We arrived in Brisbane today to complete our 2016 sailing season and are ready to begin the work of preparing the boat for next season. There's nothing major to do but we have a long list of things to accomplish as well as some much-needed down-time for all of us. Well done Captain Andrea & Tea on a great season!
- Distance (nm)
- Average (kts)
Ready to make the final passage of this sailing season from New Caledonia to Brisbane where we'll hold up for the cyclone season and do our annual repairs and maintenance. We had a terrific time in New Caledonia although, just like Vanuatu, it was too short.
We'll be back next season to really get to know the country and people better but for now, we're focused on having a safe passage to Brisbane. Giorgio, a close friend of Andrea, has come to spend some time with us and help out with the passage. He's also filling in as 1st mate and has been making us wonderful bread each day.
We're not sure if we are leaving on Saturday or Sunday so Andrea has tendered in to do our departure clearance so we are free to leave when the weather window is right. Tea is preparing amazing food for the passage and this afternoon we'll dive under the boat to clean the hull, change all our anodes and take some photos to show the quarantine officials in Australia in case they are wondering if we are bringing in any 'critters' on our hull.
In the meantime, tonight is Pizza Night!
Is it Tuesday? Or Wednesday? I'm not sure, but it's like this on passage. What time is it exactly? Who knows. The only thing anyone cares about is when they're due on deck for the next watch and they'll know that when their alarm goes off and not a minute before. In between watches, it's eat, and sleep. That's pretty much it. There's nothing much else that matters except what's for lunch or dinner. It's simple out here, out in the middle of the middle of the nowhere Pacific. Truth be known, at our current position we're only a little over three hundred miles from our destination of Brisbane, but hey, nobody can swim there from here, so it might as well be three thousand.
What's happening in Europe? Haven't a clue. How about those crazy elections in the US? Nope... And nobody out here cares. What we do get excited about is food. Giorgio and Tea made lunch today, and you guessed it, it's pasta. A wonderfully, lovingly, and deliciously prepared pasta with zucchini actually. Giorgio even fried the little zucchini slices till crispy, then tossed the pasta with Provolone and Parmesan, then added fresh basil and garlic. Yes! We eat good on Feelin' Good.
The boat is very salty. The pasty, white flakes cake up thick and sticky, so much so, that you could scrape it off and have enough to cook with. But it always gets that way by about the third day, especially when we've been sailing in heavy seas. We left New Caledonia with winds on the strong end of twenty-five knots and by the first night they'd pushed up to thirty. Someone managed a 16.8 knot surf during the night, and that was with the third reef in the main.
The second day brought more wind and a big, rear quartering swell that felt a lot like the seas we experienced crossing the Atlantic, with perhaps a pinch of the western Caribbean's unpredictable nature tossed in. It's interesting to think that we all now possess the ability to discern the characteristics of waves the way one might denote a California Chardonnay from a French white Burgundy- oh yes, Pacific swell tends to be softer with a more rounded finish... In that case, rogue waves are a bottle that's badly corked.
We've had a full moon and clear skies which has made for great night sailing. Two nights ago I was out on deck with Art, and a wall of water taller than he is came over the dodger, and across the helm, and briefly transformed the entire aft deck into a swimming pool. Fortunately Art was clipped in and had both hands on the wheel. Fortunately I was sitting on the far side of the aft deck, but we both got soaked. The wave was backlit by moonlight, and for a brief instant, it was beautiful. I was in awe as it broke over Art's head, huge and glowing bright silver, with sparkled bits at the edges.
The fishing lures are extremely clean, we've had two lines out, been washing them all day, but so far no customers. The winds have dropped off and the sea has gone nearly flat calm. We glide along smoothly under motor. In this moment of serenity, I'm pecking away at the digital keyboard on my iPad, when I hear soft padding, swooshing sounds coming from the galley. It's Giorgio, and he's making bread. He's hand mixing the dough in a large bowl, gently turning it, massaging, and coaxing the mixture. He will set it aside and allow it to rise during the night. Tomorrow morning it will be baked into Pane Cafone: a Neapolitan classic. If you haven't spent any time eating in, and around Napoli, then you have not yet enjoyed the essence of the Italian kitchen.
