Hobart, the Rainbow Summer, 2010-11

First sail of the season

Friday 5 to Tuesday 9 November 2010

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Carroll escapes from her job at UTAS at about 3:30 and we are ready to slip out of the pen about 4:00pm. The captain puts the boat into reverse instead of forward once as we exit, but has time to recover and we motor off without any real drama. There is a light southerly in the river, so we motor down to the mouth of the Channel, then have a good sail down to Apollo. The land there has been sold for development, but so far nothing has happened, so it is as pleasant as ever. It is too cold and too late by the time we anchor to go ashore for a barbecue, so we enjoy a meal aboard.

Good sailing conditions allow us to make Dover in quick time on Saturday, but it is blowing hard when we anchor there, and we don't want to try our first launch of the new dinghy in rough conditions. It eases later in the afternoon and we successfully lower the dinghy, attach the motor and go ashore for a walk. We leave the dinghy trailing and go ashore again on Sunday morning to go to the bakery for coffee and pastries, bringing back bread and scallop pies. We are reminded of how much Hobart is part of our lives by the fact that we see three people we know on our trip ashore. Claire and Gosta's friend Dave is in the bakery, and as we motor back to Nahani we see Rosinante coming in to her mooring, and have a chat to Jeremy and Penny.

Rain is threatening, but we decide to sail on anyway, and only suffer a few sprinkles on our way across to Mickey's Bay. We have our scallop pies to keep us warm. We tow the dinghy, which tracks beautifully. In Mickey's we have the usual trouble getting holding, but eventually anchor safely and enjoy a festive dinner of roast quail. On Monday morning we make an early start, going ashore in the dinghy, and walk across to Cloudy Bay Lagoon. We turn right instead of left when we reach Lighthouse Road, but we find a track that leads down to the spot where the channel from the lagoon enters Cloudy Bay, which we hadn't explored previously. We discover a walking track along the edge of the channel and follow it back to the lagoon, with lovely views of lagoon and bay in each direction. The track ends at a large rock (fishing spot?) so we turn and retrace our steps, walk back along Lighthouse Road to find the normal track down to the lagoon, then return to Mickey's. Launching the dinghy into a strong on-shore wind and very shallow water proves a little tricky, especially as the motor has a rare fit of temperament, so the mate has to row like mad to get the boat off the beach. Finally the motor fires and we bounce back across the bay, discovering that although the new dinghy is drier in choppy water than the old, the person at the front still gets a bit wet. Carroll cops a couple of major waves as we launch, so once back aboard she changes her clothes before we set sail again.

It is blowing over 20kt as we pull up the anchor in Mickey's, so we reef right down, only to have the wind drop once we are out in the Channel. After a period of tacking back and forth in light winds making slow progress, we get a more favourable breeze and make better speed. The wind is very variable, in both speed and direction, so after we shake out the second reef it is jib out, jib in, all the way up, averaging about 5kt. By the time we reach Barnes Bay the it is blowing strongly from the west, so we slip into Alexanders, which we have all to ourselves, a most unusual occurence. More variable winds the next day, so we motor up the Channel and sail up the river, at speeds varing from about 1.5kt to over 8. As usual the wind is stronger higher up the river, and the captain is rather nervous about getting the boat into the pen, but makes a landing that would have been perfect, except that the mate is a bit out of practice at picking up the bow lines and we briefly drift back out again. We have celebratory drinks, then discover that Carroll's taxi hasn't arrived so we drive her to the airport. A perfect first voyage - good weather, lots of sailing, good food, good company. [Top]

Windy weather

Sunday 5 to Wednesday 8 December 2010

Sunday is grey with a southerly wind, but we set off anyway hoping for a nice restful days in sunny weather on Monday and Tuesday. As usual we motor into a headwind down the Channel, but then have a pleasant sail all the way round to Eggs and Bacon Bay (at the mouth of Port Cygnet estuary). Sadly, we have gale force northeasters for the next two days, but the bay is well sheltered and at least at anchor the boat points into the wind, so the cockpit is sheltered. The captain was very worried about getting back into the pen, and we couldn't wait for the wind to go round to the south again, as he was flying to Melbourne. So on Tuesday, despite strong winds and threat of rain, we decide to get back at least as far as Barnes. We sail across to the Mount Royal corner, motor up to Great Bay, then decide that it is worth putting up the staysail. Mate has now demonstrated that she can get the sail out of the locker, hank it on and then put it up in winds over 30kt, although she does get rather wet in the process. We stop in Apollo because it provides good shelter from NE winds. The final return to the RYCT on Wednesday is something of an anticlimax. We make several attempts to sail but the wind is variable in strength but pretty constant in direction (on the nose), so we give up and motor. By the time we get to the RYCT in mid-afternoon it has died right down and is so calm the captain tries to get into the pen in one turn, rather than the usual three point turn, and gets rather close to the starboard side pile before the mate shouts a warning.

