Friday 29 December - S2H Day Four

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 29 Dec 2023 02:31
Noon Position: 37 10.3 S 150 12.9 E
Course: SSE Speed: 4.5 knots
Wind: SW F4
Sea: slight Swell: S 1 m
Weather: mostly sunny, warm
Day's Run: 85 nm sailed, 47 nm made good towards Hobart

The wind backed more into the south and we managed to find some favourable current, so, despite the increasing wind strength, we managed to claw our way back into the coast while making a reasonable amount of southing in the process. With the increased wind strength we have gradually reduced sail to two reefs in the main and staysail.
At 0600 this morning we were approaching Twofold Bay, the last port of shelter prior to crossing Bass Strait. We took the opportunity of being within phone range for a short while to have a close look at some more detailed weather forecasts so as to determine a strategy for crossing the infamous Bass Strait.
In the short term, over the next two days, we can expect strong SW to W winds (hopefully they will be more west then SW). Then the wind will go into the north for a few days before another strong SW to S wind establishes itself over Tasmania's east coast. We contemplated have a rest in Twofold Bay but there seemed no advantage in doing so. We figured we might delay our crossing so that the conditions crossing the Strait were better but then we would likely have to face strong headwinds afterward.
So, for now, we have tacked off Twofold Bay and turned our bows south to take on the Strait. (While I have crossed Bass Strait in Sylph on numerous occasions, previously I have been able to choose my timing and thus have always enjoyed relatively pleasant sailing conditions, unlike our current situation.) We will do our best not to get pushed too far to the east while making ground to the south. Then, when the northerly winds set in, we will use them to gain some westing and close Tasmania's coast. With a little luck we will be able to make Storm Bay before the strong southerlies return.
The crew remain well rested and in good spirits.
All is well.