Seaka goes around Australia, 2015

Seaka goes around Australia, 2015

Postby Phillip » Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:34 am

My blog is now active see http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka

Here is Tuesdays post.

Today has been a disaster, triumph, a drama, a steep learning curve and I got bloody sun burnt!

This morning the Camden Haven was blanketed by fog and it looked like there would be no wind, hence no test sail for today. But by 10 am the fog was gone and a southerly wind of less than 10 knots was blowing. So hanked on the Yankee and set off for the 25 minute trip to the bar. Well that was a non-event as the bar was dead flat. I motored out clear of the bar and raised the Yankee then the mainsail. The mainsail was a bit of a drama as I had neglected several things, like releasing the downhaul, the getting part of the boom bag sucked into a reefing block, not releasing the main sheet so I could get the mainsail all the way up. To add to that the reefing sheets were pulled in too far, so had to release them as well. Then I had all these extra sheets hanging around on the cockpit floor with no apparent home, what a mess.

T'was easy to see I hadn't raised a sail for some time.

Oh well. The dramas continued as we motor sailed to the east when I realised I'd blown the fuse on the auto helm. Disconnecting the autohelm and turning the engine off I discovered we were sailing in a straight line!!!!!

Yippeee the wind vane, it works!!

Now that was on a broad reach so I adjusted the vane head and low and behold we turned through 45 degrees to the north. With a little bit more fiddling I had us [that's the royal 'us', in other words Seaka and I] sailing downwind without any yawing at all and I didn't even touch the tiller!

That's a $200 successful wind vane. The fact that I had to spend another $100 on cleats and blocks, won't be counted.

Ok, so with that success I headed back in with more drama of course as I was still remembering the sequences of sailing, like drop that sail, bugger forgot to do that first, and so on it went, not helped of course by the autohelm being out of action. Yep, I know, excuses excuses, but I'll remember next time!

With the tide flooding it was a quick trip back to my mooring. After all that it was a real mess in the cockpit. Lunch first, funny thing was I could smell diesel but onto cleaning up on deck first and stowing away sails and sheets.

DSCF9590a.jpg
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Now, to check out that diesel smell. First the bilge, yep that's diesel down there but where the hell is it coming from? First I checked the fuel filter as I had just replaced two washers there to stop a persistent leak I had had for some time, but it was dry. So around the engine I went feeling under all the fuel pipes until bingo, I found it. The pipe from the fuel pump to the fuel filter has given up the ghost. A quick call to Nanni in Sydney meant I wasn't going to give them any more money at this stage, but that I should get it fixed locally. So a call to a local Hydraulics outfit means I will be getting up real early tomorrow to get down to Seaka remove BOTH fuel lines and dashing up to Port Macquarie to get them replaced.

So I did a bit of a clean-up and started the removal of the windvane [WV] to alter part of the bracket so I can raise the blade clear or the water when motoring or using the autohelm. Well that was it, before I knew it I had made my first sacrifice to King Neptune for this voyage as a block slipped overboard and sunk out of sight.

Now I usually don't give up easily so grabbing a mask and fins, bugger no togs, boxers will have to do and it was into the dingy and into the water. Now I've never got back into this dingy from the water before so this was a bit of a gamble, I did untie the dinghy though in case I had to swim it ashore to get back into it. So up and down I snorkeled looking for this block which the tide had claimed. Well King Neptune won this time but bloody hell I didn't realise how shallow it was only sum 20 meters from my mooring!

So that was my day, disastrous, triumphant, dramatic and bloody sun burnt!

See video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYzS97Fg5mc
and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3HVpyG__ZQ
Phillip.
SEAKA
A 1969 Mark 1
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka
http://skipr.net

Home port is at Dunbogan on the Camden Haven Inlet, Laurieton NSW
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Re: Seaka goes around Australia, 2015

Postby Troppo » Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:33 am

It is amazing just how much organising and preparation an adventure demands. And I thought from watching the movies that adventures just happened.

Sounds like you have Seaka practically ready to go.

cheers

Louis
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Re: Seaka goes around Australia, 2015

Postby Phillip » Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:18 pm

Like about 12 months worth Louis!

