Holiday shakedown

The sky was blue, the sun was bright, the wind was strong and the ocean warm, perfect conditions for a sail. We started early at 7.10 am, hoisting all Ashanti’s sails in an 18 knot easterly breeze. With no swell we skimmed through the whitecaps on a broad reach at 5.5-6 knots. We hadn’t attempted more than 3 days away, so this trip was to be a bit of a shakedown to see how we and Ashanti would perform over a week to ten days.

We wanted to conserve power so kept electronic gadgetry and instruments to a minimum. The icebox was full of frozen items and ice, the wine was safely stored in the cool of the hold. This was just as well because we despite the good speed we were making, the regen on the electric motor didn’t appear to be feeding power back into the batteries. Although the skipper was confidant about our course, I made a mental note to ensure we not only include waypoints when planning our route on i sailor, but also on the chart plotter, as this is our primary navigation instrument. We also hadn’t turned on the depth sounder which, given the shallow waters we were crossing, might have provided me added reassurance.

I particularly enjoyed sailing past Garden Island as I had not previously been on the ocean side of the island before. There were vast numbers of cray pots bobbing along the reef demanding vigilant navigation, but the jagged rocks, aqua blue sea and rugged island vegetation was an attractive sight. The skipper referred to it as a poor man’s Rottnest, a military zone surrounded by industry. I tried to ignore the smoke stacks and restricted access causeway on the skyline and focussed on picking out the bird and marine life that inhabits Garden, Seal and Penguin Islands.

As we sailed beyond Penguin island the wind picked up to 25 knots and swung further south. I was pleased we had only set our sights on reaching Port Kennedy, as the wind would have been on the nose the rest of the way to Mandurah. We consulted our cruising guide and determined where best to anchor for maximum protection from sea surge and wind. Just in front of the headland we were lucky to find a DPI mooring and only two boats attached to other moorings in the vicinity.

The sun and wind are wearing, even if much of the day is spent sitting in reflection in the cockpit. Knowing we would be starting out the following day well before dawn, we blissfully curled up in our bunk before the sun had even set for the day.

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