Around Hobart, Summer 2011-2012

On the slip

Wednesday 14 to Wednesday 21 December 2011

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When we return to Hobart after a spell in Melbourne we find that we can get on to the slip earlier than booked, so after only a couple of days getting our breath we put the boat on the slip and spend the next week cleaning, antifouling, patching, polishing and generally doing minor maintenance jobs. The weather is much kinder than usual, we have only one wet day that stops us from working. Late on Wednesday afternoon we are finished and she looks magnificent: clean and shiny above the waterline and all black below. A nice big space around the boat allows us to take some good pictures of the results of our efforts.

Ian, the bosun, is a Scot and last time we slipped the boat Peter teased him into wearing his kilt the day she was put back in the water. He decides to continue the tradition, so more photos are taken as she is moved on her cradle to the slipping trolley and eased back into the water. She is back in her pen in time for her 12th birthday on midsummer day. [Top]

In Quarantine Bay

Tuesday 27 to Saturday 31 December 2011

After Christmas Eve dinner at the Blichfeldts and a Boxing Day dinner with Sandra and David from Caspian, we are ready for a little sailing. A strong northerly traps us in the pen in the morning, but in the afternoon we finally head down river, motoring first in a calm, then into an early seabreeze. Once in the Channel we have a pleasant sail down to Barnes Bay, and we anchor in Quarantine Bay. The next three days are spent continuing with our maintenance, the captain attacking the stanchions with Rust Bullet, the mate sanding, varnishing and cleaning the cabin sides. On a calm morning, she winches him up the mast to replace the Tacktick wind indicator, which was sent back for reprogramming while we were in Melbourne. Weather is generally warm and sunny, mate even has a swim one day. On Saturday, somewhat reluctantly, we sail back. Not much wind so we motor all the way, with the seabreeze coming in just as we reach the Garrow light, which is where we would normally strike our sails ready to come in to the marina, so too late to put sail up. Always the way, but it isn't that strong and the captain makes a perfect landing back in the berth. [Top]

To Port Cygnet with Steve & Chrissy Edwards

Tuesday 3 to Friday 6 January 2012

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Steve and Chrissy Edwards built Nahani and lived aboard until we bought it from them until 2004. They've been back to help on maintenance projects and sailed with us once before, but when they arrive late Monday night, they are coming aboard for the first time in about 5 years. There is so much to show them, the new engine, the new stove, the new nav gear - it is after midnight before we all stop talking and get to bed.

On Tuesday the overnight northerly eases after breakfast and we slip out of the pen mid-morning. A light, contrary wind gives us the opportunity to show Steve and Chrissy how Nahani performs with the Yanmar engine. Down the Channel the wind is more friendly and from there we sail or motor-sail all the way to Port Cygnet. When we arrive we remember that it is the Port Cygnet Sailing Club club night - an evening race followed by a barbecue at the club. Shortly after we anchor a fleet of yachts are sailing back and forth around us, preparing for the start from a line just a few metres further down the estuary. While we are watching, Steve and Chrissy are hailed by one of the passing boats - someone they knew in South Australia when Nahani was being built recognises them and the boat. We watch Peter Manthorpe's little cat boat Trim win the race on handicap, then take the dinghy into the clubhouse for the barbecue. We joined PCSC last year and after a bit of searching the captain finds the treasurer and pays up for 2012. Steve is most impressed with the new dinghy, especially when he finds it carries the four of us comfortably (he is 6'4" and weighs well over 100kg). As always the barbecue is most enjoyable, and we return to the boat after promising to catch up with their SA acquaintance Dugald the next day.

After a late start on Wednesday we go ashore to visit Dugald's new house, then lunch at the pub, before doing a tour of Cygnet, during which we meet yet another South Australian friend of Steve and Chrissy's, Pieter Lunstedt. We invite him back for coffee, but by the time we've walked back to the yacht club and taken the dinghy back to the boat, we just have time to clean up ready to go ashore again and go to a barbecue at Dugald's, so Pieter is deferred until Thursday. We meet more fellow-sailors at Dugald's and have a very pleasant evening.

