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Old 12-04-2018, 21:55   #1
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Eastern Australian Current

I recently attempted to sail my 33 foot yacht from Port Jackson to Morton Bay. My plans were frustrated by the EAC, which flows south at about 4 kts. We ran into it at about 30 south, where it reduced our speed to one knot. We spent an entire night making just 20 nm about 10 miles out north of Port Macquarie. Does anyone have any insight into how to beat the current. I have heard rumours that it is possibly to squeeze through by hugging the coastline. How close? Alternatively, how far out to sea does one need to go.
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Old 12-04-2018, 22:30   #2
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

See
Animations IMOS-OceanCurrent
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Old 12-04-2018, 22:32   #3
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

Another source:

https://earth.nullschool.net/#curren...52.313,-20.211

You don't have to get too far offshore (60 miles or so) to get out of the current. Can you measure water temperature? It can make it easier to figure out when you have gotten out of the current. [Edit] Currently no significant difference in sea surface temp outside EAC.[/Edit]
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Old 12-04-2018, 22:48   #4
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

.....and another

https://www.windy.com/?currents,-31....9,6,i:pressure
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Old 12-04-2018, 23:55   #5
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

current situation from predict wind right now.

or dayhops near shore or go out and get over with in one go.

I am about to go myself and test my routing skills.
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Old 13-04-2018, 00:27   #6
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

You need to keep as close as possible to the coast when sailing north. This may be as close as a mile or two. This way you can keep out of it altogether or at least minimise it. When sailing north we have never been more than half a mile off places like Cape Byron, Port Macquarie or Smoky Cape which are the "pinch points" where the current comes in the closest.
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Old 13-04-2018, 00:52   #7
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

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Originally Posted by clownfishsydney View Post
You need to keep as close as possible to the coast when sailing north. This may be as close as a mile or two. This way you can keep out of it altogether or at least minimise it. When sailing north we have never been more than half a mile off places like Cape Byron, Port Macquarie or Smoky Cape which are the "pinch points" where the current comes in the closest.
did you travel that close at night or day hops only ?
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Old 13-04-2018, 01:04   #8
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

There have been cases of racing yachts in the Pittwater to Coffs (or the old Mooloolaba) race being inside the surf zone (at Stockton beach) when a big set comes in.

I usually daysail up the coast and especially at the pinch points get really close in. I have never had 4 knots but once north of Smokey Cape I stopped the boat in a calm and was doing almost 2 knots south. If you are sailing slowly or tacking then any set is a real pain.

So get in as close as is safe if daysailing. In a westerly this can be just a couple of hundred metres off the break zone. You can wave to the surfers out the back. Lovely flat water and a good view.

The "set" is one of the reasons the Sydney to Hobart race makes for poor viewing along the coast. The racers head way out to sea to get more current heading south. If they were heading north then you could watch the whole fleet sail just off the beach.

Here is my tool for viewing current - real time temp data from the BOM
http://www.bom.gov.au/oceanography/f...=14&forecast=1
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Old 13-04-2018, 01:04   #9
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

Never seen it at four knots before, but it's certainly noticeable at places like Seal rocks, and cape Byron.

Staying inshore at these points does help.
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Old 13-04-2018, 17:44   #10
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonf View Post
I recently attempted to sail my 33 foot yacht from Port Jackson to Morton Bay. My plans were frustrated by the EAC, which flows south at about 4 kts. We ran into it at about 30 south, where it reduced our speed to one knot. We spent an entire night making just 20 nm about 10 miles out north of Port Macquarie. Does anyone have any insight into how to beat the current. I have heard rumours that it is possibly to squeeze through by hugging the coastline. How close? Alternatively, how far out to sea does one need to go.
Jon F
Hi, Jon,

We, too have done the trip,a number of times, and it's how tacking point got its name! I agree about Seal Rocks, and even more so at Cape Byron, and the short answer is you have to purely accept it, and enjoy it headed south!

That said, when we've done it, we've mainly stayed quite close inshore, where you can sometime catch a back eddy off the inside of the headlands; and at night, on my watch, I use the radar to keep 1/4 mi. off land and outliers. When we first arrived in Australia, a local suggested to us, as close in as we could stand. Yes, you have to be aware of onshore sets some places, you really will rely on all your nav aids.