Although the wind was a bit wearing, it was very restful in Eggs and Bacon Bay. We did lots of reading, punctuated by spells of cleaning and tidying, reminding ourselves of the contents of the lockers, and so on. It seemed a pity to have to come back in adverse conditions, but the weather subsequently got worse so we picked the best day by coming back on Wednesday, ready for the captain to fly back to Melbourne on Thursday morning, leaving the mate with only ducks for company. [Top]

Five sail to Cygnet

Friday 17 to Sunday 19 December 2010

Our crew for the journey comprises captain, mate and friends Tim and Kylie who had arrive on Thursday night for an extended weekend. Fifth member of the party is the captain's Pearcey Foundation colleague Wayne, who has one day to go sailing before returning to Melbourne. He joins us at about 8am on Friday morning, and we set off down the river and into the Channel. The weather is patchy - some wind, some rain. Periods of enjoying a nice sailing breeze interspersed with motoring and motor sailing put us at anchor in Cygnet at around 4pm, where Wayne leaves us to return to evening commitments in Hobart. The rest of the crew enjoy roast lamb aboard.

There are always showers in Cygnet, but we have almost completed a Saturday morning walk to the Red Velvet Lounge before they come. We have a leisurely brunch there, do some shopping including buying take-away scallop pies from the pub, walk back to the yacht club and dinghy back to Nahani. The new tender holds four very comfortably, and in flat conditions the motor pushes the dinghy along well without shipping any water.

Tim suffers badly from seasickness so is on a permanent diet of Quells while aboard, and the Captain is feeling in need of a rest after the walk back and pulling up the dinghy, so the girl team does the messy job of getting the Cygnet mud off the anchor and setting sail down the estuary. We have a northerly, so go down under jib alone, with a bit of motor assistance when the wind dies. Once in the Huon and out into the Channel we have plenty of wind to take us across to Mickey's (scallop pies en route), where we get holding on the second attempt. The wind eases and we decide the weather is warm and calm enough for a barbecue on deck. We start with a round of g&ts, then move on to the red, which could explain what happens next. The captain is in the final round of testing the steaks when he flips the grill without clamping the handle properly and the top of the grill goes o/b, fortunately taking only one steak with it. We split the other three between four, giving Kylie all the well-done bits on the ends, and enjoy them with salad and hot spuds. Then Tim, who is a serious recreational diver, heroically dons wetsuit and mask and goes looking for the grill, but without success. After that we have to give him first option on a hot shower, and be nice to him for the rest of the evening. Talk naturally goes round to diving and dive gear, causing the captain to dig out the two dry suits bought on eBay some years ago. We discover that the neoprene seals on both suits have perished - in the process of captain and mate struggling in and out of them, we shed strips of rubber everywhere. Much hilarity before we all retire to bed.

In the morning the captain and mate try dragging for the missing bit of grill with a magnet on the end of a fishing line, paddling the dinghy around the GPS position carefully noted the night before. Captain's early estimate of probably success (40%) is rapidly reduced by two orders of magnitude as we realise how hard it is to keep the dinghy in the right spot. We give it away, and set off on the return trip to Hobart, which Kylie enjoys (lots of sailing) and Tim endures (especially the period at the lower end of the Derwent where a quartering wind and sea make the boat roll a bit). He comes back to life when we get back into the marina, and we all enjoy a final meal before an early night. Tim and Kylie are up at 4am on Monday morning, Captain and mate heroically struggle out of bed just before 5am to drive them to the airport to catch their 6am flight. They were going to work - the Nahani crew go back to bed and have a lie-in until lunchtime to recover! [Top]

Round Bruny with Diane

Thursday 6 to Tuesday 11 January 2011

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Early afternoon on Thursday 6 January we set off down the Channel with friend Diane. The forecast northerly has given way to a southerly seabreeze, so we motor into a headwind, then sail down the Channel. We have time to sail around Barnes Bay for a look before going on to Apollo, where we anchor in the outer bay for a change. It isn't barbecue weather so we eat aboard.

The forecast 30 degree hot northerly wind day on Friday also proves to be not quite so. Winds are gentle, skies grey, and the weather warm rather than hot. We idle down to Dover with the wind behind us, sailing under jib alone, anchoring just in time to dinghy ashore and walk into town for afternoon coffee and raspberry tarts at the bakery. We buy scallop pies which we deposit back on Nahani before continuing around Port Esperance harbour in the dinghy. A brief northerly squall and threatening skies bring us back to the mother ship, but the weather improves again and we enjoy the sunset after eating our pies.

