NAVIGATING PORT PHILLIP BAY’S NOTORIOUS RIP
WJessica Watson HEN WRITER joined the intrepid sea pilots who help make Port Phillip Bay’s notorious entrance, known as The Rip, a safer place, she was disappointed by the calm weather: “The pilots are renowned for their ability to keep the entrance open to shipping, almost constantly, 365 days a year, operating in often dangerous conditions. So I was hoping to see the pilot launches in their element, pushing through steep waves to deliver the pilots to the ships they are charged with guiding. But pleasant conditions didn’t stop me gaining an appreciation of the pilots’ competence and professionalism. Manoeuvring alongside huge ships while they are underway is nerve-racking. The coxswain has to hold the launch in place as it rises and falls with the swell so the pilot can scramble up a rope ladder onto the ship. There’s no doubt Port Phillip’s pilot launches are among the world’s most seaworthy boats.”
Answer to Then and Now: Pictured on page 27 is York Town Hall, WA.