Around Hobart, Summer 2014

We have only a short summer aboard because we have to attend to house renovations in Melbourne which means we don't arrive until late December, and have to return at the end of January. But we make the most of the time available, and then make a final return trip at Easter in April.

On the slip

Friday 27 December 2013 to Friday 3 January 2014

We arrive in Hobart from the day ferry on Sunday 22 December. We spend two days provisioning the boat and doing a bit of Christmas shopping before going to celebrate Christmas Eve with the Blichfeldts. Tim, Kylie and friend make an unscheduled visit on Christmas Day, having been rained out of a hike in the West Arthurs. Their visit gives us an excuse for another Christmas Dinner, roast quail, mince pies, and appropriate libations. They stay for Boxing Day and night as well, then leave early on Friday, and we take Nahani round to the slip.

By the end of our first day out of the water we have completed the washdown, and been out to buy paint, antifouling and so on ready for action over the weekend. We discover we have some rust on the rudder and trim tab. As one of the Morse cables needs replacing, this becomes our major project for this slipping. Trim tab and cables are removed, the rudder and trim tab are scraped back to the base paint layer before we apply rust bullet over all suspect patches. We do all the usual jobs of cleaning and polishing the topsides, greasing the prop, and putting primer over the rust bullet and patches on the hull where the antifouling has flaked off.

We fit in a great New Year's Eve party at the Blichfeldts, where we go easy on the schnapps as we expect to spend New Year's Day antifouling. However it rains steadily all morning and threatens more rain in the afternoon, so we do the washing and some shopping instead. We had some extreme wind conditions on our second night up in the air (Saturday) - the same gales that dismasted a Sydney Hobart yacht and caused many of the Launceston-Hobart race yachts to retire. On Wednesday night and Thursday it blows even harder, so we do some final provisioning of the boat in the morning, hoping that the wind will ease. There is some improvement at lunchtime, so we start the antifouling and continued despite the wind rising again - there are some gusts of 50kt which practically blow the paint off one's paintbrush. No light object like a paintbrush, paint container, stirrer or rag could be put down without risk of it blowing away across the hard. We have to tie our ladder top and bottom to stop it shifting, and the lighter aluminium stands blow over if not anchored by a plank. By the time we finish the antifouling we are exhausted, as much by the wind as by the effort of doing the work. A final packing up exercise, dinner, showers and we were ready to collapse.

We are up early on Friday morning to remove the masking tape from the water line, shift all the stands away from the cradle, ready for relaunch which began about 9am. The mate stays on board to generate some kind of order in the cockpit as the boat is trundled across to the slipway and then winched slowly back into the water. The captain wheels up a barrowful of items we'd had off the boat, they are loaded as we are being untied from the cradle, he steps aboard and then we are off, free at last. [Top]

Down the Channel

Friday 3 January to Sunday 12 January

After a week on the slip we sail straight down the Derwent rather than go back to our pen. We have a lovely sail in sunny weather down to Barnes Bay, where we spend four days of strong winds interspersed with rain, hanging off Kingborough Boating Club (KBC) moorings, three nights in Quarantine during howling northwesters, and one in Sykes when the wind shifts to the south. It blows so hard that we lose our KBC burgee from the backstay, and have to request a replacement. On Wednesday we finally get a warm sunny day without gale force winds, so we head round to Cygnet, stopping at Woodbridge on the way to visit cousin Claire at her place of work, the Marine Discovery Centre. When we arrive we notice that the Centre's dinghy is floating upside down, so we right it and do some energetic baling to empty it before coming ashore for a tour of the Centre, which is a wonderful facility. From there we sail round to Cygnet, motor sailing to start with to recharge batteries but a great sail round to the Huon and up the Port Cygnet Estuary.

From Cygnet, the mate makes a 30-hour flying visit to Melbourne, leaving on Wednesday evening and returning late Thursday, leaving the captain to potter on board. She brings the car back to Cygnet, so we take advantage of wheels to do the washing and a major reprovisioning on Friday. On Saturday we sail down to Butler's Beach where we catch up with our friends in Caspian and go ashore to walk with them and their daughter and granddaughters, who are sailing with them. The weather is now so warm and pleasant that the mate has a swim, albeit in a wetsuit. Both vessels then head off to the Quarries, intending to motor as there isn't much wind at Butler's Beach. We put up a headsail, then give the motor full bore to see the effect of an adjustment to the prop pitch made while slipping. About half way to the Quarries we get some proper wind, and with the engine as well we are doing over 8 kt. A pity we aren't under full sail, but it isn't worth stopping to put up a more appropriate rig. Once anchored, we go across to Caspian for evening drinks before returning for our evening meal.

