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Wooden Boatshop News
Wednesday, 06 March 2019 09:11

Cruising 2019



Cruising 2019

Off To The Festival

We on the Storm Bay, left Sorrento in company with Garry Kerr’s crew on Jane Kerr on the Thursday January 24th so as not to start our cruise on the Friday and overnighted at Queenscliff. Friday saw strong North winds with record temperatures hitting 46 degrees at Melbourne airport. With the double reef in, we dropped the Jane Kerr behind rarely going under 8 knots!
Prior to leaving, I’d ordered 8 dozen oysters for the wet well in Storm Bay. (This is the first plate taken as an entrée at The Glennis (off the Prom). We had the last of them two and a half weeks later with our American friends from Off Center Harbor. The main course being snapper we caught in the anchorage, they were still flapping on the BBQ!

Next day we lunched at The Hogan’s then onto the group (Deal Island). One night in House Bay, then in Winter Cove. Gummies and a few crays were the order of the day.
On to Killiecrankie, as there was an approaching front. WHITING, Chris hooked 4 of the biggest I’ve ever seen. These fed 8 of us.
That life buoy is about 18 inches on the inside, I reckon the fish measured 600 mm in length.

After Killiecrankie, we overnighted at Badger Island, where we replenished our gummy supply, keeping a couple in the well.
Garry took us to the Aboriginal settlement on Cape Barron Island at the Western end of Franklin Sound, certainly well worth a visit. I had hot been there before and didn’t realise there was a little shop. Beautiful stopover!

North of where we were anchored is Long Island, a quick dinghy trip with our trusty electric outboard. This island has a history dating back to the mid 1800s of being run as a pastoral lease, in fact Dick Burgess on the Julie Burgess used to call there when they were passing on his cray fishing trips from Stony Point to the Furneaux group, as they were buddies with the Barrett's who had the lease.
Very ancient shack on Long Island, well worth a visit. Amazing patina on the untreated weatherboards.
Inside the shack, Jimmy and Garry Kerr in the foreground. Just like it was left 100 years ago. (You don't see this sort of thing in The Whitsundays).
Tied up at Lady Barron on the Eastern end of Franklin Sound. Spent two nights here due to a Westerly front coming through.

We like Lady Barron and the Furneaux tavern on the hill above. When we leave, going South, we track around next to Vansittart Island and between Gull and Cape Barron so as to save time and avoid the Pot Boil.
A long day down to Wineglass Bay and the Schoutens, my favourite anchorage on the East Coast. For a couple of days here, we potted plenty of crays and you can always find a sheltered anchorage, but sometimes it’s called the Schouten shuffle if the breeze starts off in the North and then goes West shifting from one side to the other side. We had a nice net of Bastard trumpeter here.
From the Schoutens, we overnighted at the top end of the Tasman Peninsula and then onto Fortescue Bay, Garry Kerr’s favourite east coast anchorage. By this time, Benito, Jane, Indi and Takari had all well and truly joined us.

Great sight to see the anchorage with only wooden boats! Burn Cuthbertson sank the old lighter for a breakwater making this a beautiful snug anchorage which is actually full of slimy mackeral and couta. The Bridge's fished out of this cove for years in Storm Bay catching white scale fish for the Hobart market.
When the Storm Bay was built, she was intended for coutaing and this was done out of Parsons Bay, Nubeena. Tim Bygraves (foreground) is related to the Bridge family and repurchased the lease on the point, where he keeps live fish in seawater tanks for local and export markets.

It’s been a tradition in the last few cruises to stop here and have a group BBQ prior to the wooden boat festival’s sail past. This year, we had an amazing ten boats join us, additionally from the fore mentioned boats, Tideways, Adam Richards, Mary Mine, Squally Cove a lamb and a pig on the spit, heaps of crays, a wonderful day.

Here, I’m thanking Tim and family and giving him a sign for his wharf.
The ex steamer Ena as a fishing boat prior to her being restored for Rene Rivkin by my good friend Nick Masterman & others.
The sail past, Storm Bay and Jane (we’ve got the lot up).

