Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Monday, October 17, 2011

Worrall Wind Update - Arrived safely in Australia!

We got in to Brisbane, but not before the storm broke.
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.
Once we had the rudder safely removed and stowed. We throttled up, but not too much as we didn't want to use up all of our fuel before we got Australia. As the sun was setting in the distance, we were 85 miles off the coast of Australia, we caught our first glance of land.

Land Ho!
We cruised all night in light to moderate winds which swung around from north east to South west. By 4:00 a.m. the wind picked up to 20 knots. We thought once we got into the entrance shipping channel, we would be protected by Morton Island from the winds.  Nope!

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
Somewhere along this leg we were going to have to dump one of our jugs of diesel into the port tank to see if the needle would stop swinging around.  We weren't really sure how much diesel we had left.

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.
It was actually pretty nice once the tanker was on our port side as it proved to be a great wind and wave shadow for us. Two tug boats were keeping Sea Master from drifting over on us. The tanker had slowed way down, and we stayed on his starboard side for a couple of miles while we supplemented our fuel tanks, until the tanker docked.
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.
The Customs and Immigration people were on the boat by 1:45. Quarantine came about 4:00. The officials were very nice and professional. It was a painless check in. We had eaten all our fresh fruit, veggies, uncooked meat, and eggs. The only thing I had to relinquish were some onions and garlic cloves. They didn't take any of my flours, spices, crackers, etc. We had cooked meat in the freezer and quarantine wasn't interested.

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

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Worrall Wind Update - Day 5 - White Squall - Black Squall

SQUALLS!

Saturday, October 16, 2011
UTC 1500 10/16, 0100 10/17

Latitude: S 25 54.329
Longitude: E 156 04.818

Ok, so today hasn't been so uneventful. We knew it was too good to last.


We woke up this morning to cloudy skies and rain off and on. By 1:30 p.m., it was time for the Pacific Sea Farer's Net, but we had no better luck hearing anything on the HAM band than we did on our marine side band earlier in the morning. Propagation either from solar flares or cloudy skies prevented us from checking in. As we were trying to connect, we could see a band of rain coming towards us. The wind started to pick up from a mild 15 to about 28 knots. We were engulfed in a white squall. The clouds reached down to the water dumping rain and roiling the seas. All we could see was white all around us.

We had our mainsail double reefed with a preventer as the wind was on our starboard beam and rear quarter, a small poled jib on the port side, and our mizzen. One of our main concerns when we have a poled jib is to not get back winded. Since we were motor-sailing and using our auto pilot rather than our wind vane, it meant we had to disconnect the auto pilot so that we could keep the wind where we wanted it and not get it in front of the pole or back wind it. Hydie does this automatically, steering with a set wind angle. Ray (marine) just knows how to stay on our course, and pays no attention to the wind angle.

We could see lightning ahead. I counted to 15 before we heard the thunder. Another strike, this time 11. We quickly disconnected our electronic gear, stowing the sattelite phone, hand held gps, navigation dongel, backup disk drive, and notebook computer in the microwave. We stowed the Mac and navigation computer in the oven to protect them from any lightning strikes. For about an hour while the squall blew through dumping rain, we did a white knuckle hand steer. At one point as we were keeping the wind angle on our beam, we were headed in the opposite direction from our course line. The winds were spinning around, and we with them!

When the winds hand blown themselves out and we were in their vacuum, we hustled outside in our rain gear, took down the mizzen and poled in the jib. If this was going to be a squally day, we wanted to reduce sail and just motor. Russ said, he wanted to pretend to be a trawler for awhile. The winds finally spun around in the direction we expected and the sun came out an hour. After reconnecting the electronics, we could relax. Exhausted, we took turns napping in the pilot house like two cats in the sunshine. Our lack of good sleeping is starting to catch up with us.

By late afternoon, the clouds were starting to form again on the horizon. I took a quick 1/2 hour power nap before my 8:00 p.m. watch started, and Russ went down for his sleep time. Since the moon is waning and coming up later each night, I didn't expect to see it until 8:30 or so. I could see a few stars, but really miss the friendly night light. The moon finally rose behind the boat illuminating the horizon, but I didn't like what I saw when it did. Inky black cloud fingers stretched across the sky obscuring the stars.

