Pittwater to Lord Howe Race - a Fabulous Adventure
May 09, 2014
The 40th Mount Gay, Pittwater to Lord Howe island got underway at 14:00 Saturday the 5th April.
There were 11 starters. This is the maximum number of yachts the race can have because there are very limited mooring locations in the Lord Howe Lagoon. The race is classed as a Category 1 race, the only other Race is Australia that is Cat1 is the Sydney to Hobart yacht Race.
Among the starters was the Beneteau 40.7. yacht, “Ticket of Leave” - which was to be my home for the next couple of days
The race rhumb line length is 414 nautical Miles. “Ticket” was one of the slowest boats in the fleet so for us it was all about finishing.
The first day was wonderful, with nice 15 knots winds from beam. Several sail changes kept us in touch with the fleet. In the middle of the night came the heavy rain; we found a hole and became becalmed for 6 hours.
We could only wait for a new breeze and we were expecting a southerly. It arrived with a bang and reached windspeeds of 35 knots very quickly. We were down to two reefs in the Main and a number 4 Jib.
Conditions were very trying, both inside and outside the cabin!. Everyone was wet, including the BBQ Shape biscuits!. The Southerly held for two days until we reached Lord Howe at 12.24PM three days later.
You cannot enter the Lagoon until morning so we waited outside until we raised Port Authority on Channel 12. A familiar Voice came over the Radio and it was Kathie Meyers, who was there to meet the boat and myself! It didn’t take us crew long to get the yacht ship shape and head for the Bar!.
Lord Howe is a wonderful Destination. It is classed as NSW. There is no internet or Mobile phone service so you can really immerse yourself in the environment. Snorkelling, Glass Bottom boat viewing and hiking were the order of the day. I recommend it to everyone.
With the cyclone in the north and the deep low in the south joining forces, there was no way “Ticket” could make the return Voyage immediately. She stayed put at Lord Howe for three weeks til four of us caught the Qantas flight back to bring her home. At high Tide we made our way across the Bar and headed west in champagne sailing conditions. The trip home was wonderful, made all the better by great company and Reaching winds. “Ticket” berthed at 2AM, three days later, where pancakes, Hot Tea and Mt Gay Rum made for a great early Breakfast!
A fabulous adventrure!