Sunday, February 5, 2012

No longer our problem

Hard to imagine Hobart as a sunny city at the other end of this passage, full of people in the middle of their summer routines. All day Bass Strait waves rolled by us under a carpet of low grey clouds. We saw only one fishing boat; otherwise our day was spent in the domain of the shearwater and the albatross. Bass Strait felt like a body of water that lead exactly nowhere.

Yesterday we were making an easy seven and a half knots and I was wondering if we wouldn't inconveniently be at our destination long before sunrise on the second day out. But then the wind came around to the southeast - headwinds! Our pre-trip review of the weather forecasts missed that. So we sailed as close to the wind as we could, until Flinders Island blocked our way.

We tacked and started sailing as close to the wind as we could in the other direction - on a course roughly for New Zealand. Once again we were passing by Flinders and the other Bass Strait Islands, just as we did the last crossing. Gales are coming tomorrow, and wind shifts, and those anchorages will be a poor place for a boat with a 40-kilo anchor that needs to be pulled by hand.

So we started sailing slowly towards New Zealand, and by the time we tacked back towards our destination getting there in the dark was no longer our problem. Our problem now is getting there before the winds build tomorrow. Really no problem, as the winds are meant to be behind us, and are not forecast to reach gale strength until the evening. But it sounds like we should have a ripping ride from noon on.

But now it's still the middle of the night, and everyone but me is asleep. Alisa and I are doing three on - three off - two on - two off to get us through the span of the night, from kids' bedtime to kids' breakfast. We're sailing wing and wing, the sails banging in too little breeze, slowly creeping down the east coast of Tasmania.

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