After our first Early Morning Activity (EMA) and breakfast this morning, the YC were mustered on the port side of the bridge and introduced to the traditional ceremony of colours (raise flags and sing National Anthem) and morning brief. On completion it was straight into cleaning stations (happy hour) followed by a very comprehensive safety equipment brief given by the ships SE (Katie). At 1200 the anchor was weighed and YE commenced the long pilotage out of Port Phillip Bay. Despite strong winds and frequent showers the YC were kept busy with deck safety and sail setting and furling drills. By 1400 the weather had deteriorated even further with wind gusts of up to 35kts and a very unpleasant 2m swell. Given these conditions were still within Port Phillip Bay I expected that things would be a lot worse in Bass Strait. Tacking stations were called at 1500 and the YC proved that they had "hoisted in" the past 24 hours of instruction by successfully completing their first set of tacks as a crew. At the completion of these tacks we were 5nm to the west of Frankston now battling a 30kt headwind with still 15nm left to exit the Rip. It was at this time that I decided that rather than put the Youth Crew through another 3-4 hours of very uncomfortable conditions to make our exit out of the bay followed by a full night of gale force winds and swell in Bass Strait that a better option was to head for Rye were we could anchor safely for the evening and then tackle Bass Strait tomorrow morning, when the weather was forecast to improve. At 1930 YE came safely to anchor in our normal anchorage position just north of the Rye jetty. The rest of the evening will be spent settling the YC into their watches and giving them some well deserved sleep after a very busy day.
Until tomorrow, take care.