Around Hobart, Summer 2018

Summer 2018 begins very late, on 23 December 2017, as a house renovation project kept us in Melbourne in November and December.

Spring checkup

Thursday 26 to Monday 30 October 2017

We make a brief visit just to check that all is well. We are also hoping to have our new sails fitted. In fact the mainsail has already been fitted before we arrive, and the weather is so windy while we are there that the sailmakers can't fit the new headsail. It's also too windy to want to do maintenance jobs, so we spend most of our few days in Hobart socialising. [Top]

R&R in Quarantine Bay

Monday 1 to Friday 5 January 2018

We are getting lazier as we get old. We spend almost all of our first excursion for the summer sitting in Quarantine Bay, reading our Christmas books. We do lower the dinghy, clean out the inside, put the outboard on and restore other equipment that was put away for the winter into its usual places before we go for a brief row.

An email from friends Liz and David prompts us to motor from Barnes Bay across the Channel to Peppermint Bay, where we hitch to a KBC mooring, go ashore in the dinghy and join them for lunch at the Peppermint Bay Restaurant. They are driving and after lunch we join them for visits to the Grandvewe Sheep Cheese farm and the Woodbridge smokehouse. We have a very pleasant slow sail back to Barnes Bay, where we moor again, this time in North Simmonds Bay as all the Quarantine moorings are taken.

We do manage to try out our new mainsail but not very seriously. The Derwent is contrary, as ever. We start with the wind behind us in Sandy Bay, so we have just the headsail up. Coming down to Bonnet Point the wind goes westerly, and we put up the main. We usually sail with one reef to cope with the vagaries of weather in Tasmania, where the wind can go from 5kt to 25kt in a couple of heartbeats, so when the wind strengthens, we try to put a reef in but we are defeated by the stiffness of the new sail, so we give up and drop the sail. Later, safely moored in Quarantine, we raise and lower the sail a few times, working out how to implement each of our three reef points.

The forecast for Saturday is for a very strong north-westerly, so we decide to return on Friday when the winds are predicted to be much more friendly, a fairly gentle south-easterly. We have the new main up single-reefed, and the (old) headsail, but our speed isn't great coming up the river, so we motor sail. (We think that there must be a lot of muck on the hull - we may need to have a so-called racing haul-out to clean off the winter's accretion of weed and barnacles.) When we get back to the RYCT we make a reasonably painless return to the pen, but we are a bit out of practice so there are still a couple of anxious moments. Weather on Saturday is hot and horridly windy, so we are really pleased we came back a day earlier. [Top]

To Port Cygnet and back

Sunday 14 to Thursday 18 January 2018

After a day of solid rain on Saturday, Sunday is cool with a southerly that eases during the morning. Around lunchtime we make our exit without issues except that the mate doesn't get the pickup line over the arm - once again we will have to prevail on the kindness of marina neighbours to pick it out of the water and put it where it belongs. Once in the Derwent we decide to follow advice given us by Penny from Rosinante, that she and Jeremy don't even try to set sails before Bonnet Point, because the winds are so variable north of that point. So we motor that far, then find ourselves facing a steady southwesterly, with just enough slant for a beat down to the Channel. We can try out the new sails, starting with single-reefed main and staysail, then later adding about one third of the headsail. She sails very comfortably with the new rig, speed varying from 3.5 to 5kt. Once in the Channel winds become flukey again and we eventually give up trying to sail and motor down to Barnes, picking up a mooring in Sykes Cove where we are sheltered from the strong southerly wind that has come overnight as forecast. It blows really hard all Monday, so we stay put and fill in the day reading and cleaning out the bilge.

We make an early start on Tuesday (early for us, anyway). It's a beautiful day but not much wind, so we motor down the Channel. Past Mount Royal it is so calm that we just stop the motor and sit idly while we have lunch on board. Wind increases as we head toward Huon Island and we put up the jib. We head round the back of Garden Island and anchor in the lee so that the mate can have a swim, with the side purpose of investigating the speed log which isn't working. She removes weed from the wheel, checks the anodes, removes a significant cluster of mussels from under the step over the rudder before swimming once round the boat for pleasure. We then proceed up the Port Cygnet estuary under jib with a brisk southerly pushing us along. We are comfortably anchored in time to watch the weekly club sailing race, always fun to watch as there are boats of all shapes and sizes competing.

