Zig zagging past Byron

d'Albora's Action Project: AUS 360 Blog Update

Presented by Pivotel

Afternoon all,

Last night I again managed no sleep and spent most of the night tacking my way back and forth in-front of the Bryon Bay light House. I am still pushing 2 knots of current the opposite direction which makes going forward difficult and last night the winds were not helping that much. 

I was tacking between the 50m depth contour line and the 150m depth contour line as I didn’t wish to risk getting any closer to land incase the winds died completely or I accidentally slept through my alarm.  This made the length of my tack around 6nm long and I was often traveling at 5 knots with the current against me so on average I had around 1 hour to each tack.  My goal would be to try to fit a 20 min nap into each tack but this proved to be quite difficult as when I would sail towards the land, reefs and rocks I was too paranoid that I would sleep through my alarms to get any rest so I would just lay there in bed and watch my little boat make its way across the chart on the H5000 B and G display by my head and then when the time would come to tack back to open ocean there was always a ship on the AIS (Automatic Identification System used as a way of seeing shipping around you) or a blob on the radar indicating a private yacht or fishing boat with no AIS.  It would almost always take me 30 minutes to clear the shipping and then by the time I got below again and into bed I would be lucky if I could manage to get a 10 min power nap in before needing to get on deck again to tack the boat.

The winds were not helping too much either as they built from the NE to 15 knots and I needed to change my head sail from the larger J1 on the very bow of the yacht to the smaller J3 that sits just behind it.  I was also sailing close hauled all night so the boat was on an impressive lean and I would need to angle my bunk again to match each tack.  But in all of that I was just happy to have some winds and be making some progress.  It wasn’t the perfect run I was hoping for but I also knew mother nature would not likely give me that so I was happy to just keep going.  

I was also a little nostalgic as I sailed past Lennox Heads and Bryon Bay as I used to live in a lovely blue house opposite the surf in Lennox with 4 of my best friends while we all went to university at Southern Cross University in Lismore.  We made some great memories there and it was actually my final year studying a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Education that I discovered sailing.  I managed to land a job in the Whitsundays for the summer holidays on a charter yacht as the cook and cleaner and just fell in love with sailing.  The rest, as they say, is history.

At sunrise I could just make out the towering high-rises of the Gold Coast as the winds dropped out to below 5 knots allowing me to drift for a bit longer.  Around 10am the winds filled in again and after a few more tacks I am now making some good ground in a light NW breeze of 15 knots.  Climate Action Now is moving along great and It was great to enjoy such a perfect sunny day at sea.

It is a bit surreal for me as I am normally surrounded by storms and cold seas so this tropical sailing is a nice change.  I spent a bit of the day just watching the land go past and singing at the top of my lungs.  A warning here... there is a good reason why I only sing when I am sailing solo as I am fairly certain that the crew would all abandon ship if they heard me, but out here alone I can pretend that I am an awesome singer, even if I know I sound more like that seagull from The Little Mermaid than Pink.

My lovely singing did attract the local wild life to look at me as some dolphins made a quick appearance and now in the distance I can see the building cloud line that indicate the Southerly change that I have been waiting for.  Hopefully it will last a few days and I can sail up past the Sunshine Coast on it and leave this tacking behind.