Pieter visits us by dinghy on Thursday and stays for morning coffee which eventually turns into lunch. After that Steve and Chrissy go ashore with him to see the vast shed he owns in Cygnet. While the captain and mate await their return, Gus sails in on Stormfisher so naturally we invite him for tea. Eventually the others return and we have dinner for six aboard, during which a multitude of yachting stories are told. Our entire time in Cygnet has been end-to-end social events.

Sadly we have to return the next day, Friday, as our visitors have a plane to catch very early Saturday. We sail down the Port Cygnet estuary, out of the Huon and across to the Channel with a nice westerly, motor sail up the Channel in very variable winds, then sail up the river with a strengthening southeasterly. Inevitably, the combination of the strong southerly and an audience means the entry to the pen isn't quite as the captain would like, but Steve fends us off Masterpiece at the critical time and we tie up without further incident. As Chrissy has been suffering from some kind of food poisoning on the return trip we have a quiet meal aboard and turn in early. On Saturday morning the entire crew are up at 0430 and off to the airport shortly after so that the Edwards can catch their 0600 flight. We are sorry their stay has been so brief, but it is so good to have had them aboard again to see how well we are caring for their wonderful ship, and to show off our latest enhancements. [Top]

Koonya and Dover with Rosie T

Thursday 19 to Wednesday 25 January 2012

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Rosie arrives mid-morning on Thursday and we are ready to sail out at midday. We motor down the Derwent in a strengthening southerly, putting up sail as we reach the Iron Pot. Rosie steers Nahani, motor-sailing, through the channel north of Betsy Island to Frederick Henry Bay. We have a brisk close reach up that bay to Sloping Island and beyond. As we turn into Flinders passage we are sailing to windward again, so we tack, aiming to anchor in Lime Bay for the night. We sail into the bay and put the anchor down about 7pm, but have trouble with holding, so after a couple of tries we put the motor back on and head round to Norfolk Bay and straight for Koonya, arriving about 9pm for a rather late dinner.

Two warm sunny days follow in Koonya with the Blichfeldt extended family and hosts Sue and Jack. After lazy mornings on the boat we go ashore to share lunch and dinner with the folks camped on the beach. On Friday Rosie and the mate go for a beach walk and a visit to "The Taj", Sue's splendid enclosed veggie garden. Liv's birthday is celebrated with an evening barbecue and birthday cake. Saturday afternoon we find that Fanno the inflatable kayak makes an excellent floating playpen as we tow young Max and Ruby around amongst the sandbars. The water in between is so warm that it is like lying in a spa bath. Saturday evening is a real feast as Claire and Sue have gathered mussels, Andrew and Neville have had a successful diving expedition and bring back crays and abalone. And that is just for starters - the seafood is followed by wallaby stew and schnapps, both provided by Gösta. We also enjoy Marieka's selection of nicely aged reds, and a good time is had by all.

So good that as we leave in the dinghy late that night, we fail to ensure that the kayak is well pulled up the beach, and Gösta has a marine rescue job early Sunday morning as it floats off and heads north. The captain is told of this near tragedy when he goes ashore in the dinghy to bring it back so that we can sail away while the winds are favourable. We leave at about midday, and have a great run from Koonya all the way to the d'Entrecasteaux Channel where we eventually come to rest in Shelter Cove (in Barnes Bay). A leisurely start again on Monday, and another good sail - a bit of motor assistance in the top part of the Channel but mostly a beam reach all the way to Dover, arriving in nice time for the mate to have a swim (and do some under-hull maintenance to get the speed log working which has been stuck, probably with excess anti-fouling, since the recent slipping).

Ashore on Tuesday morning to visit Jeremy Firth, friend of ours and very old friend of Rosie's. After morning tea captain and mate leave them talking while we go into Dover village for a couple of items. We are very sad to see the bakery closed, with a For Sale sign, where once we bought the best scallop pies and raspberry tarts. Back to collect the crew and return to Nahani, then another brisk reach from Dover across to Gordon - again we need a bit of motor assistance in the Channel proper. For our last night stop we choose Little Fancy bay, which we've not been to before. Nahani rocks gently in a small swell when we first anchor but this rapidly dies away. We really like this new anchorage, nice beach, swans and a sea eagle to watch - the only drawback is a lot of mosquitoes. We don't notice at first and by the time we put the nets up rather a lot have already moved aboard so we all spend the night swatting.

