Felissity's Cruise Around Bass Strait

Felissity's Cruise Around Bass Strait

Postby lockie » Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:14 pm

Hi Top Hatters. I figured the story of my recent Bass Strait cruise would be eligible for the forum, since I was fortunate to have as crew for part of the trip Steve McConnell, a Melbourne TH owner and member of this forum. And of course Compass 28's are not that far removed from TH's.

So here it is........

Tuesday 11 March: Sandringham - Stanley
We departed Sandringham at10.10 am and motored for a couple of hours till we had enough wind to raise sail. Steve was happy to remain in the cockpit, so I had the unaccustomed luxury of time to organise below without going on deck every 10 minutes. It was an uneventful trip down Port Philip via the Western Channel.
Conditions looked benign enough to safely sail through the Heads (although I'd warmed the engine up as a precaution), but as luck would have it a strong rain squall hit just as we went through, so it was a mad scramble to start the engine and furl the jib. Of course immediately after we'd exited the wind and rain disappeared, so more motoring through patches of rain and thunder and lightning, some alarmingly close. Around 8 pm, we raised the main with 2 reefs and were zipping along into a 15 knot SSW at around 5.5 knots through the night.

Wednesday 12 March: Sandringham - Stanley
As the wind increased, in went the third reef, and more jib furled. We were amazed at how well Felissity behaved with the far-from ideal part-furled foresail. I had considered dropping the No. 1 and raising the No. 2, but conditions didn't seem to warrant the effort (and as per conventional reefing wisdom I would regret this later). We pushed on through the night taking 3 hour watches, with Felissity and the autohelm doing a remarkable job. As the seas built, we were soon climbing up and sometimes falling off 4 metre waves. Occasionally the swell and wind waves would combine to play nasty tricks on us, and dump a few bucketfuls of water into the cockpit, or into my face as I cautiously stuck my head out of the shelter of the dodger. About this time I discovered old deck leaks that I thought I'd fixed long ago reasserting themselves, along with a couple of new ones. So part of my off-watch time was spent moving bedding, clothes and my guitar around, and swabbing wet areas. Bugger! Felissity has a couple of leaks that have confounded me for years - I'd reduced but not quite eliminated them, and here they were back to haunt me. With the autohelm working non-stop and dealing with being knocked off course by the waves, the battery voltage was trending down so we ran the engine for a while to top it up and see us through till daylight. As the wind rounded more southerly, we were having trouble staying on course for Stanley in NW Tasmania (should have changed to the #2 when I had the chance), so about 7pm we decided to drop sail and motor to Stanley. The loss of the sails and heading into the weather made this a far less comfortable experience.

Thursday 13 March: Stanley
Berthing in Stanley's harbour at 1am and enjoying Felissity being (a) horizontal and (b) stationary for the first time in almost 40 hours, was a great relief. It had been a memorable and enjoyable crossing, with the log showing 196 nautical miles, averaging 5.4 knots, but Steve and I were delighted to stop. I took 10 minutes in the cockpit with a celebratory scotch and cigar, then slept the sleep of the dead. Today was rest day - hot shower, walk around Stanley, lunch at nice bistro, bbq steak dinner, more sleep.

Friday 14 March: Hunter and Three Hummock Islands
Steve departed for Melbourne via bus and plane, while I sailed off to the Hunter group of islands, about 70km North West of Stanley. It was good sailing, and I fetched up anchored in idyllic Shepherd's Bay on Hunter Island, where a sunny break and the sense of isolation encouraged me to inflate the dinghy and go ashore for a walk and swim: real Robinson Crusoe stuff. Sadly a forecast wind change then forced me back across to another bay on Three Hummock Island where I anchored for the night.

