Cruising at last!
Boat fixing complete (well, not really, but we have a handle on what we need!), our time in a marina is over - now the real cruising finally begins!We escaped Port du Sud with a general plan to head north up the west coast. Its an area that I’ve not explored before, so a good option. Our first night was in a little bay by Timbia - after a short motorsail in not much wind. A nice calm place for our first swim in New Caledonia. Shortly after I got out, we saw a sea snake swimming down the side o
One of the things that started playing up on our way over was the controls for the lights. In particular, I suddenly noticed that we had no nav lights on, whilst bouncing around in 30knots going upwind, approaching the pass. Not ideal!Duplicat was built before CanBUS-style control systems, and so they came up with a nice solution - rather than running all the switch gear and power cables up to the nav table, they used ribbon cables and some separate control gear. Switches and tell tail LEDs at t
Clearing into Noumea
The usual fun and games clearing at Noumea. They want you in the marina at Port Moselle, but there’s no space. Of course, they don’t tell you this first - they want you to anchor out (in an area where there is no room to anchor, and you get asked to move if you do anchor), and they’ll call you back.Of course, they never do... When you finally tire of waiting and call, they say ‘no berths for catamarans’ - gee, thanks!Fortunately, we’ve found a spot in another marina, which we can use
We’ve arrived in the lagoon. Now to get some sleep...
As sunset approaches, we’re 68 miles from the Dumbea pass into the New Caledonia Lagoon. We’ll be there overnight, and in Noumea for the morning to begin clearing in (and trying to get a berth in the marina for a few nights to desalt!).Of course, today hasn’t been plain sailing. Ania managed to beat her record of 4 squalls in 90 minutes, with 4 in an hour on one of her night watches. I then had 4 consecutive squalls with winds over 32knots this afternoon, all whilst trying to sort a minor
Are we there yet?
I think I’ve reached ‘peak upwind’. I now know how many days upwind I can do before I’ve had enough. It’s this many - and we have 1.5 left!Its not that its been really unpleasant - sure the sea state has kicked up now and then, but that always happens. No - its the endless endless salt. We’ve discovered that we get an eddy from the sails which sends a fine mist of salt over the helm, instruments, radio, watch keeper which results in everything going slightly ‘sticky’. We wipe dow
Heading away from Noumea
After quite a bumpy night where not much sleep was had, we decided that we could not put off a tack any longer. So we tacked away and started heading south. The plan was to get back to the rhumb line, and then go another 20nm or so beyond it to give us some room to get a better angle into Noumea.Shortly after the tack we were hit by a number of squalls with plenty of wind and rain, but a bonus of some ENE wind, helping lift us a bit more easterly than we had expected. It didn’t last long but w
When will the bouncing stop?
Upwind for a few short hours is great fun. Thrashing away to the windward mark, before turning and running. We’ve been at it for nearly 3 days now, and its somewhat wearing..True, on a catamaran things mostly stay where you place them, but you have to prepare to move around and hang on whilst preparing food, washing up etc, and lets not talk about showering. The hulls get hot and stuffy as we can’t open windows, so cabins aren’t much fun. Camping in the saloon is very much the mode of the
Point of order
The crew has raised a couple of points of order on my previous blog entries. To whit: 1) She was already feeling fine yesterday afternoon, and 2) it wasn’t most of the watch, it was half of a watch - she was up at 5:30am (and to be fair she only slept on because the skipper insisted).You can tell she is definitely feeling better. :)
Formalities completed last night, boat fully fuelled and last rubbish run, we left the fuel dock at Southport yacht club and headed back to the Australia Fair anchorage. Our last night on the hook in Australia before heading out.This morning at 5:45am, we lifted the anchor and it was just daylight as we reached the seaway and headed out to sea. ‘Sortie’ followed us - a monohull that seems to be headed roughly in the same direction, albeit a bit further south.The day started well, with some n
Looking like Wednesday provides a window for us to get to Noumea. Upwind yes, but we should be close to laying Noumea on one tack (though depends on the currents a little bit).Metbob, advising another boat we know, is suggesting waiting until Friday but I don’t see that in the models yet and we could get there and find we missed out. The system in the Tasman should give us a bit of a southerly twist, but even if we have to fix our course at the NC end with some tacking or motoring, these relat
Stuck in Oz
We’re still stuck here. This weekends weather is just that little bit too lively for me - after all, we’re doing this for fun! So we’re still holding. Of course, the likelihood now is that we’ll find a window that has little wind and go for a motor fest. Hey ho...Ania has made some friends ashore which is making things a bit easier for her. She’s had a couple of nights off the boat. I’ve dived into some code that I want to get finished before we leave - so the time is passing. I’d
Has it really been?
Entering our 6th year!2014 - Europe and trans-Atlantic2015 - Nothern Caribbean and the Guyanas2016 - Southern Caribbean and the Guyanas, ABC Islands2017 - Panama and the Pacific crossing via Pitcairn, French Polynesia, Samoa, Tonga to Australia2018 - Pacific part 2 - Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Australia2019 plan is Pacific part 3, a second lap around Fiji and Vanuatu
As we may have mentioned, we’re constantly watching the weather to see if we can find a window to get to the (hopefully) warmer tropics! We had hoped to be leaving today - but I’m glad we’re not.The feature above is a force 12 storm forecast for Friday, heading over Chesterfield reef and heading SE down past New Caledonia - and we can see the winds heading us on what would have been our final few hundred miles into New Cal. Had we left today, we’d have wanted to be sure to arrive well ah
The waiting continues...
