Esperance to Bremer Bay

The steering has now been fixed. The rams had to be removed as the hydraulic fluid was finding it’s way past the ram seals causing the rudders to be out of sync. On dismantling it was found the wrong seals had been installed at some stage causing the ram piston to rub against the ram cylinder. New seals were installed and everything re-aligned and bled. The system is now good but the rams will need replacing once back in Perth.

With the weather not looking good there was a window of opportunity to sail to Bremer Bay overnight. We headed off at 10.30 am Wednesday morning and sailed into a hole. No wind and flat calm. We motored for 6 hours before the wind shifted slightly to the SW, which was right on the nose. The swell had also swung around to the SW as well. I thought about tacking up the rumb line but this would have added many hours and placed our arrival way too late, as the SW was due to increase. We continued motoring and all was good until the starboard fan belt de-laminated, taking out the bilge pump and some minor wiring with it. I quickly replaced it with a spare. The belt had come away from the alternator but stayed on the crankshaft and water pump. Having replaced the belt on the original pulleys we continued on and arrived at Bremer Bay small boat harbour at 5.45 pm, some 6 hours longer than our anticipated arrival time. In Esperance I had arranged to use a 60 foot charter boat mooring, which was not beeing used. On arrival the owner helped us tie up, as it was a new mooring but had no buoy line attached. We are now sheltered from a strong SW wind warning due in on Saturday.

Friday was a rest day so we arranged a lift into town where we stocked up on some minor items (coffee, sugar, biscuits, carrots and sweet potatoes), and then had a well deserved beer and lunch at the local tavern.

Today (Saturday) I checked all the belts and found out why the belt had de-laminated. The starboard engine has 2 pulleys on the crankshaft. The outer one must have been used for a extra alternator or pehaps a fridge compressor, which are no longer present. When new belts were installed in Sydney they put the belt on the outer pully, causing the belt to be mis-aligned. Have now put the belt on the inner pulley and all is good. Lesson learnt……always check the work done by others.

We are now sitting out the strong SWester and look like leaving for Albany late Sunday or first thing Monday when the winds will shift to south to SE then East. Now just checking all systems and doing minor maintance.

We have bragging rights. Crossed the GAB.

We did it. Departed Pt Lincoln at 0945 Thursday 1st March and arrived in Esperance 1645 Wednesday 7th, total of 6 and a half days, 780 nautical miles at an average of 120 miles a day averaging 5 knots. At times we managed 9 knots but had 2 days of no wind, which brought our average down. The furthest we were from Australia was 180 miles offshore. Due to the conditions and wind direction most of the trip was done with just the headsail.

Like any passage this demanding, we had situations we had to deal with. First up was the depth sounder failing on us. As we were now in water 3km deep it wasn’t an immediate concern. When the wind dropped out on the third day I traced the problem to the power feed from the connector behind the helm. We now had depth readings for our first night anchorage at middle island, some 70 miles east of Esperance.

The next issue was the first reefing point. We could not get the foot of the sail and the reefing outhaul tight enough on the mainsail.  Part of the problem was the luff point which went through a triangular ring. After considering all options we pulled the reef line back and fed it straight to the winch enabling us to tighten the reef outhaul. We then used the cunningham to pull the luff reef point down.

On the 5th day the cable linking the 2 rudders frayed at both ends and broke. We initially thought we had lost our steering abilities, but the auto pilot seemed to be managing. The look on the crews faces at 1am in the morning, with me holding 2 pieces of broken wire in my hands and pronouncing, “I think we may have a steering problem” will be a memory that all of us will look back on with laughter. We jury rigged a fix with some braided line that fitted through the sheaves, and all was good again.

The auto pilot was now starting to sound like a caged bear, and appeared to be getting worse. We decided to look at it at anchorage at middle island and perhaps bleed the lines.

The starboard engine battery isolate switch then decided to play up and we had to jumper it every time we needed that engine for hot showeres etc

After crossing the continental shelf twice, where the depth goes from 3km to 100 metres, we arrived at middle island at 1am wednesday the 7th and attempted to anchor. The wind was from the north blowing quite strong, and it was impossible to anchor in the conditions, let alone having a sleepless night worrying if the anchor would drag onto a lee shore. So the decision was made to continue onto Esperance.

At this moment in time the starboard motor stopped and could not be restarted. On investigation found fuel spraying from the top of the lift pump.  So it was now down to one engine and sails. We nursed the boat into Esperance using the sails and little use of the port engine. When we came to tie up at the taylor street jetty with a strong SE wind with one motor it was a struggle, but we managed eventually, with the help of the harbour master.

