James Craig Hobart Trip

30 January – 23 February 2019


Tracking her

James Craig has now left Wharf 7 (with the help of Currawong!) and is on her way to Hobart.

Follow James Craig on www.marinetraffic.com


Sydney to Hobart

29 January 2019
Crew call at 12:00. Checking in ( mustering on as it is called in the merchant marine).
The crew found their hammocks or bunks and settled in with their gear followed by indulging in a gourmet hot dog lunch on the wharf.
The afternoon was spent on training emergency drills – there are thirteen of them. We managed to get through most of them which is quite an accomplishment with 74 crew and passengers.
It being a hot day there was a queue at the two shore showers followed by another queue at the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel for cold beer and dinner. A great opportunity for crew and passengers to mingle and learn to know each other.
The gangway was locked at 23:00 so as to ensure everybody got a good night’s sleep.

Wednesday 30 January 2019
Prepared the ship for sea and waiting for the fresh food provisions – they arrived at 09:45 – just before departure.
A select number of family and fans waived good bye on the wharf.
Alan Stannard and crew kindly made the PROTEX available to farewell us with a ribbon cut and ample waiving and horn tooting. Along with the ribbon came a spicy Hungarian salami – last minute very welcome snack from Lynn to Rob Parkes. To our pleasant surprise Sydney Harbour’s tug the SHIRLEY SMITH joined us at Millers Point all water ‘cannons’ blazing.
What a sight and what a marvellous farewell. Quite a few tears were observed in crew and passenger eyes. A big thank you to all.
With 19 out of 21 sails set the James Craig settled into her element heading south in a great north easterly. The crew settled into their routines and gradually developed ‘sea legs’. Of course, some suffered from seasickness and were not available for work but that is the nature life at sea – at least the first few days – and everybody takes it in their stride.
To avoid the forecast strong southerly it was decided to seek shelter in Jervis Bay, where we arrived and anchored after midnight 31st January at Darling Road next to the submarine mooring off Gresswell. Permission had been sought from the RAN prior. The admiralty anchor and four shackles made sure the ship was safe.

31st January 2019
Enjoyed a glorious day at anchor in Jervis Bay doing more training of all kinds including the outstanding emergency drills still to be done.
The sea boat was sent ashore for replacement bread as the bread purchased the day before had gone mouldy already.
Late afternoon the Southerly came in with a vengeance making us all grateful for having sought shelter.

1st February 2029
After a good night’s sleep we weighed anchor at 08:30. Andy and Tom by now having got it down to a fine art managed to secure the admiralty anchor in record time – approximately 25 minutes. Well done.
The southerly was still there but at an acceptable force and relatively benign sea. Initially we motor sailed south east at an angle to the sea – so as to minimise the impact on the rig. Later in the afternoon both wind and sea allowed for us to head directly into it safely at decent speed.
Excessive water use during the first 30 hours caused further restrictions to be implemented.

2nd February 2019
Just after midnight the expected northeasterly arrived and stayed for the remainder of the day allowing for some great sailing down along the NSW south coast. Gradually the previously seasick crew and passengers found their sea legs and the sail training crew became useful active members of the crew. All delightful people full of enthusiasm and keen to contribute. In fact the same can be said about the passengers, most of whom participate wherever they can.
The added water consumption restrictions implemented have done the ‘trick’ to the extent that we are now back to normal consumption. The two female navy chefs are settling in well. They are friendly and kind and are working hard making a great contribution to the catering crew which overall does a stellar performance.

