NYE Fireworks! Melbourne to Sydney Harbour

Members Trip Write ups and placed of interest visited with their Trailer Sailers
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luke.sleeman
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Re: NYE Fireworks! Melbourne to Sydney Harbour

Post by luke.sleeman » Jan 11th, '19, 08:55

INMA wrote:
Jan 10th, '19, 15:54
My experience towing dingies lead me to decide the RL24 does not have enough stability to comfortably tow a dingy under sail.
Thanks for your detailed write up! Bumblebee definitely does behave differently with the tender attached. I think that the Bimini also has a large impact on upwind performance as well - if we heel over it definitely catches the wind and produces extra drag. All up though, I found things are not as bad as I had feared. At the Whitsundays with the Bimini and tender I found we lost about 5 to 10 degrees pointing ability and the boat lacked some "drive" upwind. The conditions were always pretty light though. I think our tender is very light - only 20kg all up, which means it tends to plane very easily and doesn't produce much drag.

We definitely did a lot more motoring or motor sailing on the Sydney trip than usual - partially because of the damage to the main, but also just because the conditions were bad.

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luke.sleeman
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Re: NYE Fireworks! Melbourne to Sydney Harbour

Post by luke.sleeman » Jan 11th, '19, 09:07

pdandy wrote:
Jan 10th, '19, 20:22
Imagine how nasty things would have been if you were on the tiller whilst she / the kids were struggling with a feral boom / mainsail!
True! I guess we really had no choice as to who took what role.

I've practised heaving to on my boat a fair bit, and it works really well. By adjusting how hard the jib is sheeted I can even easily change the angle the boat sits to the wind. I really think I need to make more use of heaving to as my "go to" manoeuvre, particularly when there is something that needs doing with the sails such as reefing or hoisting the main.

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Re: NYE Fireworks! Melbourne to Sydney Harbour

Post by pdandy » Jan 11th, '19, 12:47

luke.sleeman wrote:
Jan 11th, '19, 09:07
pdandy wrote:
Jan 10th, '19, 20:22
Imagine how nasty things would have been if you were on the tiller whilst she / the kids were struggling with a feral boom / mainsail!
True! I guess we really had no choice as to who took what role.

I've practised heaving to on my boat a fair bit, and it works really well. By adjusting how hard the jib is sheeted I can even easily change the angle the boat sits to the wind. I really think I need to make more use of heaving to as my "go to" manoeuvre, particularly when there is something that needs doing with the sails such as reefing or hoisting the main.
Luke, be cautious about relying on hoving to in a choppy environment with strong winds on a light boat. All it takes is one selfish person to throw a big enough wake your way and you'll be spinning for a gybe with no boat speed to provide rudder control and nobody left holding the tiller when you go for a swim.
noelex 25 green velvet

juan
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Re: NYE Fireworks! Melbourne to Sydney Harbour

Post by juan » Jan 11th, '19, 14:25

Hey Luke,

I only discovered your post today. Turns out I was also at the CYCA and saw your boat. Got close a couple of times but there was nobody on board.
My (shorter) story about Syd is here: viewtopic.php?f=40&t=15849

Juan

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luke.sleeman
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Re: NYE Fireworks! Melbourne to Sydney Harbour

Post by luke.sleeman » Jan 11th, '19, 19:00

Wednesday 2nd
We started off the day by heading to the fish market in the tender. I had been a bit worried about where to tie up, as the jetty at the fish market only allows people to be picked up or dropped off - you leave your boat there and go inside. Fortunately blackwattle bay has several public jetties on the opposite side to the fish market. We tied the tender up at the rowing club and spent 5 min walking around the small bay to the market.

The market was great. Plenty of delicious and (relatively) cheap seafood. The kids didn't like the smell, but the hustle and bustle, and all the types of seafood on sale certainly held their attention. It was good that we had gone to the market first thing in the morning as it rapidly filled up while we were eating. While we were eating we were kept entertained by watching some large motor cruisers try to pull up at the seafood markets jetty. The seafood website says the jetty is limited to boats 6m and under, but that didn't stop a motor cruiser that would have been at least 12m pulling up and dropping off passengers.