On Wednesday morning we walk into Cygnet to check out our favorite cafes and bookshops, and admire the work of the yarn-bombers who decorated the town for the Folk Festival last weekend. By the time we return it's blowing hard from the south again, and we ship a few waves on the dinghy trip back to the boat. We have a short rest, then motor into the headwind. We are anticipating a good sail across to Mount Royal with the wind becoming progressively more favourable, but in fact the wind is SSE rather than southerly, and we have to continue to motor. As we pass Arch Rock and can finally get a favourable slant, the wind drops. But we put up all three sails and head up to Apollo using the motor to give us some assistance so that we are in and anchored before dark. No wind on Thursday, so we motor back to the club. At least the lack of wind makes it easy to berth. [Top]

Bruny Island with Julie

Sunday 21 to Friday 26 January 2018

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We have a great time introducing Julie to the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. She's an experienced sailor who's sailed in the Mediterranean as well as in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, but she finds Bruny very different, and very lovely. We get in a short sail on the trip down to Quarantine, but it's mostly motoring. The forecast is for a strong southwesterly, so we stay put, with a walk to the Quarantine station in the afternoon. On the way back from the walk we do some impromptu oyster gathering, and have oysters and champagne to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary (see picture, and click on it to see the oysters).

On Tuesday we have a splendid sail down to the Quarries, doing 6+ knots. Wednesday we sail further south to Lighthouse Beach, and go ashore for walk on the Labillardiere peninsula. Not much wind on Thursday, so we motor north again and anchor off the beach for the short walk to the Bruny Island Cheese Factory for afternoon coffee. From there we sail gently back to Little Fancy Bay, where, even at 6pm it is still warm enough for a swim ashore. We are having a particularly warm and sunny summer and enjoying every day of it.

It is windier than forecast overnight and we rock a bit in Little Fancy, but not enough to keep us awake. On Friday we motor sail and motor back up the Channel, finally getting enough breeze to sail up the Derwent. Although conditions are calm the tide is a bit low and it's not our best ever landing in the berth - for the third time we give the fire hose stand a solid sideways push and the lens on our port light unclips and falls. Fortunately the skipper has tied it on with fishing line, so we can just clip it on again - last time it went to the bottom of the harbour. A stiff drink is required before we go out to dinner. [Top]

Back in the Marina

Good Friday 30 March to Saturday 7 April 2018

We return to Tasmania on Easter Eve. It blows a gale over Easter and we are in need of a break, so not much is done. We do some visiting of friends and rellies, go to Salamanca on Saturday. On Easter Sunday we do some below-deck maintenance jobs, on Monday we shop for a new phone for the mate. When the weather improves on Tuesday we start on the brightwork which is in need of serious work on the port side. That takes us to Peter's birthday on Thursday which we celebrate with the Blichfeldts, and then rain on Friday prevents us from putting on the last coat of varnish.

At about this time, Antony tells us he can squeeze us into the slipping schedule, starting Saturday, so we spend Friday getting ourselves organised for that. In fact, we don't go up until mid-afternoon on Sunday, so we can enjoy our usual Saturday shop at Salamanca Market with no time pressure. [Top]

On the slip

Sunday 8 to Thursday 12 April 2018

When Nahani is pulled out on Sunday afternoon we are horrified to see how much marine life there is on the hull. It is 16 months since she was last slipped, and we didn't do a full anti-foul then, and we had a very shortened summer for sailing, so perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise. We set to with blaster and scraper, and by dusk we have not only removed almost all of it from the hull, but also shovelled it up from the ground and into bins, as it's no longer permissible to just hose it back into the Derwent.

On Monday she spends the day scrubbing off green slime and removing mussels and barnacles missed the day before, while he scrubs off the yellow stain that always forms along the waterline. Tuesday she puts Primacon on all the patches where the anti-fouling has flaked off altogether, and he continues to work on cleaning deck and topsides before starting to polish.

