|December 2001||KatieKat 2001 Cruise Chapter Eleven|
|15 January 2002|| Scenes Back Home||Mixed|
|26 January 2002|| Back in Oz and Australia Day||Family|
|8 February 2002|| Some 'Interesting' Sailing||Yachties|
|10 February 2002|| Fun with Marketing||Yachties|
|9-14 February 2002|| Port Macquarie||Family|
|Late Feb. 2002||KatieKat 2002 Cruise Chapter Two|
This is the first webpage of our cruise covering the year 2002. This is one long continuous page, and clicking on any of the underlined dates above should jump your screen to the appropriate section on this page (or you can use the scrollbar on the right to navigate up and down this page). Joe Siudzinski
Click on the small photos to see larger-scale images,
then hit your browser BACK button to return to the small photo.
One couldn't help but notice the patriotric fervor back home, with American flags flying from houses and cars everywhere.
By all accounts, New Yorkers were by far the most significantly affected by the September 11 attack. This is typical of signs of sympathy.
On a more cheerful note, this sign in downtown Los Altos struck my funnybone. No, it wasn't in a doctor's office...
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We're back in Australia, having spent a gruelling six weeks back home in California (I know, I know, no sympathy given...). The boat was wonderfully fresh down below (the flow-through ventilation system really works), and after cleaning the topsides, a brief haulout for new bottom paint and engine fluids change, we're raring to head south as soon as the winds shift. Presently, we have 25-30kt southeasterlies.
Son Alec took us to the airport - note the designer luggage. Kathy is very tall, but Alec still towers over her.
We were up for 30 hours continuously before the 20+hour flights, and here we're waiting the six hours at Narita airport for the flight to Brisbane. We arrived at KatieKat feeling like zombies.
The lifering holders work wonderfully for storing the bicycles (the rust just drips into the water) - unfortunately, our catamaran BikeBoat also likes it back there.
KatieKat hauled out on a nice wide 65-ton TraveLift. When I asked the operator how much the boat weighed, he said it was too light to register on his gauges!
Once again we celebrated our anniversary in Brisbane at an Irish pub. Just happens to coincide with Australia Day.
As part of the Australia Day parade, this year's theme featured the Outback and participation by many ethnic groups, including American Indians. The sign says "Native American Community".
Our anniversary day was capped by a spectacular fireworks display over the Brisbane River.
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For three-quarters of the year the winds blow steadily up the Australian East Coast, but for a few months there are periods when northerlies are present which can make heading south downright pleasant - in fact, we generally had those favorable conditions when we returned from Lizard Island in November. Now, we would like to continue heading south but I wanted to avoid a repetition of last year when we waited for two months in Southport for favorable weather conditions which never materialized.
Our first leg was an inside (protected) passage from Manly to Southport, which we accomplished by simply motoring into the 20-25 knot breeze. We accidentally timed the tidal flows perfectly and had a nice painless trip.
Not shown on this map is Southport, located just above Tweed Heads. Manly is just east of Brisbane. This map is excerpted from an older edition of the excellent guide by Alan Lucas "Cruising the New South Wales Coast".
For going down the coast our strategy is to await a favorable weather forecast and then jump out and go as far and as fast as we can before the weather changes. Well, we had a narrow weather window predicted where a northeasterly change would replace the normal southeast winds but would be followed by a shift back to southeast winds. This window should have been just right to allow us to sail down to Coffs Harbour in about 20 hours. So, off we went, heading straight east in the southeasterly, and kept going and going and going... waiting for the windshift. When we were about 40 miles off the coast the updated weather forecast omitted any mention of a northeasterly shift but instead increased the southeasterly forecast to 20-25 knots. We tacked and proceeded to slog our way down the coast to Coffs Harbour for a total of 45 miserab.... uh, not altogether pleasant, hours. Our comfort was further compromised by the Australian Current which travels down the coast but which, when bucking the southerly winds, produces a nice washing-machine effect - we, uh, noticed this effect but couldn't detect any favorable boatspeed increase from this current.
Leaving Southport on the Gold Coast, view looking west. I'm still trying to figure out if those clouds are telling us that we were to have strong SSE winds instead of the predicted light northeasterlies.
My new Tri-Lens radar reflector, temporarily mounted on the targa bar. It really is mounted horizontally - it's the boat that's heeling. I didn't realize how heavy the darn thing is and, although I have a perfect location for it on the upper spreader, I'm reluctant to stick it up there.
Photographs fail to convey the actual sea state one experiences while bouncing along in the slop. You get a little bit of an idea from the wave just behind the railing.
