Hobart to Bermi 2019
Hobart to Bermi 2019
It’s a 440 nm passage - that’s 815 km - and it’s not a cruise!
Last January, three of us sailed Sojourn from Hobart to Eden, 40 nm from Bermi, in 48 hours with 3 hour watch shifts. Normally, it should take a bit longer but we had a fair bit of wind and following sea pushing us to the mainland on the second day and night. The first 30 hours were easy sailing, moving along at c.10 knots in SE breeze with a quiet patch in the middle of the night. The last 18 hours were demanding sailing in 30-35 knots of W wind with SE swell, as forecast, with boat speeds between 12-15 knots, a few times 17 going down waves.
On the return passage, two of us sailed back, beating through heavy southerly winds for the first 7-8 hours in order to have moderate northerly winds behind us that first night which lasted till we got to Wineglass Bay (well almost) 48 hours later with 2 nights at sea again. Then a big southerly came in and even the fishermen were hiding in the bay that afternoon.
Sojourn has sailed over 3,000 nm since becoming part of our family in December 2015. A safe, comfortable boat that loves to sail.
So far 2 of us are doing the trip. Room for 1-3 others.
Sailing experience: the main requirement is to be up for the challenge of sailing in what could be windy, rough conditions. Heaps of common sense as a watchkeeper in probably 3 hour shifts is the other key requirement. Overall, you need to be fairly determined and reasonably cool-headed with a liking for outdoor challenges. And not someone who easily gets car sick on a windy journey. Nor should this be your first time in a sailing boat!
With the roaring forties (40 knot winds howling through straight from the Southern Ocean) regularly aggravating the relatively shallow waters that rush across a highly uneven sea bottom, Bass Strait is notorious for getting rough.
When offshore past Flinders Island, if it is rough, we will just have to keep going. But before leaving, we will only go if the weather window looks ok and before going beyond Flinders we will need to be happy with the weather.
A beautiful Sapphire Coast town with lovely beaches and coastal walks, Bermagui is famous for deep-sea game fishing. The continental shelf is only 20 km away. And there’s a great pub!
When we arrive, it’s up to you. On arrival, we will need to free up the boat for incoming family by the second day. There are a couple of decent motels in town that usually can be booked at fairly short notice.
Merimbula airport is not far away. We can drop you there for a flight to Melbourne or Sydney. Or there’s a bus to Sydney.
Sojourn is a 40ft sailing catamaran built for bluewater cruising.
3 double cabins plus a large saloon sofa/table convertible to a bed. 2 toilets. Diesel air heating.
The large cockpit / pilothouse is great offshore, as well as at anchor.
The mainsail has a lazy bag, and the self-tacking jib and screecher are on furlers. All control lines lead aft, so it is only necessary to send someone forward for raising and dropping the main.
7.2m of beam to go with 12.2m of length provide great stability offshore.
68m2 CDX cruise laminate mainsail with 2 reefs. The wide mainsheet track and large roach mean that reef 1 alone de-powers the main sufficiently in a strong 30-40 knot upwind breeze but reef 2 is preferable!
Jib: 25m2 self-tacking high aspect headsail on a Profurl furler so can easily be reefed above 20 knots (also have a storm sail)
Code 0 / Screecher: 70m2 3.5oz heavy-duty Bainbridge MPX350 sail - great for sailing 55-130 of apparent wind angle up to 15-20 knots windspeed
Code 1: 96m2 1.5oz Bainbridge offwind sail with straight luff and spinnaker leech - - great for sailing 65-170 degrees of apparent wind angle up to 15 knots windspeed
Asymmetric kite: 120m2 - hardly ever used!
Raymarine Autopilot and Wind instruments. New Nav electronics in 2016:
Having AIS and radar to tell other large vessels you are there is very comforting sailing offshore at night near shipping channels. In a distress situation, our GPS position can be transmitted in an all-ships alert via DSC at the press of a button.
Other safety: EPIRB-B, 3 offshore life vests, 12 Marlin Standard Adult PFD Level 100, regulation flares & fire safety, 2 personal AIS MOB devices for on-watch crew, lifelines, 3 harnesses, first-aid kits, drogue, gas detectors, etc
2 Yanmar 3YM 30hp engines with sail drives.
Tasmanian Anchorage Guide (TAG) is published by the The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania
An excellent article on Deal Island was written by Take it Easy and published in Multihull World magazine.
The notice to mariners produced by Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST), Transport Safety Victoria and NSW Roads and Maritime, provides advice on important navigational safety, including new hydrographic information, changes in channels, aids to navigation and other important information.
St Helens Marine Rescue – VHF: 16, 82, Mb: 04000 817 359
Tamar Sea Rescue Service VHF: 16, 80, 82 , Tamar Base: 03 6383 4701
Coast Guard Melbourne VMR 360 VHF: 12 /16 / 67 / 21 / 82 Ph: (03) 9781 5198
Coast Guard Lakes Entrance VHF: 16, Ph:5155 1601
Marine Rescue Eden VHF: 16 Ph: 02 6496 2167
Low bandwidth weather requests
Accessing text versions of weather forecasts provides a vital complement to GRIB files. They provide a useful summary of wind conditions as well as swell and sea conditions. The links below are suitable for use with sail mail or xgate via the saildocs server at:
Use the links in the following format. The email does not require any information in the subject line.
Tasmanian Forecast Areas
Tasmanian Eastern Coastal Waters Marine Forecast
Tasmanian Eastern Coastal Waters Marine Forecast
Victorian Forecast Areas Map
Victorian Coastal Waters forecast
When a high pressure system remains over the Great Australian Bight or over northern Victoria, a west to south-westerly, sometimes southerly, airstream is maintained over southern Victoria.
After the passage of a cold front, a high pressure system may quickly move eastwards and strengthen (not always) to the south of Tasmania. Under this regime a fresh east to south-easterly stream can be established over Bass Strait.
When a high pressure system is located between Tasmania and New Zealand (very common during the summer months), it can become a dominant influence. Winds are generally light to moderate north to north-easterly, with the chance of afternoon sea breezes on coast of Victoria. The north to northeasters tend to be strongest during the mid to late morning and lightest during the afternoon.
This situation would produce generally light winds over Victorian waters except where sea breezes reinforce the prevailing wind to produce a moderate to fresh wind about the east coast.
The approach of a single cold front between highs is usually associated with a low to the south of Tasmania. Gale force winds may be associated with the passage of the front but these are generally only short-lived.