Saturday dawns genuinely hot, but the change comes through just as we leave Port Esperance, so we have to beat across to Mickey's Bay, but with a reasonably strong wind we get there in two tacks. We plan to anchor there and walk across to Cloudy Lagoon, but rain sets in and we stay aboard playing Bananagrams until dinner time.

We make a reasonably early start the next day as we have a longish journey to make. A nice beam reach to the tip of Partridge Island, a long motorsail beat down to Cape Bruny, and then another lovely beam reach across to the Friars to look at the seal colony. It is sunny and reasonably calm, a perfect day for the trip. We have the wind behind us as we head up the other side of Bruny, easing as we go north. So having started the day with staysail and double reefed main, we finish with the MPS up. Of course, the wind chooses to increase just as we are trying to strike the MPS, so mate and captain have a bit of a struggle to get the sail back in the sock, but we manage, and turn into Adventure Bay, where it took us several tries to find an anchoring spot with good holding. We are a bit more exposed to the easterly swell rolling in than we would like, but it is nice to be rocked to sleep.

Monday morning we go ashore for a walk the length of Adventure Bay, lunch at the Penguin Cafe and a visit to the fascinating Bligh Museum on the return trip. Our new dinghy is proving generally easier to handle and much drier in choppy water than the old tinny, so we are very pleased with it. With the new winches, we can haul it up to the davits with the outboard still attached, which also saves a lot of time before and after launching the dinghy. We are ready to leave Adventure Bay by about 3pm, and set off into an ENE wind, with just enough slant to beat across Adventure Bay and up the east side of North Bruny. With a bit of motor assistance we have a great sail at 4.5 to 6 kt. Again the wind eases later in the afternoon allowing us to complete our circumnavigation at the top of North Bruny under full sail. The breeze is even gentler in the Channel so we motor back down as far as Bligh Point to anchor just south of it for the night, arriving just as rain sets in in earnest.

The rain continues overnight and into the morning, giving us an excuse to make a leisurely start, but by about 10:30am we are heading back toward Pierson's point, under motor with not much wind. We met a nice easterly breeze of 10-16kt in the Derwent, and go up under full sail at 6kt, making good time. With the wind blowing straight down the pen entry is easy and by 2pm we are safely berthed after a most enjoyable voyage. We provided Diane not only with a look at the seal colony as requested, but with the bonus of two dolphin displays in Storm Bay, one on Sunday on the way up to Adventure Bay, and an even better one the following day on the way up the North Bruny coast. We also have the best of the weather - it rains on and off for the next four days after our return. [Top]

To Lighthouse Beach with the Hohaus's

Monday 17 to Friday 21 January 2011

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We enjoy a great four day sail with Peter and Daniel Hohaus, even though for most of the time the wind is blowing from the direction we want to go in. We begin in a northerly, but the SW change comes in as we round the Garrow light. Enough west in the wind direction to beat down to the Channel entrance and to continue down the Channel, reducing sail as the wind increases in strength. By the time we are off Barnes Bay we are down to double reefed main and staysail, and the wind is gusting 35-40kt, so we decide discretion is the better part and take shelter in Alexanders. Weather worsens with some rain, so we are happy with our decision.

Tuesday is a typical motor on/motor off/sails up/sails down trip round to Cygnet, with wind varying considerably in both strength and direction. We arrive late afternoon, go ashore and walk into town, have coffee at the pub and introduce Peter and Daniel to the Tassie scallop pie. When we return the Cygnet Yacht Club are holding their Tuesday evening race night. The Captain fulfills a long held intention to join the club and we stay on for the barbecue, talking to fellow cruisers from Pied Piper II while we watch the race, then catch up with Peter Manthorpe who'd been competing in his boat Trim with daughters Ina and Violet as crew. It is a most enjoyable evening and we eventually head back clutching three big bags of local cherries, which were given away as part of the dessert offerings.

The engineer's newly installed washdown pump has shortened our anchor-weighing time significantly and on Wednesday morning we find that it even removes Cygnet mud without a problem. Calm weather, so we motor to Dover, hang off Rosinante's mooring (she is on the slip at the RYCT) while we go ashore for lunch at the bakery - more and better scallop pies. From Dover an afternoon sail to windward takes us down to Lighthouse beach on South Bruny. Here the mate takes the inflatable kayak for its first voyage of the summer, paddling ashore and round the little bay, while the guests fish. By evening we have a more than adequate catch of flathead and we cook them for dinner.

Thursday brings a northerly, with a forecast of an overnight change, so we set off on a long sail to windward to return to Hobart. We have elevenses en route, then stop for a late barbecue lunch in Apollo. The mate decides that it is warm enough for a swim, even braves the waters sans wetsuit. We set sail again at about 4:45pm, and after Daniel has enjoyed the challenge of trying to steer the boat past Pierson's with the minimum number of tacks, we decide to put the engine on and push on up the river at a reasonable speed so that we can berth before dark. At about 9pm the Captain slots Nahani into her berth in one go (he is very pleased with that) and we sit down to a roast that has been cooking as we came up the river. About then it starts to rain - once again we've timed our return perfectly.

