Brisbane to New Caledonia

By Art on (with 4 comments)


Distance (nm)
Average (kts)

Ok, it's about time we were on our way. Our arrival in Australia was back in October of 2016 and we've been sitting in our berth at Rivergate Marina since then. Aside from Easter weekend when we got away from here to anchor out and test systems by Moreton Island, we've been just sitting in the marina waiting out the cyclone season.

Unfortunately, the eastern seaboard of Australia is not very yacht-friendly, at least for a yacht of our draft. There's really only 2-3 places with adequate depth we can set anchor to get out of the trade-winds and swell on the entire east coast of Australia. Not like New Zealand where we had hundreds of choices of anchorages, Australia has not been able to offer us much choice in places to go.

So, we've spent the time here getting a ton of work done and putting the ship in perfect condition for our sailing season... which begins tomorrow!!

The Australian border force comes late morning to get us cleared out of Australia and on our way to New Caledonia so we will be good to go and begin our 2017 sailing season.

Andrea and Ciccio have worked relentlessly to get FG in top condition and it shows. FG is in the best condition she has ever been in and we are very excited to ‘get the heck out of here’!

Tea has us provisioned for the season (an amazing job of advanced planning for 5 months of food!) and has been making wonderful passage meals for us to ‘pop’ into the oven while we are en-route. As you might expect, food is a very important part of passages and we are so happy Tea has everything handled!

It’s about 750 nm to Nouméa from Brisbane and we expect light winds and sea state for the passage taking us about 4 days or so to arrive. We plan to check in to New Caledonia on Friday morning to be able to enjoy the weekend and relax from our passage.

Follow along and watch for our mini-posts along the way. Thanks for the interest in our sailing program!

Ciao, Art, Tracy, Andrea, Tea e Francesco (aka Ciccio!)

Passage Position

Log Entries

by Art, Arrived at Nouméa

Aside from having motor with the wind directly on the bow and beating into waves, again... it did smooth out as we got closer to New Caledonia. We had the fishing lures out for awhile and picked up an oven-sized mahi mahi that was just perfect for the five of us for dinner al forno (in the oven).

As the sun came up the next morning we saw the island for the first time but had been smelling the vegetation from about 60nm away.

We arrived at the entrance to the main pass through the outer reef at just about 08:00 exactly as planned and it took about another hour to arrive at our anchorage here in Bai du Citron (Lemon Bay). We anchored here last year and found it to be a nice place to hang out for a while and catch up after the passage.

After clearing in with Customs, Immigration and Quarantine, we are good to go for the next three months.

Today, Andrea and Cicio are replacing a seal on the low-boost pump for the HEM watermaker. We thought we'd covered all the items for maintenance while in Brisbane but this one was 'supposed' to last another 500 hours so we skipped doing anything to it. So, of course, now it fails as soon as we get here!

It's the Labour Day weekend here in New Caledonia so Tracy and I will hang out on the boat and go to shore once in a while for lunch while the crew takes the weekend to relax. On Tuesday, we'll start looking into where we want to start our NC adventures.

It was a great passage, well planned and executed by the FG team and a perfect start to our season back here in the Tropics. So glad to be here!!!

by Tracy, Italians at sea

The pastrami on chewy ciabatta bread with Dijon tastes good, but with an ice cold Sapporo chaser it's down right fabulous. The fact that I'm enjoying these simple delicacies two hundred miles out from the coast of Australia, aboard an Italian sailing yacht currently beating upwind and going at a full gallop like a runaway bronc at a rodeo, makes the experience down right decadent.

It's the first passage of 2017, and the first passage of the season, which makes this the first passage since last November...yeah, I know, where the hell have we been anyway? Down for maintenance mostly, but also just taking a rest. Circumnavigating the planet can do that to a boat and her crew pretty easy. The experience has given us a whole new level of respect for those crazy bastards who sail it solo and all in one go; as in non stop.The word crazy should be underlined in that previous sentence. On our end of the sailing spectrum it's all good, and I can't complain. None of us can really, because in the scheme of things we've got it pretty good.

Current conditions are challenging, which is how the guys like it. The Italians taking particular pleasure in all things that move at a high velocity. As I write, captain Andrea and first mate Francesco are trading off shifts at the helm— sailing fast at a sharp angle. We're heeled hard, and making good time too. This is no place to be if you're a whiner or a pussy. The Italians have very little tolerance for either. At this moment, and along with all of the other things I've just described, we've come into a squall. The wind's picked up and now the rain's coming down heavy. The Italians are still out there on the helm—and they're smiling.

It's a couple hours later and so far the wind is holding. The squall passed as quickly as it arrived. The sun is out but we'll keep the main on the second reef. Waves are still crashing over the bow and washing up into the cockpit. We've covered just over two hundred-twenty miles in the first twenty four hours; averaging around ten knots boat speed. Not bad at all. Not bad for a luxury cruising yacht with a full galley, stainless steel appliances, and two huge freezers packed full. Oh, and a wine cellar. Water tanks and fuel tanks are full too. Outside is a six-man tender with an outboard strapped down on the foredeck. We have 150 meters of anchor chain, oh yeah, and a ton of dive gear, surf boards, get the picture right? Now you know why our sister ship, Grand Orazio, a yacht geared strictly for racing, is out there winning major regattas.