We set sail on Wednesday at 11am (an early start compared to the previous days) motoring up the Channel with almost no wind, then motor-sailing up the Derwent to ensure we will be back in time to take Rosie to the airport to catch her plane. And we are, and she does. A great trip - lots of sailing in good winds from useful directions, warm sunny weather, swimming, kayaking - the weather of summer 2012 is so much better than last year's cool, damp "rainbow summer". [Top]

Wineglass Bay and Maria Island

Tuesday 7 to Sunday 12 February

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Our latest guest, Rosie O, has a full program planned for her Hobart trip including sailing to Wineglass Bay, visiting MONA and catching up with friends. As there are gale warnings when she arrives on Sunday, her first two days are spent visiting the Botanic Gardens, a Hobart friend, and the amazing MONA Gallery.

On Tuesday we set sail mid-morning and head round to Lime Bay on the north edge of the Tasman Peninsula. We sail about half the way, down the river and up Frederick Henry Bay, with a bit of motor assistance to get through the channel between Betsey Island and the mainland, and in the last stages of Flinders Passage and into Lime Bay. As on our previous visit we have some trouble getting holding, but eventually we secure the anchor for a very peaceful night.

Early start Wednesday, we motor across the top of Norfolk Bay to the Denison canal, go through without incident (the "tribute" of 2 cans of beer makes a perfect landing in the waiting bucket), then survive the tensions of navigating through the shallows of Blackman Bay and out through the Marion Narrows. There are some biggish waves coming in to meet us on the way out, but not actually breaking. We put up sail, at first motor-sailing up to Maria Island and through Mercury Passage to keep the speed up, but once clear of Maria Island the wind is on the beam and we have a great sail up to Schouten Island averaging 6kt. Some motor assistance again to get through Schouten passage and when we emerge the wind has dropped and we motor-sail the rest of the way to Wineglass, with a roast cooking below decks, ready to eat when we drop anchor in the bay at 1900 hours. Amazingly, we are the only boat at anchor, a rare occurrence which makes us feel very special. It also allows us to take the premium spot, behind the point and out of the swell.

On Thursday we wake to a beautiful sunny day, go ashore in the dinghy and walk round the beach and up to Wineglass Lookout. The track up and back is like Bourke Street, tourists from all over the world. But everyone is polite and friendly, and standing aside for those coming down is a good excuse for a breather for us geriatrics. We gain some karma by picking up seajunk from the shore as we walk the beach, returning with it to the boat for lunch and a laze in the sun. Mate has a swim, seeing every grain of sand through the clear green water. A perfect day ends with G&Ts on deck, steak and red below, then back on deck to watch the sunset.

We sail from Wineglass at 1000 on Friday, making relatively slow speeds in light winds. In the afternoon we put up the MPS, but still need motor assistance to get down Mercury Passage and into Chinaman's Bay on Maria Island in time for dinner, followed by a beautiful sunset. On Saturday we go ashore, walk the few yards across the isthmus to inspect the surf in Riedle Bay, then walk around Chinaman's to encampment cove for a picnic lunch there. On our return journey the tide is out and we gather mussels for moules mariniere back aboard Nahani - so good!

Another fairly early start on Sunday, weighing anchor at 0800. Very little wind so we motor down to Marion Bay, then negotiate the various hurdles between there and Norfolk Bay: the bar, the Marion Narrows, the shallows of Blackman's Bay and finally the Denison Canal with another successful drop of the traditional cans of beer. Flat calm in Norfolk Bay and when we get a breeze in Frederick Henry Bay it is on the nose so we motor right down into Storm Bay until we are south of Betsey Island, then turn and have a lovely sail back up past the Iron Pot and upriver to Mary Ann Bay, where we stop for a last barbecue aboard in the evening sunshine. Just a short trip then back to the RYCT and safely into the pen before dark, leaving our guest with another day and a half to shop in Salamanca, and an evening when we can entertain Canberra-based friends of hers who are visiting Hobart. [Top]