On Friday a trip into town for a fish lunch at Mures and an afternoon at TMAG completes Peter and Daniel's visit before we take them to the airport to catch a late afternoon plane. [Top]

To Koonya for Liv's wedding

Wednesday 26 to Monday 31 January 2011

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Usually the beginnings and ends of our trips are determined in advance by the arrival and departure dates of our guests. For the Koonya trip we just have to be there on Friday 28 January ready for the wedding the next day, so we can choose the days that look best weatherwise for the sail to and from Koonya. Wednesday's forecast is for westerlies, so we are ready to go, hoping for following winds and beam reaches all the way. We do have following winds almost all the way, but typically at around 5kt, so we motor most of the way. Fortunately we filled with diesel the day before! We have momentary excitement when the seabreeze comes in for the last mile or so, and we tack into our anchor point off Cascades Beach.

Over the next 5 nights, the weather alternates between calm and strong northerlies, so we have alternate nights at Koonya and at Taranna in Little Norfolk Bay, where we retreat when the chop gets uncomfortable. We socialise with the campers on the beach at Koonya when at Cascades, with other yachties (State of Mind and Folie a Deux) when in Taranna.

On Saturday 29 the wedding is a great success - we arrive at the beach by dinghy and just have time before the ceremony starts to rearrange our clothes after wading through the shallows (for the Captain this means pulling long pants over bathers and donning shoes and socks, for the Mate untucking her skirt from her knickers, and for both, donning jackets). We watch the vows being taken, hand around the nibbles, then the party moves to a marquee at the Koonya Hall where we have the usual speeches, plus special family customs - poems from all and sundry (Dutch tradition from the Dobson side) and schnapps and singing (Danish tradition from the Blichfeldt side). A good time is had by all.

When we return to the beach the tide is right in, so the mate changes her party gear for a wetsuit and wades out waist deep to retrieve the dinghy. We go out to Nahani intending to change and return for the bonfire on the beach, but strong winds are forecast overnight so we head round to Taranna instead.

Weather forecasts indicate that Monday is the day to return, with south west winds giving way to an ENE wind, perfect for the zig-zag return course. The SW winds don't eventuate and we motor up Norfolk Bay in almost flat calm, but then the promised northeaster arrives, strengthening as we go through Flinders Passage and down to Cape Contrariety. We have a lovely easy sail with headsail alone all the way to the Iron Pot and up the river. The wind dies about a mile from the Garrow, and we motor the last stretch and have a very easy berthing in a flat calm. It is so perfect that the mate only has to lean over the pulpit to pick up the mooring lines. Celebratory G&T's called for. As on our last two trips, it then starts to rain, and rains all the next day. We are getting very canny at picking the right time to return to the marina. [Top]

Cygnet and the Quarries with Joh and Ray

Friday 4 to Sunday 6 February 2011

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Joh and Ray Barker join us on Thursday evening 3 February, and we set off down the Derwent on Friday morning. The day is sunny with a good breeze most of the time and we get to Cygnet in 6 hours, sailing most of the way. A change is due on Saturday, but the weather gods are kind - we enjoy sunshine on our walk into town for coffee and a bit of shopping and general exploration. Still not much wind after we return to the boat and we motor down the Port Cygnet estuary, but as we approach the Huon the wind increases. With a strong southerly we decide to head to the Quarries rather than beating down to Dover. As we exit the mouth of the Huon we have a rain squall and visibility goes to a few boatlengths. Captain decides to turn on radar, but this all takes time and the mate still has no working navigation equipment as we head blind toward the fish farm. Mutinous mutterings ensue. Fortunately the rain lifts in time to reveal that we are heading straight for it and we take diversionary action. As the wind increases to an average of 25kt, we are glad we aren't beating to Dover and we make good time across the bottom part of the Channel. It starts raining again as we come in to anchor, but eases up for evening drinks on deck, then rains again overnight and in the early morning, giving us an excuse for making a later rather than earlier start.

The return trip from the Quarries up the Channel and up the river is a great sail - with a SSW wind gusting up to 26kt we are doing 5-6kt most of the time with the odd spell over 7kt. We have showers chasing us, and with the wind behind us we get rather wet in the cockpit when the rain catches up with us. We put the boards in so we can steer in comfort, but the rain is still blowing in through the gap and down the companionway, so we erect a tarp as well. Further up we have some spells where the wind drops below 10kt and we have to start the motor to keep up a reasonable speed.

