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Winter (??) Sailing

It's starting to get a bit cooler here in Brisbane. By which I mean it gets below 20°C at night. Spare us your scorn, we know we deserve it.

2024-05-06 The river

A screenshot of a map showing our sailing path down the river and back again.

Another trip out onto the Brisbane river from the Colmslie recreation reserve. Not much to report on this one. We had a bit of trouble launching due to dock congestion, but we got out and had a good time. I lectured the kids on the loathsome game of golf and its barren monocultured hellscapes. We had a play around with the boom vang on our downwind run back. Kept the boom much more well-behaved. Lost my sunnies into the river when I was dropping the sails. RIP.

2024-05-19 Wivenhoe Dam

The stars finally aligned! We had a free Sunday coming up and a 8-10 knot forecast. We had a few things to check first. I picked up a new handful of cheap sunnies from the safety shop, and I tightened the loops holding the luff of the jib stretched along its leading edge wire. Hopefully this should keep it happier.

A photo of a join between white tiller handle and an aluminium bar.

I replaced the rivets holding the tiller onto the arm joining both the rudders, they were getting a bit loosey-goosey.

A photo of Sam, wearing a helmet, sitting on the driveway playing with a small anchor.

I showed Sam how to deploy our tiny little anchor. If it looks woefully inadequate: that might be reasonable.

I got the boat all packed up and ready to go on the night before, using a new checklist I put together:

☐ Radio
☐ Bungs
☐ Charts
☐ Water
☐ Food
☐ Sunscreen
☐ Life jackets
☐ Anchor
☐ Sails
☐ Reef shoes
☐ Leatherman
☐ Sail tape
☐ Tape
☐ String
☐ Multigrips
☐ Spare rope
☐ Trailer tires pumped
☐ Tell someone where we’re going and when we’re getting back

A photo of a pot of porridge on an induction cooktop Getting up at 08:00 on a Sunday, early by our standards, demands a pot of porridge to bribe everyone out of bed. I may have overdone the cinnamon.

A photo of a freezer bag stuffed with food and zooper doopers The traditional sailing lunch bag.

A photo of the boat on the trailer behind our car Mostly packed and ready to roll.

Wivenhoe is about 1.5 hours' drive from our place. I threw an extra ratchet strap around the top of the boat to hold it down to the trailer. This marginally reduced boat-flying-off-trailer anxiety. We decided to put in at the Hays Landing boat ramp.

A screenshot of google maps showing the route to the Hays Landing Boat Ramp.

The drive was uneventful. We listened to a few episodes of Sawbones to keep the kids sane. We got a few spectacular peeks of the lake and the dam itself on the way in. The Hays Landing boat ramp was closed when we got there, so we diverted slightly to the nearby Billie's Bay ramp. By the time we got there the extra strap I put around the boat had worked its way loose and was flopping uselessly. Erk.

A photo of the boat on the trailer with the sails up. Alex and Sam doing pre-launch checks.

The sky was a perfect blue gradient while we rigged up, without the slightest breath of wind. C'mon BoM, don't fail me now. I was given hope by another sailor turning up at about the same time as us. He had an eastern European accent. Czech? Bulgarian? Ukrainian? We had a chat with him about his boat. He had a kind of turbo-kayak, with a sail, retractable outriggers, oars, and a sweet pedal-driven flippy-flappy underwater paddle mechanism. Very cool.

Just as we launched the wind started to pick up enough for us to get underway. Phew.

A photo off the back of our boat, looking back towards the boat ramp about 100m away. The sky is a stunning clear blue.

A photo off the front of the boat.

Our loose goal was to explore around the dam and find interesting stuff. There was plenty of wildlife about, including pelicans and herons/egrets. The kids had been nagging us for ages to let them go for a swim off the boat. We didn't really want to do that in the Brisbane river, as it is pretty scummy. We took advantage of a lull in the wind by throwing in our brand new anchor, followed by the kids.

A photo of Alex smiling in the water, holding onto the boat.

A photo of Sam in the water, very excited. We tied a rope around Sam's life jacket, just in case.

A photo of both the kids holding onto the front of the boat.

Both kids pretty quickly soured on swimming around the boat, possibly due to the extremely reasonable Deep Sea Willies combined with the cold (for us) temperatures. Just after we got them back onboard the wind picked up and we immediately started dragging anchor as if it wasn't there. Lesson learned: Get a bigger anchor, or drop sails at anchor.

A photo of the boat up on a rocky shore.

We pulled up on a clear patch of shore on the far side, about 2.5km straight across from where we started, to have a walk around and stretch our legs. We found a lot of cool rocks. There was a Turdis barely visible on the other side of some scrub. We later learned that slightly further along the shore was a dedicated boating stopping point, with a picnic table, toilets, and a bin. Whoops!

A photo of Michelle a short distance away along rocky ground. Michelle exploring.

After our stop the wind picked up to around 10-15 knots. We zoomed back across the dam to check out a picnic area just north-west of the boat ramp. Michelle lost her hat, as per tradition, but we recovered it without incident.

A screenshot of a track on a map showing a small loop-de-loop. The crossing point shows where the hat landed.

A photo of the boat pulled up into some shore scrub Our second stop, at the Hays landing BBQ spot.

A photo of Michelle and the kids walking to a pagoda

A photo from the pagoda back towards the boat

A photo of Alex and Michelle. Alex is eating a strawberry. Alex and Michelle

I was a little concerned the building wind would carry our boat off the shore, so we had a quick afternoon tea and got back underway quickly. Some people on the shore came to watch us sail off. We were getting some good splashes over the bow and the kids didn't appreciate getting soaked. We decided to head back to the boat ramp, but not before a little extra exploration to see some cows.

A photo of the boat pulled up onto some grass. Alex is standing in the water. Michelle and Sam are watching from the shore. Back at the boat ramp.

A photo of me holding Sam aloft on the shore. Sam and me.

And that's about it! The kids were zonked and fell asleep in the car on the way home. Next time we come out here we're going to be more ambitious and head up to an island we can see on the maps, and maybe visit the stopping point around the corner from where we first stopped.

A screenshot of the a track on a map showing the whole sail. It looks a bit like a dolphin swimming from right to left.


projects/sailing/blog/9_wivenhoe.txt · Last modified: 2024/05/21 12:21 by tjhowse