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Old 26-05-2015, 00:52   #1
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Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

I was last at Lord Howe Island in 1988. I've never forgotten just how beautiful and unique a place it is and have long desired to return. I can remember being in awe of Ball's Pyramid (the tallest Volcanic Stack in the world) as it climbed vertically out of the depths of the Tasman Sea and then tower above, whilst I hauled in 30kg tuna.

So I have decided it is time to return, this time by sea. I've started a planning exercise and will likely set off at a yet to be determined time in the September to December period, depending on weather and climatic research results. I have up to date information on mooring inside the lagoon etc.

I was wondering who has made the journey and if others on the forum have any tips on weather planning, time of year for departure or other pearls of wisdom. I also have an inkling to pass by Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs out there in middle of nowhere. Middleton at least looks to have a reasonable anchorage to the north, although I understand the reef offers only limited protection from the swell at high water. A good weather destination, perhaps, but from my perspective, being in the middle of the Tasman, I'll be going only when the predictions are indeed for kind conditions.

Many sail Port Macquarie - Lord Howe as the shortest route with highest probability of a beam sea. I'll be departing and returning from Brisbane (more likely Gold Coast Seaway) so more a SE/NW route. At 365NM it looks like an afternoon departure to arrive morning to mid afternoon on the third day, so as to safely navigate the lagoon entrance. All assuming the right weather for the trip. Hence the need for weather planning. I've been thinking of sourcing the services of a professional weather router to assist with the process. Any suggestions as to whom that might be?

Typing this here in the office.......Needing to live the dream, rather than just plan it!
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Old 26-05-2015, 02:27   #2
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

cool destination !

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Old 26-05-2015, 02:48   #3
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

This from one of the Swanson owners sure caught my imagination.

http://sweetchariot.blog.com/?page_id=29

Matt
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Old 26-05-2015, 04:31   #4
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
This from one of the Swanson owners sure caught my imagination.

http://sweetchariot.blog.com/?page_id=29

Matt
Thanks GILow. A good read. I've have read about both the uncomfortable slop over the reef in the lagoon and the fact you can't or won't be permitted to exit the North passage when the wind is up from the south to west quadrants. It looks narrow but no narrower than entrances to Lady Musgrave lagoon or Fitzroy in the Bunkers off 1770. The author's recount of the variable conditions is both interesting and a testament of the frustration of the weather.

I'm thinking that with current forecasting leaving at a time with reasonably predictable outbound weather is not the issue. Rather, it's the uncertainty about the return voyage and ensuring an adequate time window allowance. Being the Tasman one would need to be ready of anything from becalmed to both gale and storm.
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Old 26-05-2015, 17:32   #5
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

I have sailed Sydney to Lord Howe. The draft of my sail boat is 2.2 meters. As it turned out my boats draft was too deep for the northern lagoon passage near Rabbit Island. I was directed to use the islands mooring to the south.
You need to contact the harbor master (years ago it was Clive Wilson) before you go as all mooring could be taken.

I would also buy Visual Passage Planner Digital Wave - Products as I found it most helpful even with short passage like sailing to Lord Howe. Go to there website and checkout how it works.

Next I found weather reporting and trip routing Predictwind is a good free grib file software and service for sailing forecasts and good route provider for a fee while your underway sailing routes. PredictWind Offshore for PC - Download - PredictWind.com. You can hire there sailing routeservice for a fee the period your underway.

I sailed past Elizabeth reef on my way to New Caledonia from Sydney (7days) I could take only 6 days from Brisbane it is worth considering for your next sailing trip adventure.

Make sure you contact the harbour master for best advice.- Fair winds!
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Old 27-05-2015, 05:02   #6
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

Kryg

I haven't seen VPP2 before so will look into it. Thanks
I like and use Predict Wind.
There certinly doesn't look like a lot of depth inside the lagoon, but with a draft of only 1.4m I shouldn't have your problems. Erscott's Passage and Man of War Passage to the south look OK but mooring down there puts you a long way from the township.
New Caledonia will be the next trip.......after a little more blue water experience.
Thanks again.
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Old 28-05-2015, 00:16   #7
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Wind View Post
Many sail Port Macquarie - Lord Howe as the shortest route with highest probability of a beam sea. I'll be departing and returning from Brisbane (more likely Gold Coast Seaway) so more a SE/NW route. At 365NM it looks like an afternoon departure to arrive morning to mid afternoon on the third day, so as to safely navigate the lagoon entrance.
We will be heading from GC Seaway to LHI about then too, departing about 11 Nov. A couple of days there (again, wx permitting) then onwards to NZ.

