Tuesday, 17 November 2015

“Gentlemen don’t sail to windward”


23 October 2015
The forecast said the wind was going to swing from North in the early hours through North East in the morning  to East by the middle of the day.  We wanted to go a bit North of West so the equation looked quite suitable. We could sail across to the bottom end of Long Island Sound then go up through the passage nicely sheltered from the afternoon Easterlies by the island. A great plan, IF, the forecasters had not got it totally wrong again.

We sailed out from the cover of Lindeman Island into 15 to 20 knots of Northerly giving us a just enough wind angle to sail upwind. We were soon bashing into it in far from comfortable style. We’re cruisers not racers and generally follow the old adage “Gentleman don’t sail to windward” whenever and wherever possible. Although Our Dreamtime was handling the conditions quite well we were not having fun as we not so patiently waited for the promised wind shift to bring us a more comfortable ride. It never did.
Heeling pretty well hard on the wind but getting along OK with Karen's herb garden tucked safely in place.
Karen's childhood friend, Priscilla, had difficulty and went leg up on our bunk in the bumpy conditions.
When we reached the southern end of Long Island Sound and turned northward the wind belted us smack on the nose making sail aloft a total waste of time so the genoa and main were furled and mizzen dropped as we reverted to our good old 80HP Ford Lehman to push us into it. We had timed our passage to traverse the sound with the aid of a 3-4 knot ebb tide current flowing north. With the headwind, if we hadn’t we would have been at a standstill more than likely. As it was, the wind over tide situation in the narrowest and shallowest section of the sound made the seas stand up very sharply but we rode through it all without drama.

The protected waters of Shute Harbour were a very welcome sight.
Easing into the protected waters of Shute Harbour was a very welcome event and not just for the comfort it delivered after four hours of bouncing around. Until Abell Point and the Port of Airlie marinas were built, Shute Harbour was the marine hub of the Whitsunday Islands with all the charter and tourist fleets based here. The anchorage does provide excellent protection from virtually all wind direction but is now quite crowded with boats sitting on moorings making finding a spot to anchor a bit more of a challenge. We did a number of circuits before settling on THE place with adequate swing room.
Lindeman Island to Shute Harbour - 20.8 Nautical Miles - 4 Hours 7 Minutes
Average Speed 5.0 knots Highest Speed 8.3 knots
Where we anchored amongst the myriad of boats on moorings

We always zoom right in on the Google Earth link of where we anchor provided by our Spot Tracker. This image appears to show some sunken hulls on the harbour floor which we are glad we didn't drop our anchor onto.
Our Whitsunday Island stops so far.
 
Shute Harbour was Karen’s home for a number of years when she lived on her parent’s Game Fishing charter boat on a mooring not too far from where we eventually dropped anchor. The place holds many, many childhood and teenage memories for her. To now bring her own boat into Shute Harbour all these years later was quite a thrill.
Homecoming celebration dinner at Shute Harbour
 
Boat made apple pie for desert - YUM!
Naturally we celebrated that evening with Karen producing a amazing roast lamb dinner accompanied by a very nice bottle of champagne good friends, Joel, Susan and Alison had given us back in Brisbane to ‘celebrate something special with.’ It was a very, very enjoyable and satisfying night for us.
What was a bit scary though was being surrounded by 60 to 70 boats on a moonless night with only 11 anchor lights visible in the whole harbour. We’d hate to have to enter the place in the dark and have to find a spot to anchor without running into anything.

 
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