Once tied up by 1730 we did the next most important part of the trip……….we opened up a bottle of champagne, had a group hug, and congratulated each other on our team work and a job well done.

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The problem with the auto pilot became apparent when I arranged a hydrive rep to help bleed the system. It was then that we discovered that when the steering had been serviced in Sydney they had used automatic transmission fluid, instead of the correct hydraulic fluid.  Automatic transmission fluid is not compatable, and destroys the seals in the hydraulic pump. With a somewhat calm voice I contacted them and they appologised profusely and arranged to despatch a new $1000.00 replacement. As of Sunday it has still not arrived.   ggggrrrr.

I managed to get a new lift pump sent from Perth and installed it. Also had the local hydraulic services to make up two new fuel hoses that go from each lift pump to the injector pump, as these were starting to get brittle. Completed other maitenance tasks including replacing the starboard battery isolate switch.

Now sitting in Esperance waiting for the hydraulic pump to arrive, and the weather does not look good for a depature by Wednesday 15th March….ggggrrrr

 

 

Great Australian Bight Crossing

Well, we are almost there. Will be leaving from Port Lincoln early Wednesday 28th February. Had the boat craned out in Port Lincoln. The reverse pitch problem on the propellers has been fixed. The starboard prop had blade 3 aligned with the blade 1 mark and the folding gear timing marks were not in line. The port prop also had the timing marks miss aligned. The motors no longer blow black smoke when in reverse and can now get above 1600 rpm in forward and reverse. The boat is now far more maneuverable when going into a pen.

The starboard skin fitting for the forward head was replaced with a stainless fitting, as the previous one was plastic and only holding on by a couple of threads. The bottom was also given a scrub. The stockless marsh anchor has been installed along with a new bridle. The new isotemp hot water system has been installed in the starboard side engine bay and it works a treat.

The 4 man liferaft didn’t quite fit on the foredeck, as it would have fouled the headsail sheets, so it will sit in the cockpit for the trip. Will be out of range late Wednesday for approx 6 days, so will try and update the site from middle island or Esperance.

The weather pattern has 2 highs coming across the bight with 10 to 15 knots easterlies, with a south east in the middle. Swells are predicted between 1 to 3 metres.

Fingers crossed……here we come.

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Kangaroo Island to Port Lincoln

Thursday 26 Oct around 0800 we dropped off the swing mooring and headed to Port Lincoln to catch a good wind window before a big blow was due late Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. This leg was was really un-eventfull with light and variable winds and no swell. At 0330 Friday morning, after zooming in on the chart plotter to 500 metres, we discovered that our rumb line put us right through the tuna holding pens at Port Lincoln. These did not show up at the 2 nautical zoom setting, so is a bit of a trap. We deviated to access Port Lincoln via the south channel Enterance, with tuna pens either side of this channel. We motored into the porter bay marina and found a spot on a finger behind 2 shark cage dive boats.

With everthing lined up nicely we we were about 2 metres from the finger when a gust of wind blew the strbd stern  into the rear platform off the shark boat and we kissed it above the water line. Well….it wasn’t  really a kiss…..it was a full on tonguey…resulting in a tennis ball sized dent. This then caused the strbd  bow to peck the finger as well. Both were not structural and I had them filled with filler to prevent any water ingress. In the next few days also arranged repair of the split hot water holding tank, as it was also now leaking along one seam. This took several  attempts but to no avail. Will look at procuring a commercial unit to replace it.

My plans have now changed. Boomaroo is at the Porter Bay marina, where I will leave it until March. I will slip the boat in February to have the reverse pitch on both props adjusted, as they are too coarse and cause the motors to labour in reverse. I will also remove the retaining bolts and have then lock-tighted, to prevent any further problems with them working loose. Will also have the port head skin fittting replaced and a new skin fitting for a deck wash installed. I will round up another crew and do the GAB in March/April 2018. All the cray boat skippers and locals reckon this is also the best time to do the GAB East to West

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Dodging the tuna pens

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It was a tight fit getting tied up on the finger

It’s  been a bit of a setback, but the final goal will be achieved.

Portland to Kangaroo Island…never again.

