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 swell and coupled with a high pressure closing over Tasmania, some ‘fresh’ winds.
So at 6am, I dropped the mooring in Pittwater, raised a main with 2 reefs and made my way out. Osprey, heading to Sydney, soon abandoned due to the size of the swell. I was going to have to put up with it, though a bit easier for my direction. The next two days would see bigger winds, then a switch back to the north again but still with the large swell. So not much choice!
Once the sun came out, it was not bad - if a bit blustery. Barrelling along at 7-8 knots with 2 reefs in everything wasn’t too bad. A couple of rather large waves over the top just to remind me about offshore sailing. However, by 1pm, I was in behind the breakwater at Newcastle. However, then I had a bit of a problem. With the wind gusting above 30knots and rain, I decided I’d drop anchor and wait out the squall before I put out lines and fenders. I nosed into the bay and as it shallowed off, dropped the anchor only to have it stop after 10metres. Though I was only in 2m of water, I couldn’t get it to hold in the wind, so dashed forward to find the chain had managed to knot itself in the shaking we’d had coming north.
My next plan was to motor up and down the harbour whilst I put out fenders, warps and asked the marina for assistance which they are happy to provide. As I came into the berth, the wind disappeared, though the rain started. Simple berthing even though I was going alongside with starboard side too (ie. the far side from the helm).
Since then, I’ve done about a dozen loads of laundry - clothes, towels, more towels, swimming gear, curtains etc and generally prepping the boat to leave her for a month. It’s very strange, as this is the longest I’ve left her in the water for without being onboard - but a regular occurrence back in the UK. I’ve washed down, but no doubt will need to do that again on my return due to this being Australia’s largest coal port!