Saturday 15 March: Stanley
The alarm went off at 6.20 am so I could catch the VHF radio weather forecast. It was pretty grim: rain and strong winds up to 30 knots after today, so I decided to head back to Stanley. At least I'd had my couple of idyllic hours at Shepherds Bay. Winds have been nothing like those advised by Mary in her Smithton marine weather radio forecast: started off light NE, then stronger NW, now light E. Crazy stuff. After I berthed at Stanley, I was warned by another yachtsman of waves through the harbour entrance likely to affect me as the weather built, so I moved to the unloading berth and was warned by the harbourmaster that I may have to move if a fishing boat came in.

Sunday 16 March: Stanley
Had a good sleep and moved to another berth after a boat came in to unload. I waited for a calm, but just my darned luck a squall hit as I was moving out and swung the bow around, and I narrowly avoided bashing Felissity into another fishing boat and the breakwater rocks. Minor damage to one stanchion. Phew! Tied up on another vacant berth, and hope I don't have to move again. Weather is patchy cloud and rain.
Well I did have to move and am now rafted up to a trawler, and I don’t want to move again! But it's calm and I can relax. Hard yakka this sailing caper, especially solo.

Monday 17 March: Stanley - Table Cape
Good sleep, weather no better. Was about to set off to town when asked to move to another berth by yet another trawler. Bugger! Anyway, settled now and waiting for a break in the weather to head to town for lunch and some time away from my little fibreglass world. The weather is so bad the fishing boats are all heading in for cover and no-one's leaving. The winds are forecast to drop below 20 knots tomorrow, and if so I'll be heading off.
After enjoying a couple of hours seeing the town, I was resting aboard when the old bloke whose boat I was berthed next to grizzled at me about my lines touching his. After 4 moves I wasn't too happy about another, so with the wind moderating, I said farewell to Stanley (in monosyllables) and headed off. I intended to anchor at Rocky Cape a couple of hours East, but with a 15 knot following wind and moderate conditions, it looked worthwhile to keep going and I dropped the hook at Table Cape, another 12 miles further on. This suited me, as I want to get along the north coast as quickly as I can, since my Stanley layover has eaten into my time, such that I was on the point of abandoning the Flinders Island/Wilson's Prom Route, and settling for a return via King Island, which would have been pretty disappointing. The anchorage was nicely sheltered, but fairly rolly due to waves refracting around the cape, and the tide keeping Felissity at odd angles.

Tuesday 17 March: Table Cape - Devonport
After literally "rolling around all night", I set off at 7.30, motoring due to no wind. The forecast is for strong winds up to 25 knots, but there's nothing as of 8.30am so I'm happy to keep going. I can pop into Burnie in a couple of hours if it gets up, and then another couple of hours later I can shelter at Ulverstone if required, so I'm confident I'll be fine. In any case, running downwind in 25 knots with just a little bit of jib out is no big deal for Felissity.
It turned out to be a pretty easy day's sail - running on the jib to near Devonport, when I started the motor for the run up the Mersey to the yacht club, where I berthed for the night. My timing was excellent, as the wind really started to kick up just as I turned into the river. Purely due to good management of course, not pot luck.
I spent a pleasant afternoon shopping for provisions, washing and drying all my clothes, having a hot shower, and enjoying a beer in the bar yarning with the local old salts. And watching a very large fancy yacht get itself messed up trying to berth in the strong tidal flow. Not that I wished them any ill-will, but it makes a nice change to be the watcher of a botched-up berthing, instead of the watched.

Wednesday 19 March: Devonport – Waterhouse Island
Oh boy, waking up at 4.15am is hard, but necessary to make sure I reached tonight's anchorage in daylight. So after negotiating the tricky tidal stream at the Mersey Yacht club marina, and succeeding in not banging into the big fancy yacht next to me, I headed down the Mersey and out into Bass Strait, greeting the incoming Spirit of Tasmania on the way.
The day was a pretty easy one: 15 knot westerly, more or less constant in both strength and direction. Once again I just ran on the jib all the way. I did try the main briefly, but with the autohelm fighting heaps of weather helm, and the jib just flapping about, there was no point.
It was a fairly uneventful day, as the coast slipped by and I passed a couple of small islands, and was passed by a fishing trawler. I spent much of the day dozing or reading for 20 minutes at a time till roused by the kitchen timer to go on deck and have a squiz around. Despite the bright sunshine, the chilly westerly blowing straight into the cockpit kept me seeking warmth below.
By 5pm I was at Waterhouse Island, and had a bumpy ride for a short while around its northern extent, where the tidal current met the westerly swell. Now I'm securely anchored in a little cove under the lighthouse, and the pasta is boiling away. The island has been grazed to almost nothing. There are a few Cape Barren geese around, but little else.

