To the open sea direction north.

Apr 5, 2019Reisen, Segeln

During my Work&Holiday time in Sydney, I met my buddy Sean, with whom I sailed numerous regattas. The captain who taught us to sail was one of the toughest dogs I have ever met. James sailed in the Sydney to Hobart race four times and arrived every time. In addition, he has been through every situation on the sailboat. Every week we sailed the Twilight series with him and two other crew members, Steve from England and Ross from Russia, and ended up in 2nd place. Anyway, the Christmas vacations were coming up and Sean had the idea to sail up the coast to Port Stephens over the holidays. Port Stephens was 107 nm, about 200 km from Sydney, with good winds the trip would take about 15h.
During my Work&Holiday time in Sydney, I met my buddy Sean, with whom I sailed numerous regattas. The captain who taught us to sail was one of the toughest dogs I have ever met. James sailed in the Sydney to Hobart race four times and arrived every time. In addition, he has been through every situation on the sailboat. Every week we sailed the Twilight series with him and two other crew members, Steve from England and Ross from Russia, and ended up in 2nd place. Anyway, the Christmas vacations were coming up and Sean had the idea to sail up the coast to Port Stephens over the holidays. Port Stephens was 107 nm, about 200 km from Sydney, with good winds the trip would take about 15h.
 
 

 

First we got ourselves a decent chart plotter, which actually looked just like a navigation device from the car. In addition, it had the function to couple his Netflix or Spotify account with the device to be able to listen to music while sailing, which is very entertaining by the way. The other investment was a new radio, as he previously only had a handwalkie-talkie on board. In case of an emergency situation, it is always safer to have a solid and waterproof radio system at hand. Only without antenna no radio reception.
With a radio system, it is common to mount the antenna on the mast in order to have sufficient reception, so the matching antenna including cable was still needed for this. To install the system, in the best case, you need two people: one who climbs the mast and one person who secures the one. In addition, you have to run the cable through the mast and connect it to the radio system inside the ship. We bought about 25 meters of cable and there wasn't much left over in the end. The radio was not directly under the mast base, but you first had to fight your way through the interior paneling of the boat to get to the position in the cabinet.

 

Before we could set off, there were just a few small things to do, like buying provisions, checking sails for holes, filling water and diesel tanks, checking life jackets and signal flares, dismantling and stowing the outboard of the dinghy, and so on. We knew Port Stephens was north of Sydney, but it still helps to look at the charts a few days before and memorize the route. We planned our departure time to get the best possible wind and arrive in P.S. in the evening. That meant getting up at 3am and 3:30am we were off. Even in the middle of the night, it's never really dark at sea unless it's cloudy.
Since we were close to downtown in the harbor, it was close to light and pleasantly warm. Passing under the 134 m high and 1,149 m long Harbour Bridge at night and past the Sydney Opera House towards the open sea was overwhelming. It was almost eerily quiet, no traffic, no crowds of people bustling around the tourist attractions day after day, only our diesel engine, which we would have loved to swap directly for our sails, could be heard. Before we went through the huge headlands to the open sea, a cruise ship came towards us. Cruise ships it is not possible to stop times quickly, the braking distance or also called flag state, can be several kilometers long, therefore we had to wait.
Since we were close to downtown in the harbor, it was close to light and pleasantly warm. Passing under the 134 m high and 1,149 m long Harbour Bridge at night and past the Sydney Opera House towards the open sea was overwhelming. It was almost eerily quiet, no traffic, no crowds of people bustling around the tourist attractions day after day, only our diesel engine, which we would have loved to swap directly for our sails, could be heard. Before we went through the huge headlands to the open sea, a cruise ship came towards us. Cruise ships it is not possible to stop times quickly, the braking distance or also called flag state, can be several kilometers long, therefore we had to wait.

 

Since we were close to downtown in the harbor, it was close to light and pleasantly warm. Passing under the 134 m high and 1,149 m long Harbour Bridge at night and past the Sydney Opera House towards the open sea was overwhelming. It was almost eerily quiet, no traffic, no crowds of people bustling around the tourist attractions day after day, only our diesel engine, which we would have loved to swap directly for our sails, could be heard. Before we went through the huge headlands to the open sea, a cruise ship came towards us. Cruise ships it is not possible to stop times quickly, the braking distance or also called flag state, can be several kilometers long, therefore we had to wait.
Exactly at the place where we had recently attached the safety rope, there were now two pieces of broken aluminum hanging. No one realized what had just happened, we just stood there with open mouths and stared at the beating sail. Until Sean shouted: "One immediately forward, the sails must go down, I start the engine"! I released the halyard stopper and slowly ran towards the mast to pull down the sail, hearing the engine start.

 

The tour had just started and Port Stephens was still 14h away, 14h under motor? We decided pretty quickly to turn around and head for the harbor. While fighting the wind and waves, which of course were now coming from the front, we realized that we were barely moving. Although, the throttle was almost completely pushed down, we did not move forward. We pulled up the jib again, put ourselves into the wind, which had meanwhile risen to more than 25 knots. Hard on the wind and with 90° against the waves we made 4 knots. After several crosses and 4 hours later we arrived in the wind-protected harbor entrance, where we could examine the entire extent of the damage more closely.
The tour had just started and Port Stephens was still 14h away, 14h under motor? We decided pretty quickly to turn around and head for the harbor. While fighting the wind and waves, which of course were now coming from the front, we realized that we were barely moving. Although, the throttle was almost completely pushed down, we did not move forward. We pulled up the jib again, put ourselves into the wind, which had meanwhile risen to more than 25 knots. Hard on the wind and with 90° against the waves we made 4 knots. After several crosses and 4 hours later we arrived in the wind-protected harbor entrance, where we could examine the entire extent of the damage more closely.
 
 

 

The repair 

In addition, the welded seam would not withstand the wind forces anyway. So we had to find an internal connection. We used a piece of Australian hardwood about 100 cm long, which we found next to the workshop and which is also one of the strongest types of wood. We milled and sanded the material evenly until it fit exactly into the two broken openings of the tree. At the same time we reinforced the construction with two 60 cm long steel angles, which we attached to the outside with numerous steel bolts.
Zudem würde die Schweißnaht ohnehin den Windkräften nicht standhalten. Eine innen liegende Verbindung musste also her. Dazu verwendeten wir ein ca. 100 cm langes Stück Australien Hardwood, welches wir neben der Werkstatt fanden und dazu noch eins der stärksten Holzarten ist. Wir frästen und schleiften das Material gleichmäßig, bis es exakt in die beiden gebrochenen Öffnungen des Baumes passte. Zugleich verstärkten wir die Konstruktion mit zwei 60 cm langen Stahlwinkeln, die wir an die Außenseite mit zahlreichen Stahlbolzen befestigten.

 

Thereupon we decided to head for the next anchorage in Pittwater, where we spent the first night. Pittwater offers a lot of fjords worth seeing, which are easy to reach. Almost around every corner was a new deserted beach. We spent a whole week exploring the area and had exceptionally good sailing days. In addition, we stayed with Sean's family for Christmas before heading home.
Daraufhin beschlossen wir den nächsten Ankerplatz in Pittwater anzusteuern, wo wir die erste Nacht verbrachten. Pittwater bietet eine Menge sehenswerter Fjorde, die leicht zu erreichen sind. Fast hinter jeder Ecke befand sich ein neuer verlassener Strand. Wir verbrachten, eine ganze Woche damit das Gebiet zu erkunden, und hatten außergewöhnlich gute Segeltage. Darüber hinaus blieben wir die Weihnachtstage bei Sean´s Familie, bevor wir die Heimreise antraten.
 

 

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