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Old 14-06-2015, 22:53   #1
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How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsundays?

I have probably THE most well equipped Cat, way beyond normal luxury, and this range of Fraser Island to Whitsundays in Australia up the Great Barrier Reef is definitely Cat country... OK, I know this... But: If you travel with tides is the inland passage of Fraser tenable (10-12 hours away). And most good places in the Great Kepples to Whitsundays?

Why I am asking is I am still a monohull Man but living in shallow GBR related Australia so a Cat... If I wanted to return to a competitive Racer /Cruiser Monohull to compete locally in the Clubs in Australia, how much would I be handicapped with a 2 Metre draft over my Helia 44 1.2 Metre draft?? Why? I miss the Marina and racing fraternity life a bit, and whether it is right or not, I can tell you the Race Committees like to prejudice Cats with courses that are hard on the wind as the far and away majority like upwind battle... I don't have to win and wouldn't likely as I like luxury gear and Lifestyle (read weight) but I would be happy to just be in the middle of the pack in tacking battles....

So ....Cruisers: Anyone done this region of the GBR extensively in a 2- 2.2 Metre draft?
If I go north with my Cat, OK, that is three months a year of cruising fun, but the racing circuit is 9 months of the year around home... Hmmmm And slips at half the price... So I can stagger home to the boat for a snooze after the Yacht Club.. Hmmmm

Thank you for your answers....
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Old 15-06-2015, 00:48   #2
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

We're your folks, Helia 44. Insatiable II draws 2.2m and we've been through Great Sandy Straits many times over the years. We play the tides. We have also been inside at Pancake Creek, but generally anchor out with the fishermen in the outer part of the anchorage, 'cause we're en route to somewhere.

No problems with Wide Bay Bar, but are careful with the tides, and also prefer a morning crossing.

We used to occasionally go through the narrows. We just anchor further offshore than the catamarans, and let the sandfliess have first go at them. Actually, we like to have plenty of space, always have anchored further out than most, but have not found it a problem.

As you can see from our avatar, we are not 50 ft. overall, quite a bit shorter, actually, @ 46 ft.

Ann

PS, is there some particular anchorage you had in mind?

Ann
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Old 15-06-2015, 01:59   #3
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

I live in Bundaberg and regularly cruise the Sandy Straits - abeit in a flybridge cruiser. If you'll take the word of a stink boater, the only area you'll need to me mindful of is 'the skids' right in the middle of the straits. As Ann says above, you'll get through fine with a 2m draft if you plan your tides. The whole of the straits is best planned around the tides anyway, if only for the ease of going with a 2+kn current rather than against. The channels are well marked right through.

Wide Bay bar (again, as Ann says) can be very easy on the incoming tide. Not recommended on the outgoing as it stands up (usually is running strait into a SE wind). Tin Can Bay CG will supply the waypoints for crossing it on request.
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Old 15-06-2015, 03:27   #4
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

Sorry, in my above post - 'the skids' refers to what is properly known as 'Sheridan Flats'.
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Old 15-06-2015, 03:52   #5
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

I sailed a 3 day stretch from Mooloolaba to Gladstone outside Fraser Island in 30 knot winds because the coast guard refused to give me waypoints for the bar in advance, but if you are a local I guess there are other ways to get them. My 2.1 meter draft has excluded me from many anchorages and bars coming up the coast from Sydney and has resulted in overnight sails in rough weather that I could have avoided with a catamaran or bilge keel. I need to be very careful about arrival and departure at high tide (e.g for Gladstone North Passage) which also resulted in some overnight sails that could have been avoided if I could have left early in the day at low tide. I just spent 3 days anchored in Island Head Creek main channel in a constant fight of wind against tide, with an anchor drag and scratched bow paint, when the boats with less draft hid in nice quiet shallow side channels out of the current.

So ... I personally think you are nuts for even considering increasing your draft and moving to a boat that rocks, but then I have never understood the racing / club / social side of sailing. The area you live and sail in is perfect for catamarans.
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Old 15-06-2015, 14:49   #6
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

We've been through the Great Sandy Straits a couple of dozen times with out 2.15m draft and have only found Garry's anchorage's northern entrance any problems and the many times voyaging between the Whitsunday's and Hervey Bay have had no problems. Obviously you will not be able to go everywhere you did with the 1.2m draft cat (we have also had a lift keel yacht that drew 1.2m) but there really is no problems cruising this coast with a 2.2 meter draft.
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Old 15-06-2015, 17:53   #7
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
We're your folks, Helia 44. Insatiable II draws 2.2m and we've been through Great Sandy Straits many times over the years. We play the tides. We have also been inside at Pancake Creek, but generally anchor out with the fishermen in the outer part of the anchorage, 'cause we're en route to somewhere.

