Well the wind did come! a humdinger of a SW, Just after Evan fixed the alternator brushes.
Leaving the East coast between the Bay of Fires and Eddystone Point we headed North-East entering Banks Strait region fully exposed to the South-Westerly. It blew a consistent 30-35+ knots with gusts 40+ knots. Aiming a bit more north than east we wanted to get behind Clarke and Flinders islands as quickly as possible to reduce the wave height which was reaching about 4 metres. This was wind with the tide as well, would hate to have been wind against tide in this moment. With the larger waves every once in a while we would really round up and tip sideways. We felt safe on Nashira and yet you knew where the power was. Our 11 tonne boat felt like a light little cork in a big ocean. Evan helmed through the bigger waves and once we got into the shadow of Flinders island the waves reduced and I took over for my shift.
Day 3, Crossing Bass Strait – March 13th
About 1:00 am the winds reduced to a steady 15 to 20 knots SW and the waves were much smaller, beautiful sailing. In the light of morning the winds reduced even further to 5 knots give or take a bit which barely managed to move us in our North Easterly direction. Evan fired up the motor and after a short time, and a bad screechy sound later, we shut down the motor to find the alternator bearings shot.
Really!?! This trip has become one repair after another.
Evan was exhausted and needed to sleep so I took over and did my best to keep us heading for Eden.
A couple hours later Evan was ready to tackle the alternator as well as the toilet macerator which happened to cease not long after he woke up thanks to what looks like a small ceiling screw that fell into the toilet while I was using it. I am really over things breaking on this trip.
Evan got busy and fixed the toilet first. In this case it was deemed more important overall and then tackled the alternator. We had a spare, very old, original looking alternator on board (thanks to the conscientious previous owner). He managed to hook this up so it would run the fan belt on the motor but didn’t do any wiring to charge the batteries at this stage as the wiring seemed different to the other alternator.
A vessel by the name of ‘Alleena’ radioed us to ask if we were okay. they were right behind us when we left the east coast of Tassie and remained quite near until we stopped with our various issues. They noticed we weren’t moving and decided to radio and said they would keep an eye on us via AIS. I love this about the sailing community, most people are happy to help each other out in need and share a common reality of life on the water.
Nashira’s motor fired up successfully and we were able to motor all day and night eventually arriving in Eden at about 9:30am the next morning.
Day 4 – Arrived in Eden – March 14th
On the way to Eden, through the night, all non-essential equipment had to be switched off as we were no longer charging the battery. Solar will help in the morning but not during the night. We turned off ‘Steady Eddie’ our auto pilot and manually steered most of the time to save battery for essential equipment. This is where I had my first experience with micro sleeps. My last good night sleep was in Kettering Sunday night and it is now Thursday early morning, black dark outside with only the little light on the compass and light showing heading on the auto pilot control. My eyes were weary, the weather and seas mild. I looked at the beautiful growing flowers thinking how pretty they were…………..WAIT, wake up!!! Holy crap I was dreaming sitting up! Kind of shocked I had to keep hauling myself back into present time. That was tough. We shortened our shifts to 2 hours from then on.
The morning light was late in coming. Clouds have rolled in and it is raining on and off. By the time it was light and I could see where we were going we had already passed Gabo island and were coming up to Cape Howe. A short time later and we were at Eden where we tied up at the wharf and paid the port authority for one day stay ($25 included power and water) and set off to get help wiring up the alternator.
The local chandlery gave us number of an auto electrician – Ken, who offered to come down and give us a hand.
Departing early in the evening we motored over to Boyd Town to find and thank the crew of Alleena for keeping an eye on us in Bass Strait. We are both so appreciative of their efforts and now get the chance to hear a bit about their story. Wonderful.
Afterwards we motored over to the South end of Eden (called East Boyd Bay) behind the big wharf to get a good night sleep with no swell or wind to keep us awake. Man did we sleep well!!