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Old 24-09-2017, 23:14   #1
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Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

Coming in Mid December I'm (engineer/mate) on a delivery (power boat, 75') from Newcastle, where it's being unloaded I assume, to Makay, and I've never been to Australia at all and know nothing about this coast. The boat is fine and I know it well. Thanks in advance for info & ideas!
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Old 24-09-2017, 23:37   #2
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

Hi EngNate,

You're coming at the wrong time of the year for the trip in my opinion.

Newcastle is in New South Wales, summer time and can be pretty hot. If you've got the time deviate into Sydney Harbour for the iconic sail past the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

It's likely you will be head into the wind as the prevailing winds at that time of year are northerly. Coffs Harbour is a Customs port if you haven't already dealt with it. As you get towards Mackay you've passed into Queensland which is tropical, cyclone season and humid, but having said that it is still a beautiful part of the world and has the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef.

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Old 25-09-2017, 00:28   #3
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

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Originally Posted by EngNate View Post
Coming in Mid December I'm (engineer/mate) on a delivery (power boat, 75') from Newcastle, where it's being unloaded I assume, to Makay, and I've never been to Australia at all and know nothing about this coast. The boat is fine and I know it well. Thanks in advance for info & ideas!
Nate, you will get lots of opinions here on CF, mostly from folkks who have zero experience on largish motor vessels. I've done that passage many times, but always in medium sized yachts, and have no useful advice as to specific schemes for your sort of travel.

However, I can advise you to acquire two cruising guides, both by Alan Lucas. They are Cruising the NSW coast and Cruising the Coral Coast. Between them they cover your entire route in some detail, with info on anchorages, weather patterns, fueling spots and other useful data. These books are the bible of east coast cruising,and can be trusted, for Alan is a very conservative pundit and has many,many years of experience here.

Both books are commonly available in bookstores here in Oz, and can be ordered from Boat Books as well.

Good luck with the trip.

Jim
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Old 25-09-2017, 00:51   #4
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

I don't have experience with large power boats, and i think Jim gave you good advice, of course. But I would like to add something.

The East Australia current flows southwards, and the site www.met.gov.au has graphics which show you what it is doing. Northbound, it helps to stay close in shore and out of the current.



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Old 25-09-2017, 13:58   #5
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

Hey mate. What draft on the vessel? Many of the smaller and more beautiful ports are over river bars. The Lucas guides will give you a heads up there.
Also, large volume fuel is not available everywhere. Better do some range calculations.
Try the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), especially for cyclone warnings.
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Old 25-09-2017, 14:01   #6
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

Engineer Nate,

I'm hoping the owner has arranged a work visa for you? If you are a foreign national, you will require one to work legally here in Oz.

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Old 25-09-2017, 14:38   #7
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

if you are talking 75ft power boat / non stop delivery Newcastle - mackay 3 to 4 days / keep an eye on the weather you could do that all year round / you get plenty of warnings about cyclones / seek safe shelter/Newcastle bight is one of the worst places in bad weather
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Old 25-09-2017, 15:18   #8
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

Waihaka is right. December is not a good month to head to Mackay because it is the start of cyclone season. There are a few possibilities:

1. Stay in Newcastle
2. Head for Sydney and sit there until after Easter.
3. Go half way to Mackay and sit. I can recommend Mooloolaba although you should check on available docks for a boat that size. Southport is bigger with more docks but very expensive and crowded.

Wherever you sit it is not a good idea to arrive in Mackay before 1 May.

There is another advantage to travelling in early May. You will almost certainly pick up a tail wind from the south east. In December a big 15 - 20 knot nor'easter pumps in most afternoons when you will be punching in to 6 - 8 ft waves. Should you decide to travel in December it would be best to make your miles through the night and morning then pull in somewhere by noon.
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Old 25-09-2017, 15:23   #9
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

You don't want to wind up like this. Taken near Mackay February 2011.

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Old 25-09-2017, 15:33   #10
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

Whilst it's always a possibility, statistically you don't need to lose much sleep worrying about southern Coral Sea cyclones in December. For a delivery, it'll be the owner's problem in regards to weather after handover.
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Old 25-09-2017, 15:35   #11
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

Nice.
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Old 25-09-2017, 16:01   #12
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

The time of year is not ideal, but I would not be concerned too much about cyclones. With a boat that size and all the available weather warnings there will be plenty of time to change plan and head to a safe haven. You could wait in Moreton Bay (Brisbane area) which is about the half way point.

As Knockabout said, if you travel straight through it's 3-4 days (close to 900nm at an assumed 10-12 knots). You will likely be pushing against the prevailing NE winds, and East Australian Current which flows south at up to 3-4 knots at times. As noted by JPA Cate, travelling close to shore it's usually less strong, and there are spots where you may get a lift from an eddy.

Let us know if stops will be in the schedule and what you want, and we can then give advice on them.
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Old 25-09-2017, 16:49   #13
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
I don't have experience with large power boats, and i think Jim gave you good advice, of course. But I would like to add something.

The East Australia current flows southwards, and the site www.met.gov.au has graphics which show you what it is doing. Northbound, it helps to stay close in shore and out of the current.



Ann
Good advice re the East Australia Current but I correct your link to the BOM (Bureau of Meteorology), go to Marine & Ocean. Plenty of other weather info on the site too as you would know. Real-time radar of weather being VERY useful to watch storms approaching, or hopefully, leaving your area.
Ray
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Old 25-09-2017, 20:16   #14
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

Wear four jumpers when you leave and remove one each day . . . . and keep Australia on your port side.
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Old 25-09-2017, 23:23   #15
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Re: Australia Newcastle to Makay: Info-Tips anyone?

More info: I understand the owner has an experienced captain, I'm mainly there to get him up to speed on the equipment & systems. It's going to Makay, as weather & prudence allows, whenever it gets off the big ship, the timing isn't in my scope. The boat is a Nordhaven, & big for its length at 104GT. Normal cruise 8.5 and range far exceeds the run. Draft 6ft; I've been in quite nasty conditions with it and it is solid, no worries there, machinery is in tiptop condition. I'm interested in what's along the route, where I should be sure to stick my head out kinda thing, as well as general conditions to expect where... Thanks!!!
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