Surge, Swell, Shift!

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.

NKE Saga

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.

Another day, another unsuccessful sea trial!

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!

12 thoughts on “Surge, Swell, Shift!

  1. Konichiwa Chris
    Hope all works out soon.
    Will be in Yuzawa, Japan this time tomorrow!! Talk later.

  2. Oh how frustrating!!!! On both fronts. Hope you get everything sorted soon. Can’t you swear at the equipment company in French to get them to give you a bit more priority!

    • Still waiting, Sue! May be Sunday! Anchoring out is a lot more comfortable and the marina staff are good to us and letting us you the facilities so can’t complain! We had been there for a month…

  3. Oh dear, Williamstown and navigation equipment seems to be a bad mix for you guys. Last time your chartplotter was pinched! Hope there is resolution soon. Keep an eye out for a green Westerley 38 called Sal Darago. A lovley couple from England on their second circumnavigation. Going east to west would you believe. They were in Devonport for a week, and we really enjoyed getting to know them. Should be in Port Phillip bay somewhere.

    • You’ve got a good point with Williamstown, we had not thought of it that way, Pete!
      We’ll keep an eye out for Sal Darago. Port Phillip Bay isn’t a great spot: nowhere decent to hide!

  4. Hi guys, I sympathize with your nav problems. We have an olderstyle NKE Auto pilot. It’s our back up and I can only use it to “point and shoot”. All the other functions don’t work and the only manuals I have are in Spanish. It’s also so old no-one seems to know much about them. Having said all that, it does hold a very good course and the usual Auto tack functions and + and- changes still work well. So all in all, if something that old can still work well they can’t be to bad. Hopefully you can work yours out before the wallet is drained completely.

    • Hi Brad! Another NKE user! Wow!

      We were really impressed with the NKE gear and wanted to add to it! Ours was working very well for compass course and angle to the wind, but we also wanted it to go to a GPS mark on the chart plotter and have a graphical wind display rather than just digital. The combo old and new is a huge headache. At this stage we see three options: Take it all back to what it was and get our money back, or see what extra device we need to add for the system to work, or trash it all and get something else like Raymarine or B&G! We are finding out what the costs are and will decide. We are on this boat for hopefully many years so want to get this right.

      Your manuals are in Spanish for French instruments! I might be able to help – speaker of both!

  5. Hi Chris and Wade. Such a hassle that you shouldn’t have to deal with! I recently helped a friend set up a VMG to waypoint on their B&G plotter. It was certainly not intuitive. But at least the on line tech support could talk us through it. If you do take the option of changing systems I would recommend having a thorough play in the shop first and not just trusting what they say in the glossy brochures.
    I am still in NZ with my Mum.

    • Hi Graham – thanks for the suggestion. Having had the Raymarine suite on Take It Easy it would be what we’d go for as we’d know it. But we are working hard to keep the NKE gear as it would be even more expensive to switch.

      All our thoughts and best wishes for your Mum.

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