Approaching Bass Strait

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 24 May 2024 02:27

Noon Position: 37 47.3 S 150 11.1 E
Course: S Speed: 5 knots
Wind: WSW, F5 - strong breeze
Sea: moderate Swell: S 2 meters
Weather: mostly sunny, mild
Days Run: 100 nm sailed, 84 nm made good

We experienced a variety of conditions yesterday, mostly light headwinds, but also a period of calm for two hours, before a light W'ly filled in and allowed Sylph to reach comfortably down the coast for much of the night. We passed Twofold Bay at around 0200 and I briefly considered going to anchor for the remainder of the night, but figured that if we did so it might prove difficult to get moving again, so we pressed on.
As we passed Green Cape, fifteen miles north of Cape Howe which marks the border between NSW and Victoria and the approaches to Bass Strait, the wind began to freshen from the WSW. I put a reef in the main and an hour and a half later rolled the jib down to 30%. Despite the strong headwind we have been making satisfactory progress to the south, though at this stage we really want to be heading SW. It looks like we have also picked up the tail of the East Australia Current with the water temperature jumping from a cool 14 degrees to a much milder 20 degrees, and adding about a knot to our speed.
Looking at the weather maps, I expect we will be bashing against the wind and sea for several more hours. The trough that will bring the E'ly winds is still some 40 miles to the south of us and I don't think we will be crossing it and into the more favourable air stream until later this evening. So, for now, we have battened down the hatches, Oli has firmly ensconced himself beneath the bunk covers, and we make ourselves as comfortable as possible.
Hopefully this time tomorrow we will have a fair wind in our sails and will be making good progress in the right direction.
All is well.