Thursday 20 March: Waterhouse Island – Lady Barron (Flinders Island)
I endured a pretty rolly night, with my little bay not quite large enough to stop the waves as they rounded the headland. I must work on my "flopper stopper". This is a board hung over the side, which has a weight at one end which pulls it down when the boat rolls in one direction, and a rope harness that makes it flatten out and resist being pulled up as the boat rolls the other way. Anyway, that's sailing for you: if you want a good sleep, stay home.
I discovered Felissity's house battery (which powers the instruments, lights etc) had decided to chuck in the towel and die. Now this could get serious: if I were to use the engine battery in its place, with not enough sun for the solar panels to cover the power usage while I'm sailing, I might flatten it and not be able to start the engine. Potential big problem! However once I gained mobile coverage from Flinders Island later in the day, I was able to Google the local garage, and call him to confirm I could get a brand new fully charged battery delivered to the wharf in the morning. How good is that?
Anyway, up anchor and off we went motoring against a light northerly wind towards Flinders Island. I regretted leaving Waterhouse without going ashore, as it looked worth exploring, but it was a very cold morning and not a great day for walking around.
The first 2/3 of the way was unremarkable except for passing a fishing boat and the Flinders Island cargo boat. Then I entered the Franklin Sound, which is the body of water between the two major islands of the Furneaux Group, Flinders and Cape Barren. At this time the wind dropped and the sun came out, and I took in the spectacular sights of the rugged peaks of Flinders and Cape Barren and the myriad smaller islands in the sound, all surrounded by water reflecting the perfect blue sky. Then just to make it all even better, a school of dolphins cavorted around Felissity for a short time. Great stuff.
The channel through to Lady Barron (Flinders Island's port) is very convoluted as it snakes between islands and around various shoals and reefs, but I'd entered the various waypoints into the OpenCPN navigation software on my netbook, so I had a nice clear graphic display of where I was in relation to all these dangers. I did note that a few of the leads differed from the description in the Brettingham-Moore “Cruising Tasmania” book, reflecting the years that have passed since its publication. Apart from this, I found the guide to be accurate and useful, but if I was doing this trip again, I’d look into the more recent publication from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.
By 4.30 I was rafted up on the town jetty against a fishing boat that I was assured was not going anywhere. After securing the boat, I made my weary way to the Furneaux Tavern, a pub overlooking the sound. Weariness soon won out after a couple of beers and a plate of scallops, and I settled into one of their rooms for the night, where I slumbered blissfully on a bed that, miraculously, did not move all night, nor need its mooring lines checked.

Friday 21 March: Lady Barron
After breakfast, the battery was delivered by a friendly bloke from the garage, who kindly drove me to the local shop to get some cash and fill a couple of jerry cans with diesel. Then I filled the water tanks from the tap on the jetty, and enjoyed the replenishment of those essential commodities: diesel, water and electricity. The local policeman came along and after a chat offered to take me along on his weekly look-see tour of the island. We spent four hours driving around the entire island, with plenty of knowledgeable commentary from Matt the copper, and fascinating stories of his previous stints as a police diver and under-cover operative. Some of the scenery was breath-taking, as was my envy of some of the holiday shacks tucked away in gorgeous little bays.

After my return to the boat the wind kicked up fierce and it was time to hunker down, barbecue the flathead I'd bought at the butcher, read, and watch another episode of Monty Python on the computer while Felissity danced like a mad thing on the waves.

