2017 April – Cowes to Paynesville (Gippsland Lakes)

Posted by on May 1, 2017


Total Sailing time : 58h50m (3530 minutes)
Travelled distance : 528.94 km (285.60 nm)
Average Speed : 8.99 km/h (4.85 knots)
Peak Speed : 18.79 km/h (10.14 knots) on 2017/04/04

2017-04-02 - FROM Cowes TO Oberon Bay

Trip start : 2017/04/02 06:35:13 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-01T20:35:13Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/03 01:27:22
Trip Duration : 18h52m (1132 minutes)
Start Point : 145.240402,-38.446201
End Point : 146.336624,-39.070880
Travelled distance : 156.19 km (84.34 nm)
Average Speed : 8.27 km/h (4.47 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.22 km/h (8.76 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 117.725 km (63.566 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 6.23 km/h (3.36 knots)

We wanted to be in the Gippsland Lakes to meet up with some yachting mates Brian and Carol for Easter, so we made a break. We were too tall to fit under the bridge at San Remo, so we had to head west and go past Seal Rocks before heading towards the Prom. Damn wind had not developed as the Met had promised, so the Yanmar engines got a good workout.

We hoped to spend the night in Inverloch, but when we arrived there the swell was rolling and we could not spot the entrance. David phoned a local fishing store and they advised not to make the attempt, so with light fading we decided to make for the Prom.

Arriving after midnight in Oberon Bay, we dropped the anchor in 5 metres of water and hit the sack.

Colleen at work in the galley

2017-04-04 - FROM Oberon Bay TO Refuge Cove

Trip start : 2017/04/04 09:18:57 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-03T23:18:57Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/04 15:06:29
Travelling Time : 4h43m (283 minutes)
Trip Duration : 5h47m (347 minutes)
Start Point : 146.336502,-39.071151
End Point : 146.464538,-39.038951
Travelled distance : 30.99 km (16.73 nm)
Average Speed : 6.57 km/h (3.54 knots)
Peak Speed : 18.79 km/h (10.14 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 11.620 km (6.274 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 2.46 km/h (1.33 knots)

After resting up for a day, we raised sail and headed south. Winds freshened as we approached the bottom of Wilsons Prom, and we hit our fastest speed of the month before reefing. Winds were on the nose as we headed north to the delightful Refuge Cove. We dropped anchor in the north-east corner but we found it a bit swelly so we moved to the western corner which put us off a delightful beach and with very little swell.

Rounding Mornington Peninsular lighthouse

We spent a couple of days in Refuge Cove, seeing a procession of boats of all sizes come and go. We eventually ended up with THREE Seawind 1160’s in the Cove. Ourselves, Lamour de la Mer and Last Resort. We spent sundowners aboard Lamour and compared our chartering experiences with Ivan as he was delivering the boat back to Airlie for the coming season.

Washing day in Refuge Cove

XTsea and Lamour de la Mer at anchor in Refuge Cove

Looking out to sea after hiking up to Kersops Peak

2017-04-07 - FROM Refuge Cove TO Lakes Entrance

Trip start : 2017/04/07 17:26:44 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-07T07:26:44Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/08 10:45:58
Trip Duration : 17h19m (1039 minutes)
Start Point : 146.465423,-39.041568
End Point : 147.984497,-37.882499
Travelled distance : 186.31 km (100.60 nm)
Average Speed : 10.75 km/h (5.80 knots)
Peak Speed : 15.63 km/h (8.44 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 184.667 km (99.712 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 10.66 km/h (5.75 knots)

All three 1160’s decided to overnight it to Lakes Entrance. Last Resort headed off mid-afternoon, and ouselves and Lamour departed just before dark. All three boats had AIS transponders, so we were able to track each other’s movements. Motors were needed, and Ivan liked to run his a bit harder so he moved a knot faster and pulled away.

An uneventful passage found Ivan at the entrance soon after dawn, and ourselves and last Resort were able to sail the last few miles and arrived at 10am. The bar crossing was not a concern, however we performed a very quick drop of all sails to make the channel.

We tied up behind Lamour at the town jetty and were amazed to see the yachting infrastructure that Lakes Entrance offered. Free 48 hour jetties! Water on tap! A short walk to the pub or supermarket.

2017-04-09 - FROM Lakes Entrance TO Duck Arm mooring

Trip start : 2017/04/09 11:34:22 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-09T01:34:22Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/09 15:12:14
Trip Duration : 3h37m (217 minutes)
Start Point : 147.982986,-37.882991
End Point : 147.665420,-37.950931
Travelled distance : 30.85 km (16.65 nm)
Average Speed : 8.53 km/h (4.60 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.49 km/h (6.20 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 28.863 km (15.585 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 7.98 km/h (4.30 knots)

The weather forecast predicted a bit of a blow, so instead of being bashed against the jetty, both boats decided to travel up to Duck Arm where there might be shelter. The westerly developed some strength, and it was quite a bumpy trip. The Navionics charts did not show depth in spots, so with only a depth gauge Ivan was slightly concerned, and we took the lead with our CP300 sonar giving us a lot more confidence.

