Pavo moves to Twofold Bay

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This forum is for members to share their top hat sailing experiences, whether it be an interesting day sail, a coastal passage, or a journey across the oceans.
These experiences may be good, bad or ugly!, it is intended that we can learn from each other, & encourage each other to get out there & enjoy these wonderful yachts.

Pavo moves to Twofold Bay

Postby ChrisB » Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:08 pm

While I don't feel this trip was a "proper" voyage it was one full of learning and experience for both me and the crew of Pavo.

First let me introduce Pavo. Pavo has been lying at Calalla Bay (the northern end of Jervis Bay) since she was first launched, as far as I can tell. While her first owner spent time and money fitting her out she hadn't been sailing very often when I purchased her late last year from her second owner. So over the last 2 months my 13 year old son and I have been making the 3 & 1/2 hour drive north to spend weekends brushing off years of bird droppings, servicing the 10hp Yanmar and cleaning the bottom (she hadn't been slipped since 2013) with brushes and scrappers from the water.

And me. Well I've always had a love affair with boats and the ocean. Sailing dinghy's as a kid, friends trailer sailors in and around Sydney's wonderfull waterways and the odd day out on a bigger boat from time to time. But Pavo is my first keel boat. I've been a lurker on this site for quite some time and I knew a Top Hat would be ideal. By happy accident when Pavo came up for sale my bank balance and the asking price matched. It was meant to be :)

After quite a few visits and a couple of sails across the bay I felt she was ready for the 127nm trip to her new home in Twofold Bay at Eden. Just a 30 minute drive from our home. Pete a local friend had offered to help with the move. While he has a lot of experience day tripping up and down the coast he'd never been sailing on a trip of this length.He was keen as mustard. The other member of the crew was to be my 13 year old son who had put in so much time helping me prep the boat, but had never sailed on the open ocean. The plan was to day hop our way down the coast with overnight stops at Batemans Bay and Bermagui. That all changed when I got a call from the Twofold Bay yacht club.

I'd been out a few times crewing on one of the members boats during their Sunday races, and they knew I was keen to get as many hours on the water possible before moving Pavo. Club member Brian needed crew to help him move his boat from Pittwater back to Eden. Would I be interested? I'd already pencilled those days off to do the final preps on my boat but the idea of a 36 hour non stop sail (and the valuable experience) was too good to say no to. So I jumped on a early morning bus with Robin (another club member) for the 10 hour public transport trip to Pittwater. After a day of getting to know the boat at the Royal Motor Yacht Club marina (and some serious drooling over many beautiful boats) we got off to a 5am start for our 36 hour overnight passage. Back Friday is a Beneteau First 42s7 and just a little better appointed than Pavo. A fridge and oven make for luxurious crew meals. But despite this things do, and will go wrong. Just a few hours into the trip the auto pilot gave out on us. So the three of us hand steered the entire way down the coast with a 25 knot nor'easter and 2-3m metre swell on our tail. While Brian and Robin kept a close eye on me they also allowed me to take the helm as often as I wanted before we started an overnight watch with 2 up and 1 down rotating every hour. I'd never surfed down waves at night before this trip. While off watch I began to think that perhaps a non stop overnight trip for Pavo was a better idea? After all we only get a couple of days with the right winds before a southerly change at this time of year. Plans for the move began to change in the back of my mind.

When we first met to discuss the Pavo move Pete had asked why I wasn't planning a non stop trip. I'd answered that I didn't think I had enough experience or enough knowledge of the boats "in and outs" to push her for that long. On the day after arriving home from Pittwater I sent him a text message. "Remember asking me about overnight sailing? Are you still keen?" He was. And my son in his teenage way just shrugged "ok". So the plans were changed. My ever forgiving beautiful wife would drive us all the 3 & 1/2 hours to Calalla Bay in the morning with an empty trailer for the dinghy. We would spend the afternoon replacing the sheets and reefing lines on the mooring (along with swapping out the mainsail........oh I forgot to tell you. The mainsail had a run of small chaffing holes caused by a shackle rubbing while at anchor. I don't think the sail had been up for a few years. When I saw them on my buying inspection I was ready to walk away from the purchase. But the owner had the original sail in a bag on board and while it was well loved it looked very usable) and clean the bottom one last time. But mother nature had different plans.

