Around Port Phillip, Autumn-Winter-Spring 2006

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Geelong

22-24 April 2006

We left Williamstown at 0830 on Saturday 22 April, and sailed into a brisk SW. The unfavorable wind meant we had to tack, and by the time we were off Brambledale Farm (Helen’s brother’s place, near Drysdale), we had to motor to get round the mussel lease and into the Channel. Elizabeth was waving a sheet from the ha-ha, but we missed her. We motor sailed at first, then struck the sails and motored into Corio Bay, moored at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club at about 1630. Entertained John & Elizabeth Vorrath and David Hornsby on Saturday night.

On Sunday the next generation of Vorraths visited, Will and Amy with Minnie, Charles with Tilly, and Charles’ friends Dom and Emma with Isaac and Jasmine. We missed Georgie, Heidi and Thomas (Heidi had thrown up on George in the car and they had to return home). We discovered that sea berths with lee cloths or a rope around a sheet winch will keep a bunch of under fives entertained for quite a while.

On Monday 24 we left at 0815 and sailed back in light winds. SE winds were forecast for the afternoon, but they never came,  so we were tacking downwind with a very gentle SW behind. Flew the MPS from the time we left the Geelong channel until we were about to enter the Port Melbourne channel off Gellibrand Point. Sailing goosewinged for the last hour or so. Motored in, dodging some largeish vessels in the channel and tied up at about 1645. Cleaned up ourselves and Nahani ready for the WBB women, who came for drinks at about 1800 before adjourning to the Anchorage for a very pleasant dinner. [Top]

Afternoon and day sailing in Port Phillip

September - October 2006

Spring sprang, and Nahani was finally back sailing after some winter work. We had the mainsail reduced in size and the boom cut down to match. It was a slow process – taking off the sail, waiting for the sailmaker to reshape and resew it, putting the sail back on in order to determine exactly how much to shorten the boom, getting the man from Ozspars in to look at the boom and work out how to reduce the length, removing the sail again, removing the boom and sending it off for adjustment, waiting for that to be done, getting the boom back on the boat, putting the sail back on, and adjusting the boom bag which holds the sail for the new positions for reef lines, lazy jacks and so on. At the very end of winter, on Tuesday 29 August, We had a test sail toward Brighton. The modified rig performed well in very light conditions (we even had the MPS up on the run back). Very pleasing, as it is a much safer setup with no risk of the boom hitting someone unless over 6' and leaning forward over the doghouse.

Peter and I enjoyed a quiet solo sail on Saturday 16 September, heading first west toward Pt Cook, then tacking down toward the anchoring ground and finally running back with poled out jib. Highlight of the sail was a family of seals was basking on the rounded prominence below the prow of a merchant ship, which was conveniently clear of the water line. Father seal raised a lazy flipper and the baby slithered back and forth, but we kept far enough away as we rounded the ship not to disturb them too much.

On Sunday 17 September we took Helen’s brother Alan, Peter’s daughter Barb, Rosie Tipping (old friend of Peter’s) and Richard Barber (newer friend most recently seen in Vanuatu) out for a day sail. They all assembled at the Anchorage Marina around 10am, but there was no wind, so we had coffee and muffins (provided by Barb) before exiting the berth. We had light winds for most of the day, with a few gustier periods where we got up to 5 knots. Alan steered for most of the day, while the others shared sail handling. We had lunch while drifting in one of the windless periods, and later put the MPS up – suffered a few accidental jibes when the wind strengthened. But a good time was had by all – pleasant weather and congenial company.

Brisk day sail on Monday 25 September with friends Dianne and Graham Liddell. For the first time for a while we had fresher winds and could really see how the boat performs with the reduced boom and main – she happily did 6-7 knots. Swells on the bay were also higher than we’d had for a while, and the rolling motion was a bit uncomfortable at times. Good landing even with a strong wind. [Top]

Around the Bay in a Week

28 October - 5 November 2006

Toward the end of October we had 10 day window with no commitments, starting on Saturday 28. As the weather that day was vile, Peter, Helen and Sake went down to Nahani in the evening, ready to set sail on Sunday. There was not much wind early, so we set off around 1100 to head for Mornington. We had a pleasant but slow sail in light winds - it seemed to take forever to clear Rickett's Point. When the wind did come up, it was of course from the SE, so we had to tack for quite a while approaching Mornington Harbour, and didn't get in until about 1800. We were helped into a fore-and-aft mooring at the quay by Rick Green from the Mornington Yacht Club; he picked up the stern moorings while another friendly soul hung on to a bow rope. Once we were securely tied up, Helen entertained passersby by taking the cat for a walk. Peter fielded questions from interested yachties and fisherfolk about what sort of boat we have, what happened to the bowsprit (they think it has been cut off and are suitably surprised to find it is merely retracted).

