Eden to Bittangabee Bay and back - January 2019

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juan
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Eden to Bittangabee Bay and back - January 2019

Post by juan » Feb 5th, '19, 00:04

story in https://medium.com/@Juan_guerschman/sai ... cfe1d318cf
copy-pasted below

I took Dancing Barefoot to the open ocean!

(photos coming soon)

Repeating the great experience of 2018 we decided to go camping to Bittangabee Bay in Ben Boyd Nat Park. It’s a fantastic place, with campsites near a cliff with outstanding views of the Tasman Sea. And a beautiful and protected inlet which allows kayaking, paddling, good snorkelling and a calm beach. The main difference from 2018 was that now I have the boat and I wanted to take it with me.

On Jan 27 we drove down. We left the boat near the ramp in Quarantine Bay and continued to the campground to set up camping and meet our friends José and María (with Aitana and Sol). Frank and Ana also camping there, they have been going to Bittangabee and nearby Saltwater Creek for the last 10 or 15 years.

I was keeping an eye on the weather forecast and the next day (Monday 28) in the afternoon looked good for the sail down, with a light NE predicted after midday. So we drove back to Eden with José, Frank and Ana who were very keen to join. We rigged the boat, had fish and chips in Eden, put the boat in the water and left! Actually, before that we radioed Marine Rescue Eden and let them know about our plans and ETA. I had also borrowed a personal beacon which I kept attached to my lifejacket all the time.

https://goo.gl/maps/VaDYP39tQV32
The ramp is very wide, but the jetty is 20–30 meters away, can be very inconvenient for a trailer sailer with moderate or strong winds from the West or South… our problem when we returned


First 30–45 minutes we motored out as the wind was nowhere to be seen. It looked like the BoM wasn’t delivering on their promised forecast but after passing Red Point (where the Boyd Tower is located) the breeze was enough to move us at a decent 3–4 knots. I sent José to hoist the jib #1 but then I changed my mind and decided to put up the spi. Great idea as we had a fantastic and pleasant sail at 5–6 knots.

The wind continued to increase and at some point, I decided that it was time to take the spi down as it was going to be tricky if the wind was any stronger. The first attempt didn't work as I couldn’t release the spi sheet and halyard, the boat went upwind with a worrying heel. José managed to stay onboard and in the second attempt (releasing the brace as I should have done from the beginning) the spi was safely down.

We continued with mainsail only as we were already close to arriving anyway. I was getting worried about an accidental gybe with two inexperienced people (Frank and Ana) onboard and kept reminding them about the danger of the boom in their heads. I didn’t check afterwards, but I guess the wind had gone up to 15 knots, maybe a bit more. I was keeping a broad reach and when we had Bittangabee on our starboard side managed to do a well-controlled gybe and straight into the bay. Safely in, took one of the moorings (which I had dived earlier to check on its condition) and we were greeted by the rest of the family. I even managed to get Marine Rescue Eden on the VHF and let them know about our safe arrival.

Image
Summary stats for the Eden-to-Bittangabee leg.

The next day we tried going out for a gentle sail, with María and the two girls. There was some breeze in the bay and I assumed (wrongly) that the breeze was stronger outside. I put the main up with a reef and jib #3 and motored out. It turns out that the wind was really light, although there was a considerable swell from the day before. María helped to take the reef out, but that triggered her seasickness from which there was no return. So we decided to get back inside. Poor María remained sick for most of the day.

I was keeping an eye on the forecast for the trip back. Ideally, I wanted a southerly shift to avoid beating against the wind. Failing that, pointing to a light wind day. From the very beginning of the week, it was forecasted a southerly change on Thursday, which was perfect as we wanted to get back to Canberra not later than Friday in order to get a couple of days at home before the kids started school. On Wednesday it was looking like the wind change was coming around lunchtime on Thursday, with strong winds initially and a swell still from the NE, then decreasing towards the end of the day. Light winds on early Friday with much less swell then dying and the NE back in the afternoon. So I decided to do the return trip early in the morning of Friday. Came Thursday and as forecasted the wind changed to the South. We had lunch and it wasn’t looking too strong and the swell also not as big as in the morning. It was actually quite good for a fast sail up to Eden. Anxiety took over me and with José and the two girls we jumped to the boat and off we went.