The captain is keen to make good time because the forecast is for the wind to go more northwesterly and strengthen later in the afternoon. By the time we are approaching the RYCT, the wind is westerly with the stronger gusts veering more northerly, and blowing 15-20kt. We consider waiting off Wrest Point, but the captain decides to come in and makes yet another perfect entry on the first shot, made a little easier by the absence of our neighbout Masterpiece, but he is rightly very pleased. Celebratory beers, then the guests go off for a tour of the marina while the cook produces the final meal before the trip to the airport.

A very satisfactory trip - not only did we have great sailing weather but a good selection of wild life - seals, dolphin, assorted gulls, cormorants, terns, penguins and a large petrel. All we needed was an albatross but the petrel wasn't a bad substitute. Ray spent quite a bit of time at the helm, while Joh enjoyed the magic seat up front - particularly on Friday afternoon in the sun with a following wind as we headed toward Huon Island on the way to Cygnet. [Top]

Wooden Boat Festival sail past

Friday 11 February 2011

Peter's colleague Wayne and wife Sandy are in town for the Wooden Boat Festival, so we decide to take them out on Friday so that we can all watch the sail past from the water. Nothing in view as we head out past the Garrow, so we keep going south. A tall ship appears almost at the mouth of the Channel, even at a distance it is identifiable as the James Craig - nothing else is that big. We continue south until we meet her coming up, then turn and keep pace with her as she motors toward Hobart. She has all her sails ready to go, but it is almost dead calm and the crew don't start to unfurl them until they are approaching the assembly point at the Garrow. By then she has been joined by a host of wooden vessels - we count about a hundred. They range in size from tall ships, Enterprize, Lady Nelson, Windeward Bound, Young Endeavour, One and All, to traditional wooden racing skiffs carrying huge gaff-rigged sails which seem huge for their size.

Right on cue a gentle southerly starts to blow, perfect for the square riggers moving majestically in a following wind. The more adventurous small boats start zipping back and forth across the river on beam reaches, demonstrating their speed in light conditions. One small skiff even puts up a spinnaker as it moves nimbly through the fleet. Then we hear the horrible sound of splintering wood and see that the One and All has collided with one of the gaff-rigged skiffs. Seems the smaller boat tried to cross in front of the tall ship, nearly made it, but the bowsprit caught her backstay and brought down the mast. The boats are then locked together by the fallen rigging and the square rigger has to go into reverse to avoid running over the other boat. Fortunately it doesn't cause a multi-boat pile up - everyone else seems to sail safely past the disaster area as they disentangle the boats. We are well away on the far side of the river, but are clearly visible in the background of the photo of the crash that appears in the Hobart Mercury the next day.

It is a wonderful panorama of sail to watch, and we keep up with the fleet all the way to Sullivan's Cove. As the wooden boats turn in toward Constitution Dock we continue on through the bridge to Cornelian Bay where we anchor for a leisurely lunch. Later that day after the boat is back in the pen we go down to the Festival proper to take a closer look at all the boats we admired from a distance during the sail past. It is a great event, and very well organised this year. [Top]

On the slip, great week for rainbows

Thursday 17 to Wednesday 23 February 2011

It rains on Thursday after we pull the boat up on the slip, and we think that if it is going to rain, this isn't a bad day for it as one gets pretty wet anyway in the process of washing down the hull and scrubbing off the slime and barnacles. We are less comfortable when it rains solidly all Friday. It does complete the washdown but we can't begin any of the other jobs. The weekend isn't much better - less rain but very strong winds making the boat rock in her cradle. And showers sweeping down off Mount Wellington every half an hour or so. We concentrate on the cleaning jobs, scrubbing scuppers and topsides. Each time the sun comes out, we start getting organised to patch, prime and antifoul, and then another rain shower sends us for shelter. There is snow on the mountain, so the wind is freezing, making it unpleasant outside even when it isn't raining. But the alternate sun and showers produce some spectacular rainbows.

Fortunately the boat is in very good shape and doesn't need much work. Propspeed is still OK, most of the antifouling is still where it should be. When the weather finally starts to improve on Monday afternoon we do a few patches, prime the few places where the antifouling has gone (mostly on skeg and rudder), and polish the topsides. On Tuesday we do the antifouling and a final polish. Wednesday morning is for last minute jobs like greasing the prop, and we are back in the water by lunchtime. Highlight of our return to the water is bosun Ian donning his (very beautiful) kilt for the occasion. [Top]

Here and there with David Mattiske

Sunday 27 February to Sunday 6 March 2011

We set off around midday Sunday in a strong southerly, with the river full of small boats - it's the East bank vs West bank regatta. To keep clear of the racers and to make sure we can get somewhere beyond Barnes Bay, we motor down the river at a good speed, and continue on until we get to Isthmus Bay between North and South Bruny. From there we motor sail, beating down to Mt Royal, then have a long beat under sail alone across to Dover. Here we pick up Rosinante's mooring again and settle for the night. Next day we find that Kingfisher and Caspian are together at Lighthouse beach but are planning to move, so we head over to South Bruny. We meet Gus on the way as he heads to Dover, and catch up with David and Sandy on Caspian at Butler's Beach, a new anchorage for us. We join them for coffee and Sandy's freshly baked scones, then we all go ashore for a walk on the beach in the sunshine - it is now a lovely afternoon. We lunch ashore, then return to Nahani and let the sea breeze take us up to Cygnet.