For me, this means frequent checks of chartplotter, if that's what you have, but with the light turned down as far as you can stand it, or at reasonable intervals. It takes most people about 20 minutes to recover their night vision, which for me, makes me use only one eye to check the plotter, so that the other one retains it's night vision. You will rely on eyes and ears, to some extent, if you're really trying to sneak along close in.

The met bureau has a search function, and you can get it to show you a chartlet of the EAC, which shows both the temperature and direction of the flows along the coast, and that will give you an idea where you will pick up the back eddies.



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Old 13-04-2018, 19:18   #11
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

Thanks for these responses, esp those of you who have actually done the trip before. I don't fancy the idea of being a quarter of a mile off anything at night, but it would not be too hard to time the trip so you overnight in Coffs Harbour. That would give a good 50 nm north or south of the choke point in daylight when you could wave to the surfers. Next time!!
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Old 13-04-2018, 19:24   #12
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

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This chart is interesting! It seems to imply that you could quite a lift if you hug the coast between Seal Rocks and Port Macquarie.
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Old 13-04-2018, 22:55   #13
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

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This chart is interesting! It seems to imply that you could quite a lift if you hug the coast between Seal Rocks and Port Macquarie.
Do remember that single charts mean very little, for the current patterns are constantly changing... and that means significant changes over 24 hours sometimes. You really need current (ahem!) info.

To get a feel for this, go to the BOM site and find the current/sea temp chart. You can animate it, and watching the patterns shift and writhe rapidly is pretty educational when considering using the chart for route planning.

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Old 14-04-2018, 00:13   #14
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonf View Post
I recently attempted to sail my 33 foot yacht from Port Jackson to Morton Bay. My plans were frustrated by the EAC, which flows south at about 4 kts. We ran into it at about 30 south, where it reduced our speed to one knot. We spent an entire night making just 20 nm about 10 miles out north of Port Macquarie. Does anyone have any insight into how to beat the current. I have heard rumours that it is possibly to squeeze through by hugging the coastline. How close? Alternatively, how far out to sea does one need to go.

Jon F


The southerly set as it is commonly known is a strong current which has seasonal effect.
Any avid surfer at the Gold Coast knows the water temperature during winter months stays quite high and cools down in spring. I use seasons rather than months for the reason that the seasons are not exactly defined in time or the position of the sun. El neno is another factor.
The southerly set is like a relentless tide in a river. But like a river the landscape can cause eddies. In many a Sydney to southport race where light conditions prevail the winners are the coast hungers.
Unless you have a strong southerly or your are following a southerly gale then the coast very tightly is you best friend.
The song and log speed should be carefully monitored to determine if you are getting a current lift or knock back.
Close to shore is very close I might add. Don't do this if you are not fully alert. It requires careful navigation skills.
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Old 14-04-2018, 01:27   #15
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Re: Eastern Australian Current

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Hi, Jon,

We, too have done the trip,a number of times, and it's how tacking point got its name! I agree about Seal Rocks, and even more so at Cape Byron, and the short answer is you have to purely accept it, and enjoy it headed south!

That said, when we've done it, we've mainly stayed quite close inshore, where you can sometime catch a back eddy off the inside of the headlands; and at night, on my watch, I use the radar to keep 1/4 mi. off land and outliers. When we first arrived in Australia, a local suggested to us, as close in as we could stand. Yes, you have to be aware of onshore sets some places, you really will rely on all your nav aids.

For me, this means frequent checks of chartplotter, if that's what you have, but with the light turned down as far as you can stand it, or at reasonable intervals. It takes most people about 20 minutes to recover their night vision, which for me, makes me use only one eye to check the plotter, so that the other one retains it's night vision. You will rely on eyes and ears, to some extent, if you're really trying to sneak along close in.

The met bureau has a search function, and you can get it to show you a chartlet of the EAC, which shows both the temperature and direction of the flows along the coast, and that will give you an idea where you will pick up the back eddies.



Ann
Or, don't sail at night. There are plenty of places to anchor for the night, we always do the Sydney to Gold coast trip in day hops. The only bit that's a stretch is Yamba to the Gold coast, which is 100 miles, we allow 12 hours for that.
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