14 December 2006

Broken Bay, NSW

  • Royal Motor Yacht Club
    Broken Bay, New South Wales
  • 14-Dec-2006
  • 33°39.1000"S/151°18.1000"E
How you goin'?

We didn’t make it to Sydney!! We left Coffs Harbor at 11am when the winds shifted back to the north and were predicted to hold until we got to Sydney. We were able to sail during the late afternoon, with really strong winds at 30 knots right off the stern.

As we get closer to Sydney, there is a more shipping and boating traffic than we have seen in over a year. It requires a good lookout, as at times as we have ships and boats all around us.

Australia’s Coast Guard is a lot different here than in the U.S.. Here it is a volunteer service, kind of like the Coast Guard Auxiliary in the U.S. There are several different volunteer services that provide weather, radio watches, and search-and-rescue services that are funded by donations. The two on this coast (Pacific) of Australia are called “Volunteer Marine Rescue” (VMR’s), and “Coastal Patrol”.

At 2am we heard a high wind warning issued by the Coastal Patrol that winds were going to be coming from the south at 30+ knots, the direction that we were going! We contacted the Coastal Patrol after the broadcast to confirm what we had just heard. The watch stander told us that a cold front was heading straight at us and should hit us in about 30 minutes. We let them know we were turning in for the nearest port, Broken Bay, 20 miles away. They told us that they would listen for us for if we had any problems.

We reefed down the sails. And then sure enough... WHAM! 30 knots right off the bow!! This slowed us down to 2 knots. It started raining sideways, and to make things a little more interesting, we had to transit through 5 anchored ships. If the wind had been anymore from the south we would not have been able to make Broken Bay and would have had to sail 40 miles back down the coast to the next port.

We made it into Broken Bay after sunrise. After reading our guidebook, we were left to believe that we were pulling into a bay that was uninhabited. Instead, there were thousands of boats and houses all along the shoreline. Turns out that Broken Bay is a major boating area in New South Wales. And we got mooring at the Royal Motor Yacht Club.

Although it is a motor yacht club, we were made very welcome, and everyone was super friendly. We spent that night at the bar, as per Sandpiper's normal routine in port. Amy started a conversation with one of the club members. He asked what boat we were on. We found out that he was the radio watch stander at the Coastal Patrol that morning who had given us the weather warning. WEIRD…..

So our new friend Simon introduced us to his friends, and then took us out for a “few” rounds at a pub in town, which probably wasn’t such a good idea after waking up the next morning. We were the first boaters that he had ever met that he had assisted before.

We are in Broken Bay just till Sunday when the weather is supposed to swing back around from the north again. We then plan to make for Sydney, our new home.

Tom and Amy

1 comment:

Captain Ben Brown said...

Hey Man,

What shappening ? let me know if you have a mailing address. Savvy ? I am workig in Brazil which is very very cool though I miss Katie. Looking forward to having Hayden and Julia in June. The lastest from the wedding is Sept or Oct we will see, hope ya'll can come to the USA. Miss you guys a lot. Later,