Latitude: S 27 26.652
Longitude: E 153 06.437
Didn't want to alarm friends and family at home, but we were once again beating the clock into port, Brisbane. An unexpected front, not on our departure weather routing, pushed up from the south promising big winds and seas, moving in quickly Monday morning, October 17. We are so glad we left a day early even though it meant no wind and motoring. By day three into our journey our revised weather gribs and weather router alerted us of the high winds and waves pushing around southern Australia up the east coast. We had originally planned on a Tuesday or Wednesday arrival, but decided we couldn't afford to dink around and needed to be in the harbor by early morning.
Once we turned the motor on to leave Noumea, we never turned it off until we reached Brisbane. Lehmen (our engine), and Ray (our auto pilot) worked the entire trip to maintain at least 6-7 knots even with sails up. Keeping the motor running was one way to keep water out of the muffler and hobby horsing into the engine.
Hydie the Hydrovane rested. The new bracket we designed and installed on Hydie's rudder shaft worked well as long as we didn't jack up the rpm's over 900. It probably would have worked well with more speed, but we didn't want to push it. We had better fuel economy keeping the rpms down as well. Since we had lost some time during the two mammoth squalls with thunder and lightning (end of storms in Australia) we encountered on Saturday afternoon and night, we were running late. After the first squall we took down the mizzen and poled-out jib. After the second squall, we took down the main and decided to throttle up the engine in the morning when dawn broke with clear skies, light winds and fairly calm seas.
First we had to take Hydie's rudder off. Russ devised a slick two line pin system that allows us to unpin the rudder and pull it up without Russ having to climb down the stern ladder.
|White line pulls up to release lock on rudder pin. Blue line pulls rudder pin horizontally releasing rudder.|
It was a bash all the way up the channel to Brisbane as the wind and wind waves were on our nose most of the way, increasing to 25 and 30 knots with 1-2 meter wind waves. By the time we made our final approach into the entrance channel with still eleven miles to go, our starboard fuel tank was reading empty, and our port fuel tank was on reserve with the needle becoming spastic and jumping back and forth from full to empty.
|Starboard Fuel Tank Reads Empty|
The wind was blowing 40 knots on our port beam with rolling wind waves, and it was raining. A big tanker was on our tail, and we were trying to stay on the outside edge of the channel so the tanker could overtake us and pass on our port. We were crabbing up the river 20 degrees off course towards the center of the channel and powering up the engine just so we wouldn't be blown into the channel markers on our starboard side. One came way too close for comfort.
|Channel Marker. No Red Right Returning in Pacific. We keep Green to Starboard.|
|Tanker blocks wind, waves, and gives us some respite to fill our fuel tank.|
|Russ adding some fuel to port tank.|
By then we were in the lee of the land and could go several more miles if we had too. We tied up to the fuel dock at Rivergate Marina by 1:30. The wind in the Marina had decreased to 15 knots.
|Coming in to Rivergate Marina for Check In.|
I had all my shells ready to show them and had bagged all of my baskets, wood, planted based products in a big black garbage bag that had been sprayed with Raid and sealed up. Again, not interested. One hears so many stories, it's hard to know what to believe when it comes to these check-ins. It's not always consistent, and I think they learn to read body language and know when someone is nervous and hiding something that should have been declared. Honesty is always the best policy then you can relax and let whatever happpens, happen.
We refueled our tanks, over $1100.00. Ouch. C'est la vie. We spent the early evening with Danny and crew on Regina and Jacob on Mewa. Oh the sea stories we all have to tell! But everyone is so tired and so happy to be in port, we begged off for bed. We hope to leave Rivergate tomorrow and make the 10 mile motor to Scarborough Marina. Tomorrow was the original date of our trip home. We didn't want to be slave to a schedule and it turned out we had to be anyway. But we are here, and I hope our sailing friends who left Noumea (particularly the ones who left after we did) are coping well with the conditions or have made it safely to port.
All is well with the 2 Sail R's on SV Worrall Wind