We are extremely fortunate to have spectacular crew on board this season, but I think everyone will agree that the rookie MVP award belongs to Tea. Andrea has caught fish that weigh more than she does, but despite her petite size, she's been out in the thick of it with all the guys, and holding her own. She takes the helm with authority and seems completely unintimidated by eighty feet and forty tones of boat in front in her. That in itself is quite impressive, but she's also a great cook and a spectacular human being: brava Tea!
It's the last passage of the season, wow! We made it! The Champagne is already in the fridge, with an extra special bottle of fine Caribbean rum on standby of course. This time everyone's excited to reach the shores of Australia, but it feels still so close that we sailed for New Zealand. So much has changed. For the first time in nearly three years, we have a new captain. Our sweet Carmen is also back home in Italy.
Captain Andrea has fully taken charge, FG is now his boat. He's been doing a fantastic job since our arrival in Fiji, and throughout the season. We are so very pleased and proud to have him! We are Feelin' Good!!
Well, our nice winds have dropped off to the point we are not motoring in calm seas the rest of the way to Brisbane. While we love to sail, having some calm motoring time allows us extra rest and time to begin the clean up from the passage. Giorgio has made us a nice bread from Napoli (after the first one he made back in New Caledonia, we begged him for another!). We're going through our fresh vegetables, fruit and cheese to make sure we consume all that we can before arrival as Australia will take whatever is not approved for entry. This has been the case in every country we have been in so, no big deal. By this time tomorrow we'll be tied up at the immigration dock getting cleared in and ready for a good night's sleep.
Currently we are motoring, the mainsail is down and the foresail is furled. The sky is clear, we have good visibility and the sea state is smooth. Wind is 3.4 kts from 192°T, the air temperature is 22°C while the sea temperature is 21°C. Our SOG is 9.0 kts with our COG 240°T.
Nice sailing! We did have to go south for a while as the wind shifted more to the north-east but once we got about 60nm south we gybed and now are straight for Brisbane again. The excellent winds of the last 24 hours are starting to die off so we have the motor on and the genoa out still making about 9kts. We expect to be at the entrance to Morteon Bay by sunrise on Thursday and safely in our berth by later afternoon. Great food, great sports onboard and a wonderful last passage of the season!
Currently we are motoring, the mainsail is down and the genoa is out. The sky is clear, we have good visibility and the sea state is slight. Wind is 11.6 kts from 8°T, the air temperature is 23°C while the sea temperature is 22°C. Our SOG is 8.8 kts with our COG 240°T.
24 hours after departure we have made 235nm with good winds (25-30kts) but a little rough on the sea state (3.0+m). We're been doing well for speed but now everything is dropping off a bit. Even with the 3rd reef and full genoa we were averaging over 10 its (16.8kts max speed at one point!). With the wind dropping down, we'll be putting in the 2nd reef to get some more sail area up. What's most important to us is to have safe, calm sailing as we're short-handed. For some reason all of Tea's lasagna disappeared overnight with the people on watch and now she has a lovely quiche for us to enjoy. We're expecting to be in Brisbane by the end of day Thursday. Ah, the sailing life!
Currently the mainsail is reef 3 and the genoa is out. The sky is clear, we have good visibility and the sea state is moderate. Wind is 17.8 kts from 61°T, the air temperature is 22°C while the sea temperature is 22°C. Our SOG is 8.2 kts with our COG 235°T.
Final preparations are underway today as we will be departing tomorrow (Sunday) to begin the 800nm passage to Brisbane. The winds should be good for the first part of our passage then tapering off a bit before building again for our arrival. We expect to take about a little over four days to cover this distance and hope to arrive Thursday afternoon. We are all looking forward to to our time in Australia this off-season and time to go home and visit our family and friends.