Day 186 – Jogging Along

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 17 Jun 2022 07:05
Noon Position: 34 48.4 S 118 57.8 E
Course: E Speed: 6.5 knots
Wind: NNW Force 5
Sea: moderate Swell: negligible
Weather: cloudy, mild,
Day’s Run: 115 nm

Plan A has come together nicely. Indeed, as things turned out we got into
the lee of the Albany coast early and are still waiting for the front to
pass over. Nonetheless, it made for a nice change to sail along the coast in
relatively sheltered waters.
At 1710 Knapp Head, some twenty miles to the west of Albany, bore 028° at
4.7 miles. The seas were calm and the wind had fallen to a steady force
three with the odd gust to force four or five as we passed some of the bays
and their associated valleys. I took advantage of the smooth conditions to
climb the mast once more, this time all the way to the masthead, so I could
get a close look at the split pin. I am pleased to say it looks in good
order and I am reasonably confident that it will get us the rest of the way
to Adelaide.
During the evening we sailed by the light of the large bright gibbous moon
shining down from a clear starry sky in between Eclipse Island and the
mainland and also on the landward side of Vancouver Rock just to the west of
King George Sound, the entrance to Albany Harbour. The silhouette of Eclipse
Island could be made out easily by the light of the moon but Vancouver Rock
was too low to be seen even with binoculars against the moon’s reflection, a
long wide silvery avenue in the sea.
There were some seven or eight ships anchored in King George Sound, no doubt
waiting to collect or discharge their cargoes, all lit up brightly with the
loom of Albany glowing behind them. Civilisation. We hurried on by.
After passing Bald Head, the western headland of King George Sound, the
coast slopes to the NE. I tightened sheets to the N'ly breeze and we
continued to parallel the coast, past Cape Vancouver and past Bald Island. I
napped in twenty minute intervals in between getting up to check our
navigation and to look around for any fishing vessels or other craft that
might be out and about. (There were none.)
After Bald Island, I snugged Sylph down to two reefs in the main and furled
the jib, allowing Sylph to gently jog along under double reefed main and
staysail while I got some sleep, setting the alarm on the hour each hour to
make sure everything was okay. At 0300 I found the wind increasing so put a
third reef in the mainsail fully expecting the wind to increase further as
per the forecast.
And I basically slept in these hourly shifts until a little before midday.
The front has still not arrived but with the land falling away to the north
beyond Bald Island, we were now some fifteen miles off the coast and were
not obtaining any appreciable protection as far as sea state was concerned.
The wind was still less than expected, only force four, occasionally gusting
to force five.
There seemed little point to trying to tuck back in close to the coast so at
1315 I eased sheets and allowed Sylph’s bow to pay off to the east to
continue on our way. We are definitely under-canvassed but are nonetheless
moving comfortably at five to six knots and, with the front expected within
a few hours, I have left the sail plan as is.
Adelaide is now just under a thousand miles away and if all goes well we
should be there in about a week.
All is well.