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Old 06-08-2010, 07:23   #1
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Darwin to Cairns

Hi all,
I'm looking into sailing From Darwin to Cairns, dose anyone have information on this passage? What would be the best time of year to sail east, into the wind and currant ?
Stoffer.
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Old 09-08-2010, 05:06   #2
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of course you've considered the simpler option = via Perth?

of course you've considered the simpler option = via Perth?

Is there a reason you won't go "west_about"?
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:03   #3
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Never. You will be sailing into the world' most consistent trade wind belt, in a boat which is notorious for not going to weather. Consider putting it on a barge.
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:53   #4
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Stoffer - you kiddin' right?

Try the monsoon time.

Do not try it between June and November.

Why not via Perth? Would seem faster and safer ...

barnie
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Old 10-08-2010, 03:26   #5
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Forget the Perth way unless you are looking for a looong cruise. Without doing the maths, it has to be 5 or 6 times longer in distance, crosses several climate zones (all twice) and includes at least 1,500 nm along the top of the Southern Ocean.

Darwin to Cairns is not that difficult. Leave early in the monsoon build up as soon as the dry season Easties start dropping out -usually October / November. Be prepared to motor in the calms and hole up if strong Easties re-assert themselves for any length of time.

Split the trip at Gove (good anchorage) and await for a weather window to cross the Gulf.

Again regroup at either Thursday Island or Bamaga and then make the run down the east coast from Cape York to Cairns. There are plenty of good anchorages inside the reef if the (now) South East trades remain in force (and thus on the nose). As the reef is close to the coast for this section, you won't have to deal with large seas if the SE trades are present but you will have to deal with 25+ kts right on the nose!

But usually the trades have dropped out by November/December on this leg.

If the monsoon is present, you will have intermittent North Westlies and calms. Of course, you run the risk of cyclones but that is not so high early in the monsoon season and these days you get enough warning (usually) to bolt for a hole.

Disclaimer - I have not personally sailed this route but I have had my 28 Wanderer sailed (delivered) by my mate from Darwin to Brisbane (and it did NOT go to windward). I have lived in Darwin, Cape York and Cairns for quite a few years.
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Old 10-08-2010, 06:35   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scare_Rab View Post
of course you've considered the simpler option = via Perth?

Is there a reason you won't go "west_about"?
Apart from the added distance, I would like to point out that on the nose winds are the RULE for the Western Australia coast. You also have to deal with huge Indian Ocean swells and hundreds of miles for the last half of the trip to Peerth where there is no where to stop. Just miles on miles of tall cliffs. Similar story for a large portion of the crossing of the Great Australian Bight. I have sailed south to Fremantle down the WA coast on three occasions. NEVER AGAIN. Although I also said that after the first time. Go figure.
Go across the top to the east early in the monsoon season. Plenty of places to hole up and once you get to Lizard Island, you will have northerlies all the way to Brisbane after November. I have done this trip twice and it is much more preferable. You MUST NOT have a deadline otherwise the wind will always be on the nose.

Take your time - smell the roses, eat the mudcrabs & the giant oysters.
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Old 10-08-2010, 08:38   #7
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Thanks Wotname, Thats just what i wonted to here, I'm in no hurry whats so ever, plan on doing some Barra fishing along the way and enjoying the good life round the top end if i need to fire up the Perkins 4 108m i will, till the northerlies kick in.
As for the Perth way, i have thought about it, but its not the way i feel like sailing at this stage, i have mates on the east coast i want to visit so i figure ill stop and catch up with them along the way............ @svstrider yeah your right, thats the last thing i feel like doing big swells and miles and miles of tall cliffs arrrr with no where to drop the hook.......hummm not what I'm after plus if i went into the kimberly i don't think i would ever leave ..... at some stage ill go south down to Brisy then Melbourne but first just wanna make it round the top.
@ Barnie narr im not kidding i am thinking about going east, well i have just about made up my mind!!!!! but any extra info always helps
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Old 10-08-2010, 08:41   #8
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Thanks Wotname, Thats just what i wonted to here, I'm in no hurry whats so ever, plan on doing some Barra fishing along the way and enjoying the good life round the top end if i need to fire up the Perkins 4 108m i will, till the northerlies kick in.
As for the Perth way, i have thought about it, but its not the way i feel like sailing at this stage, i have mates on the east coast i want to visit so i figure ill stop and catch up with them along the way............ @svstrider yeah your right, thats the last thing i feel like doing big swells and miles and miles of tall cliffs arrrr with no where to drop the hook.......hummm not what I'm after plus if i went into the kimberly i don't think i would ever leave ..... at some stage ill go south down to Brisy then Melbourne but first just wanna make it round the top.
@ Barnie narr im not kidding i am thinking about going east, well i have just about made up my mind!!!!! but any extra info always helps.
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Old 10-08-2010, 18:55   #9
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@ Barnie narr im not kidding i am thinking about going east, well i have just about made up my mind!!!!! but any extra info always helps
;-)))

