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Old 09-01-2013, 04:07   #31
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Re: how much is too much wind

First off If you have any wind forward of the beam you are going to struggle, better to wait for a good southerly something, To make any kind of decent headway you are going to need to hug the coast, and this means avoiding the surfers, as the east Australian current is a bitch north of Coffs and twice a day is abominable, try to get to Cape Byron late afternoon because you need to use the bays and eddies as you near the cape. Anyone who has traveled this path will tell you the cape Byron light just takes for ever to pass, though last year with 30 knots SSW I I shaved 10 hrs of my best port Stevens to the gold coast time, which meant bobbing around out the front of the sea way waiting for a tide. Work on 30 hrs from Coffs to the Sea Way.
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Old 09-01-2013, 05:05   #32
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Re: how much is too much wind

I have ony sailed as far north as the Clarence but up to there is is pretty easy to daysail and pick your conditions. If your timing is right and if you arrive at the bar near the top of the run in tide, then you can enter many places and sleep well at night.
I have had no problems with Swansea, Forster, Port Stephens, Laurieton, Coffs, and the Clarence. Did not like Port Macquarie. Crowdy Head is easy but has a lot of surge and you have to lie against a wharf.
Definitely buy the latest edition of Lucas.
As far as the wind goes, up to 25 knots with you, and not much over 15 knots against you would make for a comfortable trip.
In reality, we find we use the engine heaps up and down that coast.
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Old 09-01-2013, 13:43   #33
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Re: how much is too much wind

One further thing: The BOM website has a page devoted to forecasting the currents on the east coast. If you look at it, you will find that there are multiple swirls, eddies and back currents that change DAILY. Not what it looks like on the charts at all! Some study of this can ease the trip north.

Cheers,

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Old 09-01-2013, 13:52   #34
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Re: how much is too much wind

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Originally Posted by Ozbullwinkle View Post
15 to 20 knots would be ideal. Preferably not right on the nose but anything from a close reach through to broad reaching condiions would be beautiful. Once the wind gets to 25 knots your boat could handle these conditions as long as you and your crew can but don't forget to put a reef in early. There are several ports that you can stopover along the way but I would recommend that you stay away from the entrances with bars like Yamba & the Tweed.
Many of the NSW ports have barred entrances. Yamba is actually one of the better ones.

Unless there is very little swell I'd steer clear of Ballina. Port Macquarie too.
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Old 09-01-2013, 14:01   #35
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Re: how much is too much wind

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We gave Swansea a miss and were glad we did.
Pity. Lake Macquarie is one of the great cruising areas. And the Swansea bar is one of the easier ones, being quite well protected by Moon (IIRC) island.
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Old 10-01-2013, 01:37   #36
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Re: how much is too much wind

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Pity. Lake Macquarie is one of the great cruising areas. And the Swansea bar is one of the easier ones, being quite well protected by Moon (IIRC) island.
We stopped in Newcastle and took the bus down to see what we had missed.

It wasn't the Swansea bar that worried us, it was the current through the bridge. It ran fast, the opening was narrow and it looked real easy to get slammed against the side.

As with most "stops" on the NSW coast, timing would be everything.

Newcastle is not that much further, there's only the odd coal boat to dodge, the Marina is friendly and the fish and chips are good.
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Old 11-01-2013, 16:33   #37
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We stopped in Newcastle and took the bus down to see what we had missed.

It wasn't the Swansea bar that worried us, it was the current through the bridge. It ran fast, the opening was narrow and it looked real easy to get slammed against the side.

As with most "stops" on the NSW coast, timing would be everything.

Newcastle is not that much further, there's only the odd coal boat to dodge, the Marina is friendly and the fish and chips are good.
We took our 7.6 metre beam cat into Lake Macquarie and found it quite easy. The moorings each side of the bridge give you a safe place to sit and wait for it to open.
Sailing north last March we had no current against us the whole way to QLD except one knot around Byron. There had been strong SW to S winds prior to our passage which seemed to have pushed the current further off the coast.
I think it could be prudent for a first timer to have an extra hand on board so you can just keep going if the bar you want to get over is closed out. Time your departures to give you options about stopping. Tides and swell rule this piece of coast even when the winds are light. Don't have a schedule you have to stick to.
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Old 12-01-2013, 14:48   #38
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Re: how much is too much wind

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Sailing up from sydney to brisbane for the first time with 33ft yacht. I am used to bay sailing. what is good wind and swell for sailing coastal. Is 20 or 25 knots too hard on the boat or is this ideal in coastal sailing? I seem to be looking for 10-15knts which maybe not enough to move a 33ft yacht.
How's the trip going? Seems to have been a lot of northerlies lately, interspersed with brief 20-30 knot southerly changes.
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Old 12-01-2013, 14:51   #39
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Re: how much is too much wind

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Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
We stopped in Newcastle and took the bus down to see what we had missed.

It wasn't the Swansea bar that worried us, it was the current through the bridge. It ran fast, the opening was narrow and it looked real easy to get slammed against the side.

As with most "stops" on the NSW coast, timing would be everything.

Newcastle is not that much further, there's only the odd coal boat to dodge, the Marina is friendly and the fish and chips are good.
As Teeto said, it's pretty easy. Alternatively you can wait on the courtesy moorings 'till the current stops, or there's a gentle tidal flow going against you. Makes maneouvering very easy.

Once you're in, you don't need marinas. The lake is dotted with excellent anchorages.
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Old 12-01-2013, 15:56   #40
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Re: how much is too much wind

G'Day all,

For us, the issue with Lake Macquarie isn't the bar or the bridge, but the depths at the drop-off (the point where the narrow channel suddenly widens out into the lake and the entrained sand and sediment drops out). Despite sporadic dredging, the depths are often on the order of 6.5 to 7 feet which is a bit too shallow for us and many others. It's soft stuff so that no damage is involved with a grounding, but it can prevent passage.

The depths on the lake are not much affected by tides, but atmospheric pressure can cause interesting variations. Unfortunately, the deep low that brings the depths up to usable numbers isn't always the nicest conditions for venturing to sea.

That said, it is an interesting place to visit, and I wish that they could find a way to keep the channel open.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 12-01-2013, 16:45   #41
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Re: how much is too much wind

6.5-7 feet shouldn't be a problem for a Mottle or a Roberts though.

Have to say it's nice to not be limited in where we can go because of draught. Lots of people who entered Aus in the port-port rally were terrified of the thought of going through the Sandy straits. In spite of my, and other's assurances that there was plenty of water if you simply used the tides, several of them opted to sail northeast round Breaksea spit then down the outside of Fraser island. They missed out on Platypus bay, IMO one of the best anchorages on earth.
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Old 25-01-2013, 02:06   #42
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Re: how much is too much wind

Hi, having done this trip 4 times in a 31ft, my recomendation would be to do the trip in light air and plan to motor sail much of the way, with flat seas you will make excellent miles with the engine not under much load aided by sails, if you can delay for favorable winds that's ideal, It is a challenging piece of water with limited bolt holes nth of port Stephens other than coffs. It not a trip setup for coastal cruising, you need to plan round the clock sailing so minimum 3 but ideally 4 on board.
If you have reservations, there are numerous delivery skippers who would do this with you and provide some expertise if your experience is limited to inshore sailing.
Good luck
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Old 25-01-2013, 13:50   #43
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Re: how much is too much wind

I say . . . when the wind is high enough to make it hard to breathe or keep one's eyes open, when looking into it . . . it's too much wind
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