The Bureau Blues

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 26 May 2024 02:38

Noon Position: 39 19.3 S 147 53.0 E
Course: WSW Speed: 5 knots
Wind: SE, F3 - gentle breeze
Sea: slight Swell: SE 1 meters
Weather: overcast, mild
Days Run: 85 nm

I have been singing the Bureau (of Meteorology) Blues over the last 24 hours with my passage plan lying in tatters due to erroneous forecasts, though it would seem all the weather models I looked at were wrong, not just the Bureau's. The fresh E'ly winds that I was relying on to carry us to Wilsons Promontory never materialised and we ended up motoring in total calm for all of yesterday evening, until 2300 when I decided to shut down the BRM, drift for a while and get some sleep.

I set the alarm to wake me up on the hour, every hour, and when I awoke at 0100 I was delighted to see that a light breeze had sprung up from the south, sufficient to hold the Australian flag on the back stay fluttering firmly outstretched, which is a good sign that there is also sufficient wind to set some sail. Fifteen minutes later I had the mainsail up and the code zero set on a beam reach which had Sylph slicing through the much abated swell at a steady three knots - on the slow side but at least we were moving comfortably in the right direction without the noisy engine running.

We have held this light S'ly breeze (despite the forecast for N'ly winds) all night and all forenoon and have sailed a respectable 45 miles in that time. But, it will not last. The forecast is for W to NW winds, freshening later this afternoon and I am, pessimistically, a lot more optimistic that this forecast will prove correct. We have 120 miles to Port Phillip Heads and my GTA (guesstimated time of arrival) is sometime Tuesday. The winds are forecast to reach 20 knots which will be rather unpleasant but I will aim to stay close to the coast where the various models indicate the winds will be lighter. Hopefully they will prove more accurate than they have for the previous 48 hours.

The birthday party beckons us on.

All is well.