If there's any criticism or perhaps an observation, it's that this festival doesn't have a lot happening on the water. Accordingly, I believe the sail past is a very interesting and important component. As for me and the Storm Bay's crew, we give it everything. For anyone that's interested, there is a lovely photograph in the current 'Afloat' magazine.
Larry Eastwood’s trimming the jib under 4 feet of water. You will note that I've got the tiller down for a round up as this bullet was plus 30 knots, we've got about 1500 square feet of sail up.

A little bit before this, we lost the last of a tray (including the tray) of crayfish sandwiches, they floated off above the bulwark capping rail.
Confined sailing past the crowd on the wharf. With the centre board down, we are drawing 11 foot 6 inches water, the 28 tonne boat handles like a dinghy.
The crew have got to be on their toes, particularly in gusty weather, as we've got the mainsail runner, the topsail runner and the flying jib to slack away and tension through the tack.
The Jane, captured by ‘The Mercury’ reporter, clocking a steady 9 knots. Steve Stone, from Off Center Harbor reckons she is his new all time favourite boat, actually Maynard Bray, who subsequently sailed with Chris agreed.
An impressive sight on the Derwent. One lag reckoned there hadn't been a jackyard topsail set on the Derwent for 70 years, back then they were a common sight.
Could have been an expensive voyage?
It was a thrill for me to meet Jon Wilson, “the visionary founder and publisher of the iconic Wooden Boat Magazine”. "Jon Wilson’s 45 year struggle, initially aimed at “slowing the process of extinction", has now succeeded in inspiring the world-wide movement that today underpins the international wooden boat revival and the success of festivals like this in faraway Tasmania." - Bruce Stannard
Rosebud, when launched soon after World War 2 by Ken Lacco and now.
Moonbird, A photograph I snapped in 1977 in the middle of Point Nepean Road Mornington, now a restoration opportunity? She is usually found in Victoria Dock.
Nice shot of the beautiful Jane sailing down the D'entrecasteaux Channel with the Off Center Harbor boys on board, they loved her, and Christopher Sinn, always the perfect host.

We had many a lovely evening onboard, dinner for 10 not being unusual.
Dramatic photographs taken about an hour later of us on the Storm Bay copping a hiding from a southerly buster. Wind recorded in excess of 100km/hour from a shore station 1km away. Against the driving wind driven rain, I couldn’t look forward or communicate with the crew.

We were pinned on a lee shore next to Satellite Island where Fran Davis snapped these action shots.
Neil Smith’s Wildwave coming down the channel a couple of days after the festival, recently returned from a single handed round Australia trip. I think I’m right in saying well into his 70s.

In my view one of the finest displays at the show and not a lick of varnish from stem to stern.
We overnighted at Kettering waiting for the weather to moderate and Joy Phillips picked a lot of us up so she could show us the Holger Danske, a K. Aage Nielsen design masterpiece. His motto was "good enough is not good enough". Joy certainly lives by this as this restoration is "par excellence". A lesson well learnt in wooden boats is never, and I mean NEVER bond metallic parts in wooden boats (as is now common in other forms of construction).

The last time I was at Electrona (where Holger Danske is), I snapped this photograph (1979) of the New Zealand scow schooner Cathkit in her last resting place. At 139 tonnes, 116 feet x 33 feet I reckon she was the most amazing vessel I've ever seen, designed along the lines of a matchbox with a sharpened bow. These boats were designed to cart timber around the NZ coast, this one I think did the odd trip across the ditch and later across Bass Strait. Trouble is, on her last Bass Strait crossing, destined for Melbourne from the Tasman Peninsula she ended up in Sydney 55 days later, exhausted with most of her sails blown out. Gotta be a record?
They say Western Australia has beautiful sunsets, I’ve experienced plenty but it doesn’t get much better than this evening in Southern Tasmania, and the prolonged twilight in this part of the world greatly prolongs the pleasure.
The beautiful Jane Kerr.

