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Old 26-02-2013, 20:58   #1
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Townsville Qld to Perth WA

Looks my first trip on my little yacht might be a good one.

For personal reasons i might have to get to Perth from Townsville and it seems that as far as things go i am on the exact opposite side of Australia to start with.

I would be thinking of leaving in the next few months, but the question is which way to go?

Up and around the top, or down and around the bottom.

I know that the winds will be pushing northerly soon for the start of the journey (if thats the direction that i choose), but its whats going on on the other sides that makes me wonder

I would like to hear form anyone who has done this at this time of year, (April to June start from Townsville).

I don't have to get there the quickest way but i would have to get there safely for me and my hound.

Please note that I'm not after whingers saying it cant be done or talking about something that they wouldn't do, please respect that.

My little sailing boats in top notch shape and kitted out with everything that i need but picking the safest way and time frames is where i need help.

Boat basics are 28 foot single chine steel hull sloop rigged, with all new rigging and sails, radar, autopilot and electronics etc.

All lines run to cockpit, already have all safety gear, harnesses and jack lines etc, got good ground tackle plus spares etc, i also have an inboard and an outboard just in case.

Got plenty of food and water storage, plus rods and trolling tackle, and water maker.

Upside is that I'm totally self sufficient and can do just about anything and have always accepted life's little challenges with a smile and never been known to panic.

Downside is my sailing experience level and my preference to go it single handed, but i wont let that stop me, so any hints of tips for the trip as well as any ideas on good books for the journey would be nice.

I already have cruising the coral coast to get me out of this area, but others will also be needed depending on which way that i go.

Thanks in advance,

Matthew
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Old 27-02-2013, 05:03   #2
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Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

Over the top.

The Desert By the Sea to Darwin is easy. I havent done the WA coast.
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Old 27-02-2013, 05:17   #3
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Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

Over the top for sure
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Old 27-02-2013, 05:24   #4
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pirate Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

I can only speak from my experience last year... Aug-Oct... came up to the Timor Straits and through with good winds.. the closer we got to Darwin the lighter the winds became... ended up motoring the last 30hrs in..
Leaving Darwin it was motor on for over a week till we got to NW Cape... from there on it was a beat into wind and current as the dominant wind is SSW... tuck close inshore to pick up the counter current... and I hope you like whales...
We saw loads... up close and friendly
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Old 27-02-2013, 06:02   #5
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Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

Translate that for ya Boaty: Timor Straits = Torres Strait.

For the record, I vote to go over the top also.
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Old 27-02-2013, 06:13   #6
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pirate Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Translate that for ya Boaty: Timor Straits = Torres Strait.

For the record, I vote to go over the top also.
LMAO.... good job I didn't say 'There was no frickin wind in the Torres Sea..' innit....
Oh... just realised why the owners were so pissed...
They meant Perth, Scotland...
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Old 27-02-2013, 06:29   #7
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Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

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Old 28-02-2013, 00:24   #8
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Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

Ok so far everyone says go north, any more information than that? any cruising guides or other books that you found informative for the trip?

Or is "go north" all the information that i might glean from the more experienced people here on CF?

Thanks in advance,

Matthew
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Old 28-02-2013, 01:41   #9
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Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

Quote:
Originally Posted by resilientg View Post
Ok so far everyone says go north, any more information than that? any cruising guides or other books that you found informative for the trip?

Or is "go north" all the information that i might glean from the more experienced people here on CF?

Thanks in advance,

Matthew
It's all you need to know

You are living on the edge of an exciting sparely populated adventurous coastline (Port Douglas to Darwin) yet quite a safe one really assuming you wait until the TC season is over. You already know (presumably) about crocs and stingers and stone fish and so on. The there is plenty of info about tides and all the main channels are well chartered so you can have a safe but adventurous trip.

Explore and find the fine detail yourself, you will enjoy the experience more and will become a better sailor for it.

If you want to get a bit bold, mosey around some of the islands and river mouths (Escape River and Jardine around top of the Cape come to mind). The Gulf crossing will be straight forward downwind sail and will be a good but easy test of a several day passage.

Not many sail down the west coast of Qld, it's pretty featureless and boring from off-shore (and often from on-shore) but again the some of the river mouths are interesting but often shallow (the Dulhunty, Ducie and Wenlock combined estuary or the Archer further south)

You will want to stop at the yacht club in Nhulunbuy (Cove), very protected, very cold beer and very friendly (al least it was 20 years back). The stretch from there to Darwin will be more demanding if you go coastal but you will now have your experience level up enough to cope. Unless you are in a hurry (or only like big city marinas ), this is an awesome coast for those who like wild remote yet warm places.