We spend two days in Cygnet, partly so that David can spend some time with Peter Manthorpe and wife Michelle, who are old friends, and partly because the forecast is for a "vigorous" cold front. In fact the weather is cold and showery, but not excessively windy. We walk into Cygnet both days, lunching with Peter and Michelle in the Red Velvet Lounge Tuesday, and having them to lunch aboard on Wednesday. Later that day the captain and David had an opportunity to see the tiny pink dinghy that Peter M has built for small daughter Ina. Next time we hope to see her in it.

We are ready to leave on Thursday, although the forecast is still for 20-30kt winds. Another front is due Friday with even stronger winds forecast, and we don't want to wait until Saturday before leaving. We have a challenging sail with the wind varying hugely in strength and direction, so that we have everything from a dead run to a beat, and all the reaches in between. Wind speeds range from 6-30kt. But most of it is very manageable and enjoyable, although the cat is unhappy when we roll a bit on a broad reach. The wind is at its most fickle in the river, and our speed varies from 2 to 7 knots in 10 minute intervals. We sail under just headsail and staysail all day, as it is much easier to make rapid adjustments to the amount of sail we're carrying without the mainsail. Finally we arrive back at the RYCT and get a complete lull as we approach the pen, making the berthing unexpectedly easy.

Friday is freezing with showers, so we go and have a wonderful time at MONA, before the Blichfeldts join us for a meal aboard. On Saturday we go to their place for lunch and help them stack their winter wood delivery. By the evening the weather is sunny and getting quite warm, and Sunday brings a beautiful sunny day, a bit of proper summer at last. We take Nahani out for a day sail down to Ralph's Bay. Winds are light so we put up the MPS and manage to goosewing it with the headsail, allowing us to do 6-7kt in less than 10kt of wind - great sensation. As usual we have some difficulty getting the MPS down again - the sock sticks about two thirds of the way down, and we finish up with the bottom of the sail in the water - retrieved OK but we have to spread it all over the deck to dry. We anchor off Richardson's beach for lunch, then motor round toward Lauderdale and go ashore in the dinghy for a walk. The easterly is now very fresh and we watch a kite surfer and several windsurfers zipping back and forth at amazing speeds. We add to our karma by giving a couple in a power boat a hand to bring the boat up the launching ramp in the wind, then return to Nahani for an easy sail home under headsail - no need to fly the MPS. We enjoy our last meal with David on Sunday night before taking him off to catch the plane back to Melbourne on Monday morning. [Top]

Missionary and Mickeys with Merran and Gary

Friday 11 to Sunday 13 March 2011

On this trip we make the most of the best weather that we have had all summer, starting with a north wind with enough strength to sail down the river, and all the way to Missionary Bay on the south side of North Bruny. The boat is going very well with a clean bottom, and we get up around 7kts at times. Not only is it good sailing weather, but it's warm enough to really enjoy our sundowners on deck before going below for a curry. Saturday is even warmer, but with not much wind early so we put the MPS up and have a lovely sail down to Mickeys, using the big sail to keep up good speed even in light winds. Once anchored in Mickeys the mate and guests go ashore in the dinghy, Gary heroically leaping out of the dinghy to tow the womenfolk ashore when we get into the shallows near the beach. The three of us then walk across to Cloudy Bay, spending some time on the little beach on the side of the channel between Cloudy Lagoon and Cloudy Bay. The mate assumed that the shallow water here would be warm, but not so because a strong tide is running in from the bay, bringing cold water with it. She goes for a swim nevertheless, discovering that the tidal race is quite strong as she makes her way across to the beach on the other side. Gary paddles, wisely deciding that the water is too cold for total immersion. Mer sticks to the beach. On our way back we find that the warm weather has brought out a copperhead to sun itself on the road. We keep a respectful distance. Once in the dinghy again the mate has a senior moment, forgetting to put the safety lanyard on the outboard, so of course we can't start it. When light finally dawns and we get going, we then run out of fuel and have to refill. But we are back aboard in time to decide that Mickey's has become a bit crowded, and to motor in calm weather up to Ventenat point and round the corner to the Quarries.

