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post #220 of Old 09-05-2010
St Anna
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Location: Southern QLD, Bayside
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I had the boat start to broach in the worst possible location, poor conditions as the sun was setting. I had to sail into this location as my prop shaft has problems, causing huge cavitation in the following seas. As it happens, this would have occurred under sail or under motor - we sail, its what we do!

We were sailing into Mooloola River which has a narrowish NW/SE rock wall lined entrance. It was blowing 25-30 from the N and there was a 1.5-2.5m swell, exacerbated by the shallowing at the entrance - almost making it a bar crossing. There was dredging operations at the western wall, narrowing it further.

The sun was setting over my right shoulder causing large shadows. It was difficult to see into the troughs of the seas. So the wind behind was behind,and at the entrance, a swell was standing up on the port quarter. I was watching out for about 15 kayakers and a few paddle board surfers as we approached - not easy in the swell, worse in the failing light.

Right at the entrance, I eased sheets, spilling some air out of the genny in order to time the entrance on the back of a swell, some had been breaking across the entrance. At the right time, I cranked on the genny back on and then I saw 3 more kayakers, just in front, about to paddle across the entrance and right under the bow. They obviously couldnt judge my speed. I eased the genny back a notch to let him pass - I now couldnt compromise boat speed as I was committed.

As my concentration is on these 3, I didnt notice a larger swell which flicked us over to stb and the bow to port. I saw the eastern rock wall approach rather rapidly and fought the wheel. The boat responded well, we recieved a slap of water into the cockpit, drenching the cat. One kayaker had crossed in front was paddling as if his life depended on it. The other 2 stayed away.

So nothing broken or harmed, but a scare for us, the cat and the first kayaker. They have as much right to be there as I do, but its like playing on the freeway for them.

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