Once we were done eating we returned to bumblebee and pulled up the anchor. The rope and chain absolutely stunk from the gunk in Rozelle bay and it took my wife multiple rounds of washing her hands with soap and water until she had the smell off them!

I had booked a few nights at the marina on cockatoo island. As the wind was favourable and the distance short we sailed over on jib only. It was a slow trip and I was quickly wishing for my torn main. Unfortunately when we arrived, the small boat marina on Cockatoo island turned out to be fairly exposed to the powerboat wash. It took a while swapping around berths and adjusting lines until we were in a spot that was relatively protected. It's a bit disappointing for $60 a night.

We had camped at cockatoo island a few years ago in the depths of winter. My impression then was that it was empty and spooky. At the time there was almost nobody on the island but us, along with a whole bunch of empty warehouses, rusting cranes, and old factories and empty tents. I had hoped that in summer it would be a nicer place but sadly it was exactly the same! It looked like they were still packing up after the new years celebrations, as there was a whole bunch of closed marque's, an empty camp ground, endless rows of portapotties and barely a soul around.

The showers for the camp ground were open, so I was able to enjoy washing off all the salt and sunscreen of the past few days. I spent the rest of the day exploring around the island with my son, before we finally settled down in the boat for the night.

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Re: NYE Fireworks! Melbourne to Sydney Harbour

Post by luke.sleeman » Jan 12th, '19, 09:07

Thursday 3rd
Our plan for today was to catch the ferry off cockatoo island and do some heavy touristing around Sydney. We started off by visiting the aquarium in darling harbour, followed by a lunch time buffet cruise around the harbour with captain cook cruises. The view from the boat was nice, but the buffet selection a bit disappointing. They had plenty of prawns and Sydney oysters, but there are only so many you can eat!

After lunch we walked off our meal by visiting the maritime meseum. It was interesting checking out all the boats and they had a good exhibition on James Cameron's submarine voyage to the bottom of challenger deep.

We wrapped up the day with some shopping - by this time we were running out of clothes. There were laundry facilities on Cockatoo island for the campers, but it all seemed to be shut.

When we arrived back exhausted at cockatoo island we had a pleasant surprise - the camp ground was open again. There were loads of campers and families around and suddenly the island didn't feel creepy anymore. It's amazing what the sound of kids running around and playing does for a place. There was a large fire going in the communal firepit in the camp ground so we sat down and spent the evening chatting with the campers. The kids made some new friends and everyone burnt some marshmallows. It was a relaxing ending to a busy day.

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Re: NYE Fireworks! Melbourne to Sydney Harbour

Post by luke.sleeman » Jan 17th, '19, 09:36

Friday 4th
This was our last day in Sydney! The weather was good, the wind promising, and I would have loved to get some sailing in - it was the only thing we haven't done much of this trip. As I lay in bed in the dawn light I considered our torn main. I didn't dare hoist it for fear of making the rip worse. However the tear was around the eyes used for putting in a single reef. My main also had a set of eyes so that it could be double reefed! If I double reefed the main, then I should be able to sail on it without making the tear any worse!

We had breakfast at one of the cafes on Cockatoo island, before I headed back to setup. I was determined not to repeat my previous mistake of poor preparation. There was barely any wind, so I actually raised the main while still tied up at the marina. It allowed me to get everything organised properly and make sure the main would be fine. I was a little concerned that the main would complicate leaving the marina, but the wind was so light it had no effect at all.

As the wind was easterly, we had to motor sail until we passed under the harbour bridge. The traffic didn't seem to bad and the wash from the powerboats wasn't extreme. There was actually a small yacht just a bit larger that bumblebee with two ladies onboard, out for a day sail. We stuck close to them while passing under the bridge. Once the harbour opened up a bit they turned off their engine and started tacking upwind and we followed.