At 9:30, the sky started to light up, but not from the moon light. The inky fingers had arced from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock on the horizon and were closing in on Worrall Wind. Lightning was dancing across the sky from cloud to cloud. I waited for each lightning flash to see what the cloud cover looked like. The clouds were still in the distance, but the wind was starting to pick up. Maybe this would just pass over us or we could steer around them. I recorded our longitude and latitude, then disconnected all of our electronic gear once again and stowed them in the ovens.

I woke Russ up at 10:00 to see if he wanted me to try and steer around the approaching squall. It looked like if we changed course from southwest to due north, the squall might pass us by. That seemed to work for a while. The clouds and lightning were moving past our port side, but then we could see the black mass starting to wrap on our right side. It was like that black cloud in Lost engulfing us. It sucked out the moonlight and then the lightning that had been horizontally jumping from cloud to cloud came down in a jagged streak a mile or so off our starboard side. The lightning and crack of thunder were almost simultaneous. Holy sh#!!

We couldn't see a thing.  It was either pitch black or blindingly white as the lightening cracked around us.  The wind was reaching 38 knots. We decided the best thing to do now was to resume our original course with the wind right on our nose, and see if we could just plow out of this malignant ugly thing. We were glad to have the jib and mizzen down. It gave us more latitude to stay on course. The rain was fierce. It was very scary!

By 11:30 (1 and 1/2 hours later), it seemed safe enough to retrieve one of the GPS units and get a position fix, and to see how fast we were moving. With the wind, wind waves, and perhaps a current on our nose we were only making forward progress of 2 nautical miles per hour. By 12:30 the black ugly had finally passed us by. By 1:00 p.m. we were back up and running, and Russ went to bed for another couple of hours. It's now almost 3:00 a.m., and I'm ready to switch places with Russ. We are both ready for our voyage to be ending. We still have 150 miles to go! The moon is shining through a veil of clouds on our starboard side. Goodnight moon.

All is well with the 2 Sail R's on SV Worrall Wind

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Worrall Wind Update - Day 4 to Oz

Friday, October 14, 2011
UTC 1400/0000 10/15/2011

Latitude: S 25 07.446
Longitude: E 158 14.846
Course over Ground 250 @ 6.0 knots (motor sailing)
Light winds, 2 meter seas
477 down, 290 miles to go

Another wonderfully uneventful day following the "yellow brick road" to Oz. The sun, clouds, stars, and moon have all made their appearances today as we head west. The swells have grown a little milder this evening with the occasional rollers moving through...no traffic, no wildlife, just miles and miles and miles of water for as far as the eye can see. We've been reading, listening to Philip Pullman's the Subtle Knife, and podcasts. Our current estimated time of arrival is Monday, October 17, early a.m.
All is well with the 2 Sail R's on SV Worrall Wind

Friday, October 14, 2011

Worrall Wind Update- Day 3 to Oz

Thursday, October 13, 2011
UTC 1400/0000 10/14/11

Latitude: S 24 20.962
Longitude: E 160 37.676
345 miles down, 428 more to go!

The wind picked up a bit today, variable from 8-15 knots. It's coming from our port stern. We have the main, mizzen, and jib out and running. The motor is also on around 700 rpm (low). Between the engine and the wind, we are making good time traveling 6-7 knots. Our auto pilot is steering a course right now on the rumb line to Brisbane.

Yesterday was overcast, today we had only about 10 percent cloud cover and rolling swells 1-2 meters from our beam and stern, so we are rocking back and forth as we plow forward. Fortunately, the bigger swells are not constant. With the wind on our tail and beam swell, when the big ones roll through, our sails lose their wind, the boom and whisker pole snaps against their preventers, and then the sails fill again with a pop. We are not gliding through the moonlight quietly. Oz here we come!