We put up jib #2 only and motored out. We had a pleasant sail, doing 5–6 knots and getting sometimes to 7–8 when surfing the waves. Broad reach with the wind from the S-SW. We were really enjoying the trip which was quite fast indeed. I was nevertheless getting more anxious about: 1- having to go upwind once into Twofold Bay, and 2- getting the boat out of the water in the ramp so exposed to the Southwesterly. The wind was also picking up and some gusts made us heel uncomfortably. As I expected, after passing through Red Point we needed to go more into the wind and we had too much sail area. A couple more of uncomfortable heels and the decision was to take the sail down and motor in the rest of the way. As we were getting into Twofold Bay the big swell from the ocean decreased, but we still had some chop and started to get wet. We sent the girls inside so they stayed dry, and José and I managed the rest of the trip, getting wet and cold. Later on, I checked the wind speed (from the Green Cape weather station) and we had 30 knots of wind with gusts up to 34–35 kt. The good old Yamaha didn’t disappoint and beat the wind to get us safely into Quarantine Bay. As I suspected, getting the boat safely in the trailer was looking very complicated (keel has to be up and I had already noted that manuevering the boat without a keel is very very challenging). José and I were also wet and cold so the decision was to put the boat in a mooring and swim to shore (the water was much warmer in Eden than in Bittangabee). We drove to the Eden wharf, had a hot shower and then a coffee. Drove back to the campground to retell the exciting story to the rest of the troupe.

Image
Summary stats for the Bittangabee-to-Eden leg

Lessons learnt:

1- don’t take more than one inexperienced person on a trip like this. Even though it was all good and Frank and Ana enjoyed the sailing a lot, I was worried about someone hitting the head with the boom in a gybe. Also we needed to put the spi down and the Castle’s cockpit is small. Four people who know what’s going on is not a problem, but if no sailing experience then it’s difficult to put them in a spot where they are not in the middle of things.

2- keep the anxiety down and stick to the plan. The sailing back was lovely and a good test of what it looks like in strong winds. Also good for testing how the boat and outboard respond in those conditions. But I didn't expect the wind to increase that much during the time out there. We arrived ok and the only problem was getting wet and cold. But it turns out that, as forecasted, Friday morning had a gentle breeze from the West and we would have had a fantastic sail had we stayed with the plan as it was earlier in the day.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewe ... 00008&z=12
Sail Eden to Bittangabee (red), and return trip (yellow)


The last complication was discovering that the trailer had one of the bearings completely stuffed. Not totally clear when that happened and if I was driving the trailer with the boat in those conditions, but possibly that was the case. Luckily on Friday, I found that Ben and Matt from Sapphire Marine & Automotive were able to fix it. They replaced the two bearings, and one of the hubs which was stuffed as well, and the trailer was roadworthy for the trip back. Lesson #3: don’t assume that because someone checked the trailer and passed the rego inspection (in mid-September) the trailer condition is ok. Particularly with bearings.

Overall a great experience. May do it again, but only after doing more and more sailing in protected waters. So many places in Oz to explore!

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Johny
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Re: Eden to Bittangabee Bay and back - January 2019

Post by Johny » Feb 5th, '19, 11:26

Thanks for the trip report Juan. A good read and some takeaways for those (of us) yet to get some experience under the belt.
Jarcat 6, Kismet. 6.2M Catamaran. 9.8HP 2 Stroke Tohatsu.
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davem
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Re: Eden to Bittangabee Bay and back - January 2019

Post by davem » Feb 6th, '19, 13:41

Nice trip report Juan. Nice part of the world there. I paddled from Tathra to Mallacoota years ago and got to see a lot of it up close. Merrica (sp ?) river a bit further south was a real highlight. Would love to sail there....

juan
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Re: Eden to Bittangabee Bay and back - January 2019

Post by juan » Feb 6th, '19, 16:10

davem wrote:
Feb 6th, '19, 13:41
Nice trip report Juan. Nice part of the world there. I paddled from Tathra to Mallacoota years ago and got to see a lot of it up close. Merrica (sp ?) river a bit further south was a real highlight. Would love to sail there....
and I thought I was adventurous... you paddled out there!! OMG!

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duncanhayward
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Re: Eden to Bittangabee Bay and back - January 2019

Post by duncanhayward » Feb 6th, '19, 20:29

Juan - great trip. Congratulations! Thanks for the write up.

Duncan
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Quo Vadis

juan
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Re: Eden to Bittangabee Bay and back - January 2019

Post by juan » Feb 7th, '19, 09:17

duncanhayward wrote:
Feb 6th, '19, 20:29
Juan - great trip. Congratulations! Thanks for the write up.

Duncan
Thanks Duncan. We've also been to Cowan Creek and Pittwater a couple of weeks before. Followed lots of advice from your blog. I still have to write that one up, but as it was lots of motoring, not much sailing is less exciting. But a beautiful place!

Juan

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