Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Revised sailing plans

Well we did get away from Fitzroy at 5:30 am but the wind was not as strong as forecast so we had to motor sail close hauled (sailing with the wind close off the bow). We had the main & staysail up and starboard engine on but not making very good time with the light winds. By midday we made the decision not to go all the way to Dunk Is but to stop over at Mourilyan Harbour and go on to Dunk the next day. Mourilyan Harbour has a sugar loading wharf and not much else but it is a very protected anchorage with a narrow entrance but opens up into a large basin which is feed by the Morseby River.

Today we had a leisurely start as it was only a short run down to Dunk Is and we upped anchor at 8:45 am left the harbour to find even lighter winds than yesterday. However, the angle to the wind to get to Dunk was more favourable so we were able to sail without the aid of motors. We put up genoa, staysail & main and were able to get along at 5 - 6 kts in 10 kts of breeze.

The staysail is the small sail in the middle. It is the only original sail on the boat and wasn't used much by Trevor & Heather, the previous owners, nor by us last year as evidenced by the wrinkles in the sail. This year we have used it quite a bit especially when sailing close hauled or on passage to & from the Louisiades with reduced sail area - it is great for balancing the boat.

The trip down to Dunk Is took 4.5 hrs and for the last 40 minutes the wind picked up and made for a brisk sail at 8 - 9 kts. A good way to finish a nice sailing day.

As we arrived at Dunk there were 2 naval vessels manoeuvring off the island with smaller boats running between the naval boats and a large charter boat in the bay. We finally worked out they were filming for the TV show " Sea Patrol".

Once at anchor it was great to jump off the back of the boat for a quick dip before getting lunch. The water seemed cool after the Louisiades but it was still over 27 degree and was 3 degree warmer than when we were here on our way north.
We have checked the weather forecast and tomorrow we plan to go down to Orpheus Is and then on to Magnetic Is the next day. They are shorter days than originally planned but won't be as tiring so we can move on each day without the need for rest days.

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