Currently we are located 50nm to the southwest of Wilson's Promontory sailing down wind in strong 18-22kt WSW winds and still experiencing a 3m SW swell. Our speed is 6kts and the temperature is a cool 15 degrees.
Welcome to day five of our voyage. The wind in Grassy Harbour peaked at 35kts during the early hours of this morning but thankfully our anchorage was well protected from the worst of these gale force winds.
At 0830 this morning we weighed anchor and headed out into Bass Strait where we were still greeted by 30-40kt winds and an unpleasant 4m swell. Given these conditions we set a reduced sail plan then shaped a direct course for Wilson’s Promontory which at this time was located 140nm away.
As expected the weather made it impossible to run any activities so we stood the Youth Crew down and just let them keep their watches and enjoy the challenges of sailing the infamous Bass Strait at its worst/best.
As forecast the wind started to moderate by late afternoon and the swell decreased to 3m which made it a lot more pleasant for all onboard. By sunset this evening we were located 50nm to the southwest of Wilson’s Promontory still sailing downwind under just the course (lower square sail) but still making good a boat speed of 6-7kts and enjoying the improved conditions.
The time is now 2000 and the wind has continued to moderate which is making it a little more comfortable for everyone onboard. Overnight if the weather continues to improve all of the watches will undertake the BEAREX (Teamwork and Communication Exercise) as we continue to make best speed to Wilson’s Promontory and the picturesque Refuge Cove where we hope to anchor early tomorrow morning.
Despite this patch of rough weather spirits are still extremely high with everyone enjoying the challenges that we have experienced today. As the Youth Crew explained to me today sailing Bass Strait in rough weather was one of the reasons they chose to sail on this voyage.
Until tomorrow evening, take care.