We pulled up at the jetty on Calalla Bay to find an ocean of white caps driven by a 35 knot nor'easter that hadn't been predicted. "Oh" said the beautiful wife "I guess we came all this way for nothing and are driving home?" The crew and I went for a walk to check out things first hand and the water depth at the end of the jetty. After a brief chat we decided to proceed as planned. After a choppy and wet dingy ride with a cheap and nasty unreliable, unknown branded outboard out to Pavo on the mooring, we started her well behaved inboard and towed the dinghy back to the jetty to load up. With the dinghy loaded onto the trailer I waved good-bye to the beautiful wife who's last words were "where are your life insurance papers again?" We left the jetty took Pavo back out to her mooring and started on our list of jobs. By sunset the wind had all but gone and we'd replaced every line and rope apart from the main and spinnaker halyards, and the backstay tension rope which didn't look too bad (we'd regret that later). Despite all the good work done we'd not had time to clean the hull or swap out the mainsail. After hoisting the sail when we first got on board we'd decided that some well placed sail tape would hold out for this trip and the predicted gentle winds.

At 0430 the local fisherman began heading out from the nearby boat ramp and giving Pavo and her crew a not so gentle wake up shake. "Are you awake? Pete asked from the quarter berth opposite me. "Yes" I replied. "Shall we go?" Pete agreed. We left the youngest crew member asleep in the v-berth, started the Yanmar and let the mooring go for the last time in Calalla Bay. As night slowly turned to day we chugged southeast across a glassy Jervis Bay and watched the sunrise over the impressive cliffs of Point Perpendicular. They really are perpendicular. After breakfast and a few hours underway we finally felt a slight breeze, hoisted the main, unfurled the jib and cut the engine. I love that motor, but the silence after switching her off is as sweet as a sirens call. If I took one lesson from the previous trip it was that downwind sailing is not easy sailing. We'd rigged a primitive preventer for the main but the jib just didn't want to settle on the course we wanted. After a bit of riding the edge and flapping about we decided to head out to sea for a better angle of wind and see if we could get enough speed to zigzag down the coast. The question was, could we maintain enough speed under sail to get us to Eden before a predicted southerly change on Sunday at noon? But with a dirty hull it was never going to happen. After a gybe back towards the coast and feeling a bit defeated we started motor sailing south as we crossed our original course line. In a gentle breeze and swell we dug out the tiller pilot that had come with the boat. "Unused" said the previous owner. We hooked up "Sinbad" the TP22 and as per her faded instruction manual she worked like a charm.... and did a much better job than any of us at keeping a steady track line on the Navionics app on my tablet. Oh navigation you ask...as well as the tablet we used paper charts and the Garmin system that came with Pavo. The opening Garmin screen says the software is copyrighted from the year 2000 and by the clunky lcd menu system I'd agree that it has to be at least 17 years old. "It's like programming a rocket for the Apollo mission" said Pete as he watched me put in the waypoints the evening before we left.

One thing that had been on my shopping list was foam cushions for the cockpit. Oh dear I wish I'd bought them. Even sitting at my desk two days later writing this I am feeling the pain. So we would try and stand up once in awhile for a stretch. On one occasion with both sails full the teenage son put a hand on the back stay to steady himself. BANG! "What was that?" we all asked. The pulley for the back stay tension rope had given way. Fearing the worst that the mast might fall we quickly eased off the sails to take the pressure off and headed into the wind. We quickly rigged up a temporary fix. I guess that pulley hadn't had that much pressure on it for quite some time. The only other injury to the boat was when we forgot to tie off the traveller on a gybe. BANG again as the car flew straight off the end off the track and dangled over the water off the boom. After a retrieving it all we left the traveller safely tied in the middle of the track for the rest of the trip.

