Arrived Port Stephens

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 26 Apr 2024 08:45

Position: 32 42.9 S 152 10.2 E
At anchor Shoal Bay, Port Stephens
Wind: S, F2 - light breeze
Sea: rippled Swell: negligible
Weather: clear, cool
Day's run: 35 nm

The wind continued to blow consistently from the S to SE yesterday afternoon but at 1355 it appeared to be freshening so, not wanting to be caught out with the spinnaker up in a strong breeze, I decided to lower it before it became too much of a handful for one person, namely me, to manage. Once down I replaced it with the jib poled to starboard and we continued thus, wing-on-wing, for a couple of hours until the wind shifted more into the east, making for a broad reach, when I dropped the pole.

From 1400 the wind became more variable and I found myself shifting from a poled out jib to a reaching configuration every hour or so. Later, at around 0300 when we were within 10 miles of Point Stephens, the wind grew even more variable, shifting from east to west and back again every twenty minutes or so, as dark low clouds passed overhead depositing a small shower on Sylph as they passed. The shifting winds involved numerous gybes and a few muttered curses from me as Sylph rolled in the large swell and light winds, her gear clattering and crashing back and forth with insufficient wind pressure to hold them steady.

At 0420 the wind had veered into the west and steadied, freshening to force four touching five. This meant we had to tack into the harbour entrance between the two small steep peaks of Tomaree and Yacaaba Heads. Fortunately the tide was in our favour and, with a reef in the main and the jib partly rolled up, it was a pleasant sail in through the heads. We skirted along the steep northern shoreline close-hauled on port, before tacking to the south to make for a spot to anchor in the shallows of Shoal Bay.

At 0614, I rounded into the wind, handed all sail, and let go the anchor in six meters of water, then, once Sylph had her cable, I gave her a quick tidy up and turned in for a few hours sleep.

All is well.