Good evening All,
A truely beautiful sail overnight through some of the islands in Bass Strait with the watches doing their Bearex, a test of doing some deck work by themselves, that they have never seen before and sometimes without talking. A really good team bonding activity and good seamanship to boot. After breakfast we did rotational tacks where each watch gets to try each others tacking positions so we know all the ropes, so to speak. As we did this we could see the dark clouds of the cold front approaching from the south west. In typical Bass Strait fashion the front showed how unforgiving the seas can be. We shortened sail and were in 30-35 knots of wind within 15 minutes. Luckily the Youth Crew have really started to step-up and sail handling is becoming more timely. Despite the adverse weather, two things stuck out. The first was we were making good speed towards Port Phillip but would miss the tidal window at The Rip so we opted for Western Port and headed to anchorage at Cowes on the northern side of Phillip Island. Secondly, the majority of Youth Crew were up and about during the 8 hours of rough stuff and were really helping with sail handling and on the bridge, including some very heavy steering, or helming as we call it out here at sea. 5 days ago the thought of large waves drenching our young ship mates would have brought terrifying screams. Now it is just giggles and fair groud ride type squeels as youthful care-free spirits rise. We entered Western Port and immediately I undertook Captain’s setting and furling where each watch needs to demonstrate their sail handling skills without their watch leader. All were deemed safe with only a few turns at setting and furling – packet of Tim Tams a just reward for their efforts. We have just anchored off Cowes on the northern side of Phillip Island where some of the Youth Crew are doing more climbs of the masts while others are doing some group work. We will remain at anchor after what has been a long day. Tomorrow promises much better winds. We are obviously only getting a C grade on weather at the moment! Sleep well in your wide non-moving beds (our bunks are only 600mm wide and have ‘ship bits’ passing over, under and through them) and enjoy the comfort of sheets and dooners (getting familiar with our sleeping bags that slide off the bunk until knees and elbows hit something like the deck). Regards, Dave J, Voyage Captain
Morning - beautiful light north easterly breeze with a calm sea and mild temperature but a bit rainy. This afternoon - cold front with south westerly wind change (we hit 40 knots of wind at one stage) bringing a higher sea state then, this evening the relative peace and calm at Phillip Island in Westernport. Must be in Victoria - four seasons in one day!