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ships log
Saturday 1st March 2008
Newport Canals, Moreton Bay, Queensland

Hello everyone,

Regular readers will have noticed we haven’t updated the site since just after New Year, reason being we got a bit stuck in Brisbane. We’d planned that February would be a month of not much sailing, spending 4 weeks in the marina while doing some boat upgrades and crew maintenance.

Anyhow, not to jump ahead too much, our last posting was from further south - Camden Haven to be exact. The weather has been bloody awful this summer, with a series of cyclones offshore and low pressure systems sweeping the east coast of Australia with huge seas and strong wind warnings – so we keep having to hide away in various ports while we wait for better weather. Nothing wrong with that, unless you have to be somewhere else !

We’d made a small hop north from Camden Haven to Port Macquarie, the weather turned lousy again so we sat for 4 days waiting for improvement. Having said that, we enjoyed Port (as the locals call it) and made good use of the excellent bus system to visit Tacking Point lighthouse and the tree top boardwalk thru’ the Sea Acres Nature Reserve. Unfortunately, we had some deadlines in the form of doctors appointments back in Brisbane, so with time was ticking away we left Port Macquarie when we probably shouldn’t have, and made us risk leaving while there was still a big onshore swell from the remains of cyclone ‘Funa’.

Our departure from the harbour was somewhat spectacular, the breakwater walls packed with strolling holiday makers who must have thought we were mad! We took 3 breaking waves as we motored out, sustaining damage to the bimini, spray covers around the cockpit, broken plastic window on the dodger and of course we both got drenched. All superficial (but annoying) damage, and we were reminded of what a strong boat Destiny is - she looks after us, even though we subject her to some very bad punishment! After we cleared the bar and got into deeper water, we were just getting ourselves sorted out and dried out, when we heard on the radio that a fishing boat had just overturned at the entrance, 3 people in the water and full-on emergency rescue services into action. Needless to say, no other boats tried to cross the bar that day.

There was still a ‘strong wind warning’ in force, so we had a very quick sail all the way up to the Gold Coast – 220 nautical miles in 41 hours. It was tiring though, the cross seas kept pushing the boat around, causing a couple of accidental jibes and requiring constant concentration on sailing, and we were glad to pull into the Goldcoast Seaway and drop anchor in ‘Bum’s Bay’ where we slept for a day before enjoying Australia Day on the Broadwater (which seems to have different rules from the rest of Australia - everyone with a boat has to roar around at top speed with complete disregard for all others ?) Then into our old ‘home’ at the MBTBC marina in Manly Harbour, where we gave the boat a Christmas present of a new Genoa (headsail), also fitted a furler to the inner forestay and converted an existing Yankee sail into a furling jib. The object of all this is to give us more flexibility in the sail plan, and which we can control from the cockpit, rather than having to go onto the foredeck to wrestle with sails while hanging on for dear life.

Also repaired all the canvas work we’d bust during the epic (stupid ?) bar crossing, plus a heap of other maintenance jobs to get the boat ready for a big year ahead (not to mention a whole bunch of medical visits for the two of us – but thankfully we’ve got a clean bill of health !)

So we’re pleased to be going north again, and we’ve just got the entry forms for the Darwin to Kupang rally – which is really exciting ! We now have 4 months to get to Darwin, approx 1800 nautical miles (3340 km). But guess what ? Lousy weather again, and as we write there are 30 knot winds, so we’ve hidden away in a millionaires residential canal estate, waiting for winds to ease again. Should be better tomorrow tho’, when we’re hoping to make a run up to Mooloolaba. Stand by for more frequent updates as we head north.

Now that Autumn is here, maybe we’ll get more settled weather ?

Only a few photo's from a walk we did at Camden Haven - we promise more for next month.

Cheers for now
B & G