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Old 07-05-2007, 22:48   #1
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Lake Macquarie to Brisbane at Christmas in a Piver 32

A mate is considering buying his Dads Piver (around 32 foot or so), and we were thinking of sailing it up from Lake Macquarie around Christmas time. Should we be concerned about weather at this time? How far will be from shelter at any point on this trip? We have not looked at maps yet and this is the first enquiry we have made. We were hoping that a sheltered harbor would not be to far away at any point of this trip should the weather turn. Will the Piver be a good boat for this type of trip?

Any comments of this proposed trip would be great.
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Old 08-05-2007, 02:00   #2
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You can do the trip in day-hops. But that means crossing some barred entrances. Port Macquarie, and especially Ballina can be a bit dicey. You will need to time your departure on those legs so that you arrive in the last hour or two of the rising tide. Preferably on days with not much swell.
Also be prepared to carry on overnight if you arrive at a harbour but are unsure if you can safely cross the bar.

Read Alan Lucas "Cruising the NSW coast" for advice on barred entrances.
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Old 08-05-2007, 02:59   #3
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Thanks mate. I will take a look at that book. So most sheltered bays/inlets/habours are not barred besides Ballina and Port Macquarie and are within a days sailing?

Someone told me there could be bad weather around that time.
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:03   #4
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Lucas on weather....

You should also read what Alan Lucas has to say about weather.

At risk of quoting out of context from my 1976 copy "... during summer, October to March, the main wind is onshore and mostly from the north-east."

He goes on to describe four types of strong wind and then a general discussion about the meaning of "mostly calm".

He mentions that it is not a pleasant trip for someone in a hurry.

It would not surprise me if you experienced calm weather and had to motor a lot. When there is wind you could expect to have to beat into it. (Does the trimaran go well to weather?)

You should also prepare for some strong winds.

I trust that the boat has been inspected by a competent person and carries all necessary safety equipment and a registered EPIRB.
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:19   #5
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Thanks. If the trip goes ahead we will be carrying an EPIRB, GPS plotter etc and make sure the boat is in seaworthy condition.

We will have 3 weeks to make the trip.
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Old 08-05-2007, 13:24   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisail
Thanks mate. I will take a look at that book. So most sheltered bays/inlets/habours are not barred besides Ballina and Port Macquarie and are within a days sailing?

Someone told me there could be bad weather around that time.
Well, summer is thunderstorm season. And cyclone season in the tropics. So there is the possibility of some bad weather, you need to listen to the forecasts. Also you will likely get pretty fresh NE seabreezes most afternoons. Add that to the east coast current, and you'll probably need to motor quite a bit.
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Old 08-05-2007, 14:22   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisail
Thanks mate. I will take a look at that book. So most sheltered bays/inlets/habours are not barred besides Ballina and Port Macquarie and are within a days sailing?
Not quite. Almost everything is barred to some degree. I've had some pretty good surfs running in to Southport...

You need to keep an eye on the surf forecast as well as the normal marine weather, which usually just reports swell as it arrives. Call a surf shop or look at some of the swell models on the internet.

Try to pick a three week period when the high tide is in the afternoon.

Three weeks is probably OK if you're really ready to sail on day one but a month would be much easier. It is easy to get stuck for a week waiting for conditions to line up. On a three week schedule, I'd definitely look for a couple overnight hops, for example straight to Coffs right out of the gate.

Thunderstorms hit hard. During the day, the size of the cloud and the presence of whitecaps under it are a good indicator of how badly you're going to get hit. At night, radar is handy, as is a bottle of good rum...

The link is to some comments I made after our NSW cruise.

Cruising Northern New South Wales and Sydney

-Scott
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Old 08-05-2007, 21:48   #8
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Sailing North

Prevailing wind patterns at Christmas time are for winds from the North East, strengthening during the afternoon. Throw in the likelyhood of a Southerly Buster at least once (and probably more) during your 3 week window, and you are going to be in for a challenging trip.

Most rivers on the way north have bars of some sort at the mouth that will require care and timing to cross, and the east coast is the busiest sea route in Australia; look out for all the coal ships off Newcastle waiting to be loaded.

As others have mentioned, get hold of Alan Lucas Cruising the NSW Coast. It is full directions and instructions on all parts of the coast.

Challenging is good, but make sure there is some experience on board.

Fair winds and good sailing

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Old 09-05-2007, 03:49   #9
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Thanks guys. Going by this and the thread I made on the Multihull forum, my mate is getting a little worried that he might not make it back in time for work. Don't worry Scott, there will always be rum on board any sailing yacht I sail on Experiance is another matter. I have been sailing my whole life, but only on beach cats and trailer sailers. Been in some pretty rough weather and crossed some pretty nasty bars with my father, but not much open water stuff, specially in a tri. And my mate hasn't done a lot either.