Sunday is spent making trips to the beach, first to fit the dinghy rib fenders, which we took off for the winter and which needed one more fitting to be put on the dinghy to make them secure. They look very good now they fit really tightly. On our second trip we gather oysters off the rocks, which we then take to Caspian for another evening's pre-dinner drinks. The hospitality is all on their boat as they have small kids aboard, so it is easier for us to go to them. After a surfeit of oysters washed down with glasses of NZ Sauvignon Blanc, we return to Nahani with no need for a proper evening meal. Monday morning brings the parting of the ways, as they head down to Tinpot, and we leave the Channel at the south end to head slowly east and north toward our next destination, Koonya in Norfolk Bay. [Top]

Round to Koonya

Monday 13 January to Monday 20 January

Today we sail from the Quarries in the Channel southward and round Cape Bruny, then up into Cloudy Bay. We realise that it is almost five years since we were last here. It is such a lovely bay, less often visited because it is not very sheltered from the prevailing southwesterly swells. Anchored behind the reef one has reasonable protection from the swell except at high tide, which it is now, so we are rocking gently. On arrival we eat an overdue lunch, then fix a few things on deck, then take the dinghy ashore for a walk on the beach. In the past we've always headed north toward the top of the bay, but today we go down to the calm waters to land the dinghy, and find that there is a bush walk marked, which begins with a wade up a creek. The walk goes all the way to East Cloudy Head, but when we find a Log Book for the walk and come to fill in the space for our intended destination, the mate writes "not far". After an easy 15 minute walk with gentle climbs we have a great view of Cloudy Bay, and decide that we have gone far enough, as the next section is a steep downhill plunge before a more gradual but long climb to the headland itself. We return to the beach and sit on a rock for a while to enjoy the view, then return to the boat for a gin an tonic and further enjoyment of the view, then eat our spaghetti bolognese on deck as the sun sets.

Koonya is our main destination for the next stage of our summer sailing.

From Cloudy Bay we motor round to the Friars to look at the seal colony, then head north east toward Nubeena. The wind is light, and on the nose, so we finish up with a long day's motoring across Storm Bay, finally getting into Nubeena in the late afternoon. Cousin Claire drove across from Koonya to pick us up and we join her on the beach for an evening meal, before she returns us to the boat. On Wednesday we head out into Storm Bay again to find ourselves in fog, cold wind and lumpy seas. But once past the headland north of Nubeena we are getting more favourable wind and can motorsail, then sail up Frederick Henry Bay, and round to Norfolk Bay, where we have to motorsail again to get down to Koonya. By then it is sunny and postively hot, so the mate swims ashore while the captain follows in the dinghy. We stay anchored off Koonya on Wednesday, retreat to Taranna on Thursday when the wind goes to the northeast, then return to Koonya for Friday and Saturday. On Saturday nephew Will arrives with family and friends, so by the weekend there are seven small children for Peter to entertain by putting them into Auntie Elvie, the resident Mirror dinghy. We also rig the tender for sailing, and inflate the kayak. Will and friend have kayaks as well, and Claire and Gösta take their tinny out for several fishing excursions, so there are craft going in all directions, visitors coming out to Nahani, sailing trips from the shore, fishing trips by tinny and kayak, and a good time is had by all. We generally spend the evenings on the beach, eating with the Blichfeldts - lots of fresh flathead.

On Sunday the Blichfeldts head back to Hobart, we have a final meal of spaghetti marinara (fresh mussels) with Will and co, then take advantage of a light southerly to head up Norfolk Bay and round into Lime Bay where we anchor at about 9pm, just after sunset. On Monday we start under motor, but sail most of the way back round to Hobart. We are a bit nervous about putting the boat back into the berth as it is the first time we've done it this summer, but it is so calm that there are no real problems. We've been out of the berth for two and a half weeks - one of our longest periods away in any of our Hobart summers, and we have had a great time with lots of good sailing. [Top]

Down the Channel with Michael and Grace

Thursday 23 January to Sunday 26 January

Michael and Grace arrive by plane on Wednesday evening, in time to join the party at the Blichfeldts where we are celebrating our sixteenth wedding anniversary and farewelling Will Vorrath, his family and friends. Thursday is a beautiful day and we make a quite early start. There is very little wind in the Derwent so although we have sail up, we have to motor down the river and round into the Channel. At about Bligh Point we get some proper wind, and beat down to Little Fancy Bay, arriving at about 4:30pm. It is a lovely sunny day, and our guests follow a common pattern of dozing off in the afternoon as we tack back and forth. A dinghy excursion ashore is called for to wake people up and give them some exercise. The cook stays on board to do some clarinet practice while the captain and guests go ashore and collect oysters, most of which they eat as they gather, but they considerately bring back a couple of dozen for the cook. She shucks and enjoys a dozen before cooking trevalla for dinner.