All is well with the 2 Sail R's on SV Worrall Wind

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Worrall Wind - Day 2 to Oz

I would be happy if it stayed like this.  Unfortunately, not a lick of wind.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

UTC/Oz Time 1124/2124
Latitude: 23 21.252 S
Longitude: 163 22.l54 E

We have been motoring into calm seas now for 180 miles. The wind has just started to pickup but is still less than 10 knots. With our sails up as a boost we are doing about 6.5-7.0 knots. According to our weather report, the wind should begin to fill in tomorrow and hopefully we can give the motor a rest.

Russ saw a beautiful moonset and sunrise this morning as I slept. The sky was blue with a few wispy clouds and the sea was thalo blue gently undulating satin. We ate our breakfast on the front deck in the morning sun and marveled at the stillness. There were only a few flying fish breaking the water and skittering like starbursts away from the bow of the boat. Ken and Lori on S/V Trim reported seeing a shark circling their boat this morning. We looked hard, but saw nothing. I really enjoy "uneventful". We spent the day relaxing, reading, and napping. Nice!

By late afternoon, we had 100% cloud cover and still no wind. Our thalo blue seas have turned into molten silver.

The four boats that we left New Caledonia have all spread out. The only one we still have a visual on is S/V Regina. They are about 2 miles ahead of us and moving faster as the wind picks up. I expect not to see them when the sun rises tomorrow morning. Trim is off to our starboard in the wild blue yonder and Mewa is several miles behind us.

All is well with the 2 Sail R's on SV Worrall Wind

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Worrall Wind Update - On our way to Oz!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011, 11:00 p.m.

Yesterday we made our rounds to the customs, immigration, and port captain's offices to get our papers stamped, clear out and get our permit for duty free fuel. We spent the afternoon preparing the boat for the sea. After a month in port, there were lots of loose ends that needed strapping, shutting, and tucking away. Our friends, Brian and Claudia on S/V Skylight along with a crew friend Jack left for Oz before noon.

We bade farewell to our yachtie and land friends and enjoyed happy hour at the local pub with Lila and Claus on S/V Comedie, and dinner with Lori and Ken on S/V Trim. Comedie is leaving Wednesday, and Trim was venturing out Tuesday with us along with Danny and crew on S/V Regina, and single-hander Jacob on S/V Mewa.

Our take off was planned late morning on Tuesday. After one last trip to the morning market, coffee with friends Kay and Steffan on S/V Fruity Fruits, and the last gasp on the Internet to check our mail and weather report, we were ready to leave at 12:00 noon. Several folks helped us to cast off. It's always hard to part company with people we have grown fond of and hope to see again in the future.

After a short pit stop to top off the fuel tanks with 400 liters of diesel, we were truly on our way. Trim was anchored outside of the marina temporarily while a little low blew through with 30 knots of wind. The four boats wove their way through the lagoon and islands to Dumbea Pass and started to chase down the sun. Once we were outside of Noumea, the wind died to about 5 knots. The seas are incredibly gentle with less than 1 meter swells. Everyone is motor sailing on slightly different rumb lines. Trim is heading to Bundenberg. The other three of us are heading towards Brisbane. We spent the afternoon chatting on the VHF radio with one another.

GREEN FLASH!
One of the most remarkable sights we have seen at sea is the green flash. I had only seen it once before on the Baja Ha Ha 2009. The conditions were perfect today for one to occur. The sun was setting over a calm sea with few clouds on the horizon. Just as the sun dips out of sight, a visual phenomenon occurs. Russ and I had our eyes glued to the setting sun and then.....there it was. The best green flash ever. A greenish glow arcs around the sun and when it dips POP! a bright green flash like a camera flash goes off. Amazing. What a treat to see.
Moments Before the Green Flash!  
It's now almost midnight, I'm sitting in the pilot house with both doors open and the skylight slid back. The weather is gorgeous, the sea is calm, and the moon is full. This is what we "signed up" for! Our first day of 12 hours is nearing and end, and we have progressed about 60 miles on our 800 miles journey. The wind is supposed to fill in tomorrow, and we hope to turn the motor off and do some sailing. But for right now, I'm loving these conditions.