Replaced the old fuel lines today, cleaned up the boat and started to clean the bilge [24 hour job].
Then went and did the first bit of food shopping and about $400 later I have the basics to go on board tomorrow.
Still a bit of food to get.

Weather looking dicey as I don't want to get trapped in Coffs at $50 a night :shock:
Phillip.
SEAKA
A 1969 Mark 1
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka
http://skipr.net

Home port is at Dunbogan on the Camden Haven Inlet, Laurieton NSW
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Re: Seaka goes around Australia, 2015

Postby percyverhance » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:27 am

Sounds like you are pretty much ready to go Phillip.Will be following your voyage with interest.Good on both you and Rob.
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Re: Seaka goes around Australia, 2015

Postby Phillip » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:57 pm

Looks like Tuesday straight through to Coffs.
24 hours in Coffs then onto Yamba Thursday.

Shaun may be coming with me for the first leg. :D
Phillip.
SEAKA
A 1969 Mark 1
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka
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Home port is at Dunbogan on the Camden Haven Inlet, Laurieton NSW
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Re: Seaka goes around Australia, 2015

Postby Phillip » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:41 am

There is nothing like a baptism of fire!
Last Friday I completed all the jobs both on Seaka and at home. Shaun [of Bluemoon] and I retired to our yachts at Dunbogan for a night’s sleep before we departed north. Shaun is to accompany me, instead of sailing Bluemoon, on this leg to Iluka as we had lost last week to bad weather and he only had four more days to get some sailing in.
That night was one of my worst on board. We were hit buy 30 plus knot winds that in combination with the tides overnight meant that Seaka was ducking, diving and rolling about all night. I only got a few hours broken sleep. Next morning I said to Shaun that we would review the weather later in the morning. Eventually it appeared that a departure around noon should be OK. Note, I said should.
So I picked up Shaun from Bluemoon and we proceeded downstream to the bar. We had only got halfway when our gremlin, the overheating light, came on, yet again. Slowing down we made it to Pilot Beach, just inside the bar, and started to sort out the problem. First I cleaned the raw water filter and then fiddled with the wires behind the offending light. The light went out and stayed out so we had a go for our direct sail to Iluka.
We went over the smooth Camden Haven Bar out into a roughish sea. The alarm bells should have been ringing but all the holes in the cheese were starting to line up, we were committed. I deployed my new Horizontal Wind Vane [HWV] and away we went. Unfortunately I haven’t quiet worked out the settings yet and we tended to track to starboard. As it got rougher and the wind up to around 20 knots I abandon the HWV to a day when conditions were more conducive to working out just how to adjust it.
We were sailing with the Yankee and 2 reefs in and getting 5 to 6 with the odd 8 knots, so we were happy with our progress but the sea action and increasing wind was starting to tire us. We had been keeping close inshore to avoid the coastal current but early on realized that with the water around 27⁰C we had a southerly current against us that went well inshore. As our progress slowed and the wind built the decision to stop overnight at Trail Bay was made and this was reported to Marine Rescue, after a bit of confusion by them as to who actually had us on their book, it was eventually sorted out as MR Trail Bay until 1800 then MR Coffs Harbour, whee! After dark both Shaun and I manage to get a little sleep in turns down below. Never having had anyone on board for a night sail I thought this was rather luxurious. Then around 2200 as we prepared to enter Trail Bay Shaun, who was on the tiller at the time, said somethings wrong, there was a couple of thumps and three large white foam buoys to a fish trap appeared in our wake. Yep. We were towing them, trap and all.
The holes in the cheese had all finally lined up!
Eventually I managed to get the buoys on board with the rope going tightly under Seaka to her propeller area. No matter how I pulled nothing happened. Lucky we were not under motor at this time so I was sure the rope was not around the propeller, so I went below and turned the propeller by hand to make sure, we normally don’t have the propeller spinning when sailing and lock it by putting the gear box in reverse, hard to turn at first it then turned easier. Going back on deck I pulled the rope in to find that it had snapped, not cut by the propeller. Shaun said that it’s still there and then all of a sudden we were free.
By this time we were both getting pretty tired, what after last night, the days sailing and now this. We eventually made it into Trail Bay and tucking into the eastern corner of the bay in 4.5 meters of water we anchored for the second time. It was only then that we realized that it was 0130 on Sunday morning. We crashed.
Next morning at 0930 we departed from Trail Bay, abandoning the floats as we sailed out for Coffs Harbour. Smaller steps were called for. That morning the winds were below 5 knots and we eventually shook out both reefs to get speeds of around 4 to 5 knots. With the light winds and still being tired I abandon the HWV again and we hand steered north. I didn't use the auto helm as we had had over three days of overcast weather and the poor batteries had been struggling under the load. As I type this they are back up to their normal 14 volts. During the day the winds dropped and as we hugged the coast to keep out of the current, we started to rely on the katabatic winds to keep us moving. Eventually around 1500 I started the diesel engine and we motor sailed towards Coffs Harbour. Did the overheating light come on, yep, but I wiggled the wires and it went out and stayed out. The temperature stayed the same on the gauge so on we went.
I had been in contact with Tom [ex of Top Hat “Tales” from Melbourne] who was sailing his new/ old yacht south and as it happened was presently in the Coffs Harbour Marina. Tom arranged a berth for us and met as we arrived at 1930 in berth 12D. We had a long talk fest that night with three Top Hatters together for the first time.
After a good night’s sleep I started on the list of repairs we had. First stop to the chandlers for a swiveling shackle for the boom brake to prevent the sheet from twisting and some sail lugs, we have broken 2 of them, why, I don’t know. Will be cleaning the electrical contacts to the overheating light! Also had to trace a leak in one of the lockers but have now decided it was the anti-syphon device for the engine raw water supply. So I will have to clean that also. Latter in the day Tom offered Shaun a ride back to the Camden Haven which he gladly accepted, no train ride for Shaun this time. Tom and Shaun departed at 1800.
At this stage I am looking at going to Iluka early Wednesday morning, but will make a final decision later today [Tuesday] when we get the 1600 weather report. It actually looks better on Friday at this stage so will have to wait and see.
The voyage has begun!
For photos etc go to www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka
Phillip.
SEAKA
A 1969 Mark 1
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka
http://skipr.net