We arrived in Coffs Harbour with the boat and bicycles caked with salt (I mean, like we had waves sloshing up and over the whole boat at times - sorry, no photos) and as I pulled out the hose to wash everything down a neighbor pointed out that severe water restrictions were in place and on-the-spot fines of $220 were handed out for washing boats. I needn't have worried, because over the next few days Coffs Harbour broke all their rainfall records with (I'm told) 8-1/2 inches recorded in one day and a two-day total of 15 inches! Happily, we had no overhead leaks and the boat and bicycles were nicely washed, the bicycles leaving lovely rusty stains on the side decks. While in Coffs, I took the opportunity to replace the leaking starboard rudder shaft seal (I had replaced the portside last year), but that's another story.
Without resorting to precious sea boots on shore, this technique for keeping one's feet dry works admirably - stick your socked feet into a grocery-store plastic veggie bag and put a rubber band around the ankle. Get some weird looks, but it works! This photo also shows off the perforated non-slip tiles across the cockpit between the two companionways - work great as the level is above the slight amount of water that slops around when it's raining.
We departed Coffs Harbour with a favorable NE (15-20) turning to N (10-15) turning to NW (5-10) forecast for the next three days, hoping to get down to Port Stephens or maybe even Sydney... indeed, for the first three hours we had a very nice 15-knot NE breeze which gave us a reasonably-comfortable broad reach despite the lumpy seas.
As we happily sailed along only about five miles off the coast we spied this GREAT BIG BLACK WALL stretching across the entire horizon in front of us - confirmed on the radar as a fairly large thunderstorm. Darn, I forgot to take photos of both the clouds and radar images! As we approached, it really looked just like the thing we ran into coming back from New Caledonia. I put a second reef into the mainsail, expecting 20-25 knot winds and we entered the blackness. Within seconds, the wind shifted to ESE and jumped from 15 to 35+ with corresponding horizontal rain! Dropped the main, the loose sail shattering the siderail-mounted HF (weatherfax) antenna, and tried beam reaching on a full jib - didn't feel right so I partially furled the jib - problem was we were fairly quickly being pushed towards the coast. Started the engines, furled the jib, and pointed the boat into the wind. Reeved the special external fourth reef reefing line into the sail clew, and just as I was about to go forward to hoist the sail BLAM! the lazy jack hoisting line let go (the sailbag was full of water), the line flying up the mast and tangling around the main halyard. I scrambled up on deck with a few lengths of line and managed to furl and tidy up the mainsail and removed or secured the lazy jack stragglers. In the meantime, the wind is 30-35+, the rain is pouring, and the seas are their expected bouncy selves (occasionally sloshing over the whole boat), as the boat is slowly chugging along with the wind off the port quarter and no longer losing any ground towards the coast. After realizing that there was nothing I could do about the jackline tangled around the main halyard I figured I had nothing to lose in trying to hoist the mainsail, at least up to its fourth reef. Released the nicely furled main and was able to hoist it - since the main doesn't have any reefing eyes in it, it rather slopily hung below the boom but I was able to jury-rig the sailbag and capture most of the loose sail - not elegant, but functional. OK, enough of this motoring - the boat was quite happy with the reefed main and I pulled out some of the jib, stowed the motors, and we continued bouncing on down the coast. This was a fairly large disturbance which lasted a couple of hours, after which the winds settled down to about 25 from the East.
Gee, the revised weather forecast, in addition to mentioning extensive thunderstorms, was now predicting an early shift to the SouthWest with winds of 40+ the next day. Since I had no idea if my main halyard was going to continue to be functional and we wanted to go SSW we decided to pull into familiar Port Macquarie. As we were approaching Port Macquarie, in front of us was this spectacular lighting storm - happily, it was slowly moving out to sea and so we missed it. Outside the harbor entrance I was able to lower the mainsail completely (whew!) and we entered the bar in a pitch-black night - it's interesting to be chugging along at five knots in 30-ft of water, lined up with the wonderfully-illuminated entrance lead lights, hearing the waves all around, and then all of a sudden feel the boat being picked up and whooshing forward and NOSE DOWN on an unseen wave as the depth sounder alarm goes off because the depth suddenly shows 8 feet as we're roaring down this wave at 15 knots ... you get the idea. No worries, as it only lasted an interminable few seconds and then we were inside the breakwater ... picked up a mooring buoy, checked the e-mails, and collapsed!
I've left some space for Kathy's expansive opinion of all this:
This photo shows the tail from the lazy jack wrapped around the main halyard. I had a knot in the lazy jack hoisting line which prevented the line from going through the block on the spreader. Happily, the halyard was still able to go up and down. The photo also shows the intact portside lazy jack lines. Note to Seawind owners: if you'll look closely, you'll see small pieces of tubing strapped onto the diamond wires where they cross each other - I had noticed the wires touching each other and added the tubing about a year ago as a precaution.
This is the maximum windspeed we recorded. On shore, there was a report of a measured 48 knots during this thunderstorm.
This was our maximum boatspeed recorded as we were surfing over the shallow entrance bar into Port Macquarie on a pitch-black night. The depth gauge shows the water depth later on when I took this photo in the harbor.
