Timing the bar crossings

By | July 7, 2015

We did manage to leave the Manly marina okay.

We have noted that we need to clarify a few points when we book a marina berth. It’s not just fitting in to a berth, it’s also about whether we can get in and then get out.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the trimaran opposite our berth at Manly was out sailing when we berthed.  But of course, when he returned, we had no room to get out. We were placed in the wrong size pen. However, what we did discover at Manly is that everyone is very helpful. Even our trimaran friend. He came down especially to move his boat out so we could leave.

Manly might be a potential ‘storage’ marina for Bossa Nova if we decide not to sail her back this year. A decision yet to be made!

After a few days at Manly, we then sailed past the Brisbane River to Scarborough where we dropped anchor for the night. We have been up the very long Brisbane River before and we were keen to move on to Mooloolaba.  We had one of the best sails.  Flat water, virtually no swell and 12 knots on the beam.  A great fast sail to Mooloolaba in glorious sunshine!

During our time at Manly we concluded we needed to time our next few hops for a daytime crossing of the Wide Bay Bar at Fraser Island. So with Mooloolaba being the last stop before Fraser Island, we booked a few nights at the Mooloolaba marina.  We wanted to cross the WBB in daylight hours and right on high tide. (This meant a 3 am departure to arrive at midday).

We have crossed several ‘bars’ and entrances on this trip north and all have had their quirks. But it really does get down to planning.  Tide, wind, Lucas’s advice, markers and leads, and using the coast guards for info when required.

Of course one of the bars that every yachtie dreads crossing is our hometown bar, Lakes Entrance. In Newcastle we had large swells behind us and four tug boats coming out as we entered (the tugs were meeting the ship behind us).  The Clarence was probably the trickiest. Breaking waves, moving sandbanks, strong currents and the choice of a north or south passage across he bar.  From a distance we could see large breaking waves in what looked like the centre of the bar.  But as we got closer we could see the north and south options. With Easy Tiger in front of us (a rare occurrence … ouch, ET won’t like that), the chart plotter’s info and watching some boats coming out, we quickly opted for the north passage.

A big sigh of relief from ET and BN!

And then there was the Gold Coast bar.  We broke our own “rules”. We crossed it at night.  However, this bar is one of the best lit up and maintained bars. We had also crossed it before. After a 15 hour sail, we arrived at the GC bar at midnight. With Easy Tiger not far behind.  A long day but a satisfying one too.

We crossed the Wide Bay Bar yesterday. A sunny sky,  calm conditions and right on high tide. Breaking waves still but a clear pathway in with the local coast guard co-ordinates.  Not sure we’d cross this bar in darkness or any other tide than high.