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Old 19-01-2012, 01:08   #1
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Sydney to Darwin

Hi All

So it looks like we will be taking a boat from Sydney to Darwin this June and I have some questions.

To the people that have gone this way, did you take the inside reef route or did you head for the sea and run close to PNG and over the top? at this stage we are heading towards the inside route and as this area is sometimes refered to as the navigators final exam I was wondering if anyone had any leasons from their travels there.

I have Alan Lucas's book 'Coral Coast' and im working my way through it.

Fair Winds
Damien
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Old 19-01-2012, 01:34   #2
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Re: Sydney to Darwin

Go the inside - plenty of room, places to stop - you can even day sail until you leave Cape York. When the reef gets closer to the mainland, there are beacons and you can run along the edge of the ships channel or in many places, there is plenty of water to take your own path.

Also, you can get a wind driven sea of no more than 2m but there is no ocean swell inside the reef.

Outside, big seas, nowhere to stop, always on ship alert

If you cant find elsewhere, I can give you some ideas of anchorages etc - where to listen to Lucas, where to possibly not listen...

cheers
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Old 19-01-2012, 02:02   #3
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Re: Sydney to Darwin

Damian - I agree, the inside is wonderful. If you want more help, we've posted a Cruising Info page on that route (well, Brisbane to Darwin) that includes MaxSea & OpenCPN track files, as well as descriptions, approach photos & satellite shots of all the anchorages we used on that trip in 2006. Hope it helps!
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Old 19-01-2012, 03:51   #4
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Re: Sydney to Darwin

What Rusky and Jon said!
Unless you have special desire to go oceanside and its attendant off-shore risks, enjoy the inside in one of the best cruising grounds around.
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Old 19-01-2012, 04:34   #5
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Re: Sydney to Darwin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dame.n.Jess View Post
Hi All

So it looks like we will be taking a boat from Sydney to Darwin this June and I have some questions.

To the people that have gone this way, did you take the inside reef route or did you head for the sea and run close to PNG and over the top? at this stage we are heading towards the inside route and as this area is sometimes refered to as the navigators final exam I was wondering if anyone had any leasons from their travels there.

I have Alan Lucas's book 'Coral Coast' and im working my way through it.

Fair Winds
Damien
Go inside and if your boat doesn't have AIS then GET IT FITTED.

I went half way round the world ok without AIS. Then I did Mackay to Darwin without AIS and had a couple of frightening experiences in the shipping lanes heading up to Thursday Island.

On one occasion I was faced by two ships coming south down the shipping channel - one either side - it was throwing it down with rain and I had to go between them as there wasn't any room to leave the channel. I was calling the ships on vhf but I didn't know their names and got no reply.

Fortunately a friend a couple of miles behind had AIS, told me the ships names, and as soon as I called them by name they confirmed they could see me on radar and would hold their course while I passed between. Phew!

Soon as I got to my next port of call, Darwin, I bought an AIS receiver. Worth its weight in gold.
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Old 19-01-2012, 04:45   #6
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Re: Sydney to Darwin

And if you don't know what AIS is or where to get it, we've got an AIS page as well! Receivers are US$190, transmitters are $495, assuming you use a laptop or chartplotter for navigation.
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Old 19-01-2012, 05:06   #7
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Re: Sydney to Darwin

It's really all about time. If you're cruising, the inside is great. Plenty of anchorages and wonderful places to visit. Mostly day sailing and find an anchorage for the night, so it takes time.- I took 3 months to get from Brisbane to Darwin. !
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Old 19-01-2012, 09:39   #8
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Re: Sydney to Darwin

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Originally Posted by Jon Hacking View Post
If you want more help, we've posted a Cruising Info page on that route (well, Brisbane to Darwin) that includes MaxSea & OpenCPN track files,
Nice work. By the way the track points did not contain any soundings is that correct?
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Old 19-01-2012, 15:24   #9
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Wow great info so far, thanks for that!

The trip is more of a delivery than a cruise but from what I understand it's a fairly stunning part of the world.

The boat belongs to a friend who is taking it around the world but he can't finish his work contract in time to meet the weather window so hence I'm taking it to Darwin for him.
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Old 19-01-2012, 15:44   #10
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Re: Sydney to Darwin

Another option if you are set up for diving and if you have seen the inside route before to see some of worlds best diving is to go north by the Coral Sea Reefs.

From Bundaberg dive Capricorn bunker Group then out into Coral Sea coming back into Cairns to reprovision.

Make sure you allow time to visit the Cod Hole just close outside Lizard island definitely one of the worlds best big fish dives.

I just note post 9 rules this out but definitely an option.
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Old 19-01-2012, 15:47   #11
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Re: Sydney to Darwin

G'day mate!

We sailed inside. There is a point somewhere half the way where one can cut across and sail offshore yet still inside of the barrier. We did not use it though.

Many boats sail outside the reef - I bet anybody who is in the hurry and wants to go over open water without reefs. But then you have to take that channel again, so it only helps up to a point.

Beware it is plenty of reef there so you MUST pre-plan your runs well AND DO KEEP SHARP LOOKOUT.

We sailed inside and we anchored every night till the cape, then we sailed across the bay in one go. Beyond the Wessels we again anchored every night.

We did not call at Gove but whoever did said good things about the place.

It is very beautiful up there so take your time and enjoy the ride!

Cheers,
b.
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Old 19-01-2012, 18:14   #12
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Re: Sydney to Darwin

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Originally Posted by chala View Post
Nice work. By the way the track points did not contain any soundings is that correct?
Thanks Chala. No soundings on that trip, I'm afraid. We use RayMarine instruments & I've now blown up 2 $180 SeaTalk/NMEA converters (that would give us depth). They seem to be very sensitive to RF, despite ferrites on all lines. The next one will be far from the SSB so we're hoping that future tracks will have depth info.

We're trying to become a repository of Track Files for cruisers to download, & we're actively soliciting Track Files from other cruisers. Some of these DO have depth info (although I'm not sure if OpenCPN supports that yet).
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Old 19-01-2012, 20:30   #13
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Re: Sydney to Darwin

Jon I have a Track that I can send you now, Black point to Goulburn, I got depth and temp but cannot get the time, I get 12/30/99 09:30:00 local. I can derive time from the manual logbook but it would be better if it was printed, like this I will get also the speed. Any clue, I can try Murphy. My plotters are C-70’s. Boat 38, draught 2m, depth under the keel.
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Old 19-01-2012, 23:25   #14
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Re: Sydney to Darwin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Hacking View Post
Damian - I agree, the inside is wonderful. If you want more help, we've posted a Cruising Info page on that route (well, Brisbane to Darwin) that includes MaxSea & OpenCPN track files, as well as descriptions, approach photos & satellite shots of all the anchorages we used on that trip in 2006. Hope it helps!

Hi Jon, Looks like your website will keep me entertained for many hours - you have done a fantastic job on it. I am very familiar with GPS systems & paper charting but have never used MaxSea or OpenCPN on a laptop at all. I am very interested in plotting my track during passages using Google maps as you have done - do I need to get into MaxSea or OpenCPN in order to do this? Maybe this is covered on your website but I have not come across it as yet.

Also, just as an aside, how did your batch of all table sugar real ale turn out & are you still brewing onboard?

All the best,
Steve
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