Live Firing off Western Port

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 28 May 2024 03:17

Noon Position: 38 32.1 S 144 47.9 E
Course: WNW Speed: 5 knots
Wind: NNE, F4 - moderate breeze
Sea: slight Swell: SW 1 m
Weather: sunny, cool
Day's Run: 91 nm sailed, 59 nm made good

Its been all upwind since noon yesterday but given the conditions I am quite satisfied with Sylph's performance. At least we have had wind for the whole time and we only resorted to the motor for less than an hour this forenoon while passing the entrance to Western Port. There was a lot of disturbed water, presumably caused by the tidal outflow from the large estuary, which was causing Sylph to hobby horse (or 'chop wood' as I heard John Winning say of Andoo Commanche as she exited Sydney Heads during the last S2H race) such that Sylph was having difficulty holding her head into the wind. At the same time the Navy advised on VHF channel 16 that they were conducting a live firing exercise out of West Head, so I did not want to loiter around the area for too long and upset their carefully scheduled training.

Once we were past the Western Port entrance the seas settled down and the wind freshened slightly and veered more into the north as we rounded Cape Schanck, very much improving our angle on Port Phillip Heads, which is now only twelve miles away. With a little luck we should be in a good position to negotiate the Rip at the next slack water at 1859.

I will be very happy to get in earlier than I anticipated yesterday as the forecast is for strong N'lies in Port Phillip overnight and I was not looking for a long bash to windward in the short steep seas that build up in the relatively shallow waters of the large bay. It will still be a work to windward but with wind speeds at ten to twelve knots vice sixteen to twenty - much more comfortable.

So, hopefully tomorrow I will be able to report that we are snug at anchor off Melbourne, most likely Hobsons Bay.

All is well.