Saturday 22 March
This morning's quest was for drinking water: it turns out the tap water on the wharf, which I had used to fill the tank in the keel, is not recommendded for drinking, but there's no sign advising visitors. Nice one Lady Barron! I found this out just after I'd dumped about 80 litres of nice clean Devonport water. I had 20 litres of good Devonport water left in one jerry can, and another jerry can which I wanted to fill with tank water (which is what the locals drink). A couple of people I asked were very iffy about helping me - I think the bloke at the general store wanted me to buy his bottled stuff. Finally I asked one of the abalone divers on the wharf, who said he was headed home and would fill my jerry can and drop it back later. So instead of 150 litres of drinkable water I ended up with 40, which should do if I'm careful.
None of the locals seemed too clear on what was actually wrong with the water, suggesting it should be boiled. Later on I managed to chat to one of the local water authority blokes, who explained that the water is from bores, and the problem is not microbes but the presence of lead. He claimed the lead content is sometimes slightly over the recommended level: not what you’d want to live on, but probably ok for a short time, and certainly not fixed by boiling. The water had an unappealing brown tinge and strong mineral taste, so visitors beware.
The rest of the day was spent either resting or doing a few minor maintenance jobs.
Later on, some of the Russians Matt had told me about converged on the wharf for some fishing. Apparently a Russian consortium has bought nearby Vansittart Island, and flies wannabe Vlad Putins all the way here for huntin' and fishin' holidays. They also come and fish on the main island.

Sunday 23 March: Lady Barron – Babel Island
I headed off hoping to get out of Franklin Sound and into clear water for a run up the west coast of Flinders Island. However, the wind and tide combined to make that an impossibility. Had I headed off during the early morning calm, instead of sleeping in and enjoying a nice leisurely breakfast, I'd have gotten out in time, but there you go.
So I headed east out past the aptly named Pot Boil Shoal. This was also quite difficult and rough, as there was a tide running. As I went through the shallowest part, shown as 3 metres on the chart, the depth reading went down quickly and at one stage briefly indicated zero metres under the keel! This was pretty worrying, and quite a mystery, as I was smack in the centre of the lead-light’s white sector which meant I should have had plenty of depth. Fortunately there were no bumps on sand or crashes on rocks, and the reading quickly went back to what I expected. It was a puzzle: in the past the reading has been affected by turbidity when there’s too much stirred-up sand in the water, but it has always indicated this with a line of hyphens, not zero depth!
Nevertheless I got through and set sail up the east coast. It was a full-on difficult day's sailing, with nasty choppy seas and the wind too close on the nose for any relaxation. So by the time I dropped anchor off the beach just south of Babel Island, I was totally knackered. After a consolatory scotch and cigar, followed by a tired-man's (ie very basic) dinner, it was lights out at 8.30.

Monday 24 March: Babel Island - Palana
This morning's sailing was champagne-style, the sort you see in those ads for the big fancy European yachts. You know the ones - the skipper is a smooth 30-something bloke, and the crew is a gorgeous woman, both totally relaxed, sun shining, sails full, seas calm, total serenity. Yes, that's how it was for a few hours today (except for the fancy yacht, smooth bloke and gorgeous woman) and it was glorious.
Those are the times that keep you coming back for more expense and hard work. But what the ads don't show is the other 95% of sailing, where you're working frantically trying to get sails up or down, or trim them so the boat keeps sailing despite the fickle wind changes, or free a jammed line, or the rough seas, or the pounding of the diesel through glassy calms, or the relentless fatigue.
But I digress. To get to my safe anchorage for the night I had to go west through a passage between East Sister Island and Flinders. Wind-over-tide (tide running to the west and the wind blowing to the east) was kicking up some pretty nasty short peaky waves. The complicated underwater topology of varying depths added to the mix, and I went through some fairly spectacular overflows and past a largish whirlpool. With the engine assisting, and Felissity's stable hull, there was no real danger but it was certainly stirring stuff, reminiscent of the Rip at Port Philip Heads.
After that, it was just a matter of following the chart into the bay at Palana, at the northerm tip of Flinders Island, and dropping the anchor for the night. I'd visited this bay on land during my tour with Matt the copper, and admired the dozen or so holiday shacks. They looked even more appealing from the water, each with their own million-dollar ocean views.

