Sailing away…

Sunday 24 February 2019

Mickey’s Bay, Bruny Island

It was the first morning aboard Chimere for John and Jacqui and the day just happened to dawn sunny, still and warm. 

For John it wasn’t strictly his first time on Chimere.  That was back in 2013 when he volunteered to sail as crew from Melbourne to Sydney and from there to Vanuatu as part of that year’s Medical Sailing Ministries (www.msm.org.au) mission

The “BEFORE” shot … Rob, John, Ray, Isabel and Jacqui

Given we had just hours before untying the lines, we all took advantage of the onshore marina facilities.  Ship-board life would be occupying the next 3 weeks and although Chimere offers all the comforts of home, including a hot shower, there’s still nothing quite like a land-based toilet and shower.

Our original plan was to get away as early as possible, ensuring we made it as far down the D’Entrecasteaux Channel as possible before dark; our jumping-off point to venturing around the south-west cape and heading up the rugged and exposed west coast of Tassie.  Due to the “issues” we had experienced with the autohelm, however, and the fact that a technician called Jeff had offered to drop in on Sunday – today – to give our system a “once-over”, we thought it prudent to wait a few extra hours. 

This turned out to be the right thing to do.  Not that Jeff could find anything drastically wrong with the current settings and configuration, but “to be sure” … he re-set the machine’s “memory” of exactly where the centreline of the boat was, along with full-lock to port and then back to starboard … so it would know its reference parameters.

That all sounds like I know what I’m talking about … but in reality, I rely on the buttons basically doing what they are supposed to do, and don’t venture too far off the standard menu.

Prior to this we’d waved good-bye to Murray Ogden, husband of Liz and the vital component of the whole venture, who will be spending the next week working his way north and seeing the sights.

Waving good-bye to Murray
Murray and the transport head off
John’s first night aboard … in the workroom cabin
Johnny the meerkat … poking his head out of his bunk…

After dropping Jeff back at the wharf we wasted no time in motoring out into the Derwent and then down the bay towards the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

Around this time a pile of sandwiches appeared from the galley and after a few hours … pancakes with lashings of jam. Isabel had quite obviously been reading from the “How to Care For Your Crew” book, although I’m sure she could write her own.

We drove in close by Hobart town on the way south, and soon after were sailing past the Lady Nelson and Windward Bound – two local tall ships.

Ray checks out the day’s cruise ship in the harbour
The start of the journey with a close drive-by of Hobart town

Heading further south the weather remained amazing – sunny, calm seas and breezy – although the southerly that was supposed to be a north easterly was a bit frustrating for a time, until it decided to do the right thing and blow in from behind. The conditions allowed us to also hoist “the big one” and for a considerable period of time we were topping 7.5 and 8.0 knots. And that’s without the engine ticking over in the background

Flat seas, a steady 15 knot breeze up the tail enabled us to hoist “the big one”
Time to relax on the foredeck as the night’s anchorage gets closer

After about 6 hours of sailing and motoring we finally dropped anchor in Mickey’s Bay … where we’d anchored a week before … and the site of the bush fire a couple of days later.

Within 15 minutes of anchoring the call for dinner rang out with an amazing spread laid out, topped off with freshly baked apple crumble and ice-cream

Tomorrow we will venture further south, with the hope of making it around the bottom on account of a favourable weather forecast. How far we get, and where we stay will definitely be a case of … “depends” … so stay tuned for the next installment.

South a few miles more to Mickey’s Bay doing 8.3 knots

On that point, access to the internet will become limited as we venture further into the remote south west, so I’ll apologise now in advance for the expected break in communications

Sharing the Mickey’s Bay anchorage with friends of a friend … aboard their motor boat, Windward Passage
The sun goes to bed over the stern
Nearly gone for another day …

I’ll try and get some texts and photos out where possible and my ever-supportive son, Matt, has promised to upload whatever information he can.

Till next time

Smooth seas, fair breeze and sailing away

Rob Latimer

Early sailing experiences … Rob and friends, including flatmate and current Chimere sailing “volunteer” John Land, at university near Christchurch NZ… (1981)

Taking out friends in winter on Akaroa Harbour … 1981
Launch day of our small dinghy, 1981, Lake Forsyth, NZ
Rob in winter, running a sailing “camp” for fellow uni. students on Akaroa Harbour
John Land and Rob sailed together on Akaroa and Lytleton Harbour NZ. Here we wake up to a lovely NZ farm scene

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