Sunday, January 16, 2022

Time to cast off the dock lines again

It has been 5 years since we moved on land but now it is time to move back aboard and cast off the dock lines and head out on the ocean wave again. Although we have sailed on Sartita reasonably regularly over the past 5 years we have not been on any long passages so it will be interesting to see how we settle back into the routine. Although Jude and I are back on Sarita we are one crew member down as our daughter is staying on land to enjoy her freedom and develop her business. It feels very strange not having her about and both Jude and I miss her very much. Although we hate making sailing plans our intention is to head to Tasmania for the rest of the summer and enjoy what is supposed to be an amazing part of Australia with rugged coastlines, brisk winds, and plenty of activities to keep us busy. We had been watching the weather for a few weeks and strong southerly winds seem to be dominating the weather patterns with only 1 day or so of northerlies before switching to southerlies again. Friday 14th January We spent our first night on anchor at Coaster Retreat in Pittwater before heading down to Quarantine Bay in Sydney Harbour for Friday night, the rationale being that it would shorten our first long passage sufficiently to arrive in Jervis Bay in daylight. The weather forecast for Saturday was for strong NE winds 20-30kts with a southerly change coming into Jervis Bay at around 9pm. Having had a look at the observations (actual winds) over the past few days the forecasts have been overestimated with the higher winds occurring more offshore. We decided that we would take this weather window and if the winds did pick up to 30kts they would be manageable as the would be well aft of the beam. Saturday 04:00 Departed Quarantine Bay in darkness. Forecast was for NE 20kts but we had 6kts for the first hour but then the winds built to NE 15kts as we moved offshore. The seas built to around 2-2.5 over the rest of the day as the winds built up to around a max of 25kts. A massive pod of Dolphins passed us around lunchtime, probably numbering in the thousands as the passed us for over an hour. They demonstrated their usual playfulness and acrobatics. We entered Jervis Bay just as the sun was setting and with a towering thunder cloud over the northern part of the bay looking and sounding rather ominous. We dropped an anchor in the southern part of the bay, still in northerly winds but on cue the winds turned to the south around 10pm.
Overall it was a great first passage. A bit lumpy but we have experienced far worse. The passage length was longer than planned as we headed more on the wind and offshore to have a more comfortable sail.

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