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Brisbane River

We went for another couple of sails on the Brisbane river from the Colmslie recreation reserve.

2024-01-14 Mum and Dad

We've managed to avoid any serious sailing mishaps, growing our confidence in our boat and our abilities. I invited my parents to come out with us on a day with some gentle wind. At the ramp I talked my Dad through helping me raise the mast. With him, Alex and Sam onboard we headed upriver a short way and checked out Eat Street from the perspective of the river. We crossed paths with a CityCat, who gave us a friendly toot, then headed back to the dock to swap in my Mum. We had very light, intermittent winds; perfect for leisurely sightseeing. We pootled downriver to the Colmslie Beach reserve for lunch. The tide was 2.8m, of an absolute 2.9m max, so the beach was entirely underwater.

I picked a spot relatively free of swimming kids and cruised up onto shore. I did run straight over someone's fishing line but they didn't seem to mind. I think they were preoccupied with the novelty of a sailboat crashing into the shore. I bush-bashed through some long grass towards a tree to tie off the boat. Something in the brush spiked through my reef shoes into my foot. I'm not sure what it was, but I got a tetanus shot the next day just in case.

A photo of our sail visible through a gap in the trees down a hillside.

Meanwhile Dad had driven from the boat ramp to the beach, going via maccas to pick up some lunch. We managed to beat him there on account of some drive-through misunderstandings. We'd just finished up lunch, including the customary zooper dooper dessert, when an ice cream van drove into the carpark blasting greensleeves. It took a few seconds for them to drown in a tidal wave of kids.

We hopped back on the boat, paddled out out of the shoreline wind shadow and made a straight run back to the dock to disembark. A great time was had by all, except for Sam who said it was “too boring”. I remembered to start a path recording on my phone, but forgot to turn it back on after lunch.

A screenshot of google maps showing the trace of the path described above.

2024-01-27 Windy

We'd planned to head out to Wivenhoe Dam on this public holiday, but we had a bit of a sleepy start to the day and didn't get out the door until about 11:00. Wivenhoe's a little over an hour's drive away, so we opted for another day on the river. The wind forecast was about 10 knots, gusting to 15.

A photo of the boat on the trailer behind our silver corolla under our carport. Sam is sitting on the boat, Michelle is standing to the left and Alex is visible in the background.

There was a good drizzle coming down at the boat ramp, something Michelle felt compelled to note regularly. There was lots of traffic at the boat ramp, many people were putting in jetskis and silently tutting at the softies doing the opposite to get out of the rain. The dock was covered with jetskis and dinghies so we put our boat in and guided it over to a little patch of beach nearby to get the jib rigged. I spent a good while trying to get the top of the jib taut, but our halyards (sail raising ropes) have too much spring in them to get things as tight as I'd like.

Rod, the resident boat ramp bogan, stopped by to compliment us on the tension of our forestay. Had had a mate with us who was very happy to see a caper cat. He reckoned it might date from the 80s. Rod also mentioned that we should have a “boom vang” on our boat for proper sail tension. A few hours after we got home that afternoon I realised why the boom and mast had fixing points spaced about half a meter from where the boom meets the mast (the gooseneck), and why we had an extra jumble of ropes and pulleys (blocks) laying around. I'd thought it was a spare main sheet but it's actually supposed to be used to pull the boom down to give the sail a better aerofoil shape. We'll give that a shot next time.

We headed downriver at a good pace. The wind regularly dipped entirely, but we got a few good zooms in on the way out under the Gateway motorway bridges. They're pretty spectacular constructions. We need to buy a rugged waterproof camera of some form so we can take photos while on the boat. I'm tempted to pick up a second hand gopro or similar. We had a look at a massive superyacht called “Helios”, possibly this one?. Recently sold for AUD$61 million. A cool AUD$380 000 to rent for a week, plus expenses (naturally). Jesus fucking christ.

We headed north across the river to check out a big green crane barge. It was big and green. The wind got pretty spicy around this point, with some solid gusts that launched us through the water. The recording of our path shows we peaked at 9 knots, or 16.6 km/h. There was about half a meter of chop, enough to break over the nose of the boat and soak us all. Sam was beside himself with joy.

We headed back upriver to the boat ramp. The dock was full as we approached, so we landed on the beach to take the sails down while the kids inexplicably filled their jocks with sand and rocks. Getting the boat from the beach to the ramp was a massive pain in the arse. I eventually worked out a system to keep the boat angled into the wind in a way that kept it from bashing into the side of the ramp while gradually working it down to where we could get it onto the trailer. Next time we'll wait for a spot on the dock.

I hung up and hosed down the sails when we got home. They were pretty grotty and covered in salt water spray.

A photo of the boat under our carport with one sail hanging from the rafters and the other draped over the boat.

A screenshot of a map of the above described path.

projects/sailing/blog/8_more_river.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/28 01:15 by tjhowse