We sailed 'Blue Magic' to Sydney for the Boat Show (July-August 2004). Below is a report on the trip. Unfortunately, Liz had to stay behind and work, so off to stay with our very good friends, Ken & Elaine (remember, we live on the boat so it is our home I'm taking to Sydney!).
Photos from the trip
Gold Coast to Sydney
Our crew for the trip would be Carol, Daryl and Phil. None have been sailing offshore, and Phil (my youngest brother) is not even a sailor. I sailed "Min Min" with the owner to Sydney last year for the show.
We left the seaway on the morning of July 16 in a 15 knot Southerly. We were averaging about 8 knots and our first tack took us to 8M East of Cape Byron. By late afternoon the breeze had dropped so we motorsailed (one engine) till 11.00pm when we dropped the sails. We were now about 12M NE of Evans Head. Early afternoon saw the arrival of a 20 knot SSW breeze and we were once again sailing nicely and heading for Laurieton for an evening anchorage. There was another front which we were expecting in the early hours of the morning (according to my brother onshore who had been keeping us updated with full weather interpretation).
At 4.00pm a Gale Warning was forecast over the radio. Unfortunately, my brother was unavailable, and the coastal patrols weather is directly from the weather bureau - they didn't say when the gale was expected, just that winds in excess of 35 knots and 5m seas. We did the safe thing and ditched the sails and now under motor headed for the closest port, that of Port Macquarie. We were safely on the mooring by 6.45pm. In the early hours of the morning the gale arrived. On our protected mooring our wind gauge recorded a maximum of 33 knots, although we were not recording when the main front arrived! Here we stayed for 3 days until the bar was safe to cross (and the seas subsided).
On the morning of 21 July we were off again, but alas, no wind so the motors were on again. By 7.00pm we were at anchor in Forster/Tuncurry for the night.
Next morning we were off again. The breeze was from the SSW at 15 knots - dead on the nose, so we motored for a while to get to a good position for setting sails. They went up at 11.00am and we sailed for 3 hours before the breeze lightened and we added an engine to assist. At 3.30pm we tacked back to the coast, but the breeze was light and the angle was sending us up the coast, so once again we were back to motors only.
During the night we travelled through light rain. I radioed the yacht about 2 hours behind us - we had heard him radio his position during the night - and informed him of the rain headed his way. He thanked us and said they would put their wet weather gear on. I didn't have the heart to tell him we were under autopilot and in the saloon dry! We continued this way until we anchored at St Huberts Island (Gosford) at 4.00am. This would be home for the next few days.
On 27 July we departed for Sydney. Again, a southerly at 10 knots and right on the nose, so we motored to Sydney, arriving at Darling Harbour at 4.30pm where we would wait for the bridge to open at 11.30pm. By the time the bridge opened, some 50 yachts and catamarans had assembled ready to go into the bay for the Boat Show. This was very orderly, unlike the previous year. As we were closest to the bridge, we were the last to enter and tie up. Even so, we were all done by 1.00am.
Sydney Boat Show - 29 July to 3 August 2004
The boat show went off without a hitch. We had many people over the boat. The weather was kind although a little cold (I've already aclimatised to the Gold Coast weather and I've only been there for 2 years).
Departure at the end of the show was at 11.30pm and we were on a mooring at Rose Bay Marina by 1.00am. We spent the next week sailing on the spectacular Sydney Harbour. On Thursday we had a brilliant sail in a westerly of 20-25 knots.
Our boat would now stay on the mooring for another 2 weeks while I returned to Queensland for work.
Sydney to the Gold Coast
My crew for the return journey were all experienced sailors. My two brothers, Graham & Colin, have each done a Sydney-Hobart (actually Colin did the return leg). Brendan has done offshore races around Gosford area. Di had not been offshore, but had sailed yachts around the bay and had sailed lazers in the World Masters. They fuelled and provisioned the boat and were waiting for me at Rushcutters Bay. I arrived late evening and we were motoring out the Heads just after midnight (Thursday morning 26 August).
Unfortunately Di didn't have her sea legs for the first 36 hours and spent some time leaning over the rail. She made her bed in the cockpit and was 'very comfy' to quote Di.
Basically, we had 15 knot NE breezes and 2m seas all the way. This would have been great if our crew did not have to get back to work on Monday morning! So we pretty much motored all the way.
Mid morning on Friday 27th, we pulled into Port Macquarie for refuelling. Only an hours stopover and we were off again. Late afternoon, we were off Trial Bay - time to prepare an early dinner. "How about a sausage sizzle on the BBQ?" I said. "You can't do a BBQ in these conditions" they said. It was about 15 knots on the nose and 2m seas. So, we had a BBQ - the sausages just stayed on the BBQ plate! At the end of the BBQ Graham said "Well, you can't do that on a Yacht!"
Off Balina, we pulled up the sails (just so we could all have a sail). Still the breeze was on the nose - N at 15-20 knots. We were doing 7.5 knots into the chop, but taking current and tacking into account, were were only making 3-4 knots forward. Still, we had an extremely enjoyable hours sail. Once we dropped the sails it was time for dinner - another BBQ, this time marinated chicken, all while motoring !
At 7.00am (Sunday 29 August) we entered the Gold Coast Seaway. By 8.00am we were tied up at the Marina. Our home was back! Di stayed a few extra days and did a magnificant job of cleaning the boat and getting it ship shape ready for Liz's return. Di is keen to join us on another offshore trip.