After spending nearly three weeks working on Anui we finally left The Boat Works on 20 January to start our long awaited shake down cruise to Port Macquarie.
We covered the 250 nautical miles in three days. Oh what a sweet three days! Our beautiful catamaran delivered! She is so smooth, so fast! We had to adjust our expectations of daily runs. None of this calculation based on averaging 6 knots and covering 60 nm comfortably. It was more like 9 knots and 90nm in 10 hours of sailing a day without trying hard! Imagine doing overnighters! We are thoroughly impressed.
Our first day saw us leave The Boat Works at 10.00am, get out of the Gold Coast Seaway after midday, and instead of just a quick run to the Tweed River which was our initial thought, we kept going to Byron Bay. It was a very comfortable and speedy 56nm run under main and jib. The jib is quite small, but at over 100m2 of mainsail, there is a lot of power.
We anchored back to the beach under the Byron Bay lighthouse, on our lonesome. The conditions were calm and we celebrated our freedom under a full moon, sitting in the cockpit, tears of joy in our eyes.
Our second day was about an 85nm run. We had mixed conditions, doing wind speed at times in 10 knots of northeast breeze, followed by a crawl in 2 or 3 knots of breeze when we had to motor sail on one engine for a couple of hours. But then it was back to sailing under screecher again… We particularly like that sail. It could well be our favourite! It is a brand new laminate sail which acts like a big genoa and is set up on a furler at the end of the prodder (the contraption that sticks out forward of the bows). So it easy to use. We intended to stop at Yamba, Anui’s old home port, but it was too early in the afternoon, so we kept going another 30 miles to pick up a public mooring at North Solitary Island. We were on our own again, except for the hundreds of birds roosting there.
Our third hop was to Port Macquarie and promised to bring stronger conditions with 15 to 20 knots north to northeast wind forecast for this 96nm run. We would never have considered such a long run in daylight hours on Take It Easy! The day started slowly, with much lighter conditions than forecast. We went with the screecher alone, then goose winged it with the jib while the breeze was dead astern. We really should have launched the spinnaker, but could not quite remember how to set it up. We’ll have to call Scott for a reminder!
Eventually, the wind picked up a little and under threatening skies we took off, back under screecher alone! We had all sorts of weather: hardly any wind, then a bit of breeze, squalls, thunder, back to light conditions… OMG, this boat of ours is so amazing. It is effortless, we feel safe on this powerful but slick cat. It feels so different to our beloved Take It Easy. The biggest change is how the boat rides. It is smooth, feels solid and just flows. We don’t get bounced around. The waterline length, the size of the sails, the slim hulls, the daggerboards and her lightness all contribute to delivering a very comfortable and fast ride. We feel so lucky to be the ones who now own Anui. We keep pinching ourselves in disbelief and are totally besotted!
We rolled in to Port Macquarie in the early evening, choosing to pick up a courtesy mooring rather than going up river.
Today, Wednesday morning, we are using the incoming tide to cover the last 10 miles up the Hastings River and anchor in front of our friends Waz and Lisa’s place.
Because it was such a special trip, we recorded snippets of our passage on video. So as well as sharing our photos in this post, we have also up-loaded our second video of Sailing Anui to YouTube… We are novices with this video caper, and I am just using my iPhone and iMovie, so bear with me as I learn and improve, but it will give you a feel for how things looked on board. Let us know what you think!