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Old 06-12-2021, 15:02   #1
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Sailing Fraser coast

Finding information on how treacherous the Wide Bay bar is very very easy. Overload of information. What’s lacking though, is information on avoiding it all together by going around Fraser and entering Hervey Bay from the north.
Is it simply a matter of distance between anchorages, and therefore require a sail overnight which makes this route unappealing? Are there other reasons why I can’t find info on a avoiding wide bay bar and subsequent extremely shallow Sandy Straits? Everywhere I read, wide Bay Bar is known as the most treacherous bar crossing in Australia. Given that, you’d think there’d be more info on going around Fraser…..

I’m looking to buy a boat and keep at Mooloolaba, and frequenting Hervey Bay so wide bay Bar would be a regular problem
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Old 06-12-2021, 21:01   #2
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

Yep, about 150NM from Double Island Point to go round the top with no safe anchorages on the way. No other reason not to do it.


Plenty of people go outside if they are aiming for further north (or even to Bundaberg)
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Old 06-12-2021, 22:26   #3
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

Dave Noosa I think you are listening to way to many sailors yarns about Wide Bay Bar. Countless people cross it every year with no problems. You pick your weather and time to cross and it should be easy. Sandy straits is easy to navigate as well, not that shallow either if you stay in the channel and again chose your time to be moving.
If you are going to be in Hervey Bay regularly why not keep your boat there? It is way quicker by car than by sea.

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Old 06-12-2021, 22:55   #4
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Noosa View Post
Finding information on how treacherous the Wide Bay bar is very very easy. Overload of information. What’s lacking though, is information on avoiding it all together by going around Fraser and entering Hervey Bay from the north.
Is it simply a matter of distance between anchorages, and therefore require a sail overnight which makes this route unappealing? Are there other reasons why I can’t find info on a avoiding wide bay bar and subsequent extremely shallow Sandy Straits? Everywhere I read, wide Bay Bar is known as the most treacherous bar crossing in Australia. Given that, you’d think there’d be more info on going around Fraser…..

I’m looking to buy a boat and keep at Mooloolaba, and frequenting Hervey Bay so wide bay Bar would be a regular problem
Dave,

We have gone around the top of Fraser Is., as well as going over WBB many, many times. There is one thing to beware of, and if you know about it beforehand, it is pretty easy. This is that in SE tradewind conditions, there is a strong onshore set at Breaksea Point, and a lot of shallow water. Set is strongest if enhanced trades are blowing and it is flooding at springs. So, it is wise to give it a good berth or make sure your off track error is under control.

I think the easiest approach from Mooloolaba to WBB is to spend the night first at Double Island Point, and then go in 3 hrs into the flood in the morning. This way, the sun isn't in your eyes for the approach. Practice is to get the updated GPS waypoints from the volunteers at Tin Can Bay. At DIP, you can get in quite a way, if you are careful, and put out a stern anchor if the boat you buy is a mono. You won't need it if you have good roll tolerance, but waves do wrap around the point, and it will bother some people after the wind drops out. After the bar crossing, there will still be current running to see you across Sheridan Flats if you are northbound, or down into Tin Can Bay, if that area is your destination. [We usually don't go into Gary's, because I detest sandflies, but many people love it there. We draw 2.2 m. and it is shallow for us, too.] After Sheridan Flats, you can stop wherever you like.

Hope this helps.

Ann
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Old 06-12-2021, 23:16   #5
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

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Originally Posted by Fore and Aft View Post
Dave Noosa I think you are listening to way to many sailors yarns about Wide Bay Bar. Countless people cross it every year with no problems. You pick your weather and time to cross and it should be easy. Sandy straits is easy to navigate as well, not that shallow either if you stay in the channel and again chose your time to be moving.
If you are going to be in Hervey Bay regularly why not keep your boat there? It is way quicker by car than by sea.

Cheers
Thanks for your reply. I live on the Sunshine Coast and have my business here so primary base will be Mooloolaba. My family all live at Hervey Bay + initially my desire is to sail north mainly so I know Hervey Bay is gonna be a main area I will sail meaning regular crossings of the bar. Hence the research on Wide Bay Bar
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Old 07-12-2021, 01:03   #6
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

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Originally Posted by Dave Noosa View Post
......Everywhere I read, wide Bay Bar is known as the most treacherous bar crossing in Australia. Given that, you’d think there’d be more info on going around Fraser…..

