We recently published news of the forthcoming summer sailing season. Whilst many yachties love the allure of racing, the return journey home is just as exciting! So remember to put the dates in your diary...

The Ancient Interloper appeared on the walkway at Constitution Dock after last year’s Melbourne-Hobart Eastcoaster race and got chatting with Mike Harrington, the cook aboard fourth-placegetter Fuzzy Logic.

Fuzzy Logic at Constitution Dock. Photo courtesy Mike Harrington

Was the skipper aboard? No, the owners were up at their hotel ashore and would be back later.
Could he leave his two hefty seabags aboard and catch up with the owners after he had checked out the berthed yachts?

Mike Harrington aboard Fuzzy Logic  Fuzzy Logic crew L-R Gary, Stephen, Noel, Mike and Jarrod. Photo courtesy Mike Harrington

When the old bloke got back, co-owners Stephen Dawes, a lighthouse keeper, and Gary Prestedge, a lawyer, were aboard, enjoying a beer and the sunshine on deck with Mike, a marine equipment distributor, Jarod Halnon, an arborist, and Noel Ryan, an IT specialist.
We hear you’ve flown down from Melbourne and are looking for a ride back to the mainland, Stephen said. Have you had any offshore sailing experience?
Done a couple of Sydney-Hobarts, owned a Swanson 27 for 13 years and did 10 Melbourne-Devonports in it, the Ancient Interloper said. His next Bass Strait crossing would be his 49th under sail.
We normally sail with a crew of 10 and there’s five of us taking her home this time. Put your bags down below: you’re coming back with us, the owners said.
After Stephen cleared the Ancient Interloper with the ORCV for the 530 nautical mile passage, the mooring lines for the Murray-Burns-Dovell 41 were cast off and the slippery sled headed for the Iron Pot and Storm Bay.
The short cut through the Dennison Canal and Dunalley was out because of Fuzzy’s 2.6m draft, so it was a mainsail and jib romp across to the imposing cliffs of Cape Raoul before hardening up on the freshening nor-north-easterly to tackle the turbulent tide-race slot between Tasman Island and Cape Pillar.

The famous "Organ Pipes at Cape Raoul. Photo courtesy Mike Harrington

As Fuzzy closed in on the gap, which can run at up to 11 knots, the seas got steeper and lumpy with backwash from the awe-inspiring cliffs.
The crew began to hum their theme song _ and although it was familiar, the Ancient Interloper couldn’t quite figure out what it was.
Then a sudden fierce downdraft flipped the headsail and main from starboard to port tack.
The skipper said enough-is-enough with thrashing to windward and put his charge on a course back to the shelter of Port Arthur and a fisherman’s buoy mooring for the night.
Several other mainland-bound yachts came in to raft up at the pier.

 Relaxing in Port Arthur. Spot the AI with the yellow tumbler! Photo courtesy Mike Harrington  Scenic Port Arthur. Photo courtesy Mike Harrington

Next morning Fuzzy’s team waited for a yacht to leave and not return (testing the sea conditions) before again setting sail for the north.
The passage through the Cape Pillar-Tasman Island gap was spectacular, capped with close views of the craggy island’s disused and dilapidated flying-fox landing terminal.

 Thrashing towards Tasman Island. Photo courtesy Mike Harrington   The dilapidated flying fox on Tasman Island. Photo courtesy Mike Harrington

Leaving the Hippolyte Rocks well to starboard, Fuzzy sailed along the Tasman Peninsula past Eaglehawk Neck and Pirates Bay, where the Ancient Interloper’s first yacht, a 33-ft Huon pine sloop, was built decades earlier.
Then on past the Forester Peninsula and Maria Island to find shelter in a cove on the northern side of Schouten Island.
Where the fishing fleet settle for the night is usually the best indicator of a safe, secure anchorage, so we dropped our anchor outside a line of local boats and hit the bunks.
A rude awakening about midnight with a clatter of the engine kicking to life, shouts and the anchor coming in found us being blown down towards a lobster potter _ the wind had done a 180degee shift and come in at 30+ knots onshore!
Stephen got Fuzzy going after a narrow escape from the fishing boat and in the pitch black night we motored out towards some shelter off the southern end of Freycinet National Park, with a stream of fishing boats making a run for it too.
Stephen and Gary, concerned at our draft and with no experience of the intended shelter anchorage, elected to do “laps” motoring up and down Schouten Passage as the wind gusted to 49.7knots and showered us in sheets of spray upwind.
The crew broke out their theme song... What was it again?
After an hour or so the wind moderated to 25+ and we crept gingerly into the anchorage, where the Ancient Interloper elected to keep an anchor watch while the crew belatedly took to their bunks.
At 04.00 hours the first trawler left, followed at 04.30 by a lobster boat. We stayed put until 06.00 hours, then had brekky as we headed east to the Tasman Sea’s lumpy conditions.
It was sweet sailing up past Eddystone Point and our timing was impeccable for passage with the tide through notorious Banks Strait.
The Ancient Interloper even saw flying fish (do they come that far south?) for the first time skittering across the waves in 100m swoops.
Bass Strait was in a benign mood.
It was calm and sunny, with schools of bait fish busting up around us to keep us entertained.
The breeze dropped out and most of the crossing from north of Swan Island to Flinders was under motor, relieved by a 12-hour mostly night time spinnaker run in 8knots of breeze, with Gary in his element at the helm.
Our only concern was whether we would have enough diesel to power us all the way across.
Stephen, one of the three permanent lighthouse keepers at Point Lonsdale, knows the hazards of The Rip and why passage through is recommended with a flood tide.

