The time had come to leave Australia and start the ocean crossing to New Caledonia. The weather window had appeared with a few days of good weather, we were stocked up (thanks Lisa), and customs and immigration had cleared us to leave.
We left through Moreton Bay which actually took us 4 hours to get across due to lots of shallow areas and the sheer size of the bay !! We came out beside the lighthouse and we were out to sea – New Caledonia here we come !!
We motored for most of the first 24 hours as the winds were light but the second day brought some better winds. We sailed into blue skies the next day which was a nice change, its always nice to switch off the engines after they have been running a while.
Normal view from the boat out to sea –
The third day brought some higher winds and confused seas as they say, we were tossed around the boat a bit for 24 hours making it an uncomfortable day. None of us enjoyed that day and we were glad to sea the sun come up the next day.
Thankfully the fourth day was better with blue skies, calmer seas, and lighter winds. We got our screecher sail out which is a big sail similar to a spinnaker, it was a new sail and looked great out in all its glory on the port side of the boat. We sat back for a few minutes watching it when suddenly – bang !! The sail dropped 3-4 meters from the top and sagged like a deflated balloon. The halyard holding it up had broken and we could not haul it back up, something had jammed so we had to cut the halyard. Whilst this was happening the sagging sail had caught around one of the spars and had started to tear. The sail dropped into the sea and we all tried to bring it back on board. Unfortunately the sail went under the boat and part of it got caught around the prop. More cutting had to be done to release the sail and we all finally got the sail back on board.
Nothing much can be done in those situations other than ensure everybody is safe, the boat is safe, and you continue on your way. We still had two good sails and two good engines !!
The rest of the day was relaxed with people catching up on their reading/rest.
The skipper taking a break –
Crew member Noel catching up on some reading –Part way through the day I was down in my cabin when I saw the water gushing past my window, it was an amazing blue colour hundreds of miles out in the ocean –
The sun went down and it was nearly time to put the fishing rods away for the night –
The rest of the trip went without incident and we arrived into Noumea five and a half days later, 800 nautical miles completed. The boat was berthed, quarantine sorted and a cold beer welcomed us in the bar !!
All tied up safe and sound –
The motley crew who brought the boat in –
Marina in Port Mosselle –
We stayed in the marina for three nights which brought some beautiful sunsets –