Qld cyclone flogged the Fitzroy River

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Qld cyclone flogged the Fitzroy River

Postby Troppo » Sat Feb 28, 2015 5:31 pm

I don't know how much the news down south covered the cyclone that came ashore just north of Rockhampton, but it flogged the river. About a dozen boats have sunk. About a dozen more ended up on the shore. Some of these have been floated off. Some are pushed so far into the mangroves that it will take another flood to lift them out.

The winds of 200km/hr, or whatever they were, brought down a massive number of trees around Rockhampton, destroyed several hundred houses, downed 1,800 powerlines. I am just talking Rockhampton, not the other places like Yeppoon. Those sort of winds along with the rain did not do the boats on the river much good.

Winchaser is relatively unscathed. I had taken the sails off some time back and she had been as ready as I could make her. Fuel, food and water if needed to stay on board. Through-hulls closed. The mooring she is on is very solid so I knew that would not move but was unsure if the rope would chafe through, it did not. I completely forgot about the solar panel. It's gone.

After the cyclone, as the river started to rise with flood from upstream, I motored her down and around the corner, anchored her close to the shore out of the main flow of current. Put a secondary anchor going out to the side and forward just to stop her being blown into the bank. Was happy she was safely out of the way. She was not.

Heaps of other boats had dragged. Some sunk.

At dusk that day, I got a call on mobile [lucky to get through as many towers down and little reception] that two big boats dragging down from town had taken Windchaser with them. Out on the water in my dinghy, the current was fierce, the weed thick and the logs big.

Found Windchaser about a 1/2 km down from the safe spot I left her. The other boats had dragged when the weed and logs built up enough on their mooring chains to drag. Some people could not get down and look after their boats. Others just did not care. The two boats had bumped Windchaser but snagged my second anchor. So Windchaser was dragged along from the second anchor while the primary anchor hung on and slowed them down. That would have been pulling the bow down.

That's the short form of a long story. I guess I am lucky to still have Windchaser even if she needs some hull repairs, new solar panel and new second anchor.


[I still don't have power to my house. Neighbours do, so have some power coming across via an extension cord. Have a battery running my modem and 'netbook recharging from a mess of cables inside the house. My house is fine.]
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Re: Qld cyclone flogged the Fitzroy River

Postby Troppo » Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:38 pm

Some pics from the Fitzroy River.

L: sunk & on bank. M: sunk against wharf (just see white top). R: blue boat with mast smashed off. Oh, just behind blue boat, white boat on rocks
sunk1.jpg (288.99 KiB) Viewed 2070 times

s cyclone_054.jpg
Lost in the mangroves
s cyclone_054.jpg (380.07 KiB) Viewed 2070 times
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Re: Qld cyclone flogged the Fitzroy River

Postby Phillip » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:46 pm

Glad to hear you made it OK Louis.

You must be getting the hang of this flood thing now.

Do you know yet if the river silted up after this flood?

One question, how long does it take to motor up to Rocky?

I'll PM you when I get closer sometime in May/June.
A 1969 Mark 1

Home port is at Dunbogan on the Camden Haven Inlet, Laurieton NSW
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Re: Qld cyclone flogged the Fitzroy River

Postby Troppo » Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:22 am

As you say Phillip, I am getting the hang of this flood thing. The problem that nearly sunk Windchaser this time was the other boats that were loose, and there was a heap of them. I am not sure what I can do to avoid them.

I don't know what has happened to the river in regard to silt. The Fitzroy River has always been very shallow and tricky to navigate, I have read some of its history and always been a problem. However, there are always channels somewhere and nothing like a bar at the mouth that you have to cross.

It takes about five or six hours at 5 knots to come up the river from the mangrove islands at the mouth. The usual approach coming in from outside means you would be crossing the bay from Curtis Island, which I guess is still part of the river mouth, and you can add 2 1/2 hours for that.

My GPS also does depth and I gather data every trip which I add to my home-made charts. I have done more surveying and overnight stays in various anchorages in the river than many people. That's because most of them don't stop in the river, they go over to the islands with the coral reefs.

So, if you want to come up the Fitzroy River, I can provide a heap of information.


s cyclone_166.jpg
We always park our boats like this. It's a bush equivalent of a marina.
s cyclone_166.jpg (417.63 KiB) Viewed 2063 times

s cyclone_160.jpg
One way to stop the barnacles and weed from growing is don't leave your boat in the water
s cyclone_160.jpg (370.7 KiB) Viewed 2063 times
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