Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 17 Jun 2021 03:45
Noon Position: 38 53.4 S   145 37.5 E
Course: N   Speed: 4 knots
Wind: NW, F4   Sea: slight   Swell: negligible
Weather: mostly sunny, cool
Days run: 107 nm sailed (and motored), 88 nm made good
We got around Wilsons Promontory a little before midnight. For most of the afternoon we had to rely on the BRM due to the lack of wind. I chastised myself at the wanton burning of fossil fuel but consoled myself with the thought of watching a large motor cruiser while I waited to top up at D’Albora Marina back in Sydney. I loitered off, waiting and waiting. When I eventually got alongside and looked at the bowser I saw that they had put in 1000 litres of diesel. By comparison, Sylph’s occasional periods of motoring at relatively low revs must emit a tiny amount of CO2. (I believe my rationalisation is known as a ‘tu quoque’ fallacy, or, more colloquially, a ‘you too’ fallacy –the basis of Hardin’s ‘Tragedy of the Commons’.) Unfortunately I haven’t seen any biodiesel at the fuel docks yet, not that biofuels aren’t without their problems.
Anyway … we got around Wilsons Promontory a little before midnight. Having not seen a single merchant ship all afternoon, one turns up to pass through the traffic separation scheme (TSS) off the promontory just as the wind has picked up and I have turned the motor off and started sailing. The ‘Rules’ require sailing vessels to avoid impeding the safe passage of a motor vessel using a TSS. I had been sailing nicely along the inshore edge of the TSS when, just as this large merchantman starts to enter the westbound lane, the wind shifts heading Sylph and pushing her out into the ship’s path. Bother! We tack to the north back towards the rocky promontory, a vague black mass ahead, but we fall into its wind shadow and end up going backwards. Double bother! On with the noisy GHG machine yet again.
So, we eventually clear the promontory and the merchantman passes safely. Now the breeze returns and we can sail once more. Hurrah! I am pleasantly surprised to find the wind has backed into the SW meaning we can lay our course for Port Phillip on a close reach. Double hurrah! But the favourable shift only lasts for a few hours and at 0438 I find Sylph heading north towards Cape Liptrap, the breeze having veered back into the west. I put a reef in the main to the freshening headwind and at 0530 we tack to the WSW to clear the coast.
At 0915 we tacked back. The wind is forecast to gradually back into the SW and ease during the course of the day. I hear a gale warning coming through in broken syllables on the VHF. I think that is for where we have just come from, to the east of Wilsons Prom.
All is well.