We are a sailing yacht that sails. We don't like to motor, we don't like the auto pilot much either. With sufficient wind the guys like to be on helm. At the moment we have all kinds of wind, so much that I can hear the guys outside making adjustments. Looking out the port side window of my cabin, I can see and hear the rushing whoosh! Of the sea as the boat picks up speed. Still there's a kind of quiet too. The quiet that can only happen on a yacht that's been fully prepared to go to sea; a vessel that's been made ship shape. No stray rattles, no clanking pots and pans, no loose items bumping about. Just the sound of the sea hitting hull.

Day three and we're making good time. Art reports that we'll arrive in thirty-six hours. I asked him if anything interesting happened during the night, and he said, "dark happened." We haven't seen much during the day either folks. Just a lot of differing weather conditions and a lot of open sea. So, no whales sighted but a pod of twenty dolphins made a brief visit on the first day. What has been noteworthy is Tea. She did a fantastic job preparing meals for the passage. When we were still in Brisbane she very wisely cooked up a storm, wrapped everything up carefully and put in the freezer.

We started the passage with a lovely seafood lasagna. We've enjoyed chicken masala, pasta al forno, and last night we had the French style lamb with lentils. Tea's also been terrific on helm. A couple of days ago we had a loss of power to the navigation screens during the night, and Art needed to go below to fix it. So this meant the ship was Tea's. She helmed by the stars, just like a real life Moana. The conditions were challenging, but she wasn't intimidated, she just took charge.

Today we have ideal conditions. In every direction we see only a fabulously clear sky above a gentle cobalt sea. Anyone could be on board today; it's postcard pleasure cruise weather. Sunlight glints off the ripples that glide past the hull. The fishing lines are out, and for the first time, we're under full sail. Andrea has just reported that with just nine knots true wind, we're still making nine knots boat speed. The harsh waves that were crashing over the bow yesterday have since smoothed out into rounded, slow rolling swell.

We have successfully made our escape from the marina. The runaway bronc has evaded capture, she's jumped the arena fence and left the outriders to throw up their hands and call it a day. Soon we'll catch sight of New Caledonia, and the 2017 season will start off with a popping cork. It's a great day to be at sea, and we are Feelin' Good!

Our location is 24°15.410′S 161°10.015′E. Currently the mainsail is full and the genoa is out. The sky is clear, we have good visibility and the sea state is smooth. Wind is 7.5 kts from 127°T, the air temperature is 25°C while the sea temperature is 25°C. Our SOG is 7.2 kts with our COG 75°T.

by Art, About 240nm east of Brisbane

We're surprised we still have good winds and think they will last a while longer. We're set up with the main in Reef 2 position and the full genoa which makes for a nice, powerful combination for the 15-22 kts of wind we are experiencing. Our speed is over 10 its most of the time and we are in 2m seas from the SE. Everyone is finally adapted to the life at sea and in passage mode. We are on 4 hours on, 4 hours off watch and it's working well. Gotta run get some more weather information for us so catch up with you all later!

Our location is 26°01.424′S 157°25.924′E. Currently the mainsail is reef2 and the genoa is out. The sky is clear, we have good visibility and the sea state is smooth. Wind is 16.8 kts from 107°T, the air temperature is 23°C while the sea temperature is 23°C. Our SOG is 10.4 kts with our COG 80°T.

by Art

Today's the day! The weather forecast is for 12-15kts and 1-2m seas dropping off the next few days to the point where we most likely will need to have some help from the motor. This is good news though as we are all a bit 'rusty' from living the good life ashore for so long. We'll get our sea legs back quickly and soon will be grinning from ear to ear once we get back out on the open ocean!

Note: our yellowbrick tracker is working fine however the automatic link to this post is not working so I hope they fix it while we are on passage but you can always go directly to our Location page to see where we are.

"We look forward to your comments on this Passage!"

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Comments so far

  • comment from Tammy Mathews Tammy Mathews on May 1, 2017

    Glad to hear the excitement of your travels again. Tracy I must say your posts are very well written! Your writing has developed to new heights.

  • comment from Jonatan Jonatan on April 28, 2017

    Hy i am your neighbourght in Nouméa! If you want some information about this place contact me. Jonatan

  • comment from Alberto Alberto on April 25, 2017

    Wow,at last my favourite novelist began to write her posts. Posts? Not only, they are novels, beautiful and intriguing,charming and passionate. Welcome back, I'm enjoying to read your fantastic adventures . Have a good passage, new Caledonia and Noumea are at hand! Bye, waiting the next...

  • comment from Alberto&Patrizia Alberto&Patrizia on April 22, 2017

    Go FG Go! Have a good passage, we follow you and your adventures as usual!