Vanuatu to Brisbane 2013
There were 6 new and one previous crew for the passage From Santo, Vanuatu to Brisbane Australia. There were Hanna and Karin from Sweden, Chris and Dan from the States, Tine from Norway, Stone from New Zealand and Shaun from South Africa. This was the fourth time I had made this passage.
The first 5 days of the passage saw us making good speed sailing with a fair wind over the top of New Caledonia through Grande Passage and down to Lansdowne Bank in the Coral Sea.
In this part of the South Pacific the bottom rises steeply from 3000 metres to the surface taking the shape of Lansdowne Bank and Bellona Reefs. While the current pushed us toward these reefs, the wind became light and fickle.
On the seventh day we were met with fresh head winds coming from the direction we were trying to sail. To the west were reefs and while sailing to the east took us farther from our destination. So, we hove to, to minimize the delay.
The next two days the southerly wind pushed us 50 miles backward to the north.
Again becalmed on the 9th day we started the main engine and motored for 46 hours to clear South Bellona Reefs.
Over the following ten days we made progress of between 13 and 65 miles a day as we worked a variety of winds.
Just as we approached the Morton Bay channel to the Brisbane River, a fresh northerly stopped us. Morton Bay is not a good place to navigate the narrow channels if the there is a strong wind from the north or north-east.
The wind backed to a nor’wester and pushed us back out to sea. Over the following day the wind continued to back around to the south and finally sou’east until we could use it to get into Morton Bay and the 40 miles of channels that lead to the Brisbane River.
We could not afford to haul out in New Zealand. However, there was an affordable 600-ton lift on the Brisbane River.
We will be out of the water for 10 to 14 days depending on crew and finances.
Looking for volunteers to come and help!