It was a great day with about a 10 to 15 knots breeze. Bumblebee sailed upwind well enough with the double reefed main. We actually tacked our way up the whole harbour and rounded shark island before turning back.

Heading back the wind was stiff enough for me to attempt to sail under the harbour bridge. I've got to say going under the bridge under sail has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I was hoping that the easterly wind would be funneled around the various hills and buildings, and under the bridge, meaning a steady breeze to push us through. Unfortunately it died out instead! The area under the Sydney harbour bridge is marked as a "no drifting zone" on the maps and I know the police patrol it, so I nervously watched as our boat speed dropped. Just as I was about to start the outboard, a puff of wind came through and carried us under the bridge!

We continued to run under sail all the way to the Gladesville bridge before the wind totally died. From there it was only a short motor to the ramp in five dock bay where we had launched. Fortunately the car and boat trailer were fine and we had the boat out off the water by 2:30. It had been an amazing morning sail to cap off a fantastic trip.

I had planned to pack up leasurely, spend the night in the boat on the trailer and driving the next morning. Since it was early in the afternoon my wife and I decided, why not try and get everything done and be on the road today. The kids were sent off to amuse themselves on the playground and we packed up in record time: Two hours from haul out to ready to drive, including all our cruising gear, the tender, etc!

At 4:30 the roads were starting to fill up with rush hour. Google maps sends you around traffic jams and it chose an absolutely tortious route to get out of Sydney. It kept wanting to send me down streets marked "local traffic only" or through tiny intersections that were impossible with a big car and boat in tow. Eventually I had to pull over, check the map and find my own way onto the freeway.

Once we were on the freeway we started to travel in earnest. I had been hoping to make it to Gundagai to stay overnight, but everything was starting to get a little bit late, and I didn't want to travel in the night or arrive after all the restaurants were closed. Also it had been a huge day, I was exhausted and hadn't eaten a proper meal since breakfast. Instead we booked a motel in Goulburn and arrived about 7:30. We had a huge dinner at a pub down the road, before falling fast asleep in the luxury of a real bed.

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Johny
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Re: NYE Fireworks! Melbourne to Sydney Harbour

Post by Johny » Jan 17th, '19, 10:04

I'm pleased to hear that you got some good sailing in Luke. As you say, a nice way to end the time on water.
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Re: NYE Fireworks! Melbourne to Sydney Harbour

Post by INMA » Jan 17th, '19, 11:29

Luke INMA does not hove to comfortably.

Under full mainsail she just sails forward at about 3 knots with the jib back winded.

With the #3 reef she hoves to acceptably sailing forward at about a knot.

I have a fishermans parachute anchor that could be used tohold the bow into the wind while sorting out sails.

Perhaps with experience I've managed to stay far enough ahead of what is needed for comfortable, lazy cruising. Certainly my preference for motoring with the tiller pilot or motor sailing on the tiller has the result of me taking the easy way out andnot pushing the sailing legs too hard.

I do take the time to consider the forecasts for at least a few days ahead when cruising the Whitsundays. I'd motor into the wind to get a good position for a few days cruising running and reaching to pleasant anchorages.
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A bad day in the Whitsundays is better than a good day at work. Unless you work in the Whitsundays.

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luke.sleeman
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Re: NYE Fireworks! Melbourne to Sydney Harbour

Post by luke.sleeman » Jan 18th, '19, 19:21

INMA wrote:
Jan 17th, '19, 11:29
Luke INMA does not hove to comfortably.
Bumblebee does seem to sit fairly nicely when hove to. I haven't measured but my guess would be it makes about a knott or so of leaway. I strap the tiller hard over so it would point up into the wind, sheet the jib in on the wrong side and let off the main. It seems to sit there very nicely, and because it's making a little leeway, if feels like the waves don't effect us so badly. By pulling on or letting off the jib sheet, I can adjust the angle the boat sits to the wind.