We tried a similar route from Scarborough (so jumping off from Cape Moreton) to NZ via LHI in Feb 13 but when we passed Lord Howe there was a strong S'ly with big S'ly swell so we didn't even attempt the lagoon entrance. Just kept on for NZ. This despite having booked and paid for a mooring.

We were told we could anchor off the North coast to wait for conditions to improve, but we were going great guns in otherwise fair conditions so just pressed on. An option for you, though, if LHI is your actual destination.

Departing from GC Seaway is not as bad as it sounds, despite the 365 nm v's 310 nm from Port Macquarie, as you'll benefit hugely from the East Aussie current. At up to 5 kts, it's worth passage planning to enjoy this 'magic-carpet' ride for as long as possible.

We should keep in touch to compare planning notes - will send you a PM with my email.
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Old 28-05-2015, 18:22   #8
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

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Kryg

I haven't seen VPP2 before so will look into it. Thanks
I like and use Predict Wind.
There certinly doesn't look like a lot of depth inside the lagoon, but with a draft of only 1.4m I shouldn't have your problems. Erscott's Passage and Man of War Passage to the south look OK but mooring down there puts you a long way from the township.
New Caledonia will be the next trip.......after a little more blue water experience.
Thanks again.
Your boats draft you need to double check just in case. When I was Moored the south end of Lord Howe lagoon there is a road and mini bus service that will pick you up.
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Old 29-05-2015, 03:42   #9
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

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Originally Posted by kryg View Post
Your boats draft you need to double check just in case. When I was Moored the south end of Lord Howe lagoon there is a road and mini bus service that will pick you up.
Oh, that sounds a bit more acceptable. I assume the suttle runs the full length of the single N/S roadway via the airport and then north to the village.
Thanks for the heads up.
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Old 29-05-2015, 17:58   #10
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

Here is some of the details you require....from Noonsite website there you will also find mooring fee costs....Good luck with your plans.

Lord Howe is no longer a customs port of entry. Yachts wishing to visit must first clear into Australia.
Prior to departure for Lord Howe, yachts must contact the Lord Howe Island Board, www.lhib.nsw.gov.au, +61 (0) 2 6563 2066 to obtain a permit to moor. The necessary documents can be downloaded from this official site.
See Advice for Visiting Yachts.
Masters of vessels are also advised to contact the Lord Howe Island Port Operations Manager (NSW Police) prior to departure for the Island.
Lord Howe Maritime monitors VHF Channel 12 & 16 and is run by Clive and Craig Wilson. Craig and his wife Karen can be found at Wilson’s Hire Service, cakawilson7@hotmail.com, (02) 6563 2045 on Lagoon Rd., just past the Hall. They rent excellent mountain bikes for $8 per day. The island policeman also monitors VHF 12 & 16 during office hours.
Last updated August 2013.


Lord Howe Island Port Operations Manager c/o NSW Police Lord Howe Island , TC Douglass Drive, Lord Howe Island NSW 2898
Tel:+61 2 65632199 Fax:+61 2 65632131
Lord Howe Island Board - Home
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Old 30-05-2015, 17:21   #11
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

Quote:
Originally Posted by kryg View Post
Here is some of the details you require....from Noonsite website there you will also find mooring fee costs....Good luck with your plans.

Lord Howe is no longer a customs port of entry. Yachts wishing to visit must first clear into Australia.
Prior to departure for Lord Howe, yachts must contact the Lord Howe Island Board, www.lhib.nsw.gov.au, +61 (0) 2 6563 2066 to obtain a permit to moor. The necessary documents can be downloaded from this official site.
See Advice for Visiting Yachts.
Masters of vessels are also advised to contact the Lord Howe Island Port Operations Manager (NSW Police) prior to departure for the Island.
Lord Howe Maritime monitors VHF Channel 12 & 16 and is run by Clive and Craig Wilson. Craig and his wife Karen can be found at Wilsonís Hire Service, cakawilson7@hotmail.com, (02) 6563 2045 on Lagoon Rd., just past the Hall. They rent excellent mountain bikes for $8 per day. The island policeman also monitors VHF 12 & 16 during office hours.
Last updated August 2013.


