Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 11 Jun 2012 03:18

Noon Position: 35 40.5 S 137 47.6 E
Course: East Speed: 4.5 knots
Wind: NNE F4, moderate breeze
Weather: mostly sunny, cool
Day's run: 102 nm

Yesterday afternoon we sailed close down the west side of the foot, perhaps the toes, of Cape York Peninsula where we enjoyed the calm seas and lighter breeze in its lee. After sunset we then wended our way through the rocks, shoals and islands that are scattered around about, maybe the Cape's cast off toe nail clippings. The passage is well marked with numerous lights of various colours, the wind was a reaching breeze for most of the way through so with the assistance of GPS and the depth sounder we emerged in the deeper unencumbered waters of Investigator Strait at 10 pm unscathed and then settled down close reaching to the east to make for Kingscote where I was hoping to seek shelter over the next few days. But, as those of you who have had a close look at our noon position, you will see that this plan has not come to fruition.

Overnight we jogged our way eastwards into the lumpy seas that the Strait often throws up when a breeze with any easterly in it is blowing, almost regardless of tide it seems. I suspect it might be to do with the overall east flowing current through Investigator Strait and Backstairs Passage, caused by the much larger Southern Ocean current. So it was a rather uncomfortable night, but the wind was fair enough, just, that we did not have to tack for which I was grateful. This morning we rounded Marsden Point and and bore away into the shelter behind the Spit and headed for the Kingscote pontoon. As we approached I realised that there is quite a bit of fetch between the Spit and the harbour and with the north easterly breeze the pontoon was not looking all too comfortable. Nonetheless I decided to tie up alongside and see how well we sat and consider options. After 30 minutes of joggling and jostling and with prospects looking grim with the winds to come, from which I was seeking shelter, I concluded it would be less stressful to head back out to sea and continue on our way. This we have done and are now sailing under a double reefed mainsail and a well furled jib, a bit underpowered perhaps but still making good a comfortable four and a half knots, with a smoother ride then if we were more powered up, heeled over and crashing through the short steep waves at six knots or so. The tide is turning about now so conditions will get worse before they get better, but once we are clear of Backstairs Passage we should have the wind abaft the beam and a smoother wave pattern.

Robe is only about 130 miles away so with a little luck we should be there tomorrow afternoon and be tucked away and well sheltered before the stronger winds arrive. I won't get my hopes up but there is a nice old pub in Robe with a genuine open log fire which it will be perfect to sit beside, sip a glass of red and read a good book.

All is well.