Exposed marinas and wild weather are not a good mix! Although the Anchorage Marina at Williamstown is very affordable and the team there is super helpful and friendly, there is no escaping it is not protected in east to southeasterly conditions. Swell and wakes from ships and ferries roll in and yachts take a beating. The last week there saw us experience a mix of crazy conditions: thick smoke, violent thunderstorms, heavy rain, strong winds, eerie days, huge surge.
The whole time we were at the Anchorage, we had Anui spider webbed in the middle of the pen to ensure the hulls would not bash themselves against the pontoons, but the pressure on the lines and cleats was quite concerning on windy days. The boat was yanking at the ropes, the floating jetties were rising up and down like a snake in the swell and surge, and it felt like we were going to rip the cleats out of the deck. So with strong southeast winds forecast for several days, we left the marina on Friday at first light to anchor out in the bay. The marina staff are very kind and are letting use the facilities for the dinghy and laundry, so we are lucky.
Our hope was to have the NKE navigation system operational by last weekend and move to the Yarra’s Edge marina right in Melbourne, where we would be more protected than at Williamstown, even if it meant paying double the price.
But the NKE saga continues. After multiple days of fiddling on board and sea trials, Steve Cody from Melbourne Marine Electronics is still trying to sort us out. The NKE devices now talk to our Time Zero Charting software, but we want three ways to use our autopilot: track to a compass point, a wind angle, and the big one go to a way point. At this stage the only thing that vaguely works is tracking to a compass point! When you pay big box to get good instruments you want it all to do what it is supposed to and you expect accuracy, not wobbly steering.
Steve is in touch with NKE in France again to get some more guidance. We are hoping he can get on top of the problems but it is testing our patience. That’s the trouble with gear few yachts are equipped with, specialist technicians are as rare as hen’s teeth! Lucky Steve is trying hard, is generous with his time… and we are tolerant! Here is to hoping it is all OK after this weekend.
So for now we keep floating around in the middle of Hobsons Bay. It’s a busy place, but handy to Port Phillip Bay for sea trials!