Mandolin Wind under Spinnaker  

Welcome to the Voyage of SV. Mandolin Wind

Martin & Sue


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Melbourne to Brisbane



So despite last minute efforts to thwart our best laid plans, ’Mandolin Wind’ was able to cast off her lines at 1.30pm on Tuesday 7th April. While Rod, Martin and David put up with the short, sharp chop of Port Phillip Bay as they beat towards the Heads, I was preparing to board a plane for Brisbane. ( See previous Blog as to why Sue wasn't on this trip ... just to miss out on Bass Strait I suspect - not really !!)

The motion of the boat was not helped by the fact that ‘Mandolin Wind’ was well down on her marks due to the several barrow loads of gear that had been loaded aboard. An hour out and Rod suddenly realized he had left some essential medication behind – good on you Sandy for driving to Queenscliff to deliver the drugs! After a quick stop to do the handover, it was out through the Heads and into a 2-3 m swell on the beam. The motion of a following sea is usually a certain recipe to make Martin seasick so he took the precaution of dosing up on high strength Stugeron.  Once out of Bass Strait he was able to reduce this to only 1 avomine every 24 hours.


By 10.30am the next morning they had passed the most southerly point of the journey north (at the base of the Prom).  ‘Roll on hotter weather’, thought Martin as he prepared to don full wet weather gear for his watch! As they approached the oil rigs the wind died completely and the slatting of the main began causing some irritation to the nerves of the crew. However, it is hard to complain when the seas are oily across the ‘paddock’, even if lots of diesel is burned!  It was too good to last of course. Several hours short of Gabo, Bass Strait decided it had one more sting in her tail! 25 knots on the nose saw the overloaded bows bury themselves into the waves and the resulting cascades of water caused the port front hatch to leak (a known problem but one we ran out of time to fix.) It seemed to take forever to get around Gabo, especially with 1 ½ knots of the East Australian Current (EAC) on the nose. Eden was finally abeam by 6am Friday – just as the wind died completely!


During a quick stop at Eden for showers and boat cleaning, about 20 litres of diesel was discovered in the bilge under the starboard engine. Further examination found a pinhole in the bottom of the secondary fuel  filter (a new one). After cleaning up the mess (where did those disposable nappies get packed?) the journey was continued into 10-15knots N/NW.  Next stop Bermagui at 9 pm. Fortunately, Dave had been into Bermagui several times before as the entrance is very narrow (only 2-3 boat lengths) and the leads take you to about 50m off the beach and then 10m off some nasty looking rocks. Once inside, all crew had a good sleep whilst rafted up to a long line trawler at the public jetty.  On investigating fuel options, it was found that it could be purchased from the co-op for $1.34 litre which is a good price. We took on 520 litres and filled the tanks, giving enough fuel to motor to Brisbane if necessary.  ( Suffer all of you monohulls that don’t carry 1000 l of diesel ! ) Back at sea and it was interesting to note that the sea temperature was 26.5 degrees, compared with the 16 degrees of Port Phillip. The East Australia Current (EAC) was very strong and close in.


Tuesday brought a sharp increase in the EAC and having to battle 3-3 ½ knots greatly reduced SOG and increased the ETA to Brisbane. Not much one can do but grit teeth and press on. By mid afternoon  Wednesday a gale warning had been issued Nth of Yamba so Coffs Harbour became the third stop of the trip.  We pulled in about 5.30pm and soon found out that the warning was subsequently cancelled. A quick calc suggested that we had to leave at 2am Thursday to make slack water at the Gold Coast Seaway bar so it was an early night and early rise. 2 am saw us heading out into 3m leftover slop and some heavy rain showers. The weather cleared slowly as dawn broke and the slop died down.




Mid morning and finally the fishing lines went whizzing and a skipjack tuna was successfully landed (although the cockpit looked like a slaughter house).  By the afternoon the weather was perfect and the sun finally shone – the first time since leaving Brighton. After an unsuccessful trial of the recently conditioned water maker, another job was added to the To Do list for Brisbane – looks like a dodgy circuit breaker and a leaking Clark pump ( High pressure pump ).


Finally, after 9 days the Bar was crossed into the Gold Coast Seaway and after negotiating some seriously shallow water during t he trip up to Morton Bay, ‘Mandolin Wind’ finally pulled into RQYS. It was only 3 in the afternoon but surely a bottle of Champagne was called for – especially when a distant figure was spotted hobbling along on crutches trying to negotiate the long marina arm!



Left: The bar at the Seaway


Right: Early morning Gold Coast


Whoo Hoo !  Made it with 3 days to spare before the mast was booked to come out. ‘Thumbs down’ to you, Murphy and your silly Law – with the help of good friends we managed to prop up that last duck in the row  before it actually toppled over!


The boys after Brisbane arrival

  Neccessity ..the anti leak "condom"


Now to get that mast out and begin all of the jobs that accumulated on the trip or weren’t finished in Melbourne