Friday starts calm, so we motor over to the beach near Ford Bay, and go ashore to drink coffee and taste cheese at the Bruny Island Cheese Factory. On return to the boat, Michael and the mate go for a swim, bravely as it is pretty chilly in the water. The wind is increasing as expected, but is more westerly than forecast, and stronger, so we give up the idea of going to Cygnet and instead beat back to Kinghorn point, then sail up to Barnes Bay on a beam reach. By the time we get to Sykes Bay the wind is getting up to the forecast gale force, but there is a convenient lull at the right time and we make a perfect pickup of a Kingborough Boating Club mooring. We duly put up our KBC burgee, a new one to replace the one that blew off the boat in a gale earlier in January. This time we ensure it is securely tied, but the new material is so noisy in the strong wind that we have to take it down at night. We finish off the last of the oysters and have a roast dinner, as it is now cold enough to want to warm up the boat.

We laze in Sykes on Saturday, waiting out a strong and chilly southwesterly, with only a brief shore excursion to the rather muddy beach. It is cold enough that we make porridge for breakfast, and eat a cooked lunch as well as dinner. By Sunday the weather is calm again, and warm. We do a circuit of Barnes Bay in the morning, then anchor in Shelter Cove where we eat chops and salad on deck in the sunshine. By the afternoon there is some wind, and we alternate sailing and motoring in the Channel. Once in the Derwent we have consistent wind on the quarter and have a very pleasant sail home, and relatively trouble-free entry to the berth, except that the mate pulls the bow in a bit too hard and we give the fire hose stand a nudge. We have a final G&T before taking the guests to the Fish Bar for dinner on the way to the airport to catch their flight back to Melbourne. [Top]

Last trip down the Channel

Tuesday 8 April to Friday 11 April

We arrive in Hobart late afternoon on the Captain's birthday and have a very social couple of days: dinner with the Blichfeldts on Saturday, dinner with the Clarkes on Sunday, dinner with the Brownscombes on Monday, together with my clarinet teacher who'd just passed his audition for a casual player with the TSO, giving us an excuse for celebratory drinks aboard the boat. We manage to fit in brunch at Jackman and McRoss, a bit of shopping and some boat chores in between the social occasions.

On Tuesday we are ready to sail away, or rather, motor away, as there is very little wind. We decide to make Apollo Bay our destination as we haven't stayed there this summer, and we're pleased to find it deserted. The pickup of the Kingborough mooring is very easy in calm conditions. As the weather continues calm and sunny on Wednesday, we decide there is no point in motoring, and have a lazy day reading, not even finding enough energy to take the dinghy ashore. The cook is enjoying having a real stove with burners and an oven, after months of a microwave in a cupboard at home. By Thursday the batteries are getting low, so we head out of Apollo and cross to mid-Channel to meet Pengana, the launch from the Marine Discovery Centre which has cousin Claire aboard with a party of kids. Both boats then head into Barnes, where those aboard Pengana investigate fish farms and a wreck, while we head into Sykes and do another expert pickup of a mooring - more challenging this time as there is some wind and we have to pass the mooring and then turn back to windward. A change is forecast and the wind strengthens from the north before it comes through, bringing overnight rain. Friday is cold with a scotch mist and a strong southerly, 25-30kt. We think about waiting another day before we head back to Hobart, but the forecast is for the windy weather to continue, and we have another dinner invitation, so we decide to be brave, don our boots and beanies and go. We put up the jib and sail off the mooring, head out into the Channel with the wind behind us, jibing over once out of Barnes Bay. Despite the cold and damp, we have a great sail, doing 6-7kt with about half the headsail. It is a bit lumpy off Pierson's point, and we roll enough for a few things to bang about below and for half the books to finish up on the floor of the front cabin. Once we get further up the river the waves are coming more astern, and the ride is easier. We are a bit anxious about getting into the berth as it is still blowing about 20kt as we approach the marina, but at least it is coming from the south so we blow on to the jetty, making it quite easy for the mate to pick up the spring and then jump ashore to hand up the bow lines.

We are in plenty of time for dinner with Dougie and Robin, another very pleasant evening. On Saturday there is a lunchtime barbecue at Dodges Ferry to celebrate a couple more April birthdays, and we just have time on Sunday to do the washing, clean the boat, and pack up ready to fly back to Melbourne on Monday morning. We really don't want to go, but the renovations call. [Top]