No problems with Wide Bay Bar, but are careful with the tides, and also prefer a morning crossing.

We used to occasionally go through the narrows. We just anchor further offshore than the catamarans, and let the sandfliess have first go at them. Actually, we like to have plenty of space, always have anchored further out than most, but have not found it a problem.

As you can see from our avatar, we are not 50 ft. overall, quite a bit shorter, actually, @ 46 ft.

Ann

PS, is there some particular anchorage you had in mind?

Ann
Thank you for the response Ann,
and "Homeless" this explanation might make more sense to you now:

My Wife at 60 has just retired from the racing circuit on other peoples boats, but we could do it for fun when not cruising. I cannot get my Cat home and back for the social part of the racing Presentation. Slips are just too hard to get (double for a cat), and too expensive, during six months or so of racing Weds and Sundays... Hmmm.. She could still race for fun, if we go in fair weather and She takes it easy and goes for lie down in rougher seas that might blow up. My big Cruising Cat is total luxury, but we either pull the pin and call in a DNF (Did not Finish) and pull out, or we are last in and have to pull the rusty chain markers. We won about six months ago, in 20 knots of wind on the edge of calling the race, blasting through 2-3 Meter waves that stopped the monohulls to slowly pick up and get going again. That was a rare condition plus a long tack instead of short tacking, that paid off in combination with our weight ploughing through the waves. In normal Club racing we are about last in. I cannot make up the tacking duels upwind, with my down wind run, and Wed racing is no spinnakers... Hmmmm No can do...

So Ann, what anchorages? I need to be able to do day hops all the way to the Whitsundays and back. I mean Fraser Bar is about 10 hours away, and the south entrance to Gary's Anchorage is a normal stop. Playing around can be something to do for a week behind Fraser, but in route to the Whitsundays we would probably go on the next day to Hervey Bay or I like the Kingfisher Resort anchorage for the Circus views...

By way of sensible explanation: Really I wanted to know if you can get into enough of the small little anchorages with a 2.2 M draft going up the coast, to do only day passages all the way up to the Whitsundays. My Wife has a degenerate bone disease in her neck and cannot do the rougher weather without a day or two in bed after... We would sit in a dog hole and wait for weather behind us or calm.

Anyway, do you get my purposes now? It is only in thinking stages right now, but I was wondering if we might consider making the move. It is that or forget the racing and just do little trips like Gold Coast, Tangalooma, up Brisbane river, that sort of thing and stay with AVALON in super luxury. I am where I am, by considering all options OK/
So, can you get into enough anchorages to just do the day hops all the way to the Whitsundays Ann??

Kind regards,
Helia 44 "AVALON" in Mooloolaba Harbour..
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Old 15-06-2015, 17:54   #8
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

what's wrong with a wing Keel, worked for Bondy (RIP).
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Old 16-06-2015, 01:59   #9
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

G'Day Helia,

I'm going to suggest that at this point you start doing your own homework rather than depending on others for your info. First Ann and now I affirm that your goal is achievable. We have done it many times in our two Insatiables each of which draw 2.2 metres

If you don't alread own a copy of Lucas's "Cruising the Coral Coast", do get one and start reading. Alan details all the usable harbours on your route, with detailed and accurate depths and info about protection, facilities distances between ports and usually some history as well.

Then, determine what is a realistic day's run for you, and using that as a filter start planning your stops along the route. This sort of planning is essential for successful cruising, and if you are not comfortable doing it, PLEASE don't depart until you are. This skill set is very important, and should not be delagated to others; it's your ass on the line if things go pear shaped!

Finally, I can't imagine why the Tin Can Bay CG wouldn't give Homeless the coordinates for the WBB crossing. Dissemenation of that info is their main service and reason for existence. Perhaps their assignments have changed in the 9 months since our last crossing, but I kinda doubt it. At any rate, his opinion of the perils of his cruising route differ from mine.

Jim
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Old 16-06-2015, 03:49   #10
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

Please let me add, we have been cruising the east Qld coast for about 20 yrs. more or less, from the border to Lizard Is. We've been in more anchorages than I remember! We have only ever gone where there is depth enough for us.

