Position: 26 41.18 S 153 07.76 E
The trouble with Tangalooma is that when the wind is from the south to west the anchorage becomes quite unsettled, which proved to be the case this morning with just a light breeze from the south. In fact, within the anchorage there was virtually no breeze at all but, with the fetch across Moreton Bay, a significant wave motion can build up. Consequently, with Sylph’s bouncy motion and with today’s destination in mind, I arose at 6.30, secured Sylph for sea, and got underway. We motored out of the Tangalooma channel where we found a light steady breeze, which we set sail to and were soon running north, wing-on-wing, out of Moreton Bay and on towards Mooloolaba.
With the ebb tide behind us we made good time despite the light breeze. By 1400 we were only four miles short of Mooloolaba. The wind was fading and there was a significant swell running causing Sylph’s sails to slat heavily. With only a few miles to go, I chose to hand sail and motor the rest of the way. Once around Point Cartwright we were confronted with the swell breaking across the entrance to the harbour. In fact, there appeared to be surfers riding their surfboards on the waves in front of the breakwaters. This did not look good.
We circled around outside a couple of times assessing the conditions and I called the local coast guard on VHF radio to ask about the conditions. They could not help much but did advise that other boats were using the entrance. I decided to give it a go but taking a few seamanlike precautions just in case. Kate and I donned inflatable lifejackets, I clipped on, Kate went below, and I shipped the storm boards. I eased Sylph up to the entrance, following the leads and as we got closer, I powered the engine up and committed to crossing the surf line. A wave loomed up, I bore away a little, it passed harmlessly beneath us without breaking. As we slid off the back of it, I turned to port to correct our alignment and to bring the next wave on the bow. We rode over its steep crest but once again it did not break. And then we were in, inside the breakwaters and in the smooth waters of the inlet. Kate came out from below, I allowed my heart rate to subside a little, and we continued on into our assigned berth at the marina.
Coincidentally we are sharing a pen with another Alan Payne designed boat, a beautifully built and maintained Skookum by the name of Scrimshaw.
All is well.