Home port is at Dunbogan on the Camden Haven Inlet, Laurieton NSW
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Re: Seaka goes around Australia, 2015

Postby Troppo » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:27 pm

Excellent first stage Phillip. Maybe not exactly a cruise but you are on your way.

cheers

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Re: Seaka goes around Australia, 2015

Postby Shaun » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:25 am

The first days sailing was quite an ordeal, very uncomfortable seas (probably only 2m but very confused seas) combined with tiredness, lack of recent sailing & probably some nerves on the first day of such an epic undertaking on Phil's part.
I thought to myself for hours while on the tiller, about getting rid of the TH & getting a nice little trailer sailer & spending the rest of my sailing days on lakes and rivers. Thankfully that feeling passed after a good nights sleep!.

The fouled lobster pot could have been quite serious, the rudder jammed & we lost all steering control, we tried to tack around back out to sea or even heave-to, but it was not possible by using the rudder. thankfully the line snapped after about 20 mins of thinking one of us would have to go for a swim, not a pleasant thought.

This is Seaka in full cruising mode when Phil came over to pick me up from Blue Moon on Saturday morning.
seakaready1.jpg
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cheers
"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

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Re: Seaka goes around Australia, 2015

Postby Troppo » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:02 am

Certainly an ordeal. Glad you survived (and Shaun, I'm glad you got rid of those thoughts about getting a trailer sailer). : )

I remember being almost out of sight of land in Hervey Bay, morning with good light, and seeing an odd dot ahead of me on the water. As I approached, the dot became lobster-pot floats. The thing which got me was that I was on course to nail the thing dead centre and had to grab the tiller from autopilot and swing away from it at the last few seconds. Practically nothing all around me beside water for a zillion miles and I was on target to foul this little float. I could not believe in this wide wide sea that I was going to hit it which is why I left it to the last second to take evasive action. Night time I would have not seen it and hit it. I was motoring. Spinning prop. Rope in water. Not a nice thought.

So Phillip and Shaun, certainly exciting times. And despite the quadzillion to one chance of tangling with a rope and float, it does happen so it's not like poor sailing skills. : )

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Re: Seaka goes around Australia, 2015

Postby frank » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:19 am

I guess that would be one advantage with having an outboard engine.
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