........
As other have already posted, you are reading too many negative stories. As far as Aussie east coast bars go, WWB is pretty tame if you respect times, tides and weather.

Any bar can go south if you disrespect them but I'd go far to say that the WWB is a good 'training bar'.

If conditions change unexpectedly, you can anchor between DIP (in SE trade weather) and wait.

Ann's advice is spot on IMO as is F&A.
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Old 07-12-2021, 02:06   #7
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

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As other have already posted, you are reading too many negative stories. As far as Aussie east coast bars go, WWB is pretty tame if you respect times, tides and weather.
And I would only add that Wide Bay Bar (WBB) is very much safer than any of the four or more (depending on your draught) gutters that are used as 'shortcuts' across Breaksea Spit by local fishers.

The gutters across Breaksea Spit become lethal in anything but calm. You need a heap of local knowledge and experience, plus reliable engine(s) and jolly good navigational electronics. I've heard of blokes who have come away with crushed vertebrae after making a mistake in the gutters (usually discussed using romantic monikers such as 4 mile gutter, 13 mile gutter, etc). I would expect hulls and lives have been lost by the foolhardy. If conditions do not let you cross WBB, then for sure you will not survive a gutter crossing.
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Old 07-12-2021, 02:17   #8
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

FWIW:

The WBB has an evil reputation in Queensland, no doubt about that! As Ann said above, we've crossed it numerous times without issue, but we don't sail to a schedule and have waited for decent conditions several times. As a result, our crossings have been without trauma.

I think the reputation has developed amongst local sailors because the WBB is the only significant bar crossing in the state, so they don't get much practice in interpreting conditions. NSW has quite a few barred entrances, some of which are much more dangerous than WBB, and down there local sailors get a lot of exposure and gain confidence therefrom.

Yes, the WBB can be hazardous. A friend of ours pitchpoled his Lightwave cat one night when he missed the "deep" channel in the dark, driving one bow into the sand. He said he was surfing down a wave at speeds in the teens when it struck. This story implies that conditions were not optimal for a night time entrance (!). Frankly, I would not have attempted it... and that is the answer to the OP's query: if conditions are not good, don't go! Pretty simple, eh?

BTW, the bar is often pretty mild, but once across and into the inner reaches near Inskip Point the conditions can be chaotic. The area is called the "mad mile" with good reason, sporting wind against tide (often), slop coming over the bar reefs, reflected patterns from many directions... AARRGGGH! Not so dangerous, but very, very uncomfortable!
Do be aware if you are essaying your first crossing.

Jim
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Old 07-12-2021, 13:31   #9
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

Thanks everyone for your replies.

Sounds like Breaksea spit is just as, if not more treacherous plus too far to go around Fraser. Just gonna have to regularly do the bar.
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Old 07-12-2021, 16:53   #10
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

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Originally Posted by Dave Noosa View Post
Thanks everyone for your replies.

Sounds like Breaksea spit is just as, if not more treacherous plus too far to go around Fraser. Just gonna have to regularly do the bar.

Breaksea is only treacherous if you try to cross between the Cardinal Mark/Light and Sandy Cape. Go right around and it's not a problem. (That's why I said 150NM before )



The Brsbane to Gladstone Yacht Race goes around it every year with no issues
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Old 07-12-2021, 17:25   #11
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
FWIW:

The WBB has an evil reputation in Queensland, no doubt about that! As Ann said above, we've crossed it numerous times without issue, but we don't sail to a schedule and have waited for decent conditions several times. As a result, our crossings have been without trauma.

I think the reputation has developed amongst local sailors because the WBB is the only significant bar crossing in the state, so they don't get much practice in interpreting conditions. NSW has quite a few barred entrances, some of which are much more dangerous than WBB, and down there local sailors get a lot of exposure and gain confidence therefrom.