After Darwin, going coastal will again be more demanding especially with the tides and unchartered currents but once again you should have gained enough experience under your belt prior to Darwin to cope with this new level. This area though to Derby is for all intends and purposes unpopulated - expect for Coast-watch over flights.

IMO, you leave Townsville in April and take as long as you can but get to Port Hedland by October thus making the most of the SE and E winds across the top and avoiding a winter trip south from Port Hedland. Don't get caught in the Kimberly during the pre wet build up. IMO, the heat & humidity is oppressive and very unpleasant and there will be no wind, repeat no wind.

I can't offer much in the way of info down the west coast but surely others can??????
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Old 28-02-2013, 02:12   #10
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Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

Search for some blogs - eg Scarlett - Circumnav of Australia

and similar
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Old 28-02-2013, 05:47   #11
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Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

WOTNAME, thank you,

That's a bit better set of info you gave me.

Remote is cool for me, and yes i will wait until after the cyclone and moonson seasons are both done.

If anyone's got names of any good cruising books for the trip i would like to have the names so i can get a copy.

Thanks all,

Matthew
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Old 28-02-2013, 13:40   #12
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Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

If you were to head south from Townsville, you will be doing so into a time of shorter days and winter storms by the time you want to cross the Bight. If you choose that, be sure you have plenty of gear for keeping warm; if you're acclimatized to Townsville, you'll find it quite chilly in June very far south of there.

Most of our friends who singlehand either do day trips, or take big bites of distance to cover, leaving the rocky bits well off, and get into their passage making sleep plans. Planning the passage over the top may be something you figure out after you have got to Cairns if you go north. I'm thinking that you are going to need to learn what sleeping patterns serve you best singlehanding. The rest issue is a serious one, because where you are going is an area of high tidal variation and many hazards, and you need to be rested to make good decisions. Fortunately it's charted, and you can figure out time and distance for doing your planning. At times there will be strong currents against you. Friends who did the trip a couple of years ago in a motor boat purchased and carried lots of extra petrol. Seems you can always sell it if you don't need it, and it is in demand in remote locations.

It's an extremely ambitious plan for someone with little sailing experience. Pay lots of attention, and possibly, have a chat with Ashley and Brenda Russell at the town marina there: a boat called Ashymaikaikhen. While they haven't made that trip, they are extremely experienced tropical water sailors, former circumnavigators.

Good luck with it.
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Old 28-02-2013, 14:09   #13
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pirate Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

If I had to do it I'd clear the reef.. stand well of and run non-stop for the Straits grabbing all the rest I could... time the run through the Straits for neap tides.... about 36hrs of staying awake.. once out the other side plenty of chance to catch up on sleep getting to Darwin.
From there I'd stand off again and run as far as possible before heading back in for water etc... but then I don't do sight seeing... its the sail..
Going down the W coast the first real hole up is Shark Bay.. have good charts its shallow... looked at it when we ran low on water but figured our draft made it dodgey getting in.
After that the only option was Geraldtown... easy entrance.
From there we tacked down to Perth.
From Shark Bay down stay inside 20 miles of the shore... gain an extra half + knot from the current.
Basic's..? all boils down to how big a rush your in...
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Old 28-02-2013, 15:00   #14
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Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

Here is a link about the special quarantine zone around TI.
Visiting Torres Strait? Special quarantine rules apply for vessels over seven metres - Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

If you stop at Seisia you are outside the quarantine zone. Everything is expensive around TI , 9KG of lpg was $75 at Bamaga a couple of years ago. You can go from Seisia to TI by ferry if you want to see TI , costs around $ 100.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:25   #15
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Re: Townsville Qld to Perth WA

Forget doing the Great Southern Ocean in a small boat - even in Summer it blows big time.
Go over the top, but don't muck about so you don't get hammered by the southerlies coming up the WA coast. Mind you, pretty boring coast that one, except for Rowley Shoals and the two offshore island groups.

Either buy our book of our Aussie circumnavigation - in print for a cheap dinner, or in Ebook for the cost of a coke, and read how it was for us with plenty of helpful hints and guides. Or, for nix, visit our website to see plenty of photos of both the top and bottom to WA _ we've done it both ways a few times.
If you've any specific questions don't hesitant to ask. capjack2j@gmail.com

BTW the top ain't no picnic - Huge tides, whales, dirty water, crocs and plenty of them. The bottom can have the big stuff. Big seas, big winds. Plus you don't have to beat down the Q coast. We like both routes.

Presently in the Furneaux Group, going north. Cheers Jack and Jude
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