As we crossed King Lake, we saw our pals Bruce and Tracey on Liseron who were also making their way to Duck Arm. We made our way to the bottom of the arm and found three moorings so tied up and saw out the blow. We hosted the crews from all three boats (seven adults in total) aboard XTsea for a wonderful meal, which was a bit of a squeeze around the table. Lamour de la Mer headed off to resume their voyage north, but we hang around a few days with Liseron. They were busy catching up on studies, but we shared another meal and tendered across to Sperm Whale Head with Bruce and Tracey for a bushwalk.

Liseron and Lamour de la Mer moored in Duck Arm

2017-04-14 - FROM Duck Arm TO Dawsons Cove

Trip start : 2017/04/14 08:15:49 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-13T22:15:49Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/14 09:02:46
Trip Duration : 0h46m (46 minutes)
Start Point : 147.665679,-37.951049
End Point : 147.710647,-37.923698
Travelled distance : 6.60 km (3.56 nm)
Average Speed : 8.61 km/h (4.65 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.66 km/h (6.29 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 4.980 km (2.689 nm)

Saying our goodbyes to Liseron, we made the short trip around to Dawsons Cove to await the arrival of Brian and Carol. Carol was a mate from our time in hockey, and we had sailed with both of them on board Cadiburra 8 as we were learning the ropes of sailing. We had also delivered Caddi back from Hobart after a Sydney-Hobart race. Brian had built a trailer-sailor named Fat Bottom Girl and was going to compete in the Easter regatta hosted by the Gippsland Lakes Yacht Club. They brought along their dog Sparkie too!

Brian had delivered our new watermaker to us. An AquaMaax unit from Canada, it used a 1hp 12V Leeson motor, a General Pumps stainless 1.6gpm pump, and standard membrane and pressure vessel. The decision to go with a 12V solution was a long one. An engine-driven system would have made more water, but would be it would be difficult and costly to construct a pump mount to suit the Yanmar, and thanks to the larger alternator already on the port engine, it would need to go on the starboard which would make accessing it to change filters more difficult. You also need to keep the RPM within a designed range, meaning you can either make water underway or at rest, but not usually both. With an engine-mounted solution off the table, David then needed to decide on an AC or DC motor. The current requirements for both are similar, but David wanted to eliminate points of possible failure and felt a DC solution would be better because the reliance on the inverter to supply a large load for extended periods would be eliminated. The AquaMaax unit was at a good price, so David pulled the trigger. Planning and installing this unit would take up a lot of David’s time for the near future.

David crewed with Brian and another sailing buddy Andrew over the three days of the regatta, with Fat Bottom Girl AKA Bargearse rafting up to us each night. Colleen and Carol spent an enjoyable couple of days gabbing, and Bargearse was always at the pointy end of the fleet but thanks to the light winds her handicap dragged her back to the middle of the result table.

Sparkie was very comfortable on board XTsea, and it was nice to have a hound on board again. Dog hair did tend to pile up though! Carol was also happy aboard, enjoying hot showers and a comfy bed, and Colleen enjoyed hosting everyone. She experimented making Oyster Shooters one night, finally getting the blend spot-on after a few attempts!

2017-04-18 - FROM Dawsons Cove TO McLennan Straight

Trip start : 2017/04/18 10:23:12 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-18T00:23:12Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/18 17:02:03
Travelling Time : 4h33m (273 minutes)
Trip Duration : 6h38m (398 minutes)
Start Point : 147.710372,-37.923480
End Point : 147.422424,-38.102729
Travelled distance : 39.11 km (21.11 nm)
Average Speed : 8.59 km/h (4.64 knots)
Peak Speed : 12.67 km/h (6.84 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 32.150 km (17.359 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 7.06 km/h (3.81 knots)

With the regatta finished, Bargearse and XTsea sailed down past Loch Sport to the end of Lake Victoria and up through McLennan Straight to just before Lake Wellington. (If we didn’t have a mast, we could actually have sailed all the way to Sale!) We tied up to some trees on the riverbank, started a nice fire, and enjoyed a wonderful meal of freshly caught Tailor (thanks Carol!) and spuds in foil. Drinkies extended well into the evening, with Colleen putting in a good effort and needing to be heaved back onto the boat.

Our campsite in the McLennan Straight. Glamping!

2017-04-19 - FROM McLennan Straight TO Ocean Grange VIA Fuel Dock

Trip start : 2017/04/19 10:25:04 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-19T00:25:04Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/19 16:37:57
Travelling Time : 5h12m (312 minutes)
Trip Duration : 6h12m (372 minutes)
Start Point : 147.422286,-38.102779
End Point : 147.763229,-37.963298
Travelled distance : 45.39 km (24.50 nm)
Average Speed : 8.72 km/h (4.71 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.73 km/h (6.33 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 33.648 km (18.168 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 6.47 km/h (3.49 knots)

One of Brian and Carol’s favorite spots is Ocean Grange, so we made for there. The fuel gauges on XTsea were looking a bit low, so we headed into Paynesville to fill the tanks first. Following the convoluted starboard channel, we managed to find our way there without incident and tied up at yet another free 48 hour jetty. The Lakes are surely a yachting paradise!

