Felicite cruising to Newcastle

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Felicite cruising to Newcastle

Postby Dolphin » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:46 pm

On Monday 20th August I sailed to Newcastle mainly to sus out the port as an alternative port when sailing along the coast if for some reason I need to seek refuge or if Lake Macquarie is closed.

Newcastle lies about 12nm north of Lake Macquarie (Swansea Heads). The plan is to stay overnight.
I'd driven around Stockton to see the facilities, of which there aren't many for the boating itinerant. Newcastle City Yacht Club (NCYC) is located in the lower parts in the SW corner and provides floating berths at a reasonable cost. There are boat servicing facilities there and its an easy walk into town and Honeysuckle for a feed and entertainment. However, I didn't want that and I only needed a safe place to anchor overnight.
Greg
Felicite Mk III
Lake Macquarie
"After it's all said and done, there is a lot more said than done!" Aesop 620 BC
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Re: Felicite cruising to Newcastle

Postby Dolphin » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:02 pm

The wind didn't come in until about 1300 whilst I was waiting for the 1300 bridge.
Clearing the bridge and heading to sea there was a light East Nor Easter of about 5 knots that only built to about 10 knots. There was no sea and the water was like silk. A very small SE swell just made the boat move and kept it interesting.
THe wind around Redhead caused the boat to knock in towards the land and twice I had to tack. Other than that it was a starboard tack with slightly sprung sheets to keep some power in the sails in the light wind all the way to Newcastle.
Attachments
Overall track a.jpg
Course plot.
Overall track a.jpg (41.87 KiB) Viewed 3238 times
Greg
Felicite Mk III
Lake Macquarie
"After it's all said and done, there is a lot more said than done!" Aesop 620 BC
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Re: Felicite cruising to Newcastle

Postby Dolphin » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:19 pm

The trip to Newcastle took about 4 hours and I arrived at the mouth of the port just on sunset.
I asked Marine Rescue if there were any shiping movements in the port. They have live AIS in the radio room and I didn't want to tangle with any of the big fellas.
I'd set an arrival waypoint which is clear of all hazards coming up the coast. There are a couple of wave riders between the yellow mark and the southern breakwall so be careful. They are about the size of a beer keg and could do some damage if you hit one. Feiicite stayed to the far side of the channel both going in and out so the track shows the extremity of the channel. The channel is constantly maintained to about 16m depth by dredging and the ships have 50m lateral tolerance so they can't move for you. There is plenty of water outside the channel to let them pass.
Newcastle manoeuvers a.JPG
Stockton anchorage and waiting for shipping
Newcastle manoeuvers a.JPG (65.33 KiB) Viewed 3238 times


I headed up to the moorings in the North arm of the Hunter River where there was another yacht anchored. A depth of about 5 to 6m was fair in the area of the moorings so I dropped anchor. By this time it was getting dark. The tide was ripping in at about 0.5 to 1 knot.

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Sunset over Orica and Newcastle
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Some yachts anchor in the Horseshoe, just inside the breakwaters, but this can be subject to wash and is not very private.
Greg
Felicite Mk III
Lake Macquarie
"After it's all said and done, there is a lot more said than done!" Aesop 620 BC
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Re: Felicite cruising to Newcastle

Postby Dolphin » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:44 pm

The anchorage was good with sand and grey sticky mud. The anchor held well. The tide in this part of the river runs swiftly at about 1/2 to 1 knot so there is no overriding the anchor.
In the morning I noticed that there were about 3 moorings unused close to me that I could have used. One had a lot of growth on one side so it hadn't been used for a long time.
During the night the Nor Easter strengthened and backed more to the north bringing a whole lot of new smells. Someone seemed to be burning tar and the land breeze brought even more strange smells and the constant industrial noise and hissing of process steam from Orica.
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View towards Newcastle from the moorngs
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This part of the river is away from the main port area and there was no passing traffic during the night.
P1030493a.jpg
Orica
P1030493a.jpg (45.27 KiB) Viewed 3238 times
Greg
Felicite Mk III
Lake Macquarie
"After it's all said and done, there is a lot more said than done!" Aesop 620 BC
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Re: Felicite cruising to Newcastle

Postby Dolphin » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:15 pm

The port operations are on Channel 9 and 11 VHF and you can hear the radio chatter between the tugs, ship and pilot helicopter so you can get a pretty good feel for shipping.
This morning there were to be two arrivals and one departure.
Again I called up Marine Rescue Newcastle and they confirmed that there was a ship coming in so I waited at the junction of the two arms of the Hunter River.

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Shipping in the main channel
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A nice land breeze of about 10knots had been in all night and looked like I was going to get a good ride home. Swansea bar is subject to getting rough in an established Nor Easter so I wanted to get to the bar before the Nor easter built.
Whilst waiting for the ship I raised the main and sailed down the channel and out to sea when it passed. One of the tug skippers gave me a friendly wave as he shot past.


Just as I got through the breakwaters the breeze increased to about 15 knots and a little later it started to get up to 20 knots in gusts from the NW. It made for a great run home.
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Dredge "David Allan" taking spoil to sea
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Attachments
P1030499a.jpg
Newcastle coastline
P1030499a.jpg (43.79 KiB) Viewed 3238 times
Greg
Felicite Mk III
Lake Macquarie
"After it's all said and done, there is a lot more said than done!" Aesop 620 BC
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Re: Felicite cruising to Newcastle

Postby Dolphin » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:53 pm

The breeze started to drop to about 10kts after Redhead and I closed in a bit closer to the beach.
The bar was really quiet and we just motored backup the channel, with the usual dance waiting for the bridge.
Bridge manouvers a.jpg
Bridge manouvers a.jpg (71.87 KiB) Viewed 3238 times


It was a great trip. Newcastle is a bit noisy and smelly but it is an all weather port and an easy sail from Swansea being in this case 4 hours up and 3 hours return.
Greg
Felicite Mk III
Lake Macquarie
"After it's all said and done, there is a lot more said than done!" Aesop 620 BC
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Re: Felicite cruising to Newcastle

Postby Troppo » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:25 pm

Hi Greg, I enjoyed reading about your trip and seeing the pics and maps. Very nice (as usual).
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Re: Felicite cruising to Newcastle

Postby Dolphin » Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:36 pm

Thanks Louis,
It's good to get some feedback.
Its great to see and hear about other people's trips. Even just a trip from Broken Bay to Botany Bay is an adventure in a small boat, let alone what you did.
I really wanted to get down to Broken Bay but the sailing season caught up with me. I start racing again on Wednesday, the day after tomorrow. Newcastle was one of my objectives. Tick.
There is more than just working on boats, eh?
Thanks again, Greg.
Greg
Felicite Mk III
Lake Macquarie
"After it's all said and done, there is a lot more said than done!" Aesop 620 BC
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Posts: 714
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Location: Lake Macquarie

Re: Felicite cruising to Newcastle

Postby Miker » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:13 am

Great trip report Greg, well done.

Might have to have another go at the lake this year, although its getting a free couple of days is the problem!
Michael
"Dulcamara" - MKIII
Careel Bay, Pittwater
"Order of the Tipping Dinghy" 2017
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Re: Felicite cruising to Newcastle

Postby Dolphin » Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:48 pm

Love to have you up here again Mike. That was a good time last year, despite the damage and unintentional swims. It was this time last year btw. fathers day. I can't get to Broken Bay except for mid week and I don't think many people would be around that I know of.
Greg
Felicite Mk III
Lake Macquarie
"After it's all said and done, there is a lot more said than done!" Aesop 620 BC
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