Thursday, 24 May 2012

Bass Strait crossing

With a favourable four day forecast we decided to leave Wineglass Bay early Friday morning and get a head start on the trip. As I retrieved the anchor I notice a large clump of what I though was the usual seaweed attached but was very surprised when it got closer. It was in fact a large reddish brown Octopus which was comfortably wrapped around our anchor. He didn't really want to budge but eventually woke and shot off. The rest of the day went down hill from there. Instead of the 15-20 knots NW-W we were expecting we got 20 - 25 knots of North - dead on the nose, unsailable and with a head on 2-3m steep wave pattern. It was very uncomfortable and slow. We had to bail out and found shelter at a small bay called Long Point where we anchored for the night and got some much needed rest from a tiring effort.

The forecast for Saturday was better but we were a little cautious as to how accurate it would be but unfortunately there is only one way to test the accuracy of the forecast. We were in luck this time and had 15-20 knots Westerly on the beam which BV loves. With a gentle following swell we managed to keep up 6-7 knots for much of the day. At night the wind died right off so we had to motor sail for a few hours but it finally came back early in the morning. Again we were able sail quite fast as the wind built up to 25 knots at times. Later we decided to pull in the Genoa and run with a reefed main and inner stay sail as she was getting a bit hard to handle and we needed some rest. Soon after the wind died off and we were forced motorsail once again. The weather had been upgraded and we were expecting 30-35 knots and 3m plus seas right behind us so the decision was made to motorsail through the night and keep the speed up  - we needed to get as far from the bad weather as possible.

It worked, perhaps a little too well. By the next morning there was no wind and very little swell - amazing conditions really considering where we were. At this point we figured we would make Eden by about 8:00PM and it would be dark - not good. We talked to Marine Rescue Eden and consulted our guides, charts and Google Earth. Although we avoid night anchorages as much as possible - especially ones we have never visited - we decided that this one should be safe enough to attempt with a couple backup options. We were pleasantly surprised upon arriving to find the pier well lit and a berth right at the end perfect for an easy berthing. You have to get lucky some times.

More on Eden Later.

A quick video of the Octopus on our anchor chain at Wineglass Bay

Video from our second day offshore when we were pushing ourselves and the boat pretty hard under full sail to stay ahead of the weather. Sea state was pretty comfortable at this point and we are doing 6 or 7 knots on a beam reach.


  1. Hi there, looks like you enjoyed your trip across, how do you like Eden? we are still in Sydney most likely leave on Monday for Pittwater. All the best from Cheryl

  2. Hi Cheryl. Yup, it was a pretty good crossing, all in all. We will probably stay here until mid week and then get a move on ourselves. Safe sailing - hope we catch up to you soon!

    1. Oh, and Eden is lovely! Although we got knocked around last night in the South Westerly weather so we moved over to East Boyd Bay today to sit out the rest of the gale.