As night fell we passed our Batemans Bay waypoint at what I felt was a safe 6nm off the coast. Our next waypoint would be just under 2nm off Montague Island a few hours before dawn. We dropped the sails for the night. On the last trip south I'd found steering at night much easier if I picked a star and lined it up with a point in the forward rigging with an occasional check of the compass and nav gear to make sure I was still on course. I found that steering by the compass or course line on the nav screen only I'd over correct and waver back and forth across our course line. But tonight the sky was empty of stars with low clouds creating a suffocating blanket of darkness. At 9pm Pete and I started our 1 hour watches. The teenage son had told us he'd come on watch but didn't feel confident taking the helm. Well after midnight I climbed out of the shared bunk to take my watch. As I clambered into the cockpit Pete said "this fog is freaky". As I surfaced I looked around and into a wall of mist. I could see the front of the boat but that was about it. I went straight back down below and checked our position on the Navionics. We were still a very safe distance from shore with nothing to trouble us on our present course. We'd not seen another vessel all day but now I was worried. Would anyone see us in this fog? Because there is no way we'd see them. I opened the marine traffic app while wishing I had radar or AIS on board. Nothing anywhere near us. A couple of cruise ships a long way offshore but that was all. I'd seen so many boats in the past that didn't show up on this app that I knew it was not really going to be much help. Heading for port was not an option. Trying to navigate in an unknown area in this kind of fog would be too dangerous. We felt to safest option was to stick to our course and for both Pete and I to stay on watch till we were safely past Montague Is. Not long after that the light from the Island appeared giving us some hope that the fog was clearing. It got brighter and brighter as we got closer and then, like someone had flicked a switch, it disappeared! I checked our position. 2nm east of the light. But it wasn't there. How thick was this fog then? We stuck to the plan and stuck to the course, keeping a very close eye on our position. Once well clear of the Island I told Pete to get some shut eye. Alone in the cockpit I imagined all sorts of things just beyond my vision in that dark fog.

During that watch I named the Yanmar Margaret after the Iron Lady of UK PM fame. I was very happy for her faithful company and reassuring clunk clunk clunk. Just as we passed offshore from Bermagui the sky began to lighten and my spirits lifted with it. Pete popped up for a look but after his previous double watch with me I sent him back to bed. I got to witness a beautiful soft dawn as the fog burnt off around us.

After the drama of the night fog the rest of the journey felt a bit dull. Without any wind we motored all the way to Eden. The predicted southerly was as gentle as a soft kiss and didn't slow us down at all. I called Marine Rescue in Sydney to log off as we passed the Eden base. As we rounded the breakwater on the way to the finger wharf to unload, a small zodiac matched our course. It was the skipper Brian from my Pittwater trip. "Bravo Pavo" he and his crew called as we tied up at our new home port.
Last edited by ChrisB on Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pavo moves to Twofold Bay

Postby Troppo » Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:03 pm

Great story, Chris. Congratulations on the trip! I reckon that fog would have been a bit of a worry : ).

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Re: Pavo moves to Twofold Bay

Postby frank » Mon Feb 06, 2017 6:43 pm

I enjoyed that, thanks
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Re: Pavo moves to Twofold Bay

Postby Miker » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:02 am

Well done Chris. Twofold Bay is a glorious place to be, I hope you and your family have many happy years with Pavo.

Thanks for the write up, it was well worth the read. :D
Michael
"Dulcamara" - MKIII
Careel Bay, Pittwater
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Re: Pavo moves to Twofold Bay

Postby Shaun » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:44 pm

Thanks Chris , really enjoyed reading that and well done to you and crew of Pavo.
"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

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Re: Pavo moves to Twofold Bay

Postby ChrisB » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:53 pm

Thanks gents for the comments. Maybe I need to start planning for the next get together?
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Re: Pavo moves to Twofold Bay

Postby ChrisB » Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:27 am

The fog rises with dawn off Bermagui
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