The forecast change doesn't come through overnight, so we motorsail back up the Channel on Sunday to make sure we get to Peppermint Bay by lunchtime. Peter's daughter Barb meets us there with our car, and after a beautiful meal at the restaurant we leave the captain minding the boat and the rest of us head off to MONA. We arrive in time for Gary and Merran to have a very brief look (enough to make them decide they need to come again) before Barb and the mate pack them off to the airport in a taxi. The stayers then return to Woodbridge and the boat, dropping off the car at the RYCT en route and getting a taxi the rest of the way. [Top]

Round Bruny with Barb

Sunday 13 to Wednesday 16 March 2011

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When Barb and the mate return to Peppermint Bay, the southerly change has come in strongly, making getting into the dinghy from the pier a bit challenging, as is getting back aboard Nahani after a bouncy ride across the bay. However we find it much easier to stay dry in choppy water than it was in the old dinghy. Once aboard we haul up the dinghy and head across to the shelter of Alexanders to ride out the change. On Monday it is still blowing quite hard from the south, and the Channel is absolutely full of boats enjoying the last day of the long weekend, probably in a race as they are all heading north with all sail up. We motor down past Kinghorn Point staying out of their way, then go round the east side of Green Island so we have enough searoom to tack down to Pensioners Point without interfering with anyone. From there we have a great beat across to Dover, a gentle run across Port Esperance from Hope Island to the north side where we once again enjoy the benefit of borrowing Rosinante's mooring.

On Tuesday the wind has gone back to the North and it is another warm sunny day. Conditions are so ideal that we slip the mooring early and sail down the outside of Bruny Island to Cape Bruny and eastward across the bottom. We lose the breeze when we are about 20 minutes from the Friars, so motor the rest of the way and do several passes to look at the seals. There seems to be more activity than usual and we see a number of confrontations between the larger seals - is it the mating season? Watching them keeps us entertained for a while, and then we head up the east side to Adventure Bay. We are hoping for a nice southeasterly as forecast, but the wind is due east or north east, so we are beating rather than reaching. We are experimenting with sheeting the jib inside the shrouds and with this arrangement we make good speed. Even after our usual trouble getting holding in Adventure Bay, there is still time for the captain to take Barb ashore for an evening run along the beach while dinner is prepared.

We make an early start to be sure of getting back in time for Barb to catch her flight back to Melbourne, motoring across Adventure Bay with not much wind. From there on we have a reasonable breeze most of the time and only have to use the motor to keep the speed up occasionally. Three dolphin join us to give Barb the pleasure of watching them at play as we head north. We have a good run up the river with the wind gradually going more northerly, so that we drop sail at the Garrow to motor the last bit. This turns out to be a good decision as we find ourselves cutting through yachts in a race, and dodging is easier under motor. Yet another perfect landing, and we have time for a very late lunch in Battery Point en route to the airport to drop off another satisfied customer. [Top]

Two go to Tinpot

Thursday 7 to Sunday 10 April 2011

Weather improves around the captain's birthday on 5 April, but bad weather and a temporary back problem have slowed down his repairs to the spurling pipe, so it is Thursday before we get away. For the first time since our first sail in Nahani from Devonport to Hobart, we are sailing just two up - no guests, no passage crew, and no furry friend. Although Sake didn't share every voyage, the few he missed were the more challenging ones where we were joined by friend and mentor Daivd Mattiske.

We begin sailing as soon as we leave the RYCT in a gentle NE, but half way down the river the seabreeze comes in early, so we motor the rest of the way to Pierson's. In the Channel the wind goes back to the NE, and we sail idly at about 3 kt, anchoring in Apollo at sunset. For the first time this summer, it is a sufficiently attractive evening to go ashore for a barbecue on the beach. We enjoy our food and wine as the new moon sets leaving a very starry sky. But the chill of the clear night drives us back to the boat as soon as we've finished our meal.

Friday we take an equally leisurely sail down to South Tinpot bay, another anchorage we've not used before, although it's popular, especially with fishing boats. We are well tucked in behind the reef when stronger north winds come in overnight, and look forward to a quiet day at anchor getting on with some outdoor chores. But it is very windy on Saturday morning, and in mid-afternoon we get a period of southerly wind which brings rain with it. So much for touching up the varnish - the mate is pleased she hadn't started.

