Blown Away Down the Channel

hobart waterfront We left the wind tunnel, known as Cornelian Bay, a few days ago. With a forecast of N/NW winds for the area, we thought we'd have a great sail down the Channel. It was blowing 25kts as we raised the anchor and sailed under the Tasman Bridge. By the time we passed the Hobart waterfront and headed towards the Channel, the wind had calmed to a variable 5-10 knots. We motored on.

The wind came in spurts...5 knots, 15 knots, 5 knots, 20 knots. The jib was out and caught the wind when it came and flogged when it didn't, but the day was gloriously sunny and dry and it was good to be sailing. We dropped the hook in Oyster Cove (Kettering) and dinghied in to say goodbye to a couple of people, take hot showers, get rid of some trash and do a load of laundry. We came back to Cups lighter in trash, cleaner in body and with a dive bag full of wet clothes to hang out to dry.

faucet hole

We had intended to spend the night in Kettering, but it was still early in the day and the sun doesn't set here till nearly 10pm now, so we decided to continue on to Cygnet. Things started going awry at that point. The washdown hose had been leaking and got more water on me than on the deck or the chain. It was on the “to-do” list for repair. As David removed the snubber from the anchor chain, he lost his balance when a big gust of wind knocked him back. He slipped and managed to shear off the entire washdown faucet fitting from the deck, leaving a hole in its place. This also prevented us from adequately cleaning all the thick, slimy, brown mud off the chain as we brought it up. Buckets of water and a brush didn't do the trick like a high power spray and we had a muddy mess on the foredeck.

port cygnet haze

The N/NW wind had freshened and we were doing 8 knots with only the foresail as we headed down the Channel. It was glorious until the wind shifted and increased and we turned off the Channel for the remaining couple of miles into Cygnet. 20 knots was fine and we progressed slowly. Then 30 and 35 knots and the fetch increased. Short, square waves that had green water coming over the bow (and probably finding its way into that little hole where the faucet should be), the boat lurching and the crew feeling uneasy. The wind increased to 40 knots as we rounded Huon Island. The wind shot down the Huon River like a bullet, blowing the tops off the waves, pelting our faces with salt spray. I know, I know...we should have just gone with the wind and found another anchorage across the Channel somewhere. But we reasoned, we were so close...it couldn't take that much longer.

Wrong...it took another two hours before we finally clawed our way around Cygnet Point and into the bay. The wind was still blowing, but there was less fetch and once in the lee of the hills, even the wind subsided to a comfortable 25 knots. One last blast of 55 knots caught us as we passed a notch in the hills and then we were in calm waters.

race line

We anchored and breathed a sigh of relief. Below decks was bedlam. Cushions everywhere, baskets upturned. Anything not lashed down was on the sole. Before we even finished tidying up, a fellow dinghied over to inform us we had anchored on the starting line for the local boat races. Who knew? There's a little sign ashore, not very visible from the anchorage. We left that detail for another day. Instead, we put up the clothesline and hung out the wet clothes...even though it was sprinkling. Then a glass of wine and some relaxation before any thought was given to the faucet repair, the thick layer of salt crystallized all over everything, the mud on the deck, the water and mud in the chain locker …. and oh yeah, the forward head pump which stopped working en route.

Such is life … on a boat, in Tasmania, in the Roaring 40's.

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Days and Ways to Celebrate

A daily list of mostly obscure holidays and fun ways to celebrate them.

Fruitcake Toss Day

Yup, this is the day to get rid of that fruit cake you received for Christmas. Don't have one? If you can't borrow one to throw away, or buy a discounted one from the piles of them at the local grocery, perhaps you bake one and then toss it. Here's a recipe.

Old Rock Day

Nobody seems to know the origin of this holiday, but all agree it's an opportunity to learn about old rocks and fossils. You can discover your state's fossil, visit a natural history museum or perhaps listen to some old rock on the radio or your iPod.