Captain's Log
24 June 2000

At anchor Whitehaven Beach

Motorsailed most of last night in the persistent and boring light SE winds. Each of the YC watches were kept busy conducting a teamwork exercise that went very well. Engines were shut down at 0600 and with day break came a fresh SE wind (at last) as the ship approached the Whitsunday Passage. Today was an absolutely awesome day and one of the best days sailing that I’ve experienced in the ship. After morning brief the ship transited north through the very beautiful Long Island Sound between Long Is and the mainland. On clearing the narrows the ship came hard onto the wind, now blowing at over 20 kts, to work back south through the Whitsunday Passage. Close hauled and with the upper squares, the ship was powering across the passage at over 9 kts. We conducted three wears and eight tacks over a four hour period. The YC were working very hard but they gained invaluable experience in handling sails in a bit of a blow. We eventually sailed under Dent Is and then Hamilton Is when sheets were eased and we reached across the bay to the south of Whitsunday Is. The ship then sailed through another beautiful piece of water, Solway Passage to arrive off the pristine white sands of Whitehaven Beach. We sailed to the anchorage arriving at 1500. After gasketting the sails the YC all went ashore for ���mid-voyage talks’ where within the watch groups, the voyage is discussed and self appraisal conducted. The YC returned onboard at sunset. The Whitsunday Islands are arguably some of the most beautiful and best cruising grounds in the world and to experience them in such glorious weather, with a good stiff breeze and a great YC, was very special and something to cherish.This evening after dinner I will brief the YC on Command Day and now that they have experienced some ���real’ sailing they are all the better prepared for it. Tomorrow we will hopefully have a similar days sailing although today is going to be hard to top.YC entry by Jeff Dann (age 22 from Ayr, QLD) – Today our honeymoon of easy breezes ended. The wind finally picked up and gave the YC our first real test of sailing. Up until now, the journey has been a bit of a holiday albeit with a vertical learning curve. Morale was up with us sailing up the Whitsunday Passage earlier this morning – then as we rounded the heads we were faced with some real wind (20-25 kts). In the space of a few minutes, we knew that we would have to work as a team and to really put the last five days of training to the test. We had to use our new-found courage, strength and skills to reach our destination of Whitehaven Beach. After a day’s worth of tacking, a tired YC anchored at Whitehaven Beach and with a trip to shore making all the effort worthwhile.Today was close to the perfect day. Brilliant day at the office and the Wallabies won!Andrew (and Jeff)


20° 17' South / 149° 3'


Wind SE 12kts, Temp 22, clear evening