Monday, August 20, 2012

Line Reef to Gloucester Passage

Sunday - 19/08/2012

Weather predictions determine that we sail today with winds getting up to 15 to 20 knots and possible 20 to 25 knots being on the reef is no place to be. The good part is that we do get a good sail out of the wind, at first light the wind from the SE at 10 knots is enough to get us underway.

After sunrise we had breakfast and whilst Nancy cooked I got the boat ready for sailing. Breakfast over we weighed anchor. Nancy had a little problem with the anchor this morning, we were held fast as usual with this anchor and usually when the length of chain in the water equals the depth of the water I have to drive the boat forward to release the anchor. This was no different this morning, however, when the anchor was up it had a large piece of coral on it and Nancy could not get it off so I had to go forward and get rid of it for her.
(The coral hooked on the anchor, it was quite heavey)

We motored away from the reef and the bommies area before hoisting the mainsail and unfurling the headsail, the wind had picked up slightly and we sailed off shut the engines down and set course for the Gloucester Passage 50 NMS away.

Nancy made another cup of tea and put the radio on my favourite Sunday morning show, Australia All Over with Macca. I trimmed the sails and we were off at 7.5 - 8.5 knots this varied as we sailed during the day but from weighing anchor at the reef to dropping anchor at Gloucester Passage was 7 hrs 15 minutes so we averaged over 7 knots for the day with the wind dropping away in the last few miles due to the mainland and islands blocking it.

The sail across was good  but as the tied changed to wind against tide the seas stood up a little more and it was near a beam on sea and the wind then picked up and we had a reading of 28 knots so we furled the headsail turned into the wind and put a reef in the mainsail set the course again and unfurled the headsail leaving four turns on the furler, it did not slow us down much as we went from 8.2 to 7.7 knots. It was a little lumpy but a good sail.

As we approach Gloucester Passage some 3 NMS out I could see four yachts in front of us and two others coming up the coast from Airlie Beach so it looks like a few have the same idea as us.

We selected an anchorage out the front of Monte's where the party week begins, the Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club rendezvous commences on Thursday this week. The reason for coming early is one the weather determined that we sail and two to get a good anchorage. Last year there were more than 80 boats here and over 300 people. Some people fly in to Airlie Beach and drive here for the event because it is too far to sail in the time that they can spare. They say this year will be bigger.

There are a number of anchorage areas around here and so far looking at them all there are possibly 18 club members already here.

We could not anchor in the spot we had last year as another yacht was too close to that spot and nearby is a large bommie (coral head) just below the surface of the water that not many people are aware of. Once anchored the first thing I did was grab some cord and a small foam float, went ashore and found a large rock then dinghy over to the bommie and mark it with the float so no one will hit it.

There are quite a few yachts arriving this morning so it should be a good week all we need is the weather to clear up again with the wind yesterday came the clouds and rain today.

The Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club is a fun club, anyone can join you don't need to own a boat, we have well over 1500 members some from overseas. The one major rule of the club is that you not allowed to take it too serious, it is a one of membership fee $48, every member is a Vice Commodore there is no Commodore we are all equal, all money raised is given to Prostrate Cancer see the website.


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