All is well with the 2 Sail R's on SV Worrall Wind

Monday, October 10, 2011

Leaving New Caledonia for OZ, Today Tuesday, October 11

Today's the day!  We are ready to go.  The weather looks good.  We'll keep in touch via radio submissions to blog. We hope to arrive in Brisbane early next week.

All is Well with the 2 Sail R's on Worrall Wind

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Waiting for Great Sailing Weather to Australia

New Caledonia Sunset
All footprints in the sand are subject to the incoming tide.  Looks like our optimistic plans to get to Brisbane in time for a scheduled flight home are subject to the incoming tide.

Unfortunately, we will need to postpone and reschedule our trip to California a bit as the weather window is not cooperating for a departure from New Caledonia to Australia for several days.  It's disappointing as we hoped to attend a high school class reunion, but first things first.....and that's getting to Australia in one piece and with peace of mind.  We want a great sail to cap the season!  After our last trip, we need an excellent trip.

Deciding to go or not to go always seems to be a dilemma, so we sought marine weather expertise from professionals and got the report this morning. It pretty much confirmed what we had seen on the weather maps.   Had we been able to leave by October 6, our time frame would be in tact, but no, that's not to be, and we refuse to push it.   Thought you as vicarious crew would like to see what a report looks like.
We usually find that reports are understated and plan for 40% more to the extreme.

Dear Rozlynn and Russell, departure on the 6th looks rough at the end of your trip.

Summary:

1) as in your previous experiences, the latest forecast model consensus shows departure from Noumea around 00utc on Thursday, the 6th, and your trip toward Brisbane in some shifty but favorable conditions until your last 48 hours
  • then expecting a strong cold front to push E-NE off the Aussie coast with SW winds forecast to build to 20-30kts during your last 24 hours toward Brisbane and building seas up to at least 8-10ft out of the S-SW
2) presently, a weakening low (around 998MB) is spiraling just W of Auckland
  • keeping a strong S-SW wind and swell between Brisbane and Noumea

3) during Wed and Thurs, the 5th and 6th, utc time, high pressure is forecast to slide E off the eastern Aussie coast
  • which will help to ease the winds and seas along your route
  • probably easing these winds to light and variable during Friday the 7th as you would pass through the center of the high pressure
4) in this very active weather pattern, we are expecting 2 lows/cold fronts to push off the central Aussie coast from this weekend into the beginning of next week
  • by 00utc on Saturday the 8th, the first low is forecast to organize near Coffs Harbour, building and backing the winds from the N to the NW, along your route
  •  think these winds speeds will average between 10-20kts with seas up to 6-8ft
  • which should be manageable with the correct routing
5) but the main concern for departure from Noumea at the end of this week is the second low/cold front
  • the low is forecast to push just E of Sydney around 18utc on Monday the 10th
  • by 00utc on the 11th, the low is expected to slide to the SE as the cold front pushes just E of Brisbane
  • probably bringing W-SW winds of 20-30kts offshore of Brisbane as you are about 24 hours out of Brisbane
  • and building the seas to at least 8-10ft in the blustery conditions
6) took a look at delaying your departure about 24 hours but this would only put you into the gusty SW winds and seas for a longer period of time

7) we can take another look at the weather window beginning next week.  Let us know what you would like to do.  
**********

Test your weather skills and see if you can find us the right conditions!

If you are interested in taking a look at a more graphic picture of the forecast, we've been connecting to the Aussie government site.  The interactive maps forecast a model for about 5 days.  We use these 3 charts primarily:  1) combined sea and swell (light to dark blue is good, greens and beyond not so good)  We would also prefer a swell from the southeast (stern quarter push) rather than from the south (beam rollers), pressure and precipitation (nice consistent high - no rain or squalls), wind direction and speed maps (looking for 15-25 knots of wind from the southeast).  

We also look at the 4 day forecast charts.  Tuesday of next week is beginning to look good as a takeoff point.  Note the wind and sea swell direction.  Won't know what the end trip will look like until we get closer to Tuesday though.  Keep a watch on it for us and let us know when you would leave.

So for right now, we're hanging around and enjoying the sights!  We've posted some new photos of New Caledonia explorations.  

All is well with the 2 Sail R's on S/V Worrall Wind