Sorry about the delay in the post but we have been moving along and when we have stopped we have generally been out of range. Get ready for an influx of news though
Following our delayed start we decided to head up to Kirribilli for a “last supper”. We were joined by a rather “merry” Rowena. After some good Italian food, beer and wine we retired to the boat and took her back to the mooring to avoid a night tugging at the RSYS wharf.
Alarms were set for 0600. It was a nice idea but after the obligatory coffee and generally getting the boat ready we left the heads around 0800. Having been freed from the constraint of having to drop a crew member in Southport we decided we would head up the coast and just see how things went. We knew it would be a good idea to stop before going around Fraser but, frankly, I’m just not a big fan of Southport.
A cracking pace was set for the first 18 hours as we had left in the wake of a southerly change. Boat speeds over 15 knots were posted but averages were in the high 9’s. During this time, while Lindy was “getting her eye in”, we had a roundup with the heady poled which took some extricating. In the process we managed to break the eye on the steering quadrant which limited the steering angle to a point that the rudder position indicator wouldn’t fall off the rudder stock. Until we fixed this if we, or the autopilot, moved the rudder too far the sensor would fall off and the autopilot wouldn’t function. We also suspect the rudder boot got wedged somewhere in the rudder arrangement as we developed an annoying squeak whenever the wheel turned. A brief trip into the steering quadrant area was required to fix the rudder sensor. The first of many as it turned out.
The wind abated overnight and we were motoring by midnight. By dawn on the second day we were on approach to South West Rocks. There’s no easy way of putting it, the place our beloved Sarah Goddard-Jones died in a scuba diving accident on the 9th June 2019. We took some time to stop and circle Fish Rock. The surge was quite bad and I presume diving for the day was called off because of it. As a result we had Fish Rock to ourselves. I took Sarah’s ashes to the bow (no scattering yet) and had a chat to her as we circled. I sabraged a bottle of champagne and had a glass each in Sarah’s memory. We also paid our fee to Neptune and Sarah by dedicating some to her too.
It was a very emotional time and I was completely drained from the experience. This ceremony has brought Sarah’s passing very much more into my thoughts during this trip and I can’t go through a day without going past somewhere where Sarah and I had shared a unique experience that brings me to my knees. I suppose its part of my grieving/healing process but it is exhausting above and beyond the normal tiredness that deliveries can generate.
Progress from the rock was slower. The wind was up and down but generally under 10 knots so there was a fair bit of motoring. The engine had developed a nasty squeak but we could generally get the revs to a point where it would settle down. When we started the engine at 2030 though there was no placating it. A blood curdling screech would go through the boat whenever the engine came above idle. I had suspected the alternator was on its way out. Luckily I had packed our spare. A spare that had come with the boat when we purchased her 9 years ago! It wasn’t how I chose to start my watch but by 2200 I had the alternator changed and the engine was purring like a kitten again. Through the night we generally motored up the north coast of NSW. We rounded Cape Byron around 8am with the wind dropping through the day. We steadied into the monotonous routine of motoring for the day. It was about then we decided that we would head for Mooloolaba for a stop.
The wind picked up in the evening but was well forward of the beam coming from the east-noreast. It wasn’t until we rounded Cape Moreton at around 1am that the wind freed up enough to sail easy. Fickle as the wind was appearing to be, the wind then switched to the south for some of the trip across the entrance to Moreton Bay. We arrived at about 4:30am so we set an anchor to wait for the morning high tide. We entered around 0730 and parked in our approved berth at Mooloolaba Marina that we had organized the day before.
Lindy’s sister lived in the neighbourhood and had offered to lend us a car for the day which would be handy for the small amount of provisioning we needed to do. Some family friends of mine, Rennie and Noelene Fritschy had also offered to drive up for lunch from Brisbane. It ended up being a hectic day with ablutions, washing, breakfast, refueling, boat jobs, shopping, lunch with the Fritshcy’s, more boat jobs and then drinks and dinner with Lindy’s sister. I steady night’s sleep in dock though was a welcome change to being at sea.
For the record, boat jobs were:
- Fixing the steering limit bolt
- Troubleshooting the modem which had failed sudden. Its not looking good. A replacement is being sent to Magnetic Island.
- Tightening the autopilot ram mounting bolts
- Extracting the rudder boot from the steering bearing. Seems to have largely fixed the squeaking.
- A trip to the top of the mast to service the wind instruments which were giving some strange readings.