Bass Strait Oil Field

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 16 Jun 2021 03:09

Noon Position: 38 49.2 S   147 20.0 E
Course: SW    Speed: 5 knots
Wind: NNE, F3   Sea: slight   Swell: NE, 0.5 meter
Weather: mostly sunny, mild
Days run: 105 nm

We motored until 1620 when a light breeze brought a ripple to the surface of the glass smooth sea. I unfurled the jib, trimmed the sails, and shut down the engine. Sylph glided along, a small chuckle at her bow, at a tranquil three knots.

By sunset the wind had backed into the east and strengthened a little. We poled the jib to port, running wing-on-wing, the washing wake assuring four knots. During the night we made our way through the Bass Strait oil field where numerous drilling rigs stood, blocks of bright light held high in the sky on dark stilts, crowned with a single red light blinking warning to low flying aircraft of their menace.

 At midnight we gybed as the wind continued to back slowly into the NE, as we attempted to remain the requisite two and a half miles from the rigs. It was not until dawn that we put the last of them behind us and I was able to get a bit of extra sleep untrammelled with thoughts of wind shifts and entangled images from H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.

Now the breeze continues to slowly back into the north. I have dropped the pole and Sylph broad reaches to the light breeze making a steady five knots – the vang-preventer block creaks to the undulating pressure in the mainsail as we roll to each small passing swell.

The wind will continue into the west later which will slow our progress towards Port Phillip somewhat, but, according to my last forecast, it isn’t expected to get much above fifteen knots so it shouldn’t be too painful.

All is well.