We enjoyed a nice long walk on the surf beach, with everyone bar Colleen jumping in for a refreshing dip. Sparkie was in his element, finding every stick within range.

2017-04-21 - FROM Ocean Grange TO Paynesville

Trip start : 2017/04/21 09:54:26 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-20T23:54:26Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/21 10:40:52
Trip Duration : 0h46m (46 minutes)
Start Point : 147.764007,-37.963390
End Point : 147.724975,-37.920089
Travelled distance : 6.92 km (3.73 nm)
Average Speed : 9.02 km/h (4.87 knots)
Peak Speed : 9.95 km/h (5.37 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 5.907 km (3.189 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 7.70 km/h (4.16 knots)

We enjoyed a nice meal of Thai food at the Motor Club before bidding Brian and Carol farewell.

Some unconventional traffic in McMillan Straight off Paynesville. Umbrella-powered kayaks! That’s the Raymond Island Ferry in rear.

2017-04-22 - FROM Paynesville TO Paynesville Progress Jetty

Trip start : 2017/04/22 10:34:05 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-22T00:34:05Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/22 10:40:00
Trip Duration : 0h05m (5 minutes)
Start Point : 147.725082,-37.920108
End Point : 147.719375,-37.920310
Travelled distance : 0.59 km (0.32 nm)
Average Speed : 7.18 km/h (3.87 knots)
Peak Speed : 7.19 km/h (3.88 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 0.501 km (0.270 nm)

2017-04-25 - FROM Progress Jetty TO Picnic Arm Mooring

Trip start : 2017/04/25 14:33:02 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-25T04:33:02Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/25 15:04:04
Trip Duration : 0h31m (31 minutes)
Start Point : 147.718963,-37.920261
End Point : 147.681137,-37.943969
Travelled distance : 4.83 km (2.60 nm)
Average Speed : 9.35 km/h (5.04 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.18 km/h (6.03 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 4.237 km (2.287 nm)

It was getting a bit lumpy on the jetty so we headed around to Picnic Arm to grab a mooring and see out the blow. David planned out the installation of the watermaker.

2017-04-27 - FROM Picnic Arm TO Paynesville

Trip start : 2017/04/27 07:46:09 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-26T21:46:09Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/27 08:16:31
Trip Duration : 0h30m (30 minutes)
Start Point : 147.681503,-37.943908
End Point : 147.725204,-37.919570
Travelled distance : 5.15 km (2.78 nm)
Average Speed : 10.30 km/h (5.56 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.12 km/h (6.00 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 4.691 km (2.533 nm)

2017-04-28 - FROM Paynesville TO Dawsons Cove VIA Progress Jetty

Trip start : 2017/04/28 09:16:06 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-27T23:16:06Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/28 16:00:22
Travelling Time : 0h15m (15 minutes)
Trip Duration : 6h44m (404 minutes)
Start Point : 147.725006,-37.919731
End Point : 147.711135,-37.923721
Travelled distance : 1.67 km (0.90 nm)
Average Speed : 6.68 km/h (3.61 knots)
Peak Speed : 9.68 km/h (5.22 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 1.295 km (0.699 nm)

2017-04-29 - FROM Paynesville TO Dawsons Cove VIA Lake King

Trip start : 2017/04/29 11:01:53 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-29T01:01:53Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/29 14:07:03
Travelling Time : 1h36m (96 minutes)
Trip Duration : 3h05m (185 minutes)
Start Point : 147.711074,-37.923751
End Point : 147.725143,-37.919509
Travelled distance : 13.69 km (7.39 nm)
Average Speed : 8.56 km/h (4.62 knots)
Peak Speed : 12.40 km/h (6.69 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 1.321 km (0.713 nm)

One of Colleen’s old workmates and her husband Grace and John came down from Moe for a visit, so we went out for a quick sail north into Lake King. Some good breeze as a front approached saw us run with just the genoa, and we quickly approached the Silt Jetties. Turning back, there was a bit of excitement as we headed back to Paynesville as a boat was on fire on the Raymond Island side of the straight, and the water police and fire services were involved in battling the blaze as we went past.

2017-04-30 - FROM Paynesville TO Progress Jetty

Trip start : 2017/04/30 10:34:05 (Adjusted Local) (2017-04-30T00:34:05Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/04/30 10:40:00
Trip Duration : 0h05m (5 minutes)
Start Point : 147.725082,-37.920108
End Point : 147.719375,-37.920310
Travelled distance : 0.59 km (0.32 nm)
Average Speed : 7.18 km/h (3.87 knots)
Peak Speed : 7.19 km/h (3.88 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 0.501 km (0.270 nm)

David’s work on the watermaker had progressed. Wanting to install it neatly in a cupboard, he used some of the leftover White Beech, but needed to make trench cuts to do a professional job. Using McGyver-level skills, he turned our electric hand saw into a sawbench and soon the sawdust was flying.

David turned a hand saw into a bench saw to install the watermaker. McGyver would be proud.

Watermaker installation is progressing..

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