Some more nautical terms for you land lubers. Tack…a small nail you do not want to step on…also a point of sail….Port tack…a small nail you stepped on with your LEFT foot…also sailing with the boom on the strbd side and the wind coming from the port side…trough…something to do with the weather…also the bottom between 2 swells…..rumb line…(pronounced RUM)…a straight line you should be able to walk after consuming copious amounts of rum….also a straight line between 2 points you wish to sail

After sitting at portland waiting for some spare fan belts…..we chewed through 2 already getting this far…frustratingly they sent the wrong ones and finally got the correct one. We had changed the port pulley to a new one so should be all ok. We left friday at 4.30 pm and set waypoints for Robe and kangaroo island. The plan was to see how the weather was at Robe and make a desicion then to continue onto kangaroo island if all good. 4 hours into the trip the swells picked up and the echo sounder showed 5 metre swells when we went down into the trough and up onto the peaks…yuk. we had several come over the bows and wash the front windows. Things just went from bad to worst. Our rumb line took us along the 50 fathom line to Robe…and it was here that we encountered 60 miles of cray pots. We dodged most of them until boomaroo decided she didn’t want to be a yacht….she wanted to be a cray boat….as we picked up a cray pot line around the strbd rudder.  With 5 metre seas and doing 7 knots we had to act quickly before the rudder became serverely damaged. While the crew wound in the headsail i went down the stern steps to try and push it off the rudder with the boat hook. It was like being on one of those wild rides at the royal show. This didn’t work so it was out with the super sharp cockpit knife and with one slice cut the line…leaving the cray pot to disapear away attached to one float.

We still had the remainder line with 2 floats either side of the rudder. I cut one float off hoping that the second float would not drag the line to the top of the rudder and jam between the rudder and the hull. It slid away nicely and we were free at last. We went out to the 100 fathom line hoping they would clear…but still encountered more. Later on the wind dropped and we had to lower the sails as they were flogging as we went up and down the swells. When it picked up again we set the sails to find the port motor shuddering violently and trying to jump of the engine mounts. We shut it down and we were now down to one motor. We guessed that a cray rope had tangled around the prop and jammed it solid. We continued on and now that we were out at the 100 fathom line a detour to Robe was out of the question….as we would have to weave our way back throgh all the 50 fathom cray pots. We finally dropped sail with no wind 25 miles out from kangaroo island and limped in on the one motor. By shear luck than good fortune we managed to pick up a cray boat mooring we were told we could use at 3 am in the pitch black. We then gulped down some much needed port and rum and hit the sack around 3.30 am on Monday 23rd October…..another 3 days and 3 nights straight non stop run.

That morning we arranged for Jamieson marine to dive on the prop and see what the problem was. There was no rope around the prop and after much discussion it was decided to change the engine mounts, as the rubber had seperated from the metal mount. How the violent shuddering caused the motor to stall was still a bit of a mystery. After changing the engine mounts the problem still persistered, so we called the diver back and after a close inspection discovered one of the folding blades on the prop was out of wack and the 3 retaining screws were all loose. Eventually he managed to alighn the blades and tighten all the screws. And presto….the motor purred like it should do in forward and reverse.

It is now wednesday and the weather will turn really bad for a another overnighter to coffinn bay..with gale force winds and 8 metre swells by saturday. Our plan now is to get the good weather and head to port linken by friday. After that looks like we will have to sit it out there for several days as there is a large low coming in from the west with 45+ knots (gale and storm) with huge swells which will affect the entire coast.

Didn’t have time this leg to get any photos as the weather made it impossible. The weather at kangaroo island is miserable with rain and cold winds. You SA’s out there can have your weather all to yourself. Will update when we arrive at Port Lincoln.

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Boomaroo on the mooring at Kingscote kangaroo island. The red arrow on the nav chart is us

 

 

Eden accross Bass Straight to Portland

Arrived at Portland Harbour at 1130 am Wednesday 18th October completing a 466 nautical mile non stop run after leaving Eden Saturday at 1630 hrs

Some nautical terms for those land lubbers amoungst you. They appear in this blog

Head……a toilet.  Galley….where you cook things and wash dishes. Headsail…the sail at the front of the boat……mainsail….the sail that goes up the mast…..seacock…..a tap fitting the goes through the hull and allows access to sea water….Bilge…..anywhere on a boat where water can collect. Port….a yummy drink on a cold night…also the left hand side of the boat….Starboard…strbd…..the right hand side of the boat

Before leaving Eden decided to put a non return valve on the starboard head water inlet as it wasn’t pumping much water. This was when I discovered the stbd head seacock was worryingly loose. Made the decision to turn off the seacock and cable tie the inlet hose to the large hose feeding the holding tank to prevent movement on the seacock. Will have to leave it at that until I can slip the boat. We placed the portable electric bilge pump in the strbd front compartment with a long lead so we could pump it out if things got worse. Also got a wooden plug at close hand in case I have to dive overboard and hammer in a plug to seal it.

