Chain Bay

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 17 Mar 2024 02:54

Position: 35 42.77 S 150 14.87 E
At anchor Chain Bay, Batemans Bay
Wind: F0, calm
Sea: calm Swell: negligible
Weather: overcast, mild
Day's Run: 54nm sailed, 25nm made good

It has been a long 24 hours with mostly light head winds and a still considerable south setting current making any progress north extremely difficult. Initially we made good progress during the afternoon with a gentle east breeze allowing us to close reach up the coast and as the wind eased we set the code zero which saw our speed jump form three knots up to five knots. However, as we approached Burrawarra Point just to the south of Batemans Bay it was clear that we were going to have to tack to get around it. Because the code zero is hanked onto its own fore stay just forward of the working fore stay, in order to tack it has to be dropped and pulled through forward of the working fore stay then rehoisted and set on the opposite side. At this point we wanted to remain close to the coast to avoid the East Australia current, so instead of tacking we lowered the big red sail, motor-sailed past the point with the intention of resetting the code zero once past. However, once past the point we had insufficient sea room to continue on the starboard tack so we unrolled the jib instead which allowed us to point a little higher and also to tack more easily.

At 1635 we put in a tack out to sea, tacking back towards Batemans Bay at 1800. At 2038 we were back in the vicinity of Batemans Bay, having sailed some 15 miles but only making good 3.5 miles in the desired direction. We tacked offshore again but things only got worse. This time we tacked back in at midnight and by the time we got back towards the coast we were a mile and a half to the south of where we had started from. We were going backwards.

As we approached Batemans Bay I noticed a vessel showing up on AIS, presumably at anchor in a bay on its northern shoreline, an anchorage I was not aware of and one that I would have thought was exposed to the SE'ly swell that was then running. By this time it was of course clear that trying to make further progress north was going to be excruciatingly slow to nigh on impossible. I did a little more research and decided that it would be safe to enter the bay, there to have a much needed rest and to reconsider options.

Accordingly, at 0120 with the breeze fading and backing into the west, I flashed up the BRM, rolled up the jib, and motored into Batemans Bay between the Tollgate Islands and North Head. At 0205 I handed the mainsail and ten minutes later rounded Reef Point turning north into Chain Bay where we found two other yachts at anchor. At 0230 I dropped anchor in six meters of water and, after a quick tidy up, turned in for the remainder of the night.

All is well.