Tuesday 25 March: Palana – Deal Island
Another sunny day, this time quite a bit warmer. Most of the day I was running before the wind. Initially I had the jib poled out, but then I got inspired and managed to get the spinnaker up. Raising a spinnaker solo can be a challenge, but it went up with no real hassles. Unfortunately the wind gradually eased and for a few hours the boat was being corkscrewed around by the following seas, while the sails slatted and flapped. Luckily I was being carried along by the flood tide, which added about a knot most of the way. Deal Island gradually came up on the horizon looking wild and spectacular: exactly how you'd imagine a wild wind-swept Bass Strait island should look. I motored down Murray Pass, between Deal and Erith Islands, and anchored in the nice calm waters of East Cove.
The sun was out so I launched the inflatable and headed for the beach, then walked up to meet the caretakers. Mick and Fiona had arrived with their two young daughters two weeks ago for their three month volunteer stint. They are provided with a house with solar power and LPG gas to keep up the comfort level. Sounds like a great way to take a break.

Wednesday 26 March: Deal Island
After two busy days of sailing, it was time for an R&R day , so I enjoyed a slow lazy morning and after lunch walked the steep 3 km track to the lighthouse. This lighthouse was decommissioned in the 1990's, part of the reason being its great height on the peak of Deal Island. Paradoxically this high location was originally chosen in the 1800's as it was believed the elevation would ensure its visibility over great distances. However it is so high that it is frequently obscured by cloud, often in bad weather when mariners have the greatest need of its assistance.
The views were incredible - all the way to Flinders Island, and had the day been clearer, Wilson's Prom would have been visible in the other direction.

Thursday 27 March: Deal Island – Refuge Cove (Wilson’s Prom)
My sleep was broken by anchor drag alarms. Luckily there was no dragging - these alarms were probably due to the GPS to having trouble getting adequate satellite signals for a fix, which I’d noticed during the day. Oh well, better to be tired from getting up to check than to drift out onto the rocks whilst deeply asleep. Morning came and I waited for the rain to stop, then left at 8 am around the south end of the island. It took a good hour or more to get clear of the eddying and confused waves and wind caused by the islands. Up went the sails: #2 jib and 3 reefs in the main.
With a following sea, it was a rough ride as we corkscrewed along with the autohelm working hard. It started making nasty noises, like plastic gears slipping, so I dropped the main and nursed it along until it quit altogether. This was very unfortunate as it meant I would have to hand-steer the entire day. The following sea meant that if I let go of the tiller for more than a few seconds, the boat would slew around and lurch out of control, broadside to the waves. No time for a cuppa, rest or anything else.
I had intended to head round the Prom and overnight in Oberon Bay, but had to consider fatigue so I hand-steered the seven hours to Refuge Cove. The dolphins displayed a wicked sense of humour by coming out to play, but I had no time to enjoy or photograph them! Perhaps they were attracted along with the many gulls & storm petrels clustering around the seals feeding on schools of fish.
I reached Refuge Cove as the light faded, and since it was my first visit, had trouble finding it in the gloom, before the automatic beacon on the headland lit up. Then with a great sigh of relief, I anchored in nice calm water in the south east corner, and slept like a log.