Recherche Bay

Wednesday 7 to Thursday 8 March

We return from our brief sojourn in Melbourne and spend the next week getting ready for a long trip away. While we were in Melbourne our anchor winch casing was sandblasted and repainted, so we now have to service the winch motor, fit it back in its newly painted casing, varnish the board it sits on, then refit the reassembled winch. We also fit our new Rocna anchor. By Tuesday the anchor and winch are in place, the water tanks, gas bottles, fridges and store cupboards are all full - all we need is a stop at the fuel jetty as we leave to fill up with diesel. But Tuesday dawns cold and wet, and as there is a two day window of suitable weather for the trip round the south coast we decide to wait one more day before leaving. Delaying a day will also give us more favorable winds for the trip south to Recherche Bay, the jumping off point for the journey west.

So on Wednesday we take Nahani round to the fuel jetty to fill up with diesel, then start down the river in a southeaster. We motor down the Derwent, then motorsail down the top end of the Channel, sail past Isthmus Bay, then continue alternating sailing and motor-sailing down to Recherche, arriving in Pigsties Bay at about 7pm, in time for a G&T watching the sunset before dinner. The new Rocna anchor goes down and sets instantly, very pleasing.

We have the first inkling that all is not well at about 5am Thursday morning when the head pump keeps running after the taps are turned off. Our first fear is a leak, but there is no sign of that. We turn the pump off, and decide to investigate further later. At 6am when we are more compos mentis, we notice that the battery levels are at an all time low, and this is why the pump won't turn off. We realise the fridge, with food for two plus weeks in it, has probably been off during the night for the same reason. We start the motor to restore some charge, but we know that we have no option but to abort our plan for going west, return to Hobart, buy and fit new batteries, then look for another suitable weather window for going west. The engineer knew the batteries were ageing, but thought we would get one more trip out of them, and that we would buy new ones at the beginning of next summer. Just one of those judgments that turn out to be wrong. So we are back in Hobart, where it is cold and raining (sunny and warm on the west coast). Grrrr!

Highlight of the trip to Recherche occurred just south of Partridge Island. First we saw one dolphin. Then a pair, then two or three, then they were coming past in groups of four, six, eight. Some stopped to play round the boat, but most were on a mission, and just went past. There were also albatross, again first we saw one, then a pair, then there were over a dozen, more than we'd ever seen flying about in a group. After the dolphin came the seals, lolloping through the water in similar style to the dolphin, but not quite so graceful. Looking back after they'd passed we could see splashes in the water everywhere as they all converged on the area where there must have been significant numbers of fish.

As we were regretfully coming back, having to motor into a headwind, travelling toward Hobart where it was clearly raining, we were cheered by another pod of dolphin who came to frolic round the boat about half way up the Derwent. Sailing always has its joyous moments, even when one is travelling in the wrong direction. [Top]

Down the Channel

Tuesday 13 to Monday 19 March

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Having regretfully realised that we no longer have enough time for a trip to the west coast and back, we decide on a trip down the Channel as a consolation prize. On Monday forecast for next few days is for warm weather, occasional showers, not much wind. So we head off mid-morning Tuesday in a very light northerly. We put up the jib, just to show a bit of interest, as the captain would say, but basically we motor down the river, down the Channel and anchor in the SE corner of Great Bay mid-afternoon. We take the dinghy ashore to the beach, scramble up to the road and walk northwards to the Bruny Island Cheese Company, which is fascinating. We watch the day's cheese processing as it is completed, with the cheesemakers scooping the curds out of a vat to set in small perforated containers about the size of a coffee mug. This is the ODO - one-day-old fresh cheese, which they sell marinated in olive oil. We also look into the room where there are hundreds of rounds of Tom, their hard cheese, maturing. They make a soft brie-style cheese called Saint and a couple of washed rind cheeses as well, all delicious. We think we will join their Cheese Club. We taste all the cheeses, enjoy a cup of coffee and buy an Oen (cheese wrapped in pinot-soaked vine leaves) before heading back to Nahani for G&Ts and a barbecue on deck, watching a lovely sunset, sipping our red. After much activity in the last few days we are happy to have an early night. The weather is so benign that we are quite comfortable anchored off the beach overnight.

