenance!
After being turned upside down in the North Atlantic on day 5 of this journey, the odds of making it to Australia felt pretty slim, in fact the odds on making it to the Azores felt slim.
I think our greatest achievement has been picking ourselves up from that mess and finishing what we started (without dying).
Everyone we meet who learns of our story all ask the same question…why did you carry on? To us this seems like a strange question now but when you speak to other people about their journey, they have seldom seen over 30kts of wind. They also always ask ‘why did you cross the North Atlantic in November’?! That is a fair question.
We feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to do this but we couldn’t have made it without the support of family and friends. There have been the lowest of the lows, particularly the initial period in the Azores, arriving with a broken boat in winter, just as everyone was shutting business for Christmas, it all felt pretty hopeless. Big up to Ben and his no nonsense nature on driving the project forward and for his ever optimistic attitude in the face of adversity (how do I get one of those)?! We left the Azores with a better boat and tougher crew and everything has felt pretty easy going since…nothing like a near death experience to put things into perspective!
We had a chat about what we’d do differently if we did this again…so here’s the list:
1. Not leave in November (need longer career break)
2. Take a 15hp outboard so we can plane in the tender even with shopping bags
3. Bring more wine and IPA
4. Ben would prefer a catamaran (a monohull for me)
5. We’d bring a symmetrical spinnaker as well as an asymmetric for that annoying apparent wind angle of 150degrees that we always find ourselves on
6. A sewing machine (plus sewing lessons)
7. Hot water deck shower (ours is only cold)
8. A bimini for the cockpit
Choice of yacht is always a discussion point. I’m not sure we’d of come off as lightly on day 5 in something lighter than moonshiner. There‘s always the argument that a lighter hull might have planed better and not broached as badly, but it’s difficult to know. I do think a lot of other yachts would have lost their rig after an impact like ours, so she sorted us out when it most mattered and for that we’ll be forever grateful.
Most people you meet in a light/production boat want a heavy displacement boat, and most people you meet in a heavy displacement boat want a lighter boat or a catamaran, either way, we’re all out there doing it so that’s what matters.
Our plan from now is to cruise south along the coast to Sydney to meet Bens parents and drop Ryan off on the 28th. Then we will sort the boat out and leave her up for sale in Pittwater (just north of Sydney). We’ll buy a car and drive down to Hobart for the 20th of December when my parents arrive.
We’ve just signed for a house rental in Hobart which is exciting but could make for an interesting Christmas as it’s currently unfurnished….I’m sure we can furnish a house 4 days before Christmas right?!
We will try to keep the blog going as our lives turn to land and we explore all that Tasmania has to offer. Hopefully we can remember how to give an anaesthetic…but I wouldn’t want to be the first patient on my list that first day back!
Thanks for reading our blog and for all your support and encouragement, if anyone fancies a trip out to Tas, please get in touch, we’d love to see as many of you as possible and we’ve got lots of spare bedrooms (but not beds).
PS. If anyone fancies buying a 45ft heavy displacement fast cruiser…we have just the boat for you!