With the handover of the Sydney Football Stadium imminent, I could start my long 2 months of live-aboard. Joining me for that last overnight passage for a while, around Fraser Island, was long time crew and ex-work colleague Doug Rayment and girlfriend Sascha EE.
This would be the first overnight sea passage on a sailing boat for Sascha, which can be daunting. She was pretty sure she didn’t get seasick but mild precautions were in order. Some mild sea sickness tablets were downed as we prepared to leave on the evening tide of Saturday night. With more tide than when Lindy and I entered and a new sounding being provided by the hydrographer the exit was plain sailing and we headed for the first waypoint off Waddy Point, 100 nautical miles away. This is also roughly the half way point for the voyage. Once again the wind was in the mid to high teens so we opted for just a headsail and we rolled along between 6 and 8 knots for hours on end. We reached Waddy Point mid morning on Sunday. By this time there were a few very light squalls of rain coming through. The rain wasn’t so bad but each squall resulted in a 30 degree wind change, different depending on whether the squall was in front or behind you, and gusts up to high 20’s. These weren’t short lived gusts either and being an easterly and in a powerful reaching quadrant of sailing, overpowered the boat even with just the headsail. Each one required a bear away, directly at the lee shore, furl the sail, start the engine and return to course. Then things would calm down again, unfurl the sail and watch for the next squall.
On sunset we rounded Break Sea Spit and took a 90 degree turn to Bundaberg. Literally sailing into the sunset. With the wind squarely behind us now and the jib poled out, we didn’t mind the squalls to much. We even rode one to 15 knots boat speed hastening our arrive into the land of Rum.
Thankfully this time we did arrive on the right tide. Unfortunately I has been out of mobile range during office hours and I didn’t have my berthing allocation yet. We pulled up at the fuel wharf at around 2300 but after some quick calculations figured out we would be stuck there with the keel in the mud until mid morning. Not a popular move with fishermen wanting early morning fuel. Having been to the marina several times before I also knew there were only a few berths that could even pretend to take Wine-Dark Sea’s 3 metre draft. We pootled back out into the dark to see if any were available. One was so we decided to “beg for forgiveness, not ask for permission”. We would still be in the mud but at least we weren’t being a public nuisance.
Another 200nm done