The final leg from Newcastle to Sydney – a perfect way to end a perfect trip. Thanks to Fred Mau and Tom Gibson for helping me enjoy such a fabulous conclusion to the journey.


We were hugging the beach earlier, probably about half a mile out, sailing close-hauled into a nor-Easter. I said to Kelly that I didn’t feel comfortable so close in on a lee shore. We were getting pinched so I decided to start the engine and roll up the headie. As I put her into gear there was a loud thumping noise! I killed the engine immediately and we tacked offshore. About two miles out we dropped all the canvas and I went in with snorkeling gear and leatherman, assuming we’d picked up a fish trap buoy or such. I found… Nothing!

Started the engine and all normal… 

Anyway, used the opportunity to thread reef2 that I had taken out for inshore sailing. Better to be sure!


The northerly breeze persisted till midnight, and we motored a fair bit. Poor Kelly tried to sleep through the rumble of the engine and the occasional slamming into the short sharp chop whipped up by the pesky sea breeze.

I stayed up till midnight, sailing hard on the wind but still being pushed further and further offshore and into the current. We were now losing two knots to the south setting current. My patience was rewarded when the forecast westerlies appeared exactly as forecast around midnight. I trimmed a course that would take us closer inshore and then woke Kelly as I was by now feeling more than ready for bed.

I briefed Kelly at length (she’d be justified in digging up the “does a bear know how to shit in the woods” reply again!) and then hit the quarter berth…


Going to windward in 25 knots, making 7 to 8 knots. Sound like a wet and wild sail? Not with our enclosed cockpit. It’s dry and warm in here! What joy! We’ve now got one reef in the main (no need to leave the cockpit) and consistent with the the forecast, the wind is dropping. We’re meant to be getting 20 knot westerlies after the lull, so I’ll keep the reef in for now.


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