When filling up with water at Eden discovered water coming out the top of the port middle storage tank. Don’t know if the tank has split or the filler pipe running through to the port rear tank has split. Another job for perth.

We expected good winds on the way to our expected destination of Lakes Entrance but it was a mill pond. Had to motor for 2 days with the occassional 3 hour sail with headsail and main. Got to lakes Enterance on Sunday and decided, after looking at the forcast to coninue onto Portland. Boomaroo did not like this idea, as we then had several dramas. Just after Lakes I noticed the Port enngine was not charging. When we lifted up the engine cover we were greeted by a sauna of steam with the engine bay half filled with very hot water. Fearing the worst we pumped out the engine bilge and on close inspection found the port hot water holding tank for the fresh water stern shower had cracked with a small split. Dave managed to bypass the tank with some fittings so as we could still use the wash basin in the port head. With the alternator now dry we were very happy to now see the charge light extinguish. Another job to do in perth.

Boomaroo decided we hadn’t been punished enough for not stopping in a quiet anchorage and the next day the port engine stopped pumping the sea water cooling for the engine heat exchanger. Luckily it was calm so off came the raw water pump and Dave replaced the rubber impellor with our spare. To be sure to be sure we also replaced the fan belt as the old one was at it’s full adjustment. Nikita took all this in her sride as this was now the second time we had to remove all her bedding to get to the engine.

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We rounded Wilsons Promitory at sunrise  to see it clouded in fog. We were truly now in Bass Straight and HEADING WEST 😃😃

The seas were relatively calm and again we had to motor.

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To our enjoyment we were escorted several times by pods of dolphins as we headed west.

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A very rare sea state for Bass Straight…..a mill pond.

The wind did pick up a bit and we managed 7.5 knots for several hours.

At 3.00 on Wednesday morning the wind was gusting to 20 knots then it would drop off. The worst sea state we have been in for a while. Swells coming from port  forward, the wind coming from strbd quarter. The  bows heading for the moon one minute, then heading to king neptune in the next it was not pleasant and didn’t get any sleep.

Finally arrived at Portland on wednesday 18th October, tied up and enjoyed a cold beer.

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We are sitting out 25 knot westerly winds in portland. Will fill up with fuel and water on friday and head off friday arvo for Robe or Kangaroo Island. It won’t be pleaseant for the first bit as there will be 4 metre swells from the SW, but should ease off as we continue. Managed to buy some WARM clothing for the next sailing legs as it’s really cold.

 

Watching ships getting loaded with wood chips to pass the time.

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Surfing at 13 knots

Left port hacking after dragging the anchor at around 9.30 pm. Managed to pick up a private mooring but with no load rating on the bouy I slept on the sofa with the anchor watch set to 85 metres. Left around 7.15 am tuesday with a strong wind warning from the NE headed for botanny bay, but decided to make use of the NE wind and overnight sail to Eden. No wind until sunset when it picked up and we sailed with 80% headsail overnight. The seas were like a washing machine, but to her credit crew member Nikki went below and knocked up some spag bog. Dave and myself were pretty ordinary, but all good by the morning. We averaged around 8 knots and during one sail change a whale blew about 10 metres from the starboard stern. From then on we had whales everywhere throwing themselves out of the water

The wind picked up in the morning and we started clocking 9 to 11 knots. When it picked up further and we were surfing at 13 knots with the boat humming we reduced sail to about 40% headsail and continued on at 9 to 10 knots. We had to lubricate the rudder bearings on the way as they were stating to sound like a 4 year old learning to play on an amplfied violin. Finnaly made it into Eden with the winds blowing 25 to 30 knots. Tied up at the public wharf and waited for the gale warning from the SE to arrive, which it did about 3.30 am in the morning. Had to continualy shift the fenders to stop the pilings from rubbing on the boat.

Today we did a maintence inspection and found the nuts had fallen off the rudder arm linkage, and were only holdy on by the bolts. Have changed the bolt type on both rudders and used nylock nuts plus locking nut. Also discovered the rudder refference was all loose and after looking at the setup deterined it was incorrect. Skipper not happy as I paid to have the complete new system installed prior to departure from sydney.

Spent thursday making up new mounting hardware and will calibrate on friday. Also installed the cleats on the stern for the tender tie down points. We will probably be in Eden until saturday as it is still blowing from the south most of friday. We will head off  on Saturday and do an overnighter to Lakes Entrance.

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