James Craig Hobart Trip

3rd February – 2nd March 2011


Sydney to Hobart


Sat 29th Jan 2011

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

Messages from the James Craig underway:

Fri 4th Feb 2011


The James Craig 2011 Voyage to Hobart is underway. Current position 30nm east of Uladulla. Course is 205T, Speed 7kts, motor sailing.
At 1000 Thur 03Feb 2011 we lifted off Wharf 7 Pyrmont, Sydney and proceeded to sea in company with friends in Harman, under Alan Stannard’s command and in Andrew Ross’ fine fishing vessel.
Light variable winds gave way to a 15kt southerly in the afternoon, on a low and confused sea. Fore and aft staysails have provided some stability whilst the squares were only prepared “into their gear” before sea furls were then applied.
Conditions are good and the crew is settling in well. The ship is nicely secured for sea; deck gear has been sent down to the hold and the main hatch is firmly lashed down – ready for the worst. We expect moderate southerlies tomorrow and then some proper sailing wind!

Chilli con carne lunch and Greek lamb salad dinner were excellent. Morale is high after a busy day of drills and setups.
Thank you everyone for your outstanding effort to get us to sea – you deserve to be very proud. We will do our best to represent the Sydney Heritage Fleet and to pay our way.

Sat 5th Feb 2011


Position 20 miles due south of Malacoota, Course 220, Speed 4 kts, Sailing under top sails, fore course and staysails. Wind NW 10kts Se and swell about 1m. Forecast south westerly change is expected around the middle of the day. Our intention is to gain ground to the west and then alter course at the wind change and sail across the Bass Strait on a south easterly course.
The last 24 hours has been blessed with light North Westerly winds and low sea states. Crew morale is high and preparations are in place for more spirited sailing for the next two days.
Richard Lamacraft, who is a James Craig crew member, was on watch at Marine Rescue Eden when we passed Twofold Bay. He provided a Bass Strait forecast and we enjoyed catching up briefly on the radio.
Kenn Batt has again provided expert advice using Bureau of Met models. Thank you for generous support.
Our new navigation equipment is working perfectly and provides valable information that was simply not available to us before. Thank you Michael Schultz and John Holden.

Sun 6th Feb 2011


James Craig, is in postion 50miles east of Cape Barren, course 160, motor sailing at 5ts. Wind South South West 15 to 30 kts. Swell 2 to 3 metres. Rain, clearing. SSW winds are predicted continue through the week which does not help our preference to sail without engines.
Intention is to tack inshore through Sunday night to Eddystone point before turning south along the Tasmanian coast to pick up a pilot in Pirates Bay for Port Arthur.
Passengers and crew are working together with the difficult conditions in good humour. Most are sleeping well. Watches and meal times drive routines. Our chefs continue to serve delicious food on time; even baking bread – quite an achievement!
Yet again, our voyage passengers have entertained us with interesting stories of their very interesting lives – lovely to be sailing in such good company.
We send special greetings to all our ship mates who could not be with us this time, especially Ken and Valerie Edwards.

Mon 7th Feb 2011


James Craig is in postion 22miles SSE of St Helens, course 250, sailing at 5kts. Wind West to Southwesterly 10 knots. Seas 2m. Swell Southerly 1m and Northeasterly 1m. SW and SE winds are predicted into the night and early Tues.
Intention is to close the coast through the night and sail to Pirates Bay and pick up the pilot at 0830 Wed for entry to Port Arthur later in that day.

Early this morning, strong Southwesterly winds gave way to lighter WSW breezes that stirred everyone into the activity of setting ten square sails, the spanker and more jibs. The best sail of the voyage lasted all day in mild conditions with the Tasmanian coast low in the west.
New crew and passengers are gaining experience aloft; some even reaching the Royals. We feel that we are now Tasmanian waters with Albatross and Dolphins all around. Air temp 15degrees.

Thu 10th Feb 2011 1:00am

?James Craig is at anchor in Port Arthur in cool clear weather. For the past two days, we have motor sailed down the east coast of Tasmania in various south westerly winds from gale force to calm. Sadly, our sailing plans have been limited.
This morning, we motored close in, under Tasman Island, watching seals and penguins glide around us. Last night, dolphins shot around us like glowing sign writers in the dark sea; quite a sight.
We intend to enjoy a barbeque, sods opera and rest for the night before weighing anchor at 1300 tomorrow. The weather promises to allow a great big sail in Storm Bay through tomorrow evening and night. We plan join the Australian Wooden boat Festival at midday on Friday.