Sunday brings the SE change, with more rain forecast. Tinpot is no longer comfortable so we head north, debating whether to return to Hobart in one trip, or stop overnight in Barnes and return Monday morning. The mate is concerned that the forecast suggests that a late afternoon arrival at the RYCT could coincide with rainy, squally weather. We motor at full speed up to the Quarries, then start sailing wing and wing with the wind behind us. Speed increases with the wind, we are making good time and decide not to stop at Barnes. As we go up the river we get up to 7kt, even 8kt briefly. Apart from a rather untidy jibe as we head up to drop the main in Sandy Bay, we have a great day's sailing, and the captain makes another neat job of berthing, despite the strong breeze. We have just finished the various harbour stow tasks when the rain and wind come in. We're very pleased to go below and turn the heater on full! [Top]

Around Betsy with Liv and Andrew

Sunday 17 April 2011

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When cousin Liv Blichfeldt married Andrew Dobson in January we promised them a trip on Nahani as a wedding present. Two and a half months later and it still hadn't happened: either they've been busy or we've had guests. Last week over a dinner at the Blichfeldts we decided that we would compromise with a day trip on Sunday, which promised to be a nice day. Andrew and Liv duly arrive shortly after 8am, bearing lunch. We are more or less ready, and after the statutory tour of the boat for Andrew, who hasn't seen Nahani before, we leave the pen around 9am in lovely sunshine with a light northerly. We motor for a bit, then raise sail. Going is slow until the captain decides to add the MPS, and we leave it up until we near the Iron Pot. As a change from trips down the Channel we decided to circumnavigate Betsy Island, which we do at speeds varying from 2 to 5 kt as the NE breeze varies in strength, eating as we go: coffee and hot cross buns for elevenses, Liv's delicious home-made quiche for lunch. The MPS goes up again for the run across the top of Betsy, but in the river the wind dies and we have to resort to the engine to get back before dark. Into the pen at sunset, then dinner aboard after a beautiful day afloat. [Top]

Cygnet and Quarantine with Pam

Thursday 21 to Sunday 24 April 2011

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Pam arrives late Wednesday afternoon and we catch up on her news over dinner. A brief visit to Jackman and McRoss in the morning to stock up on hot cross buns and then we're ready to go. There is a northwest wind, which always makes getting out of the berth harder, but the real problem is a pontoon moored at the dinghy jetty, right where the Captain usually steers Nahani's stern, before putting the helm hard across to turn into the narrow channel between the rocks and the other boats on our jetty. With a little less room she won't quite make the turn, and while we are backing off she's blown across and we have to fend off our neighbours' boats. The mate has an anxiety attack as the pulpit presses against a dinghy on davits, but a helpful passerby takes a line and pulls the nose around for us. Only our second problem entry or exit from the berth this summer, but it is always stressful when things go wrong and you are trying to push 17 tonnes of steel boat away from other vessels.

Finally we clear the marina and sail away, initially with the nor'wester blowing us down the river. But it doesn't last - before long we are motor sailing and tacking into a southerly, which turns into a westerly when we turn west at the beginning of the South Channel, and back to a nor'wester as we come up the estuary to Cygnet. We planned to anchor in Cygnet in anticipation of bad weather on Good Friday, but the forecast cold front splits into three successive weaker fronts, and Friday is cold and showery, but not as windy as forecast. We laze in the morning watching videos of Antarctica lent by Peter Manthorpe, then go ashore, return the videos and walk into town for coffee and cake and a look at the wetlands.

With the benefits of hindsight, Friday would probably have been a better day for sailing than Saturday, but after waiting a day we want to move on, and so sail out in a pleasant breeze which turns into a strong wind at the mouth of the Huon. We dodge a motor boat that is having difficulty dealing with wind and wave motion, and then enjoy a brisk sail with a strong following wind across to Pensioners Point. As we go we can see the fleet from the Port Esperance Regatta, having an interesting time of it in the even stronger winds in the more open waters outside Port Esperance. The wind is variable, mostly strong, as we head north up the Channel, so sometimes we motor, sometimes sail, and Pam enjoys an opportunity to steer in some quite challenging conditions. We make Barnes Bay in good time, and debate where to anchor, as it isn't certain when and how the wind will change as the third of the three fronts comes through. As we are sailing slowly past Quarantine Bay, Vicky and JB from Golden Haze help us make the decision by coming out in their dinghy and suggesting we moor near them. We find ourselves in a home away from home - half the RYCT marina seems to have come to Quarantine for the night. We anchor in the sheltered western side of the bay, and watch the passing dinghies bearing yachties making social calls on one another, kids learning to row, kids just having fun messing about in boats. All very domestic on a lovely sunny evening.

Sunday brings milder weather and we motor up the Channel enjoying the sunshine, then sail up the river in increasing wind, getting up to 8 kt. In contrast to our awkward exit on Thursday, we make an easy entry to the pen, and we're tied up early enough to allow us to take Pam to MONA on the way to the airport. Like all our other guests who've joined us for a visit there, she is most impressed.

The less than perfect weather on this trip has one significant compensation - we see dozens of rainbows between the showers on Friday and on Saturday morning. In fact the whole summer has been like this: indifferent weather but lots of wonderful rainbows. We'll remember 2011 as the Rainbow Summer. [Top]