South for the long weekend

With the public holiday for Australia Day falling on a Thursday, it made sense to take Friday off (easy for me as I don’t work on Fridays!) and make it a long weekend for a cruise. We took our time on Thursday morning, packing, provisioning and driving to the boat. It was windy, and as we stowed everything on board we kept the wind instrument on to check – it was gusting to over 30 knots in the marina! On our drive we had seen a few boats sailing down the Derwent amidst the white-caps. We were ready to go by late morning, but decided to eat lunch on board and wait for the wind to abate. It didn’t. So we made ourselves ready and waited for a lull to make the dash out of the marina pen and avoid being blown into any other boats. Fortunately Hughie and Julie, who were out for a walk, happened to come past and gave us a helpful shove. We were off.

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With just the two of us we didn’t want to bother with hoisting the mainsail in the strong wind, and it wasn’t abeam of us enough to set the headsail easily, so we just motored down the river. Near the John Garrow light we passed Don’t Bug Me, their crew cheerfully sailing for the finish line after a long night to Zuidpool Rock and back. After we had passed Blackmans Bay Derek took a nap and I navigated us into the Channel. Here the wind changed a little again, funnelling up the Channel and across from Northwest Bay. We’ve named Piersons Point, on the Tinderbox side of the Channel entrance, Dodgy Point, as the winds here are always fickle! We continued on into the wind past Kettering, successfully avoiding the two vehicular ferries doing a roaring trade taking holiday-makers over to the island and island dwellers elsewhere!

Just past Apollo Bay we could turn further to port, and the wind came more abeam, so I unfurled a small headsail to help us across to Simpsons Point. The wind was quite strong coming up from the South, but tucked away around the corner of the point we had flat water and a peaceful anchorage to spend the night with only a handful of other boats dotted along the shoreline. We roasted vegetables and barbequed steak under the watchful gaze of Fluted Cape from the south and Kunanyi (Mt Wellington) from the north.

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