Yes, the WBB can be hazardous. A friend of ours pitchpoled his Lightwave cat one night when he missed the "deep" channel in the dark, driving one bow into the sand. He said he was surfing down a wave at speeds in the teens when it struck. This story implies that conditions were not optimal for a night time entrance (!). Frankly, I would not have attempted it... and that is the answer to the OP's query: if conditions are not good, don't go! Pretty simple, eh?

BTW, the bar is often pretty mild, but once across and into the inner reaches near Inskip Point the conditions can be chaotic. The area is called the "mad mile" with good reason, sporting wind against tide (often), slop coming over the bar reefs, reflected patterns from many directions... AARRGGGH! Not so dangerous, but very, very uncomfortable!
Do be aware if you are essaying your first crossing.

Jim
Hi Jim and Ann, thanks for your replies. Looking at the waypoints it appears the second waypoint is very close to the banks on the Fraser side meaning you’d have to be pretty darn close to breaking waves all around. I’m thinking having someone experienced on board for the first couple of crossings is a good idea.
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Old 07-12-2021, 17:30   #12
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

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Breaksea is only treacherous if you try to cross between the Cardinal Mark/Light and Sandy Cape. Go right around and it's not a problem. (That's why I said 150NM before )



The Brsbane to Gladstone Yacht Race goes around it every year with no issues
Ok awesome thanks StuM, so where’s the cardinal mark? Is that past the spit indicating the channel?
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Old 07-12-2021, 20:31   #13
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

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Ok awesome thanks StuM, so where’s the cardinal mark? Is that past the spit indicating the channel?

It's not marking a channel. A Cardinal Mark indicates which direction is safe. It's a North mark (two triangles pointing up) which means - "safe water is to the North"


See your QLD Boatsafe Workbook, Page 55
"Cardinal marks
A cardinal mark indicates where the safest water may be
found and is used in conjunction with the compass. It may
indicate the deepest water in the area, the safe side on
which to pass a danger or may draw attention to a feature in
a channel such as a bend, junction or an end of a shoal.
You should pass on the eastern side of an east cardinal
mark, on the southern side of a south cardinal, on the
western side of a west cardinal and on the northern side
of a north cardinal "
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Old 07-12-2021, 20:34   #14
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Noosa View Post
Hi Jim and Ann, thanks for your replies. Looking at the waypoints it appears the second waypoint is very close to the banks on the Fraser side meaning you’d have to be pretty darn close to breaking waves all around. I’m thinking having someone experienced on board for the first couple of crossings is a good idea.
Dave, the thing to remember is that the channel moves around a lot. It used to come in more from the east rather than along the reef face, and it may well move again. So, always contact the Tin Can Bay VMR for the latest data on the channel. Even though they are miles away and can't see the entrance, they will have current info. You can also get the info via text message or email, which saves worry about transcription errors.

Jim
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Old 07-12-2021, 21:12   #15
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Re: Sailing Fraser coast

Lots of good advice above. As a sailor far less experienced than those commenting above I can say the first time I tackled the bar I made sure the weather, tide, and time of day was optimum and frankly it was a non event. 1m swell from the NE

Second time (returning from a long trip up north and feeling both a bit of get home itess and a bit over confident) was a different story.

4 metre steep breaking waves everywhere on the last leg top the SE. On track too and the track really isn't very wide. Getting the latest waypoints is important!

I ignored some good advice (tide wasn't optimum and swell was excessive) and if I was crossing the bar inward rather than heading out I suspect there would have been some exciting moments, probably my first broach in a vessel this size (34ft mono, IOR design). Hell it was pretty exciting anyway launching off what was very nice surf.

The waverider bouy might be useful to indicate general sea state prior to departing Mooloolaba. 2 metres of less would be nice. And as others have commented a morning crossing if inbound, towards the end of a rising tide.

Sandy straits are not a problem at all just require some accurate navigation.

Obviously when crossing the flats you work the tide.

Its a very very long way around the top of Fraser. Having said that the inside of Fraser in Hervey Bay is rather nice. At least what I have seen of it prior to heading north west for Bundy.

Now based in Moreton Bay I can say there is some great sailing down here too once you get sick of the slog up to HB.

Enjoy.

Andrew.
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