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luke.sleeman
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Re: NYE Fireworks! Melbourne to Sydney Harbour

Post by luke.sleeman » Jan 18th, '19, 19:35

Saturday 5th
We woke up early and grabbed some breakfast at the same pub we had dinner - they had a little cafe attached which did good meals and passable coffee.

We had a uneventful trip home and were back by 3:00. The hardest thing was motivating ourselves to unpack! We offloaded everything straight into the garage, which now looks like a bomb hit it. I flushed the outboard and rinsed the trailer, but apart from that I decided to leave the bulk of the cleaning until tomorrow.

Sunday 6th
I washed and washed and cleaned and cleaned! The weather was warm, which was lucky as I crawled under the boat and scrubbed the bottom. Nothing like soapy water dripping all over you - at least when it's 35 degrees! Bumblebee doesn't have any antifouling, and after about a week in the water it starts to pick up growth. After the month of our Whitsundays trip, the various things on the bottom were quite hard and required multiple rounds of detailed attention from a high pressure hose. Fortunately this time a scribbling brush and soapy water was all that was needed.

After a solid day of scrubbing, cleaning and vacuuming the boat actually looked quite good when I packed it away - even better than when we set out on our trip! Unfortunately there are a whole bunch of minor maintenance items I'll need to sort out before I sail next, not the least of which is patching the main!

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Re: NYE Fireworks! Melbourne to Sydney Harbour

Post by luke.sleeman » Jan 21st, '19, 19:18

Conclusion
On the way back to Melbourne everyone rated the trip and what they thought the best and worst bits were:

My son would rate it 9.5/10! He said the best bit was the sailing we did, in particular sailing under the Sydney harbour bridge! He didn't have a worst bit.

My daughter rated it 9/10. She said the best part was all the swimming. She said the worst part was tearing the mainsail.

My wife would rate it 8/10. She said the best part was watching the NYE fireworks from the boat. The worst part was tearing the mainsail.

For myself I said it was 8.5/10. The best bit was the NYE fireworks. The worst was motoring into the 25 Knott wind and waves off middle head. Ironically my family were all down below snoozing when it happened so they missed out on all the fun.

We discussed what gear we brought was useful and what we should have left behind. The prize for best gear was a tie between the Bimini and tender. The weather in Sydney was HOT, so having some shade to shelter under was essential, both while sailing and at anchor. Often we would all be cramed together under the spot of shade rather than sit in the sun. In my backyard at Port Phillip bay we don't have much use for a tender. It seems anywhere worth going has a jetty or marina of some sort. In Sydney having a tender increased our flexibility dramatically! There were several places we could only access by tender. In many cases it was also easier to anchor out and get to a shore via the tender than risk moving the boat into an overcrowded and unknown situation.

As for useless gear: When I went to the Whitsundays I regretted not bringing a selfie stick! This time I brought it and never used it. The sailing trips were too short and and the water to busy get it out and setup. The other prize for useless goes to a large wooden plank I use for tying up at the fergerson street pier in Williamstown. It's used for sitting between the pier and the fenders when we are tied up at locations that only have vertical wooden piles. It turns out there is nothing like this in Sydney - everywhere we went to had the floating pontoon style jetties. Consistently this large piece of wood spent the whole trip strapped to the rails!

Would I do the trip again? I think it's worthwhile doing once - the fireworks on the water were incredible. But having done it, I think I would prefer to spend future NYEs in a quieter area. I'm somebody who is quite active and has a hard time staying in one spot. I tend to spend my holidays running from attraction to attraction trying to fit everything in. I like the buzz and bustle of citys! But Sydney passed even my limit. I think in future anchoring for a week off some quiet and empty beach where the kids can swim and we chill in our camp chairs sounds like just what the DR ordered. I'm thinking for a future NYE trip giving the Gippsland lakes another shot or trying some of the various lakes in southern NSW.

All up: I'm very happy I did Sydney Harbour on new years. But I'm not sure I would be happy to do it twice :)

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