Apologies for missing a report yesterday. We hope to see action again on the high seas tomorrow!

Fri 11th Feb 2011


James Craig is slowly approaching the John Garrow Light in the Derwent to take part in the Australian Wooden Boat Festival parade at 1230. We have almost no wind to sail to, but we are ready to set sail if we can.
Our visit to Port Arthur provided a welcome opportunity to rest, barbeque and engage in a high quality Sods Opera that included song, poetry, bad taste and insults. We had a great time.
At 1300 on Thursday, we weighed anchor and motored close under Cape Raoul on our way to a tacking and wearing extravaganza that lasted into the night. Two warships and many timber vessels have joined the procession to the Festival.

Sketches of the voyage south by Lynelle

In Hobart

Thank you, Hobart!

Our 2011 visit is at an end. The Wooden Boat Festival was claimed by all as an outstanding success, with record attendances. On board James Craig we had a constant stream of visitors throughout the three days of the Festival, in glorious sunny weather, and Cody and Ben put in a commendable effort in the Quick and Dirty boat building competition.

Our Fireworks Cruise was fully booked out and great fun. For our three day sails Hobart showed us the weather conditions for which this city is well known – all four seasons several times each day! Our passengers were treated to the thrills of sailing in winds gusting to 40 knots and driving rain, interspersed with glorious sunny skies allowing us to admire the snow falling on Mt. Wellington.
There is much excitement on board as the crew now assembles for the trip home.

Paintings in Hobart by Hugh Cross



Hobart to Sydney


Thu 24th Feb 2011

Position 17 miles east of Maria Island. Course 005. Speed 4kts. All plain sail set.
After reporting our departure from Hobart 1000Wed23Feb11, to you on the Active Crew Broadcast, we thanked Hobart Port Control for supplying pilotage and port services free of charge and slipped down the Derwent in light conditions.
Man overboard recovery, fire, damage control and abandon ship procedures were exercised, before the predicted Storm Bay weather arrived at about 1300. 4 metre swells with about 2 metre seas rolled in from the south with their tops blown off by about 30knots of southerly breeze.
Being prudent sailors, we gave the lee shore of Tasman Island about 3 miles of sea room and enjoyed an energetic passage into the Tasman Sea. Our galley staff managed to produce excellent goulash, tasty desert and plenty of cheek – what a gang!
Thursday: Winds: West to southwest 10 to 20 knots, reaching 25 knots at times in the south, tending south to southwest at 10 to 20 knots during the afternoon then easing to 5 to 15 knots during the evening. Seas: Up to 2 metres. Swell: Southerly 1 to 2metres.
Best Wishes fom a very happy crew that is sailing again.

Thu 24th Feb 2011

Position 15 miles east of Freycinet Peninsular. Course 020. Speed 1kt. Wind variable less than 5 kts. Swell south 2m. All plain sail set.

Here we are, doing what sailing ships have done for hundres of years; working with the weather to make progress on our little voyage. The contrast of lively sailing yesterday with the gentle passage of time today has not been lost on any of us.
Many petrels and albatross wheel around us on the faces of long southerly swells, providing some comfort that declining numbers have been reversed.
Voyage Passengers have been learning the ropes and climbing in ideal conditions to gain confidence and knowledge. All sails been shaken out and stowed a number of times with changing conditions. Seaboat routines for high swell launching have been practiced and refined. Minor rig and other maintenance continues.
Freycinet Peninsular national park provides some of the most scenic shoreline in the country to sail by and is the home to the famous Wineglass Bay.
Weather forcasts include light weather into the night before some Northerly winds tomorrow, Friday. We may motor-sail at that point.

Fri 25th Feb 2011

Position 20 miles south east of Cape Baren. Course 320. Speed 4kt. Wind ESE 8kts. Swell south 2m. All sail set.
If a sailor has ever believed in luck then this has been our lucky day. We have used a 10kt easterly breeze all day under 21 sails to make graceful progress along our track. Well the ship at least has been graceful …. never mind us.
Maintenance and education in the ways of square rig sailing have been an enduring theme of the voyage. Today’s weather encouraged passengers, galley crew, engineers and deck crew into the rig.
Chief Engineer Martyn Low has released some of his valuable water for 2 minute showers and we expect his good Calvanistic attitude to the indulgence of washing to continue; read prohibition.
Richard Jenkins has treated us to fresh Tuna. Mike Glynn and his galley staff continue to feed us on excellent sailor food.
In short, we continue to travel well into a forecast that includes some northerly winds as well as westerlies and south easterlies past the week end.
I have not recived confirmation that these messages have got through, so I hope that they have.