Couldn't help myself for including this image, but as I look closely, i am greatly saddened by the loss of the huon pine dinghy. This dinghy was on Uteika III when Spuddo Giles took her to the Pacific in the 1930s.

When I got the dinghy a few years ago, she was just a few out of shape planks held together by broken ribs and destined to be a bookshelf.
Getting around to the West Coast, we were held up with the weather after the boat festival for a few days on the Friday morning. This is the Jane rounding South East Cape.
Lunchtime stop at the landing at Maatsuyker Island. Must be just about the windiest location in Australia?

It's very steep so after displacing the seals at the landing spot, you haul yourself skyward, see the chain.
Our trusty crew, Larry Eastwood, captain of the Sydney couta boats. It was Larry who called for the snorkel when lowering the gear in the Southerly buster, he reckons he was 4 feet under the water again.
The needles from the top of the lighthouse.
Known to be one of the windiest places in Australia, the breeze sculptures the landscape.
The vegetable garden.
The beautiful Jean Nicholls in New Harbour, where we often spend the night. Now wouldn't she make a magnificent cruiser?
Amazing natural weathered rock near one of our favourite West coast hidey holes.
Afternoon tea stop, just South of Port Davey.
A good pot of crays just South of Port Davey.
Cruise boats have found Port Davey. Luckily, they’re only allowed into Bramble Cove, the bottom end.

I didn't go up to Melaleuca this year as it's too busy for me but I must say, it is handy for crew transfers with the airstrip.

First time though in 1979 with Garry Kerr in the Truganini, it was a joy, coming around the corner I snapped this pic of Melaleuca and had tea and scones with Denny King
The right kind of Port Davey cruise boat, converted Danish fishing/cargo boat.
Up the Davey river, this is the gorge, a worthwhile trip.

Down at the river mouth 180 years ago, there was a boat building village here where vessels up to 300 tonnes were constructed for the colonial trade, not much left today, just a few huon pine pens on the side of the river and handmade chimney bricks in the settlement. These boats were entirely (handmade) and jury rigged to sail for Hobart down for fitting out (rigged).

At the other end of the Port Davey North arm, Chinese were growing vegetables for the whaling fleet, seems amazing today.
Bond Bay, Ian Johnson (the author of a magnificent West Coast cruising guide 'The Shank') and partner, after being weather bound on Storm Bay and staying for lunch on a hard pull back to his boat, Julien.

The lost huon pine dinghy. Mistakes on the west coast can be costly. Just before dark at Point Hibbs, the dinghy painter became untied from the Jane, frantic searching downwind failed to turn up the dinghy, it was 25 knots at the time.

Young Chris at the helm.
Maurie Wolfe, 50 years a West coast fisherman. All round great bloke and always ready with some timely advice.

He's soon to retire, but he still takes charters to the West coast in his 56 foot
La Golondrina

So if you're thinking about a very very special cruising experience, speak to me or Maurie.
Huon pine resource at Strahan, a little bit of boat timber but mostly craft wood, that's about it.

Just over the road is Western Softwoods. That's where all the huon pine has come from for all thos3e huon pine boats we build here.

My mate cowboy (Bob Crane) is retired now but Daniel's now in charge of the old business.

I reckon cowboy only gave up the competitive wood chopping when he was into his 80s.
So after Strahan, we overnighted at Sandy Cape, Three Hummucks, and then tucked a triple reef in and headed back to Port Phillip in a nice 30-35 knot Easterly, nice sail and a great cruise, it was Garry who took the Jane Kerr back to Portland. As I write this, he is now off Sandy Cape in the Eumerella cray fishing. As for me, I'm trying to enthuse you lot to come cruising!
Here's the Pisces, she is currently at the Wooden Boat Shop in need of a captain. The plans are what I reckon are perfect for cruising our Southern waters. She's all huon pine and in great nick, hullwise. Any interest, you know where to find me.

Tim Phillips, March 14th 2019.