After a bumpy night in Pancake Creek with a howling South-wester threatening to drag our anchor, we motored out into the bay at 7:15 and had the sails up at 7:30am. After a muesli breakfast on the go, “Slocum” Schady said “this light Southwesterly is ideal for the asymmetrical spinnaker, so let’s get it up before the wind peters out at midday”
So, at 8:30 the spinnaker went up. Now, for our non-sailing friends a short explanation: Esprit has two standard sails, a mainsail of 50m2 and a foresail of 42m2, total area of about 92m2. We have bought a storm jib of 10m2 for extreme conditions. Also, an asymmetrical spinnaker of 135m2 for when the wind is light and blowing from behind, from about a quarter off the stern, to about square on the beam. We furl the foresail when the spinnaker is hoisted, increasing the total sail area to 185m2.
An hour into a relaxed sail, the forecasted drop in the wind turned into an increasing wind from 10 knots, to 20-25 knots in a matter of minutes. Problem is, at this wind strength it is virtually impossible for two people to get the spinnaker down. So now we are entering the main shipping channel of Gladstone harbour going at about 10-11 knots, with about 28 ships within sight, either anchored or transiting in the shipping lane.
A four hour roller coaster ride followed, including five broaches, before the wind dropped, allowing us to douse the spinnaker. Needless to say we covered half the 70nm distance to Hummocky island in this time. For the non-sailors, a broach looks something like this, compliments of Google:
The night at Hummocky was again a sleepless one with strong wind gusts from the East, but we woke this morning to a glorious day with a gentle Southerly pushing us on to Great Keppel island, 3 hours to the North.
Here we are anchored off the North of Great Keppel island on a quiet Sunday night, six weeks into our journey!