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Old 14-04-2011, 07:53   #1
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Across the Top of Australia

Has anyone sailed from Darwin through the Torres Strait and on down to Cairns?

Any first hand experience or advice is, as always, very welcome.

many thanks, Tony
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Old 14-04-2011, 08:35   #2
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Re: Across the top of Australia

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Has anyone sailed from Darwin through the Torres Strait and on down to Cairns?
That's the 'wrong way'

I have gone the other/'right' way.

The stretch from Torres corner to Cairens can be windy (sustained 25kts) in most of the year except cyclone season (When it goes quieter), and the wind will be directly on your nose, and there is also an adverse surface current.

The stretch from Darwin to Torres corner is a bit more variable. The wind and current will be on your nose but it can often be quite light.

It's possible, but not a pleasure cruise, probably a ton of motoring.
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Old 14-04-2011, 08:49   #3
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Re: Across the top of Australia

Yep - that's what I'm reading!! Trouble is, that's where the owner wants his boat!

cheers, Tony
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Old 14-04-2011, 08:50   #4
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Re: Across the top of Australia

While I haven't done the trip as described, I have spent a few years in Darwin, the Torres Strait and Cairns (sailing in each location).

Estarzinger is right and you can go crazy if you are waiting for the wind to drop during the dry season (25+ Kts SE, 24/7) on the top end of the Qld east coast (say north of Cooktown).

Best bet (IMO) is to try the trip towards the start of the build up in say late October / early November and be prepared to motor a lot unless you truly love bashing into short seas with 25+ kts right on the nose; but you can day sail from the Torres Straits to Cairns as there are reasonable anchorages down the coast inside the reef and this gives some relief from the windward work.
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Old 14-04-2011, 08:55   #5
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Re: Across the top of Australia

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Yep - that's what I'm reading!! Trouble is, that's where the owner wants his boat!

cheers, Tony
Hmm... that reminded me that a similar question was asked awhile back, see Darwin to Cairns
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Old 14-04-2011, 09:15   #6
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Re: Across the top of Australia

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Hmm... that reminded me that a similar question was asked awhile back, see Darwin to Cairns
Ah ha - that's a great thread - thanks for pointing it out! Tony
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Old 14-04-2011, 10:18   #7
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Re: Across the top of Australia

Can be done but it is sort of uphill, if you are a gentleman. If you sail in the out of hurricane season, it will be upwind and there are numerous obstacles once you get beyond Endeavour Strait. Good anchorages though, throughout.

We have sailed from Cairns to Darwin, so what I can tell you it is a hell of a beautiful land up there.

b.
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Old 15-04-2011, 06:37   #8
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Re: Across the Top of Australia

Hi Tony,
Ill be sailing this rout in the next month or so. First to Cape Don then to Cape Wessel after that straight to cape york. Ill be taking plenty of fuel because i know it will be pricy, if you have to stop at any of the ports along the way. I'm in darwin atm, planing to sail to melbourne. I think prime time would be to leave around september, but im hoping to get a early start, not to miss my break with N/E winds, from around dunk island down south. My plan is to leave around end of May / first week of June.
From Cape York down ill be day sailing in side the reef and if thats not going well ill be making long tacks out to sea then back in through the gaps in the reef. When are you planing to leave? Cheers Chris.
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Old 15-04-2011, 07:05   #9
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Re: Across the Top of Australia

Hi Wotname,
i didn't see you up the top mate gr8 info, i just read the post not the name who was posting it. As you may see i havent left yet! been stuck on the hard way to long making repairs and waiting on parts. If all go's to plan ill be out of yard in the next few weeks, then loading up and prepping for the bash. Fingers still crossed.
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Old 15-04-2011, 13:13   #10
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Re: Across the Top of Australia

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Hi Tony,
Ill be sailing this rout in the next month or so. First to Cape Don then to Cape Wessel after that straight to cape york. Ill be taking plenty of fuel because i know it will be pricy, if you have to stop at any of the ports along the way. I'm in darwin atm, planing to sail to melbourne. I think prime time would be to leave around september, but im hoping to get a early start, not to miss my break with N/E winds, from around dunk island down south. My plan is to leave around end of May / first week of June.
From Cape York down ill be day sailing in side the reef and if thats not going well ill be making long tacks out to sea then back in through the gaps in the reef. When are you planing to leave? Cheers Chris.
Ah - great to hear someone else is doing it! The boat is in Seycehelles at the mo so I'll be flying out there in about 10 days. Then flog across to Bali then Darwin and onwards. So - that'll take me a couple of months to Darwin probably. Provided "you lot" let me in (!?!) and the importation side for the owner goes ok, I'll be doing pretty much what you want to do.

Useful to know that fuel is pricey - but then its pretty pricey in the BVIs too, so I'm used to that. Cheers Tony
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Old 15-04-2011, 19:58   #11
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Re: Across the Top of Australia

Start the importation process early, that way when you get to Darwin You won't have to do anything. Customs up here a pretty laid back.
I used a mob in NSW called (Peters and May) they were very helpful, I didn't have to do anything they handled the hole importation for me. Just had to pay the fees.
An idea is to get a cheep bill of sale that way the import fees wont be as much. Or even 2. Quarantine will be the thing, if the boat has heaps of timber in it they will wanna go right over it. Your best bet is to get checked here in Darwin. Or you're going to be up huge fees to get the dog out to go over it, like in Queensland.
Just food for thought. Cheers. Good luck with the trip.
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Old 16-04-2011, 01:27   #12
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Re: Across the Top of Australia

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........

Useful to know that fuel is pricey - but then its pretty pricey in the BVIs too, so I'm used to that. Cheers Tony
I don't have current information but fuel used to be difficult to find along this stretch of remote coastline - no doubt you will source current information once you are in the area.

However fuel will be available in Gove (Nhulunbuy), Thursday Island / Bamaga and Cooktown.
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Old 16-04-2011, 03:26   #13
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Re: Across the Top of Australia

The trades seem to blow less at night and we found traveling east easier after 9pm and planned for a stop if possible by 10am the next day. If you can I would wait for weather windows, they are there and favourable winds can last for up to three days. but you could wait for weeks for that 3 days. Good luck its a beautiful place .
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Old 16-04-2011, 05:10   #14
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Re: Across the Top of Australia

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Originally Posted by bvimatelot View Post
Has anyone sailed from Darwin through the Torres Strait and on down to Cairns?

Any first hand experience or advice is, as always, very welcome.

many thanks, Tony
Tony... Having just gone the opposite of your intended route, I have to agree you are definitely going the wrong way!

In all seriousness, it might be better to go round the south of Australia and then up the east coast. I haven't looked properly at that route but I imagine you'd have a much better trip.

See you back in the BVI soon.
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Old 16-04-2011, 09:46   #15
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Re: Across the Top of Australia

Thanks again, everyone for the useful snippets.

Mike - I did look at going round the bottom but it'll be approaching the Southern Hemi winter and a small cat that far South along the bottom of Aus? Even though the mileage is a bit shorter, I think there are more "bail out" spots over the top and from what I'm hearing and reading, a great area to do some "tourism" (not that I'll have much time for that - I am, after all, on a bit of a mission!) Tony
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