On Wednesday she is planning to spend the day antifouling. He has a quandary - to carry on polishing which is already giving him a bad knee and shoulder, or to spend time with visitors from Melbourne in Hobart for a Pearcey Foundation meeting. As we are wrestling with this question we receive an offer we can't refuse from the Bilge Rats, working on boats nearby on the slip: they will polish and antifoul for us. We accept, he goes off to pick up the visitors from the airport and she does the cutting in so that the Bilge Rats can just do the roller work. By the time he returns the polishing and anti-fouling is finished, and all he has to do is to replace the anodes and grease the prop before lunch. [Top]

Boatbound on Bruny

Thursday 12 to Wednesday 18 April 2018

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We are hoping to get back into the water the day after the work on the slip is complete, but it depends on the movement of other boats. Could happen anytime from early afternoon to Friday morning, we're told. We get on with preparation, washing all the clothes that are filthy from cleaning and antifouling, shopping to ensure the boat is fully supplied. We are back from lunch and shopping at 2:30 which is the earliest we expect to go in, to find Antony waiting for us. The mate goes off for bread and other last things while the captain helps Antony put Nahani back into the water. She returns just in time to see the boat shuttled across the yard and down the slip, then it's all aboard. The captain backs her out of the cradle and we're off. It's been raining on and off all morning, but it stops as we head out into the Derwent. There is no wind, so we motor at full speed to get as far as possible before dark. The sun sets as we approach Barnes, and it's fully dark when we head into Quarantine Bay, but with all the mooring buoys marked on our chart we have no problem finding one and picking it up in the dark.

Friday is a beautiful sunny day. We start the day drying off and stowing a pile of stuff still in the cockpit from slipping, then set out for a sail. We motor out of Barnes and head south, putting up sail as soon as there is enough wind to justify it, just past Apollo Bay. We have a lovely sail all the way to Mickey's Bay, at speeds ranging from 1kt to 7kt as the wind varies in strength and direction. We average about 3kt and we're there in comfortable time to anchor before dark.

The forecast for the weekend is for lots of strong to gale force winds, but we have a few sunny pleasant hours on Saturday morning before the weather turns. Then it blows and rains, and blows some more. We are reasonably sheltered and comfortable, but we know we will be wise to move before Monday, when the wind is going to more southerly. So when the wind eases at about 4:00 on Sunday, we leave Mickey's and head north at speed, with the motor on to put in some power and warm up the hot water, and a stay sail for a bit of extra speed and stability. We travel at 5-7kt and are anchored in the Quarries at sunset. We stay put on Monday, as it continues to blow - gusts approaching 40kt - and rain from time to time. During the days of inclement weather the cook makes Anzac biscuits, lamb shanks, ratatouille and two roasts - any excuse to have the stove on and warm up the boat a bit. On Monday night we eat roast duck and Christmas pud with a "best before" date in 2016, and we resort to dancing to Abba and Neil Diamond to warm ourselves up before dinner. But we're quite enjoying having an excuse to do nothing much at all, play games, read books, and write blogs.

We are woken at 1am on Monday by a fierce squall, very strong wind and rain. When we check the observations we find that there was a 67kt gust recorded at Cape Bruny AWS just after midnight. It is not up at that level in the shelter of the Quarries, but still enough to rock the boat a bit. Morning is by contrast sunny and relatively calm, but the forecast is for the wind to ease progressively so we decide not to head out until midday. We spend some time before weighing anchor putting a reef in the main - this is a more difficult exercise than it used to be with our new, stiff mainsail and not something to try while bouncing around in open waters. Once that's done we head off under double-reefed main and staysail, doing 5-7.5kt as the wind varies between 15 and 20kt. We make good progress, but half way up Isthmus Bay the wind drops down under 10kt, so we motorsail the rest of the way, putting charge back in the batteries and warming up the hot water. More wind as we approach Barnes and we sail in as far as the mouth of Quarantine Bay, then drop the sails and motor gently in to pick up our familiar mooring as the sun drops behind the trees.

Wednesday is sunny and calm. We make a leisurely start as there is no wind early. We motor from Barnes up the Channel to the river, and eventually get enough wind to warrant raising sail, although not enough to do without the motor. We are comfortably back in the pen by mid-afternoon. [Top]