Z E N I T U D E
Blue Water Dreaming
From Sydney To Lord Howe Island - Sailing along in the Tasman Sea
22/04 - (33.49.51S-151.15.76E)
Leaving Sydney at 8.00 AM on a rainy Monday morning we were soon motor sailing with little wind but very confused seas. It was the start of the passage in an uncomfortable washing machine style, but not really concerned as the forecast predicted seas calming down during the day.
Soon after we discovered we couldn't connect to any of the sailmail stations using our SSB radio modem. We checked with Marine Rescue Sydney and they could hear us but we had no email, so we couldn't communicate with anybody in the family, we couldn't receive weather updates and we couldn't report our position. We definitely don't like going on a passage with no weather updates and no means of reporting our daily position. We considered turning back to fix the problem and buy a satellite phone for good measure, but the weather window was good, the trip was just 3 to 4 days and we decided to keep going and fix the problem in Lord Howe Island.
Passage - 22 to 25 April 2013
By sunset the seas had calmed down and the sailing was smooth
During the first part of the trip we were fighting the East Australian current pushing us south, barely making 4.00 knots, actually crawling between 3.5 and 4.00 knots and motor sailing with the 2 engines on.
Then there was a good 15 to 20 knots of West winds which help us sail nicely thru the night.
23/04 - (32.52.10S-153.24.23E)
With just 121 miles on the first 28 hours, today we seem to be catching up, sailing in good WSW winds. Still seas are very calm. A nice day.
24/04 - (32.05.10S-156.13.00E) - 271 miles so far
We've done 150 miles in the last 24 hours, now with a bit of motoring and a lot of motor sailing we are trying to keep up an average of 5.5 knots to avoid an extra night at sea. We need to arrive in daylight, before 5.00 PM to be able to enter the lagoon in LHI.
It is very calm today and we decided to refuel and keep motoring, not complaining, we have plenty of fuel. Once in a while we get a nice helping current.
25/04 - (31.35.04S-158.45.20E) - 404 miles so far
It was a squally night but no wind, we were lucky with a good favourable current and then a very friendly squall with strong winds in calm seas helped us give a push with Zenitude happily sailing at 8.00kn in the squall. We are now motorsailing and have just 16 miles to go.
A squall in the horizon announcing a squally night
And there it is. Lord Howe Island
We arrive at around 2.00 PM and ironically it was a bit early. It was the very low tide and maritime services asked to wait outside the lagoon for another hour before they could guide us inside to a mooring.
When arriving in LHI you must call maritime services before entering the lagoon. You actually have to let them know that you are coming before leaving your departure port. They are very helpful and will come out of the lagoon to guide you inside to a mooring.
It is not allowed to anchor in the lagoon and we were happy to see many moorings available. Anchoring outside the lagoon does not seem inviting at all.
Choosing a window to go from the east coast of Australia to LHI can be tricky. On one hand you want west winds to take you there without having to face head winds, on the other hand you don't want either the west wind nor the west swell when you arrive.
So the option of west winds at the start of the trip and lots of fuel burning at the end was in fact the option for a perfect window.
Waiting for the tide to rise in the lagoon and admiring the dramatic island landscape with the mountains, the reef, the white sand beaches and the numerous marine birds around.