Friday 28 March: Refuge Cove - Philip Island
Departing Refuge at 8 am, I was encouraged by the weather forecast of southwesterlies, which might give me a chance of some respite from steering.
Before I could enjoy that though, I had to endure a quite horrible passage around Wilson's Prom and through the Glennie Islands. What with the combination of an easterly swell left over from the previous days’ wind meeting the normal Bass Strait southwesterly swell, plus the wind waves, plus an east-going ebb tide, not to mention the effects of funnelling and reflections of wind and waves around the islands and cape, progress was very rough and slow even with mainsail up and engine flat out.
I finally cleared the Glennies and luxuriated in a broad reach to Walkerville, with the sails and tiller needing only occasional attention, and made 6 knots most of the way.
At Walkerville South, I picked up Steve as he rowed out from the beach in his inflatable dinghy, and we headed off around Cape Liptrap bound for Philip Island.
It was a great relief to once more have Steve's very capable sailing skills and convivial company (not to mention his assistance with steering). Shortly after we rounded Liptrap, the wind died so we motor sailed most of the way to Cleeland Bight at east end of Philip Island, and picked up a public mooring at about 2am. For me, a very long tiring day since starting from Refuge Cove at 8 am.

Saturday 29 March: Philip Island - Sandringham
Our much-needed sleep was interrupted by the Parks Victoria mooring buoy banging against the hull as the tide and wind shifted. After three tries to stop it we cast off and drifted away, then dropped the anchor and enjoyed peace and quiet, interrupted barely a couple of hours later by Felissity rolling as other boats, probably the local fishing boats, headed out to sea.
At 9.45 am we began the final leg, motoring through fading winds and a glassy sea.
Our entry to Port Philip Heads at 5.30 pm was through choppy waves, as we were only an hour after maximum ebb, but the low winds and keeping to the Four Fingers West channel meant it was nothing serious.
We did wonder at a large yacht that was trying to sail in through the main centre shipping channel, where the ebb was probably strongest at about 4 knots, with only his jib up. They appeared to be being swept east towards Point Nepean whilst gaining no forward ground, and we were becoming concerned for their safety. Eventually they adjusted their heading more to the west and slowly ferry-glided westwards to safer waters and gained the entrance. Why they took this approach was a wonder to us, possibly indicating a risky lack of preparation or knowledge of the entrance. The vast majority of shipwrecks at the Heads were due to ships being swept onto the rocks around Point Nepean, as the ebb tide takes a sharp turn to the east.
From there on it was just a case of hour-long watches hand-steering with motor and jib pushing us along at about 6 knots through the water. Once we cleared the Western Channel, the ebb died away and we were doing 6 knots over the ground.
As we approached within about a half-mile of Sandringham, happily anticipating completion of our great quest the motor, which had beat away flawlessly hour after hour sputtered and died. Merde! A quick check of the tank sight glass showed plenty of fuel, but I could see the lower part of the sight glass was quite dark. Looked like the dreaded diesel algae had returned and bloomed into a mass big enough to clog the tank outlet. But never mind, twenty minutes later, after growing panic and frustration had given way to reasoned analysis, I disconnected the fuel line and primed the engine directly from the remaining (hopefully clean!) diesel jerry-can. The engine fired up perfectly again, and we were with great relief once more mobile.
Another twenty minutes of smooth progress and abating stress levels, and Felissity was safely berthed on the Sandringham jetty, her great and glorious circumnavigation of Bass Strait happily complete.
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 12:46 pm

Re: Felissity's Cruise Around Bass Strait

Postby bornfreee » Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:09 pm

Wow Lockie what a great yarn very well written, Nice to hear of a serious journey done in a very cable little yacht i have done the rip tour and it scared the hell out of me as the ferry rose to 5m seas have also got caught in the whirlpool in my small yacht was lucky to get out of it, most dangerious entrance in the world glad it is your back yard mate.
Looking forward to hearing more on your adventures
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:38 am

Re: Felissity's Cruise Around Bass Strait

Postby Shaun » Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:26 pm

Great read Graeme & well done,
Thanks for posting
"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

Order of the Albatross - 2011
Order of the Tipping Dinghy

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Someone's random Youtube comment
User avatar
Posts: 852
Images: 11
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:27 pm

Re: Felissity's Cruise Around Bass Strait

Postby Phillip » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:06 pm


Well done on your 18 day voyage. Sounds exactly like it happens.

Might get to do that in the next year or so.
A 1969 Mark 1

Home port is at Dunbogan on the Camden Haven Inlet, Laurieton NSW
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 1553
Images: 152
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:18 pm
Location: Laurieton, NSW.