Sat 26 Feb 2011

Position 60 miles south east of Lakes Entrance. Course 045. Speed 3kt. Wind North 6kts. Swell south 1m. All square sail set.

Motor sailing has been the order of the day for most of this day. Slight seas and moderate conditions have eased the dissapointment of having to motor sail to keep up the speed of advance.
Sailing conditions improved through the afternoon and our cunning plan to make ground to the west has worked to the extent that we have been able to sail under all squares past the oil rigs towards Gabo Island.
Another Stripy Tuna has found its way into the galley amongst a great deal of sail and rig handling in light and variable breezes. Eddie Gordon has been baking bread and we continue to sail on great food.
Kenn Batt has been providing expert weather advice which has helped us to succesfully take advantage of wind shifts.
Passengers and crew have shown great interest in the AIS ship information system, the new radar and Raymarine navigation plotting system donated by Michael Schultz and installed by John Holden. The complete system provides a comprehensive picture of both navigation and surrounding ship activity that everyone can share. Our sextants also came out today for practice and entertainment!
Favourable sailing conditions are forecast, so I hope to report more progress under sail tomorrow.

Sun 27th Feb 2011

Position 6 miles east of Gabo Island. Course 030. Speed 4.5kts. Wind SW 10kts. Swell SW 2.5m. All square sail set.
I am pleased to report that we have made great progress under sail today and are passing Gabo Island into NSW waters. Our speed of advance remains adequate to make a Wednesday morning eta in Sydney, but light conditions will not allow port calls on the way. Both Eden and Jervis Bay have provided welcome visits in the past, but we are a sailing ship with favourable winds and need to remain on passage.
Light weather sailing has kept us busy adjusting the rig to suit changes in conditions. Rain showers abound, dolphins splash about and the biggest albatross we have seen to date.
Each watch is now engaging in workshops to learn about sail balance, steering without compass, CPA estimates without instruments, sailtrim and astronomy; we have an expert on everything on board! 6 Stripy Tuna and one King Fish also came aboard to provide tastey treats.
Most people have telephone reception and have enjoyed catching up with family and friends. Most also enjoyed shower number 2.
Monday Forecast is for SW Winds 15 knots tending northeast around dawn then tending southwesterly 10 to 20 knots during the afternoon, increasing to 25 knots later in the evening.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Tue 1st Mar 2011

Position 6 miles east of Batemans Bay. Course 030. Speed 4kts. Wind SW 10kts. Swell SW 2.5m. All square sail set.

As predicted, the sailing breeze faded away in the early hours of this morning (Monday)and we have motored up the coast taking in Montague Island and the stunning scenery. Fishing boats have called over to have a look and a number of merchant ships have passed nearby.
ETA Wharf 7 Pyrmont is planned for 1000 Wed 2 March which will be updated tomorrow if changes need to be made.
A learning theme has taken hold and workshops on a varity of subjects continue. Many have participated in training and sail handling outside of their own watches. Morale is high and a delight to work with.
No fish were brought onboard today although the number of petrels about would indicate plenty of feed.
Tuesday forecast: Winds NW to 10 knots tending southwesterly to 25 knots around midday then tending southerly 20 to 30 knots in the evening.
Good sailing weather to carry us home – looking forward to it.

Tue 1st Mar 2011

Position 20 miles north east of Jervis Bay. Course 015. Speed 5kts. Wind SE 20kts. Swell E 2.5m. Sailing.
ETA Wharf 7 Pyrmont is confirmed for 1000 Wed 2 March.
A useful ESE wind at 15 kts came in early this morning and built to 25 kts this afternoon, allowing another perfect day of sailing that promises to continue into the night.
Our plan is to enjoy the sail and enter Port Jackson early Wednesday morning. We then intend to anchor in Rose Bay and prepare the ship for the published 1000 arrival at Pyrmont Wharf 7.
Many have expressed a wish that the voyage never end, whilst also looking forward to getting home after what amounts to a month away for some. What a crew … the youngest 17, the oldest 84, all kinds of backgrounds, interests and skills. We get on well and even manage to operate a 3 masted barque superbly. It doesn’t feel extraordinary but we know it is. We are certainly honoured to have this opportunity.
Thank you everyone who has made it possible!

Wed 2nd Mar 2011

Safely home after a wonderful trip.

Illustrations of passage North are by Hugh Cross

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