3rd February 2019
The northeasterly keeps coming and carries us at speed a cross Bass Strait. At some stage we recorded 8.7 knots. May it last because another southerly is forecast for tonight some time. Surely this could be recorded as the fastest crossing of the Strait by the James Craig ever.
This morning a one foot rip was detected in the fore lower topsail. A herring bone stitch repair was attempted but the cloth is too weak from age. An attempt has since unsuccessfully been made to repair it by way of a glued patch. Replacement is considered when at anchor next.
Whenever possible on-going maintenance is done under Andy’ s professional guidance and encouragement.
Callum Hindhaugh (3rd mate) sharing a watch with Peter COLE has turned out to be a great addition to the officer complement. His past experience combined with a constant ambition to learn and great people skills has him set to become a valued deck officer.
Due to very little motoring fuel consumption is at a minimum and everything in the engine department works according to expectations.
The new handheld radios work brilliantly and we are very grateful for having them and for John Holden installing them.

Greetings from a very happy crew on the James Craig in Bass Strait

Hans Adzersen

4th February 2019

From the ‘Tweendecks

James Craig is continuing her rapid run south (200°T, 5 knots, calm seas), with the help of her iron topsails (thank you, engineers). In fact we were catching up with Endeavour, but she has put on a burst of speed, presumably by the same means. We have staysails set but these are for decoration or, as Hans says, to reduce rolling.

Now (forenoon watch, Monday 4 February) we are out of sight of land, but this is all the better for observing the circling albatrosses. Also seen on the passage so far are whales (or at least their spouts), a penguin and a turtle. On Thursday night, in Jervis Bay, we were treated to the magic of dolphins sporting through phosphorescent water, an amazing sight.

A passage like this is a great opportunity to practise skills, like recognising people by their shirts (easy, because they don’t change) and timing your walk through the hammocks in the ‘tweendecks with the ship’s roll. Given the shortage of water, we don’t wash our coffee cups—this gives a certain richness to the brew. Or ourselves. Ditto.

The regular crew enjoy sharing activities with those who have joined us for the passage, like lookout, climbing and finding pins—day and night. Being all in the same boat—or ship—makes for great bonding.

The present southerly isn’t doing much to help or hinder our passage, but it is pleasantly cool, and the flying nun has been rigged to provide much-needed ventilation to the ‘tweendecks. This is welcome, as things down below were a trifle so-so, so we are glad of a breath of fresh air.

The rumour is that we are off Wardlaw’s Point, Van Diemen’s Land. We may take a look at Wineglass Bay and then pass through Schouten Passage, to anchor tonight in its vicinity or in the lee of Maria Island. We are north of Bicheno, visited by James Craig some years ago.

The watertank is our noticeboard, displaying issues of James Craig Ship’s News, produced by a witty but anonymous correspondent, e.g. reporting “East Coast drought hits James Craig at sea!” It also displays inspirational quotes like “we are doing 8–9 knots!”

The range of skills on board never ceases to amaze. As your ‘tweendecks denizen sits below in comfort, people are bending on a new fore lower topsail, replacing the old torn one. How clever to have a spare. And quite often people even remember to strike the —— bell.

We’re grateful to the many people who make all this possible. We have had some grand sailing and look forward to more. James Craig is in her element, and loving it.

Ralph Seccombe



6 – 8 February 2019

As Dave English noted in his last log, we had another wonderful sail at sea on Wednesday 6th down the “easy coast” past Maria Island towards our anchorage at Port Arthur. As usual, much discussion of the pronunciation of ‘Maria’ – the wind named Maria or the girl names Maria? – see footnotes below.

With all squares set on both stacks and some staysails, we rocketed down the coast and rounded Tasman Island doing 10 knots – a glorious sail along a spectacular coastline – sun from above, a reasonable swell and the wind at our back. You got the feeling, as the Craig took those waves, that she was in her element.

It was all hands as we headed into Port Arthur – taking in sails, preparing the Admiralty anchor (no dragging our anchor at Port Arthur this time!), and laying aloft to furl all those sails. Here too, there was a palpable sense of a crew in their element – that magic coming together of a crew bigger than the sum of it’s individuals.

It was another fine night at anchor at Port Arthur, numerous tall ships also at anchor, another great meal from our wonderful galley crew and more furtive practicing of tomorrow night’s Sod’s Opera items under a fine mist of rain.

