Out the Rip and back Day Trip
Saturday 19 Feb, 2022
The Out the Rip and Back Day Trip
Following on from an informative Bass Strait Information Session on 16 Feb, where over fifty sailors joined us to learn about upcoming plans for cruising to Refuge Cove and getting our boats ready for the trip. There was a good session too about safely transiting the Port Phillip Heads, which for many of us, was something we had not yet experienced. Many of us especially wanted to know more about the ‘Rip’ before registering for the upcoming Bass Strait Cruise to Refuge Cove.
So, with expectations high, and for good measure a few of us asking Neptune for fair winds and favourable seas, six boats and fifteen hardy crew prepared for sailing to QCYC, our jumping off point to transit the Port Phillip Heads. Two of the boats (Chinook and Amalfi 3) sailed on Thursday in fair conditions to avoid a predicted SE headwind of 20+ knots on Friday. Not exactly the start we wanted.
The four other vessels departed Friday, and all arrived safely after beating into head winds of up to 30 Knots. Waterline and Cassandra of Melbourne sailed to QCYC route including tacking their way up the Western Channel. Good training for the Rip, even if it was a bit tiring. Markeeta took the shortest route as it is powered vessel but finding out there was a leaky front window. Alliance sailed to the channel, but then motor sailed the last leg. Needless to say, after a tough day of sailing everyone enjoyed the refreshments and dinner that night!
We awakened Saturday to a grey day, but with the weather clearing for a forecasted sunny 20 degrees for Queenscliff. The swell in Bass Strait was running at 3-4 m with a max of 5m. The winds were Southerly at 5-10 knots for the Slack Water ebb. And even better a 10-15 knot following breeze was forecast for the Slack Water flood tide on the way back. Thank you, Neptune! We departed QCYC at the civilised time of 10:30 and made way to our pre-arranged exit waypoint to await slack tide at noon.
As we transited the heads there was some nervous laughter at the turbulence caused by the 3 to 5 m swell in the Strait meeting with the residual tide. If this was supposed to be slack tide, certainly, none of us wanted to go at the wrong time!
After another 1-2 miles out the turbulence subsided, and we had beautiful conditions with the swell feeling like riding fast elevators up and down with a period of about 15 seconds. We sailed on past Barwon heads and some of us practiced ‘Heaving to’ for a bit of lunch. Notably, all crews had made a light lunch that was easy to prepare/eat … because, if it was challenging conditions nobody wanted to be below deck too long!
We took our time sailing and enjoying the experience, eventually making our way back to the agreed waypoint to wait for slack tide before re-entering Port Phillip Bay. We called Lonsdale VTS to find out what Ship traffic was expected between 4:30 and 6:00 pm. We were advised that the Spirit of Tasmania was to be at the heads at 5:00 pm and the cargo ship MGA Pucciini due at 5:20 pm.
We knew that if we went a bit early (before 6:00 pm Slack Water flood) we would have a bit of flood current and a following wind smoothing out the rips. So off we went, lining up with Four Fingers West and following the Ferry, but slightly ahead of MGA Puccini. We had a wonderful sail back with 10-15 knots on our Starboard quarter and with a bit of Flood tide pushing us along we were sailing between 8 and 10 knots. What a fantastic sail back!
We were tied up at QCYC by about by 6:30 pm and then we met up for some social time and to share our Rip experiences, all while enjoying a beautiful sunset over Swan Bay. For the newbies in the group the good conditions and favourable weather made our first ‘rip experience’ one of fond memories. And for the veterans it was a great day to be out there!
So, mission accomplished; safe and fun for all!
Many of us are now looking forward to our next Rip experience which will be the Bass Strait Cruise to Refuge Cove on the Labour Day weekend in March. For those that can’t take a week off, we have our Inside the Bay cruise also on the Labour Day Weekend.
We hope to see all of you out there with us on our upcoming Cruises. We have a great time both on and off the water on our Cruising in Company events. For information about our next two Cruises click here.
- Labour Day Weekend – 2 Options
- 12-14 Mar, 3 day Cruise inside the bay
- 12-20 Mar, 9 day Bass Strait Cruise
- Docklands Autumn Cruise 2 & 3 April
For those who went on the cruise, or are just interested, there are more photos and some videos of the trip available click here.