Sceale Bay to Blanche Port, Streaky Bay

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 18 Feb 2023 08:26

Position: 32 47.55 S 134 12.29 E
At anchor Blanche Port
Wind: S, F4
Sea: slight Swell: nil
Weather: sunny, warm
Day's run (since noon yesterday): 75 nm

The wind picked up from the SW in the early afternoon yesterday and we were able to shut down the BRM and run before the breeze, wing on wing, with the jib poled to port, the mainsail to starboard and the genoa up on the starboard side. This sail combination appears to work quite well now that I have the new outer fore stay. I reckon the combination of the poled out jib and genoa acts a bit like a spinnaker with the wind flowing off the poled out jib and into the genoa, keeping it full and improving the air flow behind the main. Also it is quite manageable, more so than a conventional spinnaker, as it is relatively easy to reduce sail when needed, simply dropping the genoa in the wind shadow of the main and gathering the large sail on Sylph's roomy fore deck.

Which is what I had to do as the afternoon wore on and the breeze freshened. First I handed the genoa, then, at 1830 as we rounded Cape Blanche into Sceale Bay, I dropped the pole and, with the increase in apparent wind, put a reef in the mainsail. Once tucked in behind the lee of the aptly named Cape Blanche, glowing in the lowering sun, the sea and swell dropped off and we enjoyed an exhilarating sail into the Bay, tacking our way to its southern end. At 1925 we rounded up into the wind and again dropped mainsail and anchor without the aid of the motor.

This morning dawned calm and clear. The Bay's long white beach beckoned and I got the dinghy in the water and rowed ashore for a jog along its firm white sand. Then, back on board for a brisk dip in the pristine clear chilly waters, breakfast, and aweigh at 0940. Again I am pleased to say that we got under way without needing to flash up the BRM. By this time the wind was picking up nicely and Sylph sped away to the NW, broad reaching at six knots. We rounded Speed Point just after 1100, which allowed us to run to the north, square before the S'ly breeze.

We made good time in the fresh following breeze and rounded Cape Bauer into Streaky Bay at 1430, where we altered course to starboard, dropped the pole and came onto a broad reach. I also put a reef in the mainsail as we were going to need to come onto the wind to get into Port Blanche.

Streaky Bay is full of shallows and we had to navigate carefully so as to remain in deep water, at least deep enough so that Sylph's keel would not scrape the bottom. At 1546 we tacked to gain the entrance to Port Blanche. From here we had to work our way up the bay against the fresh breeze, again watching out for the various navigational hazards, including sandbars, a couple of unmarked rocks, the shallows around the various points and headlands, not to mention some oyster farms. After six tacks we were approaching the area where I intended to anchor, just to the east of the jetty which is recommended by Scarce in his cruising guide as being slightly deeper water and better holding. But as we closed the jetty I found one yacht already there and as we got closer it was clear that the yacht was on a mooring unattended, and the rest of the area to the east of the jetty was taken up with quite a number of vacant moorings. I handed sail and motored into the mooring field to see whether they might have any markings on them but they were simply white balls so I assumed they were private. The only clear patch of water to the east of the jetty not taken up with a mooring was too shallow so I decided to give the western side of the jetty a go.

At 1715 I let go the anchor in four meters of water and then backed down on it to make sure it was set, but as I increased revs Sylph started to drag badly. I hauled the anchor back in which was rather laborious as the anchor was completely fouled with weed. This required clearing with the boat hook as the anchor dangled from the bow roller. Once the anchor was clear I move further to the west and closer inshore off Doctors Beach where I let go the anchor in just over three meters of water. This time I have not backed down on the anchor with the engine as I figure in all probability it will just pull the anchor out again. Rather, I will stay on board this evening with the anchor alarm on and see how Sylph settles. Tomorrow I will work out whether we need to move again.

My plan is to stay here a couple of days primarily to replenish stores and do the laundry.

All is well.