A New Year Sail

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 1 Jan 2012 10:02

Position: Just off Adelaide
Course: South sou' west Speed: 3.5 knots
Wind: South east F3 Gentle Breeze
Weather: Sunny, hot

Sylph and I are starting the new year by going for a sail. We have been tied up alongside for almost three months now and barnacles are starting to grow on the keel. Still we have not been sitting completely idle in that time. Apart from catching up with family and some friends I have completed a modest amount of maintenance including repainting the dodger and the cockpit guard rails and cleaning out the cable locker, de-rusting it and also giving it several coats of paint.

But now Sylph is all back together for the moment and this morning I completed some last minute preparations and we got under way at 1.30 pm, motoring clear of the marina and then hoisting the mainsail, which seemed to require a little more effort then usual - I am not sure whether this is because of the dust in the sail slides or me being out of condition. Then the jib was unrolled and we settled down in the hot sunshine to sail the ten miles out of the Port River and into the open waters of St Vincent's Gulf. It took quite while as the river, which is more of a tidal estuary than a river, does a big loop so no matter what the wind angle invariably there is some upwind work to be done somewhere along the way. As we left the marina the wind was west nor' west so we close reached north up Lipson Reach then as we followed the big loop of Light Passage around Pelican Point, the wind backed into the south-west so we had to put in quite a few tack to negotiate the western half of the loop and the southern leg of the river, otherwise known as Outer Harbour. Unfortunately a motor vessel, the H.R. Endeavour, was heading out to sea at the same time as we were trying to negotiate the last little leg out of the Outer Harbour. I tried keeping over to one side but as the H.R. Endeavour approached we were running out of water. It would have been bad seamanship to have tacked across his bow so instead I rolled up the jib, started the engine and slowly motored into the wind for five minutes until she was past and clear. Then I unrolled the jib, stopped the engine and we continued on our way out into the relatively open waters of St Vincent's Gulf.

It has been a bit of a scorcher today, with a forecast high temperature of 41 degrees, but it is always a few degrees cooler on the water. Now we have a nice gentle breeze from the south-east, we are closed hauled on the port tack and despite the growth on Sylph's hull we are making pleasing progress into the flat seas. Our destination is Kingscote on Kangaroo Island, about 60 miles away, where we will meet up with an old Navy colleague and his boat. I should get there sometime tomorrow and my friend, Mark, will probably arrive later in the evening. From there we hope to do a bit of sailing in company for about a week or so.

Happy New Year.

All is well.