How much would it cost to get the boat sailed to the Southport??
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Old 09-05-2007, 20:50   #10
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I think we are making it sound worse , or more difficult, than it is. The main problem your mate is going to have is the time window. It's not a difficult trip at all, but you have to be prepared to wait for the right weather. Doing it in 3 weeks would be dead easy if the weather stays favourable.

I would make my first stop Port Stephens. It's an easy day-sail from Lake Mac, it has a deep water entrance, and there is excellent facilities at Nelson Bay, to repair anything that goes wrong. It's also a nice place to visit.
Next would be Forster, it's a river entrance, but it's pretty deep, not easily affected by swell.
Next Camden Haven, another river which has a bar, but usually not a bad one.
Then I would overnight to Coffs.
So you can see, if the weather is good you could be around 1/2 way there in 4 hops.
Next Yamba, usually not a bad entrance.
Then you can go to Ballina, which can be dicey if the weather isn't right. Lots of boats go in and out of Ballina most days, so it must be ok most of the time, but you hear a few horror stories too.
Or you could overnight again to Southport.

So it can be done in 6 or 7 easy jumps, with just 1 or 2 overnighters maybe over 10 days in the right weather. It's just a matter of getting 10 days of the right weather in the 3 week interval.

BTW do not take my assessment of the river entrances as gospel. Sandbars can shift, it's been a couple of years since I did a similar trip so things could have changed - check with the local VMR's or the coastguard for bar conditions.
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Old 12-05-2007, 06:16   #11
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Thanks for the tips of the anchorages.

Quote:
The main problem your mate is going to have is the time window
Thats the prob. Is 3 weeks going to be enough?
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Old 06-12-2007, 15:26   #12
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If you need to motor the whole way on a diesel engine you may need to carry extra fuel. You will have to stay out of the current--which means keeping fairly close inshore. Not too close though. There is stuff floating in the ocean, so I would not be sailing at night near any shipping lanes unless I had to. Plywood can take a wallop--just not that big a wallop as hitting a lost container or drum of fuel. Recently a forty foot tri was sunk in the Broadwater after possibly striking something.

A GPS and chartplotter would make navigation easier. I have charts for back-up. The C map system works fine.

Trimarans do not point as well as a fin-keeled monohull, so going upwind into a three to four knot offshore current is not a practical option. Comfort is the name of the game--my Piver will go uphill fairly well, but is has some modifications. She draws 1.2 metres--

Work on 30 to 50 nautical miles per day and you will be doing fine. That means motoring at five knots for about ten hours--in the event you can not sail. Each ten hours you will use about ten gallons of diesel, maybe more, maybe less--so work it out from there. IF the distance is, say, eight hundred nautical miles, that is sixteen days or more at fifty nautical miles per day and you will burn about one hundred and sixty gallons of diesel fuel. I would carry half that amount and hope to top up along the way. You will need a bvreak sooner or later.

Of course with some wind to do some sailing, you will burn much less and some days you might do well over fifty nautical miles. Especially with a good tail wind--
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Old 10-12-2007, 15:10   #13
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Heading North

I recently returned from a trip Sydney-Port Stephens- Sydney, and on our return leg, about 5-6 miles offshore we were experiencing up to 4 knots of south setting current. that will make a huge difference in your ability to go north.

Closer in - 2 miles or so, it was much less.

I'm not familiar with the Piver, but if a multihull as indicated, the fuel burn rate quoted by Mike seems high??

Fair winds

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Old 10-12-2007, 15:32   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisail View Post
Thanks for the tips of the anchorages.



Thats the prob. Is 3 weeks going to be enough?
There's no real answer to that one. If the weather is right, 3 weeks will be plenty. It's also possible you'll get 3 weeks of truly lousy weather, and won't be able to go anywhere.

I'd say Mike's fuel usage estimate is an absolute worst case scenario. We did the trip in a steel mono, with a pretty big engine, (80 hp) and motored whenever our average was dropping below 5 kts - we planned our tide windows for 5 kts averages - and IIRC we used less then 150 LITRES of diesel. And we fuelled up at Mooloolabah, well past Brisbane.
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Old 10-12-2007, 18:27   #15
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With all due respect, it isn't exactly a long way from Lake Macquarie to Brisbane. with good conditions it is only a couple of days. I would imagine even with mixed conditions it shouldn't take more than 4 days (I did Moololaba to Sydney in 4 days with a night in Coffs Harbour).

If I were making the trip, I would make only one stop, at Coffs Harbour, because there is no bar to cross, but that would be all, unless conditions necessitated.

Bear in mind that the East Australian current will be against you, so it will probably be better to stay within a few miles of shore to minimise it's effect.

Really, you are only going to need a 3 or 4 day weather window to make the trip, or 2 x 2 day windows with a break at Coffs. Don't be afraid of wind, anything up to around 20 knots should be pretty comfortable, or 25 if you are used to it, just don't set off if the wind is going to be hard on the nose. Ideally, you want reaching conditions, in which case it will be a quick trip.

If you do have good conditions, keep going and you will be there before you know it.
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