Re: Felissity's Cruise Around Bass Strait

Postby lockie » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:30 am

bornfreee wrote:Wow Lockie what a great yarn very well written, Nice to hear of a serious journey done in a very cable little yacht i have done the rip tour and it scared the hell out of me as the ferry rose to 5m seas have also got caught in the whirlpool in my small yacht was lucky to get out of it, most dangerious entrance in the world glad it is your back yard mate.
Looking forward to hearing more on your adventures

Yes the Port Philip Rip can be a heap of thrills. But it's a bit like crossing the road: cross at the right place at the right time and you'll wonder what all the fuss is about; do it at the wrong time and splammo - you're a squashed bug in a truck's bullbar!

But you know, what struck me in sailing around the Furneaux group of islands (Flinders etc) is that they have quite a few spots where things can get almost as wild as the PPB rip. I'm no tough guy, but I reckon anyone who sails those waters regularly certainly is!

Cheers, Graeme
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 12:46 pm

Re: Felissity's Cruise Around Bass Strait

Postby storm petrel » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:18 am

Well written, thanks for letting us in on your cruise. What was the temperature like down there at this time of year?
User avatar
storm petrel
Posts: 1057
Images: 10
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:07 pm

Re: Felissity's Cruise Around Bass Strait

Postby lockie » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:25 am

It was a bit chilier than I'd have preferred. Ideally I'd have gone a month earlier, but my daughter's wedding in earlier March prevailed. I hoped to have time lazing on beaches in the sun on some of the more remote islands, but only had a handful of sunny days. I reckon setting off just after the end of school holidays would be the go.

Cheers, Graeme
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 12:46 pm

Re: Felissity's Cruise Around Bass Strait

Postby bornfreee » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:43 pm

Graeme is there plenty of really good bolt holes through that area? Or is it like running between the giants legs and you have every chance of getting clobbered? The idea of spending summer down there instead of the heat and build up of thunder storms sounds so appealing, then you get real and remember its reputation.
Is the weather reporting any better or is it the same as everywhere else completly wrong :D
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:38 am

Re: Felissity's Cruise Around Bass Strait

Postby lockie » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:54 pm

bornfree, there were plenty of hidey-holes along my route - best to check out the Cruising Tasmania guide books if you're keen. I would suggest looking at the more recent RYCT book rather than the older Brettingham-Moore book that I used. Whilst this was mostly accurate and useful, it is getting a bit old and has superseded details of some of the leads. The Jack and Jude couple who have had articles in Cruising Helmsman also have a cheap downloadable Tassie guide which is of some use, but I was a bit put off by their text being in many cases appearing identical to Brettingham-Moore's.

On our southward leg from Melbourne, into a SSW system, we had the lee of King Island to help plus Grassy as an option to hide in. In an easterly system, you'd go down the west coast. You could do this as multiple day hops, except for the longer overnight leg from PPB heads. Along Tassie's north coast there are numerous ports and sheltered anchorages, but you do need to be mindful of tides and wind direction and plan accordingly. The Furneaux group has many bolt-holes tucked away behind the many islands. I think the Tassie's west coast has little or no shelter until you get as far as Strachan, so that would need some careful planning against the weather. The east coast looks like it has a fair number of harbours and bolt-holes.

I would have no hesitation in recommending a summer cruise down there. Just plan around weather and tides, and make sure you have time to shelter as required, just like you would do anywhere else.

Cheers, Graeme
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 12:46 pm

Re: Felissity's Cruise Around Bass Strait

Postby Tales » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:44 pm

To save the overnight leg from PPB to KI some folk like to head to Apollo Bay and overnight there then drop down to Christmas Island and New Year Island (North West corner of KI).
Next day, or when weather ok move on to Grassy or wherever.
The fishermen claim Christmas and New Year give shelter for pretty much all weather.
Posts: 356
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:40 pm

Return to Cruising

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest