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James Craig - Sydney to Melbourne

Log of

January 13th 2006 @ 21:30
33°52'12.00 S 151°11'24.00 E

Ship's Log:
Alongside in Sydney. Still more food came, plus lots of crewmates
and their gear. Everyone worked with a will, and we are finally ready
to leave tomorrow morning. Wonderful atmosphere on board.

Humid with intermittent drizzle
January 14th 2006 @ 20:30
34°17'60.00 S 151°5'60.00 E

Heading 213°
Speed 4

Ship's Log:
Commenced setting sail in harbour, then all plain sail....until
the Southerly hit at 1745hrs.

Cool night
January 15th 2006 @ 20:30
35°44'24.00 S 150°40'12.00 E

Heading 190°
Speed 8

Ship's Log:
Captain Ken is in trouble from the cooks for reducing sail at
dinner time! S´ly easing & backing, motor-sailing. Unable to observe
meridian passage due to overcast sky.

mild day
January 16th 2006 @ 20:30
37°2'24.00 S 149°24'0.00 E

Heading 234°

Ship's Log:
A bracing wake up call from Cap´n Ken for the midnight to 4
watch, ´Wakey Wakey!´ on the loud hailer at 0645 for entry to Eden.
Lines are now ashore.

mild day
January 17th 2006 @ 20:30
38°16'12.00 S 149°10'12.00 E

Heading 239°
Speed 3.5

Ship's Log:
After arriving in Eden, Jenny & Michael O´Malley, and children
Liam (7), Joshua (5) and Felix (3) were entertained in the officers´
saloon for lunch. We have a good breeze to blow us South, into Bass
Strait, and the ship and crew are loving it. A dozen dolphins weave
in and out, under and around the ship, like a Scottish dance. A night
of fickle breezes, and the midnight - 4am watch passes quickly,
despite the rain, with bracing yards, shifting stays´ls and finally
taking in sail to furl, as the wind settles in to head us from the West.
The morning takes us 25 miles South of Point Hicks, the first part of
Australia sighted by Captain Cook in 1770. Hightlights include a seal
surfacing and gambling in our wake as it feeds on fish scraps and our
trusty Radio Officer, Doug Dewey, enjoying a salt water shower in the
middle of The Strait, with the sea temp 17.4 degrees and air temp 20
degrees, as Captain Ken announces the state of our diminishing fresh
water supply.
After a series of cheeky cartoons were exchanged between the officers
and cook, Peter McAdam, on Sunday, the controversy over being late
for dinner has escalated. After arriving in Western Port, the Captain
and Cook will go on trial before the entire compliment, to settle the
matter once and for all. ...

A stiff breeze on the bow
January 18th 2006 @ 20:30
39°36'0.00 S 146°41'60.00 E

Heading 274°
Speed 6.8

Ship's Log:
Passing Curtis Group.

Running Free
January 19th 2006 @ 20:30
39°6'0.00 S 145°41'60.00 E

Heading 352°
Speed 6.2

Ship's Log:
In the dead of night the wind backs to our favour, and hands are
sent aloft to loose topsails. Sailors swing through great arcs in the
sky, shadows clanking out along the yards. At dawn the higher
topgallants are set, and later, the royal sails, 90 feet above the
deck. The ship is a cloud of billowing canvas, pitching and rolling
across Bass Strait, while the wind backs further to E, then NE, 25
knots and building...
After Alan Edenborough led the successful salvage of James Craig´s
hulk in Recherche Bay in 1973, he was interviewed on ABC TV. Despite
his optimism for the wreck´s future, his famous words were, "She´ll
make an excellent museum piece, but, of course, she´ll never sail
again." Now he is standing on the quarterdeck, beard streaming
sideways in the wind. A wake of white lace streams behind the ship,
and white ribbons of foam stream from her bows. "We can´t stop her!"
Alan cries.
We gallop past the Kent Group Islands, a rugged bastion of cliffs and
sloping hills. Beyond that, another collection of rocks, including
one with the appearance of a lower mandible. The northern part of
Bass Strait sports a rocky island with every appearance of a human
skull, and I wonder if the two were once joined....
A large seal tries chasing us, leaping off the face of the waves, but
soon admits defeat. The dolphins have better success, taking great
delight in darting about our bows, and under our keel.
Sail is reduced, but she refuses to slow down. The ship has a mind of
her own, and land will soon be loomng up ahead....

Beam reach
January 20th 2006 @ 20:30
38°26'24.00 S 145°13'48.00 E

Heading 80°
Speed 6

Ship's Log:
The helmsman is peering for a star between the clouds, as they
swarm across the moon. James Craig is still racing along unbridled,
heading for an uncharted, unnamed bay. Cape Liptrap Light winks at us
from our starboard beam, and a ship is approaching at close quarters.
We light up our rig with powerful spotlights to ensure we are clearly
seen, and our wind-pressed tops´ls blaze a golden glow in the night.
The vessel nearby may well think we´re the legendary ´Flying Dutchman´!
At 0400 all hands are called to wear ship. The crew are ready at the
braces, Natalie Moore (from the barque ´Polly Woodside´) has the
wheel, Mr. Hitchman has the deck. "Up helm." The wheel spins, and the
ship turns. "MAIN TOPS´L HAUL!" With shuffles and grunts, and breathy
´heaves!´ the yards creak around. The wind hauls aft, and a team on
the fore deck shift the heads´ls across, along with the
maintopmast-stays´l. "LET GO AND HAUL!" The fore yards swing, like a
bird turning in the sky. We´re heading South now, away from the land,
and at 0530 another gybe to head NW towards Phillip Island.
At the break of dawn, a miraculous moment. The colours and mood of
the ship, sea and sky take us right into the well known oil painting
by Oswald Brett. That was painted 32 years ago, and the vision has
become a vivid reality.
Careful calculation has been made by the navigator to ensure we don´t
reach our destination too soon. Sail is gradually taken off her, and
then furled, in order for us to meet a pilot at the entrance to
Western Port. Pilot John Carroll boards, and he will be staying with
us from here to Port Phillip (Melbourne) on Saturday. The ship is a
tamed animal at last, marching stately up the Western Channel to
Cowes under bare poles. The admiralty anchor is let go in ten
fathoms, and the ship is brought up less than half a mile North of
Cowes. It feels strange not to have the deck dancing underfoot. The
ship is now a sleeping beauty.

January 21st 2006 @ 20:30
38°23'60.00 S 144°41'60.00 E

Speed 5

Ship's Log:
The anchor winch squeals into action at 0555 hrs and away we go,
back down the channel towards the open sea. The morning sky glows
red...a sailor´s warning. By the time we are rounding into Bass
Strait the wind has picked up to 30, then 40 knots (75 km) from the
North. The sea is slate grey with spindrift streaking across, and the
wind has snapped our flag pole in two, one half wrapped around the
main t´gallant brace.
The coast is a desolate place of low scrub and snow white beaches.
One would never guess that beyond the dunes is a city of concrete,
glass and bitumen, bustling with four million people.
Fortunately the wind has eased considerably before we make our entry
to Port Phillip. The dreaded ´Rip´ is a place littered with
shipwrecks, and several of them are marked on the chart. Once safely
in the harbour, and making an Easterly course along the Southern
Channel with the wind on our port quarter, topsails, topgallants and
the flying jib are set.
The anchor is let go half a mile from Rye Jetty, and the ship brought
up at 1700 hrs. Our friends ashore are finishing their day at the
office, while we prepare for a barbecue on deck and an after-dinner
court case. The cook will be tried tonight.
STOP PRESS: Jimmy Parbuckle & The James Craig Reeelers will be
appearing on Greg Champion´s show, "The Idlers" on Saturday night
8pm, national ABC Radio. Don´t miss it!

January 23rd 2006 @ 20:30
37°30'0.00 S 144°54'0.00 E

Speed 1019
no log entry

January 24th 2006 @ 20:30
37°47'60.00 S 144°54'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
´We towed up the Yarra past the glass bottle factory at
Spotswood, and secured alongside a berth in the swinging basin . . .
No sooner were we tied up than word came for´ard that the ´Craig´ was
to go on to Hobart as a hulk, and she would sail no more.´
So reads Alan Villiers´ account of ´James Craig´s last visit to
Melbourne, in 1921*. Today´s arrival is a much happier account,
beginning with a bright morning and the promise of a very hot day. At
0930 guests are received from ´M.V. Nepean´ and anchor is weighed for
the march up the bay. Our 120 guests are from The Children Cancer
Centre Foundation or ´Myroom´, as they are also known. Not an easy
day for them, with a merciless sun and not a breath of wind. Sailing
is not an option.
Melbourne´s own tops´l schooner, ´Enterprize´, is out to meet us. She
is a particularly lovely little wooden ship, a faithful replica of
the first vessel to bring settlers to Melbourne, in 1836. The
flotilla of boats that have come to join us grows, and by the time we
enter the Yarra River a very large and colourful fleet surrounds us.
The mouth and throat of the Yarra is an industrial area; nothing
glamorous about it, and nothing pretentious. With our tall masts, the
furthest we can travel is to the new Bolte Bridge, where we make a
turn and berth alongside at 21 South Wharf.
We are greeted by parties from The National Trust of Victoria and the
1885 barque ´Polly Woodside´, plus friends and family of our crew,
with a banner, ´Melbourne welcomes James Craig, back after 85 years´.
All are invited aboard, and speeches are promptly made. Diane
Weidner, Chairman of The National Trust (Victoria), presents us with
a fine pair of crystal glasses; the names ´Polly Woodside´ and ´James
Craig´ inscribed on the rims. ´James´ and ´Polly´ are very similar
ships, although ´Polly´ is yet to be restored to the same glorious
sea-going condition that ´James´ is in. We hope that Victorians will
one day enjoy the same delights that we have, and they are challenged
to a race, once their beautiful barque is set free to sail again.
The crew are off to dinner, and The James Craig Reeelers are rushed
to the ABC Studios to talk to ´The Coodabeens´ about their
adventures, and to sing a few songs, live on national radio. Back on
board we are treated to the strange sight of the Volvo 70 boats being
tipped on their side to fit under the bridge, followed by a
spectacular display of fireworks. So concludes a successful passage
to Melbourne. We have a very busy time ahead whilst here, of which a
summary will be sent. On 7th February we are due to depart for our
return to Sydney.
*Alan Villiers, born in Melbourne in 1903, went to sea in ´James
Craig´ in 1920-21. He went on to become a well-known author, and an
account of his time in the ´Craig´ can be seen in his book, ´The Set
of the Sails´. --- James Parbery

Very hot, alongside 21 South, Port Melbourne
January 25th 2006 @ 20:30
38°53'60.00 S 144°54'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
The morning following our arrival at Port Melbourne, we returned
down the river to Williamstown, and boarded passengers at the
Workshop Pier. An excellent day for a sail on Port Phillip, with a 25
knot Northerly. Sail was piled on for a cracking sail, followed by
several others on the following days. Port Phillip Bay is an
excellent ground for day sails; plenty of room to run or beat, and
flat water, so people of all ages can experience it without fear of
having green gills!
Williamstown is a lovely, historic area, and our ship feels very much
at home there; not that we intend to stay forever, though. On
Thursday we´ll be sailing to Geelong, returning to Williamstown on
Monday for more day sails. There are still some berths available for
the Geelong day sails this Sunday. --- James Parbery.

Williamstown Day Sail
January 27th 2006 @ 20:30
38°6'0.00 S 144°24'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
A very hot Australia day, and a good 35 knot Northerly to blow us
to Geelong. We have 120 teenagers aboard, most have never been aboard
a sailing vessel of any kind, so this is an incredible experience for
them... in fact, it´s an incredible experience for all of us, even
the old salts! With a stiff breeze in the tops´ls and the fore mast
lifting her skirt, every sailor is glad to be alive. We are
surrounded by the Skandia yachts of all sizes, racing with us to Corio Bay.
Our tugs have failed to make a show, so Captain Edwards decides to
bring her in without one. Mr. Hitchman has prayed for the wind to
ease...and sure enough, it has, just in time. There is no doubt about
how blessed we are. Upon arrival we are welcomed by the mayor of
Geelong, and the crew head off to explore the delights of the city.
--- James Parbery.

Williamstown - Geelong
January 29th 2006 @ 20:30
38°6'0.00 S 144°24'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
Our first visit to Geelong is well received. The locals are very
interested in our ship, and are pouring through it. ´Enterprize´ is
taking people on 1 hour sails, including our own crew, and firing
shots at us at close quarters from her swivel gun.
One distinguished guest is the Welsh rigger, George Herbert, 92 years
old, who went to sea in sail at the age of 13. He has worked in many
sailing ships since, including ´Cutty Sark´ when she was still
afloat, and has helped train the new generation of sailors, including
some of our own. With his critical eye upon our rig, he says the
´Craig´ is "perfection plus", and as for one of our crew, Katie
Vandestadt; "a trim little craft". He has a keen eye, and a keen
mind, full of wonderful stories of his adventurous life. He hasn´t
seen Captain Edwards for many years, "I´ve drifted to leeward since
I´ve seen ye, Ken." In fact he´s in great shape, and sharp as a
tack...and still happily married after sixty-six years!
We´ll be putting our ship through her paces in Corio Bay tomorrow,
for just $85pp, and there are still berths available. Call Sybil now
on 0412-445-189 or present yourself at Cunningham Pier at 0900 for
the morning sail or 1300 for the afternoon sail. Lunch & afternoon
tea are provided respectively. --- James Parbery.

Geelong Alongside
February 5th 2006 @ 20:30
37°53'60.00 S 144°54'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
After a fantastic sail from Geelong yesterday, we´re back in
Williamstown, and out for another day sail. Again, it´s a good breeze
for the ´Craig´, and one could be no happier than the 84-year-old
Finn, Thor Lindquist, who is enjoying his first trick on the wheel of
a sailing ship for sixty-one years.
Thor went to sea in the three-masted schooner ´Alf´ in 1936, aged 15,
then joined the four-masted barque, ´Passat´, the following year. He
made two circumnavigations of the globe in her, taking timber to Cape
Town, and wheat from South Australia to Europe by way of Cape Horn.
He then joined the four-masted barque, ´Lawhill´, and stayed in her
for 5 years. It was a tough and brutal life, and many crew deserted -
some preferring to go to war, which had now broken out in Europe and
in the South Pacific. Thor had risen to the rank of able seaman in
the ´Passat´, and became sailmaker in ´Lawhill´. He doubled the Horn
six times, and signed off in Cape Town in May 1945. He then worked in
steam ships, and later emigrated to Australia in 1955. From 1958 he
worked in trading ketches all around our coast, and finally left the
sea in 1976. He was then employed to rig the Irish barque, ´Polly
Woodside´ (b.1885), in Melbourne, where he still volunteers to this
day, at the Melbourne Maritime Museum.
It´s a great privilege to have these men from the great days of sail
aboard our ship. There are not many of them left, but their skills
and traditions are being passed on to the new generation of sailors.
--- James Parbery.

Williamstown Day Sail
February 5th 2006 @ 22:30
37°53'60.00 S 144°54'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
The annual Williamstown Maritime Festival has attracted over four
thousand people today. It´s a colourful event with an impressive
marine art exhibition, an antique print dealer, a steam driven truck,
a barrel organ, live music at every quarter, day sails aboard the
tops´l schooner, ´Enterprise´, pirates firing real cannon at the end
of the wharf, the oldest yacht in Australia ´´Zephyr´, (1873) tied up
at the pier, and our own barque, ´James Craig´ (1874) swarming with visitors.
The well known folk musician, Danny Spooner, is singing shanties and
playing his button accordion, and at 1500 hrs he joins Jimmy
Parbuckle and The James Craig Reeelers for a performance at the Pirates Tavern.
In the evening, a thankyou party aboard ship for the crew and many
other people who have helped make this Melbourne visit such a roaring
success. Performing with The Reeelers on the main hatch is David
Isson, who formed The Bushwackers in the early 1970s, inspiring an
Australian Folk revival. One of the great things about sailing in
´James Craig´ is the wonderful characters we meet. The ship attracts
interesting people from all walks of life.

Williamstown Maritime Festival
February 6th 2006 @ 20:30
37°47'60.00 S 144°54'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
´Pirates of the Caribbean´, with a great skull-and cross-bone
spinnaker, has crossed the finish line just minutes behind ´ABN Amro
1´. They´re now clearing a path amongst the spectator craft at
terrific speed, unable to slow down. Our crew are wide-eyed, and
waiting for a crash which, fortunately, doesn´t come.
´James Craig´ has the honour of being the official starting vessel,
and our anchorage between Williamstown and St. Kilda gives us an
excellent view of the Volvo In-port race. It´s a sparkling, sunny
day, with a good 20 knot Southerly, punctuated by the shock of our
cannon, and the thup-thup-thup of the helicopters chasing after the yachts.
The third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race Circumnavigation will commence
off Station Pier, Port Melbourne, at 1300 hrs on Sunday 12 February,
by which time ´James Craig´ should be heading North, towards Port
Jackson. --- James Parbery.

Volvo In-port Race
February 6th 2006 @ 23:30
37°47'60.00 S 144°54'0.00 E

Ship's Log:
It´s our last day in Melbourne, and we´re preparing for sea. The
ship is cleaned from stem to stern, the rig is thoroughly checked,
rhumb lines are drawn on the charts, stores are loaded, and our
twelve passage crew join the ship and settle into their new quarters.
Volunteer crew, Sheryl Thornthwaite, has painted Australia´s two
barques on the concrete wharf; ´James Craig´ under full sail, and
´Polly Woodside´, standing bare. The two ships face each other, and
between them is a love heart, inscribed ´James 4 Polly´. The sea and
ships inspire romance, and this voyage is no exception.
In the evening, the crew enjoy a civilised meal at the Royal Yacht
Club of Victoria. The RYCV have been excellent hosts to us during our
stay in Williamstown. --- James Parbery

Preparing for Sea
February 7th 2006 @ 20:30
38°53'60.00 S 145°24'0.00 E

Heading 122°
Speed 5.8

Ship's Log:
There´s not much time to be wistful about leaving Melbourne. The
ship is a flurry of activity, and at 0900 sharp our berthing ropes
are heaved aboard, and, for the last time, the tug ´Vital´ and
workboat ´Kopan´ heave us off the Workshop Jetty and into Hobson´s Bay.
On board are Pilot John Carroll and one of our passage crew, David
Wharington, who is an Extra Master and a licensed compass adjuster.
They have kindly offered to improve the accuracy and steadiness of
the compass. While the ship spins a ´doughnut´ in the middle of Port
Phillip Bay, bearings and transits are taken from the distinctive
Bolte Bridge, Faulkner Beacon, the elevator tower East of
Sandringham, and the You Yang Mountains to the West. By moving and
adding magnets in the binnacle, the accuracy of the compass has been
improved from up to four degrees deviation to a maximum of one degree
at every quarter.
Our forty mile passage down the bay then continues. In the afternoon
we enter The Rip on an outgoing tide, against a head wind, which has
churned up a maelstrom of frothing, white water. Suddenly our
peaceful, sunny, jaunt along the Mornington Peninsular has become a
white-water rafting experience, with our one thousand tonne ship
slewing and pitching violently. Bass Strait rises to greet us with
several tonnes of salt water over the bow, and half the watch are
drenched to the skin. It´s met with good humour, and mostly laughter
can be heard, even amongst the victims!
At 2000 hrs we are waved farewell by dozens of fairy penguins ten
miles SW of Phillip Island, and our journey continues, into the
night. --- James Parbery.

Departing Melbourne
February 8th 2006 @ 11:48
38°53'60.00 S 145°24'0.00 E

Heading 122°
Speed 5.8

Ship's Log:
Half way between Skull Rock and Devil´s Tower some disappointment
pervades the ship as the wind backs just as we turn to N´East by East.

East Moncoeur Island abeam
February 9th 2006 @ 16:30
39°0'0.00 S 147°41'60.00 E

Heading 64°
Speed 5.8

Ship's Log:
Doubling Wilson´s Promontory and heading into the shipping lane,
we are surrounded by distinctive islands, including the aptly named
´Skull Rock´ (Cleft Island) and the dramatic, 350 metre (1256 feet)
high cone of Rodondo Island, shadowed by the faint blue mountains of
Victoria, behind. To the South is the Curtis Group and Crocodile Rock
(1 metre high), distinguished only by the waves crashing over it.
Only God would know how many ships have found grief amongst these rocks.
At 1030 hrs we alter course to the NE and find ourselves half way
between Skull Rock and Devil´s Tower; a natural, Gothic fortress
rising up from the brine.
A slight alteration of course at 1500 hrs results in a mysterious 10
degrees deviation of the compass. It is decided that another check
should be made, and the compass is swung again; i.e. the ship makes a
full circle, while bearings are taken from the Eastern edge of the
Hogan Group of islands. No significant error is found, and the
temporary 10 degrees deviation remains a mystery. --- James Parbery

Doubling Wilson´s Promontory
February 9th 2006 @ 20:30
37°42'0.00 S 150°5'60.00 E

Heading 39°
Speed 11.3

Ship's Log:
Our perfect wind has finally arrived. 35 knots from the SW is
sending us round Gabo Island (the SE corner of mainland Australia).
We´ve covered 21 nautical miles in the last two hours, which is an
average of 10.5 knots (20 km/h). For a thousand tonne ship pushing
through the sea, that is fast! Now she´s topping 11.3 knots, the
fastest we have had her since her restoration.
Jon Simpson, General Manager of The Sydney Heritage Fleet, has joined
us as a crew member on this passage. Despite having a maritime
background, this is his first time in a sailing ship. I ask him, "How
does it feel to be General Manager of THIS?" He stands on the quarter
deck, wind in his hair, a very content look on his face. "Bleedin´
marvellous" he answers. "It´s not your every-day job, is it?!!"
Instead of four cylinders, we have four topsails driving us along.
One cannot help but wonder at the marvellous strength of our rigging,
to stand up against this gale. The sea is roaring and crashing around
us, but the deck is remarkably stable - as long as the helmsman
remains on course! 5 or 10 degrees off will bring waves crashing into
the side, sending sailors into the scuppers, and dinner sliding
across the tables below. --- James Parbery

Rounding Gabo in a Gale
February 10th 2006 @ 20:30
36°17'24.00 S 150°24'0.00 E

Heading 280°
Speed 2

Ship's Log:
Strong Head Current

Abeam Montague Island
February 11th 2006 @ 10:30
37°36'0.00 S 150°35'60.00 E

Heading 29°
Speed 5.9

Ship's Log:
As we make our way North, along the coast of New South Wales, the
wind and sea have eased, the temperature has risen, and with the
coming of the dawn, more sails are piled on. By lunch time we are
carrying 18 sails, and the ´Craig´ is a very fine sight indeed.
The crew love being up in the rigging, swaying gently through the
sky, looking down on layers upon layers of billowing canvas, peeping
through the rigging at the shore, and down to the deck, far below.
Scurrying around the deck is ship´s dog, Rusty, while the passage
crew enjoy the sun, read books or coil ropes, and the officers on the
quarter deck discuss the finer points of trimming the sails and
reducing weather helm. --- James Parbery

Batemans Bay
February 11th 2006 @ 20:30
34°17'60.00 S 151°11'60.00 E

Heading 33°
Speed 3.4

Ship's Log:
The wind and tide are against us, so we have to motor against it,
using just fore-and-aft sails to steady the roll. It´s a fine, clear
day, and Captain Edwards decides to close the coast for a better look
and to escape the adverse current. The distinctive elevations of
Coolangatta and Saddleback Mountains offer the navigators some good
bearings, and the pretty township of Kiama hoves in to view.
Assistant Watchleader David Kemp has discovered some tears in the
fore upper tops´l, so Bosun Steven Robinson decides to send it down
for immediate repair. No fewer than five tears are found, all
developed in the last day or so. A team with palms and needles set to
work, and by mid afternoon the sail is being sent back up (using the
capstan), and the sail is bent on, ready for use. We have an efficient team.
Meanwhile, down in the bowels of the engine room, 2nd Engineer Paddy
O´Sullivan (from Ireland) is trying to top up a tank with water. Most
of it is spilling over the sides, as the ship rolls heavily in the
swell. Not much of it is going into the tank. Chief Engineer Martyn
Low (from Scotland, as are most marine engineers) has a bright idea.
"Pretend you´re decanting whisky into a bottle, Paddy!" From then on
he doesn´t spill a drop. --- James Parbery

Kiama-Wollongong, fine weather
February 12th 2006 @ 16:30
33°53'60.00 S 151°11'60.00 E

Heading 199°
Speed 18

Ship's Log:
We´re ten miles east of Port Jackson, under full sail, full and
by. We´ve just worn ship, and about to take in the royals. It´s a
perfect day, with 20 knots from the NE, and we´re trotting along at
seven knots. Now we´ve brought her onto a starboard tack for the
final run into Sydney, due at Pyrmont at 1500 hrs.
Even at this distance the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge arches
above the horizon, and as we near closer, the sandstone cliffs of
Sydney Heads stand high, above our masts. The harbour is a hive of
activity, yachts reefed down, commercial ships plodding their way
down the main channels, and our own steam yacht, ´Lady Hopetown´
(1902) and the gentleman´s schooner ´Boomerang´ (1903) have come to
greet us. All three of us are flying the distinctive Sydney Heritage
Fleet house flag; the Southern Cross upon a blue cross on white, with
a golden ship in the canton. The flag is adapted from Australia´s
first national flag, designed in 1824.
It´s all sixty-six hands on deck for the regular bracing of yards and
the shifting of fore-and-afters at every turn. It´s a seven mile sail
up the harbour, and we´re still carrying ten sails, which makes it an
exhilarating experience for all. The only one sleeping is Rusty the
dog, who has scampered off to avoid being trampled on.
The Spirit of Tasmania is leaving port, Kerry Packer´s twenty million
dollar yacht is anchored in Athol Bay, and as we approach the lee of
Kirribilli, all square sails are taken in for the final run under the
bridge and around to Pyrmont Bay. Hands are scurrying aloft to furl,
berthing ropes are being laid out on deck, the Sydney Opera House
gleams white in the brilliant sunshine, and we are almost home.
They say that all good things must come to an end, but few endings
are as good as this. --- James Parbery.

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