Ann
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Old 16-06-2015, 16:26   #11
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

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G'Day Helia,

Finally, I can't imagine why the Tin Can Bay CG wouldn't give Homeless the coordinates for the WBB crossing. Dissemenation of that info is their main service and reason for existence.
As I recall, he asked them to send him the coordinates days(weeks?) before he intended crossing the bar. Understandably, they would want him to contact them the way everyone else does by radio/phone when approaching and get the current coordinates.
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Old 16-06-2015, 17:34   #12
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

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As I recall, he asked them to send him the coordinates days(weeks?) before he intended crossing the bar. Understandably, they would want him to contact them the way everyone else does by radio/phone when approaching and get the current coordinates.
Could be, Stu, but in reality those coordinates don't get changed very often. In fact, last year they were known to be a bit off, but the CG wasn't allowed to issue the altered positions until they had been vetted by some marine authority (I forget the relevant group). At that time, if you knew to question them they would advise leaving mark number two a bit to port (when entering). I thought that was pretty poor practice, for we could see heavy breakers where the official spot was! The Mk I eyeball saved the day for us, but if entering at night one could have gotten stuffed without this unofficial info.

The WBB is usually not difficult, but under bad conditions it can be deadly and a few boats have been lost there.

Jim
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Old 16-06-2015, 17:43   #13
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Could be, Stu, but in reality those coordinates don't get changed very often. In fact, last year they were known to be a bit off, but the CG wasn't allowed to issue the altered positions until they had been vetted by some marine authority (I forget the relevant group). At that time, if you knew to question them they would advise leaving mark number two a bit to port (when entering). I thought that was pretty poor practice, for we could see heavy breakers where the official spot was! The Mk I eyeball saved the day for us, but if entering at night one could have gotten stuffed without this unofficial info.

The WBB is usually not difficult, but under bad conditions it can be deadly and a few boats have been lost there.

Jim
When I went through in April this year, I called them a couple of hours out to get the latest information. They gave the coordinates and then immediately advised me to stay at least 100 metres off the second mark. I didn't need to ask for that extra titbit
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Old 16-06-2015, 17:44   #14
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

To: Stu and Homeless,
Tin Can Bay CG are all to happy to give you the current waypoints for the shifting sands of the Fraser Bar.. By radio, phone, or email... Just for the asking..

To: Jim Cate
I have the Cruising Guide. This really is not a case of homework. My Wife has been up there many times over the past twelve years while I raised my Daughters with horses, but always on a Cat. This is "Cat Country" maybe more so than anywhere, and I am converted to one of the top Cats in the world by this topography. I already travel to places that monohulls just cannot go to. What I wanted to collect from Monohull Owners in this Thread, was a feel for how much they thought they were handicapped by the draft....

I am leaving for Fraser, Keppels, and Percy Islands on the way to the Whitsundays in a few weeks. I know this is Cat Country without a doubt, but for nine months a year in racing circuit the Club Committees steer towards monohulls. I just wanted a feeling from Monohull Owners, about how handicapped they feel by their draft in the GBR... Longer term we will go further north each year exploring...

It is only a thought, to keep us more occupied with the racing circuit when not doing the big trips, as there is limited cruising on week to two week trips from here and I have exhausted that during the balance of the year. If I got the feel that the draft was still workable for the big trip, I might consider going back to a performance mono just for the balance of the year.. I will decide by October, but may just stay with the Helia 44 and optionally race on other peoples boats, or do more offshore fishing out past the continental shelf. My Helia 44 is luxury way beyond the norm, over equipped by most standards, and still moves quite well. I am where I am, by evaluating all options, and was only collecting opinions from you Monohull Owners as a consideration of the possibility. Because in my 60's I am approaching the age of just settling into a particular Lifestyle for good. Racing, Cruising, Fishing, I just need to rethink the priorities... Hmmmmm


Thank you, Helia 44 "AVALON"
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Old 16-06-2015, 19:04   #15
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Re: How much handicap is 50' Monohull 2 Mtr Draft, in GBR Fraser Island to Whitsunda

OK Helia, I'll stop preaching. You just sounded a bit unsure of yourself so I gave what I thought was good advice. If you already know all about the journey, then I'll just answer your specific question:

I don't feel significantly handicapped by our draft. Yes, there are some places we can't get into or very close to shore in our fin keeled mono... and there are some places that you would not be able to get into in your cat... one just avoids those places in whatever vessel one is cruising in. But there are plenty of great anchorages between Moreton Bay and the Whitsundays.

This area is indeed a great playground for catamarans, but there have been countless deep draft monohulls making the trip for many years. And FWIW, we have been told by cruising cat owners that it is impossible to make the south bound return trip under sail... something we have done repeatedly in our mono... so maybe it is only "cat country" on the northbound leg!

Anyhow, enjoy your trip in whichever boat you decide to sail.

Jim
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