LW38 ROUND TRIP BRISBANE – MELBOURNE
It was early February when we ran into Roger Overell at our Yacht Club in Brisbane. My partner, Ken, told him “We have just got back from Melbourne”. I must say that Roger gave him a look as though to say “And you’re telling me because…..”
It was only when Ken went on to explain to him that the 2 of us has just spent 8 weeks sailing to Melbourne and back that his look turned to one of surprise. For it had only been in late October that we first met Roger on the day that we took over ownership of our Lightwave 38 down on the Gold Coast.
And I guess that most people wouldn’t take a trip of close 1,000 miles AND into Bass Strait as their maiden voyage on their new yacht.
But Ken and I are never ones to do things by half. With his parents in Melbourne and my parents in Sydney it was the ideal opportunity to test out the newly named “Flying Colours”. So the plan was Melbourne for Christmas and New Year and then Sydney for Australia Day.
After several hectic weeks getting ready it was with both excitement and nervousness that we headed out the Gold Coast Seaway and turned right. Although both of us have done plenty of offshore sailing, we had NEVER sailed offshore in a cat before.
So we were holding our breath to see if we had made a good choice or perhaps the biggest mistake of our lives. It didn’t take us long to decide it was the former. In fact, over the 2 months we were away, we became complete “cat converts”.
We couldn’t believe how stable and comfortable the boat was at sea. We had to pinch ourselves that we were really several miles offshore as we sat down to a set table for dinner. Not to mention having a hot shower at sea!
Having the luxury of plenty of time, we were able to head down the coast when the winds were favourable and pull into port when the wind was on the nose, which saw us calling into Yamba, Sydney and Eden. And in typical NSW Coast style, we did plenty of motoring, especially at night. We were delighted with the speed of the boat under motor.
Our trip across Bass Strait proved to be a race against time. We were aiming to get to Port Phillip heads at midnight to catch the tide but we knew that there was a South Westerly Gale heading our way. For several hours we set a cracking pace with the following winds and I set the “boat record” speed of 12.9kts. Things were looking good.
Unfortunately our luck ran out at Cape Schank with only 2 hours to go. When the Sou’Westerly came through we were making so little headway that we knew we would miss the tide. So in thunder, lightening, rain and the pitch black, we made our way into Western Port. As they say, “any port in a storm”. (Thank goodness for Chart Plotters).
It took a few days for the Gale to blow itself out but with the help of a hire car, we managed to make Christmas Day with Ken’s family. When we sailed past Cape Schank heading to Port Phillip Bay in glorious sunshine, it was hard to believe it was the same place we had had such miserable conditions only a few days before.
In an ironic twist of fate, we had the most divine weather for the 2 full weeks while anchored on the Mornington Peninsula (near Melbourne). At the same time Brisbane (and in fact most of Queensland) had terrible weather with storms, strong winds and heavy (but much needed) rain. We now have to take back all the terrible things we said about Melbourne weather.
We managed to get Ken’s dad, who is 91 years old, out on the boat for the day and even took him for a sail. His Mum also loved the boat. The thing that impressed her the most was the double sink in the galley! She kept commenting on it all day.
After a terrific time in Port Phillip, we headed back north in mid January. We managed to make our hoped for stop in Refuge Cove at Wilson’s Promontory. I had always wanted to see Refuge Cove and it is truly a magical place with stunning natural beauty.
Another magical place of a completely different kind was Sydney Harbour on Australia Day. Our good friends from Queensland flew in for the long weekend and loved every minute of the festivities. It was also their first time on a yacht (what an introduction). At the end of the 3 days they said “Now I know why everyone raves about Sydney Harbour”.
While in Sydney we had lots of friends out on the boat. In fact, we started having people in “groups” to get through everyone! The boat was ideal for entertaining and there was plenty of room for all our guests.
A highlight was having my Mum and Dad on board for the day. At my Mum’s request, we took them for a trip out through Sydney Heads. Now you have to understand that my Mum gets sea sick on a boat near the Opera House (Yes, it happened one New Years Eve) or standing on a floating jetty. So that fact that we had a successful trip out the Heads is probably the best endorsement Lightwave Yachts will even get for the comfort of their boats at sea.
After leaving Sydney we had a great few days with friends at Port Stephens but after that we sailed into the rainy weather that plagued Northern NSW and South East Queensland all summer.
RAIN – I have seldom seen anything like it. After sitting at Coffs Harbour for 15 hours of non-stop rain we decided to head out to sea where we thought it might clear a bit (which it did). Approaching Yamba, we saw the brown and murky waters of the mighty Clarence River while still 4 to 5 miles out to sea.
As we sailed through the Gold Coast Seaway (in the rain), almost 2 months after we had left, we felt a certain sense of satisfaction on completing our voyage.
But most of all we felt satisfaction in our choice of boat. Whether at sea, at anchor in a remote cove or as a “party boat” with a dozen on board, our Lightwave 38 proved to be everything we had hoped for…..and a little bit more.