Lord Howe Island Port Operations Manager c/o NSW Police Lord Howe Island , TC Douglass Drive, Lord Howe Island NSW 2898
Tel:+61 2 65632199 Fax:+61 2 65632131
Lord Howe Island Board - Home

Is this a great community? Fantastic help there. Really appreciate your time and assistance.

Malcolm.
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Old 17-12-2015, 03:16   #12
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

We arrived home safely yesterday.

Here is some footage of both our layover at Middelton Reef and later at anchor inside the lagoon at Lord Howe Island.
https://m.youtube.com/results?q=middleton%20reef&sm=3

Being on a timetable is never the best for departure planning. We had flights booked for outgoing and incoming crew changes on the Wednesday so "had" to depart Sat am into a 25+kt SEer with Lord Howe 370NM due SE. We managed to souther just a little in messy moderate seas with generally one reef in the main hard on (amazingly to windward in a catamaran). Saw 35 kts for a few hours with the second reef in making 7-8.5 kts just south of east. Relentless and tiring. 4 of 5 sick early day one but short lived fortunately. Wind moderated to 20 kts day 2 but always SE. Middleton Reef thus became the goal achieved at dawn. 22 hrs to cover the 320NM hard on the wind. As the first half of the footage shows it was an amazing remote destination. Being surrounded by 8 visible wrecks on the reef makes one very glad to have GPS unlike the those poor victims. The 5hr respite was well received and we all felt recharged for the night sail due south on the opposite tack to Lord Howe. We still had 18-25 kts but with a more difficult sea state and a 1.5 to 2 kts adverse current altogether making this a slow and very uncomfortable 18 hr sail gaining Lord Howe some 127NM south. Definitely the most forgettable part of the voyage. I do confess some motor sailing when the current was at its worst and the seas steep and nasty. With Mt Gower being 890m Lord Howe became visible some 55NM out and in the angry conditions and with a tired crew, it seemed like we would never arrive. But arrive we did mid morning of the fourth day. 570NM sailed for the 370NM rum line journey. 74hs including the brief 5 hr layover at Middleton.

And what an amazing destination. Lots of snorkelling, swimming, paddle boarding, walking, eating and drinking in the calm of the lagoon. Partial crew change as planned the day after arrival. We sailed south the 27NM to Ball's Pyramid (world's tallest oceanic stack) which has to be seen to be believed, like a real life fabled Mt Doom or a sand drip castle. Just amazing! Check out videos of it on YouTube.

On our final day we climbed Mt Gower, a 9 hour 880m "bush walk" on steroids. As a bunch or late 50 year olds ( apart from my 23yr old son), we were proud to have made it returning in one piece. For anyone considering this in their itinerary, take note that you do need some basic fitness as well as having little fear of exposure to steep terrain. Well worth the significant effort nevertheles.

The journey home was accompanied by our old friend, the SEer. Dead down wind is no wind angle for a cat. So it was gybing down wind with the big ASI in kind seas. Such a contrast to the rugged outbound journey. After 30 hours under ASI the wind fell to 6-9kts and we had only 1-3kts apparent. So the iron sail was selected for the remaining voyage. Not my preferred mode of travel, but a means to an end, so to speak. The only notable event was encountering a 4kt current about a 2/3 back which I assume was the great Australian current. It covered an about 50NM stretch. Inconvenient for us but a headache for some when the weather and sea state might create difficulties.

61 hours home covering 440NM although motoring for the last half on the rum line. It was a great trip. My first blue water sail. Having over 5000m below gives you a new perspective. Outbound was at times an ordeal. Home bound luxurious and comfortable. Destination to dream about for years to come. Don't forget to check out the video!
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Old 17-12-2015, 04:42   #13
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

Sorry - You tube address is....

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Old 17-12-2015, 14:04   #14
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

Lord Howe is truly one of the great places on the planet. I never get tired of the place.
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Old 17-12-2015, 21:55   #15
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Re: Brisbane to Lord Howe Island: Passage Planning

Great video, thanks!
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