The few lessons learned:
1. Always have the fourth reef reeved and ready for immediate setting when sailing offshore.
2. Believe your eyes and radar and already have both sails reefed down and set BEFORE entering big black cloudy things.
3. Preventive maintenance is mandatory. I had noticed the lazyjack holder-upper was fraying and had neglected it. My fault.
The saving grace in all this is that there we had no lightning - the number of lightning storms we've seen over the last few weeks is amazing, and I think lightning has gone up to the top of the list of things I fear most while sailing - we currently have no conscious lightning protection on the boat.
Throughout all this the boat had behaved wonderfully, happily bouncing along with no sign of instability despite occasionally corkscrewing pretty abruptly on the jumbled waves - and again, nothing fell off the tables! The amount of water on deck was certainly much less than a comparably-sized monohull in these conditions.
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Imagine my surprise when I saw my name in a Seawind magazine ad - not only that, but I had a good chuckle after reading the caption and seeing where it was located. Thought I'd share the fun with you.
The left picture shows the full-page ad. The right picture zooms in on a quote by me and shows a nice couple intently sailing the boat.
So, you ask, what's wrong?
Here's what's right: the quote is very accurate, as I sincerely believe that this boat offers wonderful creature protection with unrestricted visibility while comfortably seated INSIDE the bridgedeck saloon.
What do I find humorous? Well, that couple is not Kathy and I. That seating position looks to me to be somewhat staged - I mean, he's draped over the winch clutching it to preserve his balance (or is he clutching her?) and she's sitting on the running lines pushing/pulling the wheel at what seems to be an awkward angle. The shot looks dramatic and action-packed and that location does offer a good view of the sails, but after more than a few of minutes of this I think that I would be exhausted! Besides, that's one of the more unprotected spots on the boat, which doesn't quite complement the caption. I think that the only time I would place myself even close to there would be if I were racing - and then, I would stand behind the wheel with my head poking straight up through the partially rolled-back canopy. Next time we go out, I think we'll try to mimic that pose and see how we like it...
Our reality is that we invariably sit comfortably at the table in the bridgedeck saloon looking forward through the windows while the autopilot steers the boat, with course corrections made using the handheld autopilot controller (or, if beating, just set the autopilot to steer the boat to apparent wind and don't bother with corrections). You'll recall also that for redundancy I have a completely independent autopilot on the portside wheel. Don't get me wrong, we do regularly stand up on the engine covers and have a very detailed 360-degree lookaround, especially when passagemaking. The only time we touch the wheel is when docking the boat, hoisting the mainsail, or maneuvering in close quarters. At night when maneuvering inside a harbor is when we really concentrate and poke our heads outside the boat. Unlike my previous 30+ years of racing multihulls, my present cruising life tries to focus on comfort and an absence of excitement, which the Seawind satisfies admirably although, as you see from the previous writeup, I can still get plenty of action if I wish.
Although this photo was taken in port, it could just as easily have been a shot of us underway. With the table down and the beanbag cushion to rest against, the main saloon makes a great playpen. This is my idea of a photo to complement the caption RELAX, YOU'RE ON A SEAWIND!
I just had a good laugh and thought I'd share it. Hi Seawind :-)
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After our 'interesting' experiences, we decided to wait for the winds to solidly shift before proceeding on down the coast. We took this opportunity to relax and enjoy the lovely little community of Port Macquarie - we had been here 1-1/2 years ago (has it been that long?!) and now, with our trustyrusty bicycles we were able to explore the surrounding areas as well. This section is intended to show Kathy's family that I don't always have her chained to the mast...
Kathy ready to hit the town in Port Macquarie - despite the blue skies, over the last few days we've grown somewhat pessimistic about the weather (note the wet ground).
Off on one of our bikerides. Lots of lovely waterfront trails all over the place.
One of dozens of parks, this one right next to the marina. Note the pathway which links with others and goes on for miles - great not to be riding out in the streets, as Australian drivers consider bicyclists fair game.
Bicycling for miles alongside the riverbank. The sign says "Bank Restoration Project". I don't think Australian banks need restoring, with bank-bashing being a favorite journalistic topic. Sorry for that double entendre :-)
The kids were playing in the park - family transport: a motorcycle with sidecar and a surfboard on top for dad to play with!
Our vote goes to the Port Macquarie Bowls Club for the best buffet dinners we've had in Australia - all you can eat, all delicious, with a fantastic selection, at a price that is incredibly reasonable.
Kathy's full name is Kathleen.
When in port, we use these almost every day. Anyone in the US care to hazard a guess what these are used for?
It was easier to repair the sailcover by hand-sewing rather than take the cover off and have it professionally re-stitched. The threads had simply pulled out. I also redesigned and installed an upgraded lazy-jack system which I'll write up if it proves successful.
The stainless railings have taken quite a beating recently and needed a little TLC to restore them to their former lustre.
Departing Port Macquarie at dawn, heading for Sydney.
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