We are close with all the jobs we need to do before heading off. In truth, we can always add more to the list - but what we have is sufficient. The bits that we control are dealt with.Its the bits we cant control which are the problem! The weather is playing games with us, and we are slightly disadvantaged by the requirement to provide 48 hours notice of departure. This means that our 5 day weather window, which will take us almost all the way to New Caledonia, shrinks by 2 days. In our case, i
The waiting game
The job list is getting shorter and shorter, and the crew is on her way back from her trip to Melbourne. I’ve managed to get my paddleboard mounted nicely on the side with some very cool mounts, but I’ll deflate it for passages of course. Ania is bringing a surf board with her, but I think its too short to sit in the mounts - my stanchions are 2 metres apart - her board is likely not that long. Hey ho! The Australian Border Force are really nice to deal with. I’ve been in email contact wi
Ania is off visiting friends in Australia, leaving me with all the fun jobs. Cruising is defined as ‘fixing boats in beautiful locations’ and whilst the Gold Coast isn’t as beautiful as many, its not a bad place to hang out. I’m not sure it was intentional, but the new crew is missing out on the ‘fun’ parts of cruising. It’s impossible, I would suggest, to fully immerse oneself into the cruising lifestyle without fixing at least one toilet. So whilst Ania is surfing on the south c
Back to the Gold Coast
I arrived back into Newcastle with 38kg of luggage including, as always, many boat spares. This time we’re starting on the replacement of the smaller hatch acrylics and some of the hinges (as the old design of the friction hinge is a bit ‘average’ as they say here - ie. crap). A few days later, Ania arrived. She’s joining me to sail the boat back to the islands where Amanda will arrive, hopefully recovered from the injury. Ania’s done some sailing before - more racing than cruising -
Sailing north, flying home
It had to happen one day - time to come home! It’s a bit pricey to leave Duplicat in Sydney for a month, so I sailed north up to Newcastle. It was a tricky trip - the prevailing wind is NE with a southerly running current, so any progress north is tricky and a question of waiting for the wind. However, I got stuck with another issue - TC Oma which was very much making its presence felt up in Queensland with some mighty fine surfing conditions. For me, it meant some reasonable large beam on s
Not got many decent photos of this, but the SailGP event in Sydney harbour was fantastic. The remodelled AC-45 catamarans are now the F-50s after much fettling in Warkwork, NZ - and boy at they fast! 34knots in 14 knots of wind was the record for the event. If the wind had been a bit faster, they may have cracked the 50knots mark. The online coverage was superb - using Oracle’s software from the Americas Cup, so the stats and overhead views with the course overlaid were all superb. We even ha
Tasmania Part 3
Tom had discovered that quite a few of the larger boats were planning on picking guests up at Kettering before sailing up to Hobart for the Parade of Sail, so our plan was to head down to Tom’s boat and go for a sail. Running Tide is just off the public jetty in Kettering, so we rowed out and watched some of them coming alongside to load up passengers, as Tom got the boat ready. We then headed out under motor to find some other boats also raising sail. After a while, we turned the engine off
Tassie part 2
Having done a bit of hiking, it was time to get under the water. Now to be fair, the weather in Tasmania is a bit changeable to say the least but we had managed to get the weather right for the appropriate activity - plenty of sun when hiking, saving the rain for the diving.And boy did it rain and blow. So much in fact that we couldn’t dive the sites we wanted - instead we had to dive off Port Arthur. This was a little disappointing as I had been looking forward to the spectacular kelp forests
Tasmania part 1
As we weren’t going to be able to sail to Tassie, due to Amanda’s accident - I was invited to stay with Tom and Christie - who we had kept bumping into since French Guiana. With the Wooden Boatshow coming up, it was too good an opportunity to pass up. We really packed the days full... I arrived late in the day, and drove down to Woodbridge (a few kms south of Kettering), and was welcomed by Tom and Christie. They have a gorgeous place right on the coast looking over the d’Entrecasteaux c
Happy Australia Day everyone - another excuse for Aussies to get out on the water and demonstrate just how crap they are at anchoring! I’ve spent the day on a mooring in Athol Bay, near the zoo - and we’ve had a stream of boats demonstrating an series of interesting approaches.Anchoring in 6m of water? How could you possibly need more than 6m of rope? The gap between moorings is fair game but if they’ve managed to put down a bit more scope, they’re now surprised by the different swinging
Happy New Year
Happy New Year to everyone - I hope 2019 is good to you all. We enjoyed the full on Sydney experience. The anchorage was rammed, with the late arrivals playing fast and lose with anchoring scope, which led to some fun in the storm that hit before the early show - but we all survived without bumping anyone, even if we did need the odd bit of engine to do so.
Not a bad view for New Year’s Eve
Nabbed a spot in Farm Cove. It’s a bit rolly (really rolly in fact) but we’ll put up with it if we have to :). Golden Glow are slightly closer in than us, and having been here for a couple of weeks already, no doubt have some good tips for us.
Leaving Gold Coast and heading South. Jadean not far behind us. We plan to be in Sydney for New Years Eve - a bucket list item if you have such a thing :)
Escaped from the boatyard!
After what felt like ages, but was only 19 days, we have escape from Boatworks - Australia's Greatest Boatyard. I have to say, that though the statement is marketing blurb, it really is the best boatyard we've experienced. Usually, when living aboard, its a fairly torrid affair, especially for us as our fridges don't work ashore. The heat is inescapable, the toilets are miles away and, for want of a better word, 'crap' - and the service isn't. What you get at The Boatworks is utterly different
Anchored near Jumpinpin
Sunset over the anchorage near Jumpinpin. We are headed this way to haulout at Boatworks in a few days....