Showers next morning give us the excuse for a late morning as well, so we are very relaxed when we set off in the dinghy to explore Ford Bay, continue on to Little Fancy to check its occupancy (nil), then return to the beach to go ashore for a return visit to the Bruny Island Cheese Company, this time for lunch - we share an excellent pizza and a baked Otto (cheese wrapped in prosciutto) with fresh bread and cherries soaked in Pinot. Mmmmm! When we return to Nahani the wind has risen so we weigh anchor and head round to Little Fancy Bay, where we have more shelter.

Thursday brings a lovely NE breeze to push us down to Mickey's Bay. We've had trouble getting holding here in the past, but not with our new anchor - it sets straight away. We are looking forward to going ashore for a walk to Cloudy Bay on Friday morning, but it starts to rain so we sit tight, hoping that things will improve in the afternoon. But no, things get worse. Although the forecast is for continuing gentle NW winds, we get a strong SW change with winds 20-30kt. Despite the switch in wind direction, the anchor holds firm, but eventually the swell coming into Mickey's makes it an uncomfortable anchorage, so we head down to Lighthouse Beach for better shelter. Still too wet for a walk ashore to be attractive.

On Saturday we start on our return trip. Once again the wind gods haven't listened to the forecast and we have 20-30kt winds rather than the 10-20kt promised. However the direction is favourable and we have a fast and at times exciting trip up to Barnes Bay, doing up to 8kt with two reefs and just the staysail. It's still blowing strongly when we anchor in Alexanders, but the next morning we wake to calm weather and warm sunshine. We take to the dinghy and visit the various anchorages within Barnes Bay identifying the moorings of the Kingborough Boat Club, which we've just joined. After lunch we head up the Channel under motor, then have a perfect final run up the river, starting with all sails set in light SE winds, and gradually taking in sails as the wind strengthens. Unfortunately the breeze turns into a gusty southerly just as we are coming toward the berth and we mistime the turn. In the middle of trying to recover and try again (always difficult and stressful) it occurs to both of us that a simpler solution is to slot Nahani into the pen normally occupied by Rosinante, as we know that she is away in Port Davey. So we spend the night in a strange pen, then move our ship into her home berth in a nice calm period at lunchtime on Monday. And here she'll probably stay until next summer. [Top]

Last sail in a Farr 10

Tuesday 27 March

We started our last full day in Hobart for the summer, out on the breakwater at midnight to help Caspian into her berth at the end of a long and challenging return trip from Port Davey (17 hours straight sailing in strong winds and big seas). That gives us an excuse for a bit of a lie-in before starting on the final round of cleaning and packing. We have a few interruptions to this - David and Sandra come for tea and toasted bun to tell us about their time in Port Davey and the dramas of the return trip, we walk up to Sandy Bay for lunch and a last coffee at Brew, we drive David and Sandy to the airport.

Then it's time... Greg Brooks is examining us for our International Certificate of Competence (ICC) down at the Derwent Sailing Squadron (DSS). We start with some questions ashore, then head out into the marina to Greg's boat Redeemer. The mate is given the job of piloting the boat out of the pen, which involves telling everyone else which lines to take off, something she is not used to at all as usually the captain steers while she takes lines off to order. We make an approach to a mooring under motor, almost too well as the mate thinks the smaller boat will have less momentum than Nahani, which it does, but she overcompensates. Then we put sail up and have a thoroughly nice time sailing to windward, reaching, running, jibing and tacking, including bringing the boat around successfully to pick up a Danbuoy thrown overboard. Then the captain takes over from the mate, demonstrates his boat handling skill with an approach to a mooring under sail, coming alongside under motor, and finally putting Redeemer back in her pen. We both enjoyed sailing a lighter and more responsive vessel for a change. We stow sails, then there is another round of questions below deck and then we thank Greg for an enjoyable evening and head back for a late dinner. Tomorrow we pick up the ICC paperwork from the DSS before we leave. [Top]