Into the Tasman

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 4 Feb 2013 02:41
Noon Position: 41 04.2 S   148 24.0 E
Course: South   Speed: 4 knots
Wind:  South-east  F4 moderate breeze
Sea: moderate, Swell: South-east 1 meters
Weather: Partly cloudy, mild
Day’s run:  122 nm
Sylph sailed hard to make Banks Strait before the south-easterly change came through.  As we approached the wind started to ease and the tide was due to turn against us at a little after ten pm.  I decided to press on and see what happened.  I figured the worst thing that might happen is that we would find ourselves half way through the Strait with a strong wind and tide against us and having to turn back.  As the eighth rule of the Norwegian Mountaineering Club states, "There is no shame in turning back."  I looked at options for anchoring for the night, found one that looked suitable, then focused on giving ourselves the best shot of getting through to the other side of Banks Strait and out into the Tasman Sea.
Clearly we made it, the tide ran on a little longer than expected, and while the wind went light  and moved into the south, there was sufficient of it to enable us to continue making good headway.  We spent much of the early hours of this morning tacking back and forth across the eastern end of the Strait under a double reefed mainsail and small jib, with wind and tide against us, but at about six the tide turned in our favour once again, the wind shifted a little more into the east and we were able to break free into the Tasman Sea.
Now we are running close down the east coast of Tasmania, against the south-east wind.  We have managed to clear Eddystone Point but the next headland, St Helens Point, is looking touch and go as to whether we will be able to clear it without having to tack.  At the moment we won't, but the wind is forecast to back into the north-east later this afternoon so, if it does that soon, we will clear it easily. 
Slightly ahead of me I can see a gaff rigged ketch, a timber boat that was berthed in Devonport, also on its way to the Wooden Boat Fesitval in Hobart, but as one of the exhibits.   While the style of Sylph's design may look at home amongst many of the boats that we will see there, of course, being made of steel, she does not qualify to be a participant.
All is well.