Peter and I had been planning another trip outside of Port Phillip, but big swell and Westerlies put paid to our plan of anchoring off Lorne, so we plumped for Williamstown instead. Good call!
With a 20 knot breeze giving us the perfect "reach" all the way to Melbourne, we settled into a run that had the boat seemingly singing with joy. Touching well over 8 knots at times, she was really flying along, a fantastic feeling with 12.5 tonnes of boat, powering along in near-perfect trim, in brilliant Winter sunshine. Wow, what a boat!
The trip gave me a good chance to play with the windvane steering system, and while I still haven't mastered it, I'm beginning to understand it. With a bit of further practice, it should really start to shine. The problem was, we were enjoying the run so much that it would've been a shame to slow the boat to set up the sail trim to suit the windvane better. And I wasn't about to end the fun by reading the manual either, but I did afterwards and we really should've slowed her down to manage the self-steering correctly.
We weren't really drinking champagne at the time either, but we did have a couple of congratulatory cold beers once we'd tied up at our temporary berth, free for Geelong members due to a reciprocal rights arrangement.
Williamstown's a funky little part of Melbourne with a fantastic maritime history, being in Hobson's Bay and where the old sailing ships used to dock. The history's alive, too, and the old pubs along the esplanade still do a good trade with today's sailors, including some of the Sea Shepherd's crew from their Antarctic chase vessel, the Steve Irwin. She was docked nearby and the young, volunteer crew were sinking a few cold beers prior to a scheduled departure on another mission.
We had a great night on shore, and felt like genuine old sailors as we swaggered around the streets, but were fortunate that the tide didn't drop much overnight as we were tied firmly to the wharf with short-ish lines! We would've looked pretty silly with 12 tons of boat hanging in mid-air.........
Anyway, we survived that one, learned another lesson, and cruised around a little in the morning before heading for home.
Unfortunately, paying the price for the gorgeous run on the way up, we had the motor on all the way, and hit a wall of rain for the last hour or so, but it was relaxing to be plodding along with the big diesel and electric autopilot keeping us on track.