James Craig Hobart Trip

30th January – 25th February 2009

Sydney to Hobart

Tuesday 27th January

?Lots of preparation work going on. General maintenance (as always), plus food to go on, tanks to fill, everything to check.

Friday 30th January

Thank you for all your support and preparation for the James Craig voyage to Hobart. ?We have had a perfect start. A 10 to 15 knot Nor’easter has us bowling along at 7 knots off Port Kembla on the planned track with 580 miles to run to Hobart. ?Dolphins and a number of shake down exercises have helped to settle the crew into the three watch system. Lamb Souvlakia for dinner smells great too!

Saturday 31th January

30 miles east of Batemans Bay 8knots. ?I am happy to report that we have travelled well since my last message to you. The wind that has caused so much hardship in Victoria, has been a blessing to us. ?Overnight we rolled along making good ground to the south and a bit to the east. At 2am we wore ship (gybed for the yachties) and are now slowly closing the coast with the wind on our starboard quarter. ?Forecast weather will have us off Gabo Island tonight.

Sunday 1st February

Position 12M SE Gabo Island 5knots Course 195. ?Sunday finds us entering Bass Strait in light easerly breezes. Nor’easters are predicted again and the crew is rested and quietly going about sailor business – sail changes, sleeping, eating. ?I am happy to report that there is not much to report and will call again towards the end of the day.

Sunday 1st February

Position 50 miles south of Gabo Island Course 195, Speed 7knots. ?Today we have sailed, motor-sailed and are now sailing again on a beam reach under 19 sails. As night falls and forecast strenghtening nor’easters return, we will be reducing to a more conservative night- time working rig. ?Everyone is well, well almost everyone, and morale is high in appreciation of the fortunate weather that we have had. Other boats travelling to Tasmania are nearby and we will be looking out for them through the night.

Monday 2nd February

Position 25 miles east of Cape Barren Island Course 195, Speed 7knots. James Craig has crossed the Bass Strait again in fine style. ?We carried T’gallants through the night and shook out Royals at first light, maintaining more than 7 knots in a 15 knot easterly. Even the middle watch was a joy.?The crew is in excellent condition and some seamanship and training activities have been popular. Some passengers have also enjoyed evening meals at the captain’s table. ?Tonight, we intend to close the Tasmanian coast to establish telephone contact.

Tuesday 3rd February

Position 15M East of St Helens Course 180, Speed 3knots.?Welcome to Tasmanian waters with cray fishing boats, wheeling albatross and clear, cold air. ?We are now motoring at slow speed into a 25 knot southerly.?At engine revs of 1000 rpm, the ship movement is very moderate which is comfortable for both ship and crew. Telephone contact has been established and a possible sail-by of Bicheno has been cancelled. ?All are well and enjoying the little outing – with our jumpers on.

Tuesday 3rd February

Position 5 miles east of Schouten Island Course 200, Speed 6knots.?After motor sailing under staysails all day, the promised easterly has started to come in. Topsails are being set in a mild clear night. ?Roz has been busy setting her trolling line and others have been busy catching five tuna that are all about 40cm long and weigh about 8kg each – more than enough for the whole ship’s company barbeque, planned for Thursday night. We retreived the lure as dolphins joined in the fishing and albatross passed over with particular interest.?The hilly Tasmanian coast is clearly visible and we expect to reach Tasman light in the morning. By then, we will ask permission to enter Port Arthur, but will sail on otherwise.?I’ll let you know what happens as soon as we know what Tas Ports allow us to do.

Wednesday 4th February

At Anchor Wedge Bay (West Side of Tasman Peninsula)?Today was a special treat. Sunrise lit up the tesselated cliffs of Forestier and Tasman Peninsulas as we sailed past the Hippolites and braced a full set of sails around Tasman Island into Storm Bay. ?Sadly, we were not granted pilotage permission to enter Port Arthur. So, we sailed past Cape Raoul and turned north to anchor in Wedge Bay which is well protected from all except westerly weather. ?A number of delightful timber cray boats have closed us to have a look and our own fishermen have been entertaining with, amongst other things, a short challenge with a one metre shark that did eventually get away … .?By the way, the tuna was very tasty.?We intend to remain on the admiralty pattern anchor thoughout tomorrow, enjoy a barbeque and face the challenge of the customary Sods Opera. Early on Friday, we will head off to meet the Derwent River Pilot and enter the Australian Wooden Boat Festival at midday.?Thank you for your support. Everyone is safe and sound.