We spent a happy Monday morning exploring Mornington, having lunch and buying a few provisions. In the afternnon we did some repairs and maintenance, interrupted by reciprocal boat visiting with the owner of a Roberts 55 also moored in Mornington. On Tuesday did a neat four point turn to exit the mooring and headed down toward Blairgowrie. Favorable winds at first and we sailed under autohelm, but as before the wind strengthened in the afternoon and we had to tack for what seemed like a long time to clear the Hovell Light corner of the South shipping channel near Rye. Once round we sailed down to Blairgowrie in a rising southerly on beam reach, reefing the main when the wind got up around 20kt. Despite the strong breeze, we made a good entry into a nice wide berth.

On Wednesday we explored Blairgowrie, and on Thursday walked into Sorrento, catching the bus back. Some work done in between excursions, but cold southerlies in the afternoon and rain on Thursday morning kept us below decks. Cat unimpressed and aggressive seagulls deterred him from going for a walk on the jetty. We prepared for an early start on Friday as this was the longest leg of our round trip.

We were out of the marina at 0700, reached the Hovell light on schedule at about 0815 with a SW behind us, and headed NW to Portarlington, with light but consistent wind allowing us to use the autohelm and make good time. The wind was slowly moving to the S, and we were looking forward to another beam reach to Geelong, but as usual, the wind became light and variable around midday. We had everything from nothing to N breezes, and alternated motoring, motor-sailing and tacking, coming in close to Drysdale to identify Brambledale from offshore. It took 3-4 hours to reach the entry to the narrow part of the channel. Inevitably, just as we were about to drop sails and motor through, a fresh S wind sprang up, giving us some assistance through the channel but none heading S to the RGYC. It had enough SE in it to make coming alongside the W side of the pier difficult. On the third try we got a bowline on, but had to seek help to pull the stern around. The following morning we shifted Nahani to a pen, again taking three attempts to make an entry, and even then carving a bit out of one of the posts on the way in. We spent the rest of Saturday visiting Helen's brother and sister-in-law in Drysdale.

By 0900 we were motoring away from the Geelong marina (minor difficulties exiting the pen again) and by 0950 we were clear of the channel and under full sail. We had a beautiful run all the way up Corio Bay with gradually increasing SW - S winds. Initially Nahani was doing 4-5 knots, but by the afternoon we were consistently in the 6-7 knot range, with a maximum speed of 7.7 knots, pretty good for winds of around 15 knots. We dropped the main at the Gellibrand light to avoid jibing (wind S by late afternoon), and dropped all sails when we rounded the pier and found a large ship, a tug and a local ferry all bearing down on us. We were motoring into the Anchorage at 1530, 6.5 hours after leaving on the 33nm trip, so averaged around 5 knots.

We were disconcerted to find a new boat in the other half of our pen. With the strong S wind, we had some concerns about blowing across the pen on to the boat, so we hailed the owners who were aboard to warn them to fend off. We made a good entry, but some unhelpful person had untied one end of Peter's joined mooring lines from the cleat, so when he picked up the line he could only get the bow warp on. Despite attempts at using the prop walk, the stern swung slowly out until it reached the stern of the neighbouring boat. The owner tried to fend off, but hadn't allowed for our big girl's 17 tonnes and uttered a few ill chosen words when he couldn't hold her off. But we managed to get her free enough to back out, go back up the channel, turn around and repeat the whole process, this time with people on the jetty to catch our lines, and all went well the second time. Peter's daughter Barb arrived just in time to miss the excitement, but was there to join us in helping a stricken motor yacht into its berth after being towed home by the police launch. Nothing like helping someone else to make you feel better about your own berthing problems. Finally returned to our shore home at sunset. Cat pleased to be back in his trees and garden. [Top]