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Published: October 30th 2015
Tuesday 27th - Wednesday 28th October 2015
Towards midnight the water deepened and the wind dropped, making it more comfortable for the crew trying to sleep. Rags spent the last 2 hours before his 0300 – 0600hrs watch sleeping on the couch in the flybridge able to sleep deeply as he knew he would be woken up on time.
During his watch he had lightning in the distance and squalls of rain, to keep him occupied. He also had a couple of ships on the radar to watch, the one coming at him eventually crossing our route well ahead of us, the other, which we later identified as True North, sitting on our stern about 3 nm away, where it sat for the next 24 hours.
Morning brought smoother seas, but all of us were glad that the ladies hadn’t suffered through this night like we did. In anticipation of the wind increasing we altered our meal pattern, Rags cooking a hot meal at lunchtime, dinner being a simple heated meat pie and a salad.
The trip plan has now been altered several times, mainly because of the weather and sea forecasts as well as
the good fuel economy. At this stage we intend to go straight to Dampier, where we will refuel, and from there head for Carnarvon. If however, the seas on the western side of N.W. Cape are too rough, we will deviate to Exmouth.
Mixed forecasts have been received, and as we don’t want to have the boat in bigger than 1.5 – 2m seas we will take this as it comes. Thursday 29th October 2015
Rags woke at 0500hrs after getting to bed at 2400hrs to the smoothness of the ride. The boat was in calm waters heading into Hampton Harbour, Dampier. We tied up at the fuel jetty in front of the yacht club at 0700hrs and at 0800hrs, whilst the others were refueling, Rags walked into town to do a little bit of shopping.
As he walked past various landmarks such as the Seafarers Club, the school, Shell garage etc it all came back to him from when he worked here over 30 years ago. Surprisingly, it hasn't changed much. The temperature was already high at 0900hrs, the humidity very high and uncomfortable. After purchasing some extravagantly priced groceries at the local
IGA (no wonder people travel to Karratha for groceries) he used one of their shopping trolleys to get everything back to the boat. Luckily for him, the refueler agreed to take it back to the shop on the back of his ute.
Refueling done, we were off again at 0930hrs, much quicker than expected. The seas were like glass when we left, boosting confidences a little on how far we could get. This changed somewhat at about 1800hrs when we altered course for NW Cape and the wind came up. The ride then became decidedly choppy but still bearable. We hope that it will improve into the night as we expect to reach the Cape at about 0300hrs tomorrow morning. It will be then that decisions will be made, and whether our plans to head straight for Fremantle eventuate.
Rags pre-empted that the weather may get rougher so he cooked a BBQ dinner of chops, sausages, fried potato and sweet potato, together with peas and beans. As Barry said; "At least it will give us something to throw up if we get sick". Besides that, we all enjoyed the meal and all had a beer or wine with
it. This is not normal, all abstaining most nights. Rags is still enjoying being the cook, meals have been as varied as he can manage. Friday 30th October 2015
For the first part ofthe night the seas remained reasonably calm, with following seas. Rags took the helm at midnight, he now on shift until 0300hrs. All went well for the first hour with him altering the course from what the previous shifts did, to get back onto the course Barry had set earlier in the evening. By about 0200hrs the boat should be at the point where it could rejoin this.
Barry came up just after this to see how things were going when suddenly the boat swung through 180 degrees. We continued this swing through 360 degrees to face the original direction we were travelling in and reset the tracker. All seemed ok after this, Barry went back to bed and all was well for another hour or so. At just after 0200hrs the boat did a repeat performance and Rags took it through 360 degrees again and continued on. It was a bit disconcerting, but as there was nothing in the area and
The final sunset this trip for Graeme and Rags. Just another 50nm slog to Carnarvon.
we were in deep water, he continued on.
Rags found it difficult to stay on course at this stage, and then noticed the port engine was running much slower than the starboard motor. As we were now within a few miles of the southern tip of the Muirons, which as Rags knows from his fishing days as being shallow, he raced below and got Barry out of his bed. Barry played with the motors for sometime without success and then noticed the switch for slow running was depressed. Rags must have pressed this inadvertently as the switch for the red light was near it.
Barry started his shift a little early, Rags going below to get a little sleep. The seas were higher when he woke a couple of hours later, and on going to the flybridge found Barry and Ian there. They had solved the circle problem, the backtrack button had been pushed at some time, making the boat want to return from where it had just come. As we were now punching into the waves the ride was uncomfortable although it did get a little better when we went further out to sea. The course was altered once again, the weather forecast indicating we should get bigger swell as the day goes on, heading towards Carnarvon. There was talk of staying there for several days until the weather cell passes. If this occurs both Graeme and Rags will consider flying home from there.
We had another bit of excitement just to round off this part of the trip. As we entered into the channel to the fishing harbour at 0400hrs, Barry found that the hydraulics on the steering mechanism had failed and he could no longer steer to starboard. Using the bow thrusters and the motors he managed to turn the boat around without grounding the boat. Out at sea everything was checked and the fault could not be found and rectified. As it became light we gingerly made our way back into the channel. Barry and Ian worked together using the auto-pilot and the bow thrusters to follow the twists and turns through the channel in the mangroves finally reaching the boat harbour. The berth allocated to us was extremely narrow, much too narrow to enter without proper steering so the boat was brought alongside a trawler tied up to the wharf. As it is a full moon this boat should not be going out for a few days, giving the remaining crew some respite.
The weather forecast was not good, and as Barry has another experienced sailor joining the boat both Graeme and Rags have booked flights out of Carnarvon this morning. So ends an interesting, exciting, and wonderful experience. They both feel sad about leaving, the camaraderie between us all has been excellent. Thanks to the owners, Barry and Diane, for allowing us to share this experience, and we hope to be in touch later, in Perth.
Tot: 3.816s; Tpl: 0.061s; cc: 29; qc: 128; dbt: 0.0975s; 3; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.7mb