Now that you have made up your mind I think you must also keep good eye on possible cyclones on the over the top route btw Nov and April.

Here is a link to Oz met office:
Current Tropical Cyclones

And we used books from one Alan Lucas for that area. They were good.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 11-08-2010, 00:07   #10
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ALAN LUCAS ...cool i will look out for some of his books thanks Barnie.
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Old 11-08-2010, 00:42   #11
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"Apart from the added distance, I would like to point out that on the nose winds are the RULE for the Western Australia coast"

You can, of course, generally make good distance by motoring between the hours of about 2200 and 1000am in the morning. Then finding somewhere to rough it out while the wind blows its arse off from the south west all day.
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Old 16-01-2017, 23:04   #12
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Re: Darwin to Cairns

I left darwin on 26/12 and arrived cairns 09/01. Tail winds the whole way. Stopped for one night at thursday island to refuel. No other stops. Sailed it solo. Had to motor till got out past melville island north of darwin. Then sailing straight line to thursday island. Then motor sailed all the way down inside the reef to cairns. I had north westers but only about ten knots. A few squalls down east coast. Quite an easy trip. There is no way i would do it with head winds. I watched ten day forecasts for some time for the right weather window. I had predict wind forecast by sat ph during trip to watch out for weather changes but there werent any. I would have holed up somewhere if the wind went on nose. I took a lot of supplies (beer) just in case had to wait up an extended period. Monsoon season is the only time i would do it. I have a 38' timber cutter.
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Old 17-01-2017, 00:52   #13
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Re: Darwin to Cairns

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
Never. You will be sailing into the world' most consistent trade wind belt, in a boat which is notorious for not going to weather. Consider putting it on a barge.
Actually, late/early in the year the tradewinds do take the odd break. Late 2016 the trades were pretty absent much of the time.

Bom forecast for Cape York peninsula:
Thursday 19 January

Winds Variable below 10 knots. Seas Below 0.5 metres. Swell Below 0.5 metres. Weather Partly cloudy. 70% chance of showers. The chance of a thunderstorm. Friday 20 January

Winds Variable about 10 knots. Seas Below 0.5 metres. Swell Southeasterly below 1 metre. Weather Partly cloudy. 50% chance of showers. The chance of a thunderstorm.
Of course summer is cyclone season, so there's incentive to get it done fairly quickly.
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Old 17-01-2017, 01:14   #14
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Re: Darwin to Cairns

It depends on the year, some years you can get lucky and sail the whole way others not so. In 2010 I motored everyday except for one from the cape down to the Gold Coast literally waited for months, a window was considered a little more E in the SE and wind dropping under 18. But generally what Alan Lucas suggests is the way to go.

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Old 17-01-2017, 06:59   #15
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Re: Darwin to Cairns

I have done it twice, both times left Darwin in October and day sailed to Gove then waited for a window. First time 5 weeks second about 2. First time about 8 days Gove to Port Douglas on light NW winds and second time pretty well motored all the way in about the same time. All the horror stories I have heard involved folks not waiting for propitious winds to cross the gulf.


I would not go west-about from Darwin, it's too far.
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