We often say “cruising is the art of boat maintenance in exotic places”. As well as enjoying a forced rest in Jervis Bay, waiting for the northerlies to pass, we attended to a few jobs:
- fitting Hocus Pocus, the lightning protector, up at the top of the mast;
- changing a broken sail lug in the mainsail;
- and the big one that took a whole afternoon: fixing a clogged carburettor in the dinghy outboard engine.
Little did we know that these jobs were nothing compared to what we were going to face in Port Hacking. “Interrupted, broken, jerky” is the dictionary definition for the word Hacking, an apt description of our sail from Jervis Bay and our arrival at Jibbon Beach, inside Port Hacking.
We left Jervis Bay on Wednesday for a 75nm passage, having waited for the strongest part of the SW change to come through. The seas were rough. The weather has been very unsettled with a few days of Southerly wind, followed by strong Northerlies, then a day of Southerly then back to North again! This makes for very confused, big, uncomfortable seas. You’ve got to love those swift weather changes!
We sailed in challenging conditions – 13 hours in rough seas to start with, which improved thank goodness as the day went by. We reached Port Hacking in the dark at 10.30pm and made our way to Jibbon Beach where there are half a dozen moorings and plenty of space to anchor if these are taken. As we motored in, we could see three yachts but could not spot the spare moorings in the dark. I was on deck with the spot light while Wade was at the tiller. A little voice in me said: “Let’s just anchor”, but Wade was intent on finding “that mooring in the corner”… We did not find a mooring, what we found was a rock. We hit it with our port rudder and the rudder got jammed! With no steerage but the two engines running, we moved ourselves out of there and did what we should have done in the first place: we anchored at the other end of the beach!
It has been a busy Thursday morning: calls to Peter Snell, the designer and builder of Take It Easy, to shipyards… and feverish efforts to free the rudder. It is a true miracle that after beavering away for a few hours, Wade has managed to take the tiller off, bash the rudder post down by 30mm, which was enough to free the rudder. The shaft is a bit bent, but it will work, and we have Peter Snell’s blessing to keep sailing! We are very thankful for Peter’s advice.
So now we have reached a point where a departure for Lord Howe is possible. From here on, we are praying for a hassle-free time and at least three days of southerlies to allow us a fair passage across the Tasman Sea. It won’t happen this week, but let’s hope we get our desired window next week! For the next couple of days, we will settle for being able to replenish our fresh food supplies in Cronulla, enjoying the Royal National Park behind us, and waiting for the next opportunity to either do further small hops northward, to Broken Bay or Port Stephens, or head offshore. Time will tell!
We have a few pictures to share with you. Click on the first image to display the gallery in a full screen slide show.