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ships log
Monday 17th December, 2007
Port Stephens, New South Wales

Hello everyone,

Maybe we should rename this page ‘Where we woz ’ and not ‘Where are we ?’ (this last one has recently become a frequent uttering from the crew). Reason being we’ve covered a lot of miles in the last month, and it’s been exactly a month since the last posting.

Anyhow, right now, we’re holed up in Fame Cove, Port Stephens, New South Wales. This is around 70 nautical miles from Broken Bay (northern suburbs of Sydney). We’ve stopped here for a few days as a southerly weather front passes through - again. There are current strong wind warnings in place and frequent heavy rain, all coming from the direction we’re trying to go, so Fame Cove is definitely the safest and better option.

During our trip, we heard via VHF radio traffic that a yacht called “Mummbo” (which was a few hours behind us coming down the coast) got into some trouble, losing their keel, with the Australian Navy rescuing them off Newcastle. Our VHF radio is always on when we’re sailing through the night, and most traveling boats ‘log on’ with the Coastguard, and radio in their position reports periodically – whilst we often don’t see these vessels, it’s comforting to know there’s other crazy people sailing somewhere out there in the darkness, and you get a mental picture of who’s where and their relative progress.

Anchored up alongside us is the yacht “Folly II” which has a snapped boom, after doing an accidental jibe. And we’ve also heard that the yacht “Maximus” received keel damage on it’s journey from New Zealand, and has withdrawn from the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

So considering the bad weather, Fame Cove is a great hideaway - its small, protected by steep wooded hills almost all around, and so sheltered that it’s hard to believe that there are storms going on out on the ocean.

We’ve had a great day - we arrived late yesterday, and have been catching up on sleep after a long (32 hours non-stop) trip down the coast from Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. Traveling south down the east coast of Australia often requires waiting around for favourable weather, then making the most of a couple of days of relatively easy sailing conditions, so we always make sure we’re anchored up somewhere nice and safe, with sundowners in hand, before the next weather front blows in.

Hence our stay in Coffs Harbour for all of last week whilst we sat out the last southerly blow (Coffs Harbour is pretty much halfway between Brisbane and Sydney, and we got there after another long day and night of sailing from Brisbane). So when the wind is right, we push the boat hard and make as many miles south as we can.

Some might be interested to know about the ‘EAC’ or East Australian Current, as used by the turtle dude in the movie ‘Finding Nemo’. The current can run up to 4 knots at some times of the year. We had about 2 knots current assisting us on the first leg, which doesn’t sound like much, but it added about 30% to our boat speed, so the miles tick away much faster if we can find the current (it can be a bit elusive, we went straight out 12 nautical miles to find it).

Before our great journey south, we had a hectic two weeks in Brisbane (end of November/beginning of December). Not much fun and lots of running around, mostly because we had a bunch of doctors, dentists, and general maintenance appointments (the joys of getting old). We managed to catch up with friends, even managed to crash Brian’s ‘ex-office’ party (thanks, Guys – great to see you all again !)

Sydney will be our most southly destination – it’s our last chance to spend Christmas with family for a while, as next year we’ll be in South East Asia, and in the New Year we’ll turn around and head north again.

Anyhow, Christmas greetings to all our friends and website readers – have a good one! Only one photo this month, and in keeping with the festive season, it’s Gill and Brian ‘out on the town’ in our flash new monogrammed boatie jackets (leaving gift from Brian’s ex-work colleagues – thanks again guys!) but still managing to look like ‘Grottie Yotties’ – good job we don’t go ashore too often :-)

Happy Christmas everyone !
B & G