Drawing by Michael Horne

Drawing by Julia Garnett


Hobart to Sydney

Wednesday 18th February

Position 2miles SE Tasman Island. Course 020 Speed 5knots Wind NE 25knots Swell SE 3m. ?We are on our way home with a successful Hobart visit under us. Hobart must be one of the best places to visit from the sea even without a world class Wooden Boat Festival for entertainment. ?Our crew has re-formed with new passage crew and old hands participating in essential safety drills. Tonight we intend to motor sail before assessing the possibility of passing Bicheno during the morning to wave to the people who granted this ship the freedom of their city. ?Winds are predicted to veer to the east and we hope to sail on from there.

Thursday 19th February

Position 25miles South East of St Helens. Course 014 Speed 5knots Wind East 10knots Swell 3 to 4 metres. ?Everyone onboard is well but some are a little jaded after motor sailing last night and a roly visit to Bicheno this morning at 11am. Whilst no transfers took place, the mayor did send his three representatives out by tin boat to welcome us and school children waved from the headland. ?We are now breaking out more sail and will have 9 set soon – good for morale and the fuel bill.

Friday 20th February

Position 50miles East of Cape Barren. Course 050 Speed 6knots Wind SE 5knots Swell East 4metres. ?Our little crew is not so fresh this morning after a night of steep confused swell that has come from the low pressure system that watered your gardens last week. Light winds and big seas are tedious for square rigged ships and we hope for some sou’easterlies today and plan to shake out more sail again. ?We are making slow progress but all are well despite one or two bumps.

Friday 20th February

Position 70 Miles NE Flinders Island. Course 340, Speed 5knots, Wind 5knots Variable, Swell 3metres. ?As the deep low pressure system clears to the south east and we wait for another weak depression to pass over, there has been little wind for sailing. Our progress has been adequate under power and training sessions have helped pass the time. ?Even without good sailing, the Bass Strait sea and weather systems have provided entertainment to well chosen classical music on deck. ?Roz has supplied fresh tuna from the sea and our chefs have excelled in trying conditions – tasty hamburgers and salad for lunch.

Saturday 21th February

Position 30 miles SE Gabo Island. Course 355 Speed 7knots Wind 20knots WSW, Swell 2metres SW 11 sails No engines. ?At last, the SW winds have come and we have sailed since midnight with squares and stay sails set. Through the middle watch, dark forms moved around the rig and deck, setting sail and trying not to wake those asleep in the deck house. Stopping engines woke more people than deck watch noise, and bets were on as to who would appear next. ?We are closing the NSW coast about 20 miles offshore to allow for NE winds predicted through Sunday – some phones may work then. ?Morale has risen with the sailing conditions and Mexican tacos are on for lunch.

Sunday 22th February

Position 30miles SE Batemans Bay. Course 090 Speed 5knots Wind NE 15knots Swell 1metre. ?Apologies for this late report. ?Landfall offshore from Gabo Island was accompanied by confused sea and a 90 degree wind shift from the SW to SE. We have sailed well from early this morning to about midday when the nor’easter came in. ?Navy permission has been granted for the James Craig to enter Jervis Bay during the Fleet concentration period. We intend to anchor in the NE of the Bay in amongst some busy military exercises – anything for publicity! ?Essential maintenance and a Sod’s Opera will be conducted before we leave on Tuesday morning for Sydney arrival 10am Wed 25 Feb. We are all looking forward to getting home.

Monday 23rd February

Position At Anchor 1 Mile SW Montague Point Jervis Bay Wind NNW 30knots. ?After sailing for some and motor sailing for the rest of last night, we entered Jervis Bay and anchored amongst business-like grey ships going about their duties. ?This evening, a beautiful weather front, complete with green hues, drenching rain and continuous lightning sent everyone between decks for safety and comfort. All electronics were also switched off. ?After a BBQ, Sods Opera and a good rest, we plan to weigh anchor and proceed at 8am tomorrow before gunnery practice starts on Beecroft range. ?ETA Sydney is 10am Wednesday 25 Feb and we all look forward to seeing you then or soon after.

Tuesday 24th February

Position 25 miles East of Port Kembla. Course 350 Sp 3knots, Wind SE 8knots, sailing under 8 staysails and 8 squares. ?This will be the last report before the James Craig berths at Wharf 7 Pyrmont, Sydney 10am Wednesday 25 February. ?Today we sailed from Jervis Bay, after a spectacular storm, Engineers’ BBQ and one of the best Sods Operas held onboard. We cleared our anchorage, within the inshore side of the Beecroft firing range, at 8am and motor sailed east as the programmed shore bombardment by Navy ships continued through the morning. We then exchanged navigational information with a merchant ship, Oriente Grande, carrying Zinc concentrate for Tasmania and turned north under a full spread of plain sail. ?The wind is now dying away for the last 40 miles of our voyage, so our faithful iron topsails, with their well behaved gearboxes, may come to our service in the early morning.

Thank you Hette and Lynelle for passing on these messages. Thank you everyone, for supporting our important Sydney Heritage Fleet venture which also brings so much joy to those we share it with.

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