Leg 3: storms and rain
Departure: Arrival: Duration:
Wind hit us from every direction. The seas of the Australian Bight were as bad as any we’d encountered, and the wind pushed us further south.
As the days went on, we were besieged by storms and heavy rain. Instead of the reach we’d hoped for across the bottom of Australia, we were on the wind yet again, being pushed down to the west coast of Tasmania. Each day the forecast assailed our hopes for a swift trip to Sydney. Navigating our way through the currents off the south-east corner of Australia was an interesting experience; we logged sea temperature to determine where we were in the eddies that formed. As the temperature of the sea inched up on port tack, we’d pack up our belongings below and tack back towards the coast. The atmosphere on board was buoyant.
On watch in our final days at sea, I came up on deck at 0200, drowsy with sleep, and was suddenly hit by a new smell... trees and earth. “Land!” I exclaimed, realising that we were scenting the coast of Tasmania. I passed the watch gazing over the starboard side at the sparsely populated landmass to our right. The occasional twinkling light was a signs of life on a coast to be avoided. We weren’t stopping.
From that night onwards, the coast was always within sight. The weather gradually improved, and the six of us on board began finally to allow ourselves to envisage the end of the voyage.
had housed us for nearly three gruelling months. We thought we’d experienced it all: been soaked through, too hot, hungry, too full. We’d been on the wind for what seemed like an eternity. We’d endured the privations of close living, the smells, the continuous demands of the boat, the constant stream of pump failures, while herself doggedly trucked onwards.
We arrived at Sydney exactly three months to the day after we’d departed from Hamble. The boat was intact, and we were all still speaking to each other. was finally back in Australian waters 46 years after her victory in the Sydney Hobart race. For most of us in the crew, the voyage was the adventure of a lifetime, but for it was only the beginning of a new life.
Paddy and Keith now intend to restore her to her former ocean racing glory. She completed the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race last December, and she is now entered for the Transpac 2019 from Los Angeles to Honolulu, so next is a delivery voyage to the US west coast, and afterwards the long journey back to Australia.