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.




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



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