It was changed weather the next morning for the anchor party and Main Watch as everyone’s best wet weather gear was donned (except for Brett Ryall in his T-shirt and shorts!). After Kaella successfully led the raising of the Admirtaly anchor and ensured it was stowed safely for the last time this voyage, we motored out of Port Arthur into the wind and rain – winds up to 40-50 knots and some quite heavy squalls. A different experience from most of our fair weather sailing, however, a bracing and valuable component of the voyage experience. Two forward lookouts were posted as apparently some fishing buoys were missed as we roared into Port Arthur. Despite two sets of eagle eyes, none of the forward lookouts that morning were rewarded the satisfaction of spotting and reporting any fishing buoys before they were sighted on the Quarterdeck. But we were rewarded with some more dolphins joining us at the bow.

The sun came out again as we got to the mouth of the Derwent. Again all hands on deck to prepare the ship – open the main hatch, put out the awnings, haul the berthing lines from the hold, take in sail, and drop anchor. Mr Willis had great fun bracing the yards square with millimeter accuracy. Then hands aloft to harbour furl the sails – it was great to see so many crew, including our sailing training crew, as well as some of our passengers, layed out along the yards neatly furling the sails. Some crew gave ‘macrame like’ attention to the gaskets, but I suspect it was just a ruse to spend more time on the yards savouring the view.

Meanwhile the engineers were assembling the BBQ and erecting their BBQ tent at the back of the aft hatch as the bar opened. A great feed and a drink in O’Possum Bay on a beautiful Hobart afternoon.

Then as the sun set, the scene was set for Sod’s Opera on the main hatch under the awning. First, of course, the draw for places on the yards in the Parade of Sail – pity those Royals aren’t bigger!

As a first time voyager, I would have to judge the Sod’s Opera as the best ever – but I guess they all say that. It was a magnificent, funny, moving and rollicking show. But more of that for another time. Breakfast calls, a hammock to be stowed, belongings packed up etc.

Time to get ready for the parade of sail and the boat show.


Ian Balcomb


Footnote 1 – Pronunciation of Maria Island – courtesy of Wikipedia
Tasmanians pronounce the name /məˈraɪə/ mə-RY-ə, as did the early British settlers but the original pronunciation was /məˈriːə/ mə-REE-ə. The island was named in 1642 by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman after Maria van Diemen (née van Aelst), wife of Anthony van Diemen, the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies in Batavia. The island was known as Maria’s Isle in the early 19th century.[2]

Footnote 2 – Some other interesting stuff on the pronunciation of Maria – again courtesy of Wikipedia
In George Rippey Stewart’s 1941 novel Storm, he names the storm that is the protagonist of his story Maria.[19] In 1947, Stewart wrote a new introduction for a reprint of the book, and discussed the pronunciation of “Maria”: “The soft Spanish pronunciation is fine for some heroines, but our Maria here is too big for any man to embrace and much too boisterous.” He went on to say, “So put the accent on the second syllable, and pronounce it ‘rye'”.[20]
The success of Stewart’s novel was one factor that motivated U.S. military meteorologists to start the informal practice of giving women’s names to storms in the Pacific during World War II. The practice became official in 1945.[20][21] In 1953, a similar system of using women’s names was adopted for North Atlantic storms. This continued until 1979, when men’s names were incorporated into the system.[22] Although Stewart’s novel is set in 1935, the novel and its impact on meteorology later inspired Lerner and Lowe to write a song for their play about the California gold rush, and like Stewart, they too gave a wind storm the name Maria, which is pronounced /məˈraɪ.ə/.[20] The lines throughout the song end in feminine rhymes mostly using the “hard i” sound /aɪ/, echoing the stress pattern and vowel sound of the name Maria.
American singer, songwriter and producer Mariah Carey was named after this song.[23][24]