L-R Stephen Dawes and Gary Prestedge. co-owners of Fuzzy Logic. Photo courtesy Mike Harrington

His stars were aligned.
We got there just as the flood began, swept up into the Bay, docked at Queenscliff Cruising Yacht Club to pick up fuel delivered by Jarod’s brother, dropped off crewmen Jarod and Noel, then rode the flood into Corio Bay and Fuzzy’s berth at Royal Geelong Yacht Club.
As the Ancient Interloper stepped off with his kit bags slung over his shoulders after the 5-1/2 day trip, it finally dawned on him what the crew’s theme song was: Gilligan’s Island!

  The Notice of Race for the 2017 Melbourne to Hobart “Westcoaster” Race has been published and entries are now open. There have been a number of changes this year: Double Handed Entries
The Westcoaster is a qualifying race for the 2018 Osaka Cup which starts in March. With 33 entries, of which 13 are Melbourne based, a strong double handed contingent is expected. The double handed boats will race both as part of the main fleet and as a “race within the race”. ORCV has instigated a new perpetual trophy for the winning Double Handed boat in the most popular measurement category [ ... ]

Cadibarra 8 encountered a some difficulties on they way home, boat and crew all OK

Cadibarra 8 encountered a some difficulties on the way home, boat and crew all OK. Cadibarra 8 encountered a some difficulties shortly after 22:00 hours last night (Wednesday 04/01/16) on the return voyage from Hobart to Melbourne. The boat and all crew are all OK and currently at Lady Barron on Flinders Island. On their return to Melbourne after the Melbourne from Hobart yacht race, when approaching Lady Barron on Flinders Island from the Eastern entrance, their keel hit sand banks and waves pushed them further onto the sand. Wind strength at the time was around 14 knots.
Cadibarra 8 has bee [ ... ]

2016M2H It's a Wrap

It’s all wrapped up in the Wyndham Harbour Melbourne Hobart for another year. This year’s race was marked by a chaotic start to the event which resulted in two protests that are still to be heard.  The videos that were posted on the ORCV Facebook page have had in excess of 140,000 hits and were the talk of all 3 fleets in Hobart (see below if you missed them). The fleet left the heads in very light conditions which stayed that way for the rest of the day. The fleet gathered pace overnight and all the fleet were at the top of Tasmania by the morning. The rest of the race was mar [ ... ]

Rain, wind and sail changes - a review of day 2 ORCV Ocean races

Well the Melbourne to Devonport race is done and dusted. Day 2 saw rain, lots of it with winds varying from plenty to not a lot. The yachts got to practice their reefing and sail changes many, many times as they crossed Bass Strait. With typically cracked sheets, speeds averaged around 7k which meant a fairly quick but wet race. Boats finished between 5pm and 9pm in steady rainy overcast conditions, not great for photos or the Race Director and his team. Peccadillo was the first boat in and took out line honours with Soiree Blue the first mono hull and Line Honours winner. Competitors loved t [ ... ]

A fast and furious start – review of day 1 ORCV ocean races to Tasmania

Crash bang coming through! Some of our competitors caused dramas on the start line of the Melbourne to Hobart and Melbourne to Devonport ocean races, with four yachts caught up in collisions. They mustn’t have got the memo about it being a long race so 15 seconds on the start line probably doesn’t matter. Luckily winds were moderate but it was still enough to cause an early retirement of BKT JAMHU which was taking on water as a result of their collision. No doubt it will be a busy protest room in Hobart after the race, see our Facebook site for video of the start. Experienced competi [ ... ]


The Handicaps for the Melbourne to Hobart and the Melbourne to Devonport are published


  3 sleeps until the start of the West Coaster In the pictures below it shows which crew members do not have a photo, can I please ask that you send your photos and bios as soon as possible. What I would like is a short bio of your ocean racing career 60 to 100 words and a head and shoulders picture. The picture of Neville below shows what it will look like on the Tracker website. Send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. document.getElementById('cloakf1970f1f076bec11b248133e60c4fc46').innerHTML = ''; var prefix = '  [ ... ]


  Let's hope the early wind Gods are right Very early indications (not very reliable) indicate that this year's races to Devonport and Hobart could be very fast. In the Predictwind models, it has a Beneteau 40 finishing the Hobart race in just over two days. So just to get your juices flowing here are the models for the Devonport and Hobart races. The Devonport The Hobart  


Who On Earth Put That Fish Farm There and Other Stories.  It can be an awfully long way from Melbourne to Hobart.  The 2015 (or rather 2015/16) race was a fine example of just how far it can be.  I was either hallucinating, or one week from race start BOM had us prepared to be swinging off grab rails and preparing to ingest Stugeron and Saladas like they were going out of fashion, with the vague possibility of some sliced cheese towards day 3.  However towards race day the Bureau changed it's mind, and some really pale blue bits (scattered with a tad of white) started to s [ ... ]


Wyndham Harbour Sponsors 2015 Cock of the Bay and Melbourne to Hobart Westcoast Yacht Races. The Ocean Racing Club of Victoria (ORCV) is delighted to announce Wyndham Harbour as a new naming rights sponsor for the forthcoming 2015 Wyndham Harbour Cock of the Bay race and the blue water classic Wyndham Harbour Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster ocean race. Wyndham Harbour is an exciting new development which enhances yachting facilities on Port Phillip Bay for visitor and permanent berths. The $440 million dollar marina development located in Melbourne’s west, is only 30 minutes from the Melbo [ ... ]

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