We hacked our way to Port Hacking!

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.

Point Perpendicular

Point Perpendicular

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!

Rough as guts out there!

Rough as guts out there!

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!

Rudder Woes

Tiller off, rudder shaft pushed down, rudder free!

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.

26 thoughts on “We hacked our way to Port Hacking!

  1. Sounds like hard work, but what an amazing presentation for my first view. Well done Producer Chris and Wizard Wade.
    Craig Paton

    • Hey Craig, welcome to our site! And yes what a post for an introduction to our adventures… It has been a hell of a day… Click on the follow button so you get our updates automatically… We are trying to post twice a week while we are cruising!

  2. I hope the wind changes soon to allow you to sail North east to LHI. What an adventure with the rudder, well done Wadie, repairs complete. Now safe to go. The waves looked horrendous. Sue

    • Hi Sue, yes the ocean was to rough as, but amazingly we did not get sea sick… Too much to concentrate on! And the rudder, well… If all feels like hard work at the moment – not sure we’ll make it to LHI… Things are looking dodgy all round – But we are trying!

  3. I wished you fun in a reply Chris – obviously not all fun, but glad you’ve got it sorted.
    Really interesting following your trip and your photos are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.
    Pussy cat doesn’t look too bothered..lol
    Do take care xx

  4. Oh what an adventure! I was on the water the last days as well but just for a few hours to get to my sampling sites and back and we have winter here so the other guys were concerned because of the wind (we had Bf 5-6 and 6 is the maximum we go out). When I see your waves I am not jealous 😉 What wind force did you have and what is the maximum you are normally still risking it? I wish you a good further passage and that this will be the only big incident on your little cruise 😀

    • Hi Sari, good on you for sailing in winter up your way! Not sure about the Beaufort Scale- we talk in knots. We went this time in 20-25kn with the wind on our stern/back quarter. That’s our max to set off in. If the wind is forward of our beam, we just don’t go and wait for better conditions. We don’t like beating into weather and don’t like tacking. We are lazy cruisers😊

      • We were not really sailing more going out with a little motor boat (ca. 15m) and in my case that was work related. I quickly checked the kn-bft scale and it’s indeed 6bft but I have to say the waves on your pictures look much higher… and I can fully understand your laziness 😉

  5. SVtakeiteasy!…. I cut ally met you last year in lord Howe lagoon. Bunch of young lads on a small monohull dropped you over a lobster I believe haha

    • Well hello! Nice of you visit! Are you the owner of Waratah Lass or the navy guy? sorry we don’t remember the team’s names other than Lucas… Who could forget him! We are trying to get to LHI again but gear and weather are conspiring against us! As a matter of interest how did you come across our site? You should hit the follow button and join us on this adventure! Chris and Wade.

      • I’m the navy guy, blake. Ex navy now and just bought my first boat too! I’ve just started A blog myself and was looking through the sailing tags and there you where.

        Did you return to Melbourne since you last LHI trip?

      • Well done on the boat purchase, Blake. What did you get??
        We did go back to Melbourne after LHI as we are still working. 2 or 3 more years to go and we’ll become permanent wanderers! But we do get away for long breaks every year. We are on a 2 months escape now.

      • sounds like your living the dream! getting back to sydney i found a nicholson 32 for sale (the same as alex). it had proved itself on the LHI trip and its proving to be the right boat for me too haha

  6. Gidday guys.. when reading your log I can feel evey rise and fall of the choppy conditions. The rudder, well can’t say anything, other than the shaft its effectively the same design as OBD and I hope never to bend it. Its not hard to make a new one. I’m not sure if this is the correct place to give you an OBD update, but here we go; In 3 days we’ll roll on the non slip deck paint and paint under the cockpit roof. We take delivery of an outboard motor for Peasy tomorrow. Internal fitout is continuing. The “A” frame seagull striker is powdercoated and the prodder is complete. I can smell the sea air already. Keep smiling and enjoying yourselves. Christopher

    • Howdy Chris. Yes these were crappy conditions! It was an uncomfortable sea. To quote Wade: “Miss Cricri made me go”.

      Lovely to get your update on Outback Dreamer. So much progress in a short time… Soon you’ll be connected to the tractor and dragged out of the shed! Don’t you launch her without us! Be good – Hey by the way, we are getting nice comments about Michelle’s mugs. We are advertising her work at every opportunity. $25 for a one off personalised piece of art! Be good. C&W

  7. Oh no re the rudder! Hope its working ok now. Hocus Pocus looks interesting. What is the theory around that? Im worried about lightening and interested to hear how it works.

    • Hello Viki, the rudder is useable now and we’ve had a test sail up the coast. Hocus Pocus is a lightning dissipator – check www. Forespar.com. It may not do anything, but may help and wasn’t very expensive. The blurb says “static dissipaters work to counteract the build up of static ground charge and the formation of streamers… The stays and shrouds on the yacht convey the ground charge from the boat to the top of the mast where it accumulates. The dissipator leaks off the ground charge from the point and retard the formation of streamers”. We also throw over in the water a length of stainless steel wire with a copper braid plate. This goes in the water and the other end attaches to a back stay. Our hope is that if Hocus Pocus doesn’t work and we are struck by lightning, the charge will go down the backstay and discharge in the water. Hope this helps…

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