The First F-41 Heads North
Scott Meyer and family left Australia on their F-41 Endless Summer, heading more or less for the US, via Japan. The first international leg was Townsville to Papua New Guinea which was successfully completed, but then Scott and family decided they would like to spend more time in Australia, returned to Cairns, and may now go as far south as Sydney. One of the advantages of cruising - no set schedule. Australia is also a hard place to leave!
A photo summary of the voyage so far, with some comments by Scott, follows:
End of the first leg from the Gold Coast - heading into Mooloolaba. Scott Writes:
About 8am, we rounded Cape Moreton keeping Flinders Reef a sensible half-mile away and set a direct course for Mooloolaba only 20 knots away. Winds kicked up a bit north of Cape Moreton (reef sails), before dropping off to almost nothing (shake out reef) a few miles from Mooloolaba. Since it was a beautiful sunny day and we had nothing better to do we turned on the music and goofed around while Otto (auto-pilot) drove the boat. Ever so gradually, the sea breeze filled in and we sailed up to the Mooloolaba breakwater. We tied up to the dock at the Yacht Club almost exactly 24 hours after leaving Southport.
Some final mast checks in Mooloolaba Harbour, and then its off again:
As usual, the wind was blowing straight from where we wanted to go. But it was only blowing 5 knots and the day was too nice to spoil with motoring so I whined until everybody agreed to try sailing for a bit. It turned out to be one of the nicest moments of the trip. ES works really well to the windward in light airs, two areas in which cats are supposed to struggle. We were making more than 4 knots of boatspeed in a 5-knot breeze. Every 20 minutes or so we'd tack. In between tacks Karin and Nicoline worked on recorder playing and Tristan did some math homework.
Sunrise and heading into Great Keppel Island
On a positive note, I discovered that Endless Summer will heave to quite nicely under full jib and first reef. I discovered this because I was trying to pinch off (steer very close to the wind) in order to make progress to the windward while keeping boat speed low. As the night was too dark to see telltales, it was very difficult to keep the boat from tacking and it was while trying to reverse an inadvertent tack that I realized we were actually hove to. But for the fact that we were then threading our way through the aforementioned cluster of islands, I would have just left the boat that way and taken a nap.
Now in Mackay and time for some minor repairs - beaching went very well
The more scenic view through the mangroves
I worked on anticipating the fluctuations of apparent wind and by the end of my trick at the helm was able to keep the boat "in the groove" for long bursts above 12 knots. As soon as the apparent wind comes into the forty degree range the boat just takes off like a rocket. Driving was so much fun that we were actually a bit past Digby Island before we got the sails furled.
Heading into Townsville - the last stop in Australia!
On our last gybe into Townsville, a kingfisher of some sort made a crash landing on deck. Clearly a land bird, he tried a number of different spots before settling down on the jib sheet in the lee of the cabin. A miserable bundle of wet feathers, he stayed with us until close to Magnetic Island. A close scrape for him: "Glad to help you out, mate."