Home' Afloat : AFLOAT December 2014 Contents Take monthly with water December 2014 63
Celebrate the festive season ... fly or display the unique
AUSTRALIAN CHRISTMAS FLAG
a memorable present for friends and family.
Dress ship with Sydney’s “Battle Flag”,
THE GREATER SYDNEY ENSIGN
Fly a large GREATER SYDNEY ENSIGN and show your pride in the harbour
city! The Greater Sydney Ensign together with the Australian Red Ensign,
constitute the “Suit of Colours” for Sydney’s waterways.
The Greater Sydney Ensign is the appropriate flag for your home, business
or boat in the area between Newcastle, Bathurst and Wollongong.
Salute any occasion, hoist THE GIN PENNANT
... the signal for all celebrations
JOHN VAUGHAN - Vexillographer
2/175 SAILOR'S BAY RD (PO Box 38) NORTHBRIDGE NSW 1560
TEL: 02 9958 3246 FAX: 02 9958 2914
RED WINE PENNANT
as a Pennant
In the month of December, record
numbers of recreational boaters cast
the lines and train their bows on ...
Sydney Harbour. There’s a lot going down,
not least being the headline act, the
Sydney-Hobart, attracting a bumper 119
entries this year.
The 2014 Sydney-Hobart will feature
three separate start lines to accommodate
the big fleet and, moreover, the flying
supermaxis including American Jim Clark’s
dashing new 100ft carbon Comanche. The ex-
Netscape owner, with a net worth of US $1.4
billion, is married to Aussie Kristy Hinze.
But most of us will be willing favourite Wild
Oats XI to keep it all-Australian.
We mention this because once you’ve
farewelled the Hobart sailors, you’ll want
to put the pick down somewhere to eat
your leftover ham and turkey. Several days
later, many more of us will look for an
anchorage near the Coathanger for New
Year’s Eve. Warning: it’s not for the faint
of heart. But if you’ve survived the Hobart
start you have your training wheels in place
for NYE boating.
While Farm Cove is a cracker on
NYE, Athol Bay is the best by far. There’s
more to this west-facing cove fringed by
National park than just fireworks. The
pretty bay is unsurpassed for watching
the sunset over the Sydney icons, with
the panorama spanning the skyscrapers,
the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge
and the Kirribilli to Cremorne foreshores.
Finally, you can look at the CBD and not
think of work.
Athol Bay is at the foot of Taronga
Zoo and we’ve heard the lions roar from
our boat before. The bay is also traced
by the verdant bushland of Ashton Park
that runs around to Bradleys Head, a
windbreak from summer’s northeasters.
If a southerly buster is forecast steer clear
of Athol Bay, as it’s a lee shore attracting
floating rubbish anyway.
Thing is, Athol Bay is rarely calm even
on a good day. The ferries transit out
yonder and the waves of the passing craft
rock your boat, which often lays beam-on.
So don’t wander far from the salad bowl.
If you get really lucky, latch onto one
of the five public moorings. These are
20/20s, that is, good for a 20t vessel of 20
metres or less in length. The Roads and
Maritime Services boating map says the
moorings are for four hours only, however,
I’m yet to see anyone adhere to this policy
or it being policed. Even commercial boats
overnight on them.
Don’t expect to get a mooring and
you won’t get disappointed. Besides the
hold is very good over the sand bottom
that ranges in depth from about five to 15
metres. Fishing is productive for flathead,
but most visiting boaters prefer to tuck into
a side of smoked salmon, take the top off
a bottle of bubbly, and toast that sunset.
Depending on your ETA, you might be
able to anchor in close to shore, between
Bradleys Head and the easternmost
pumping wharf. Arrive late on NYE and you
will be forced at least 100 metres out into
Athol Bay or is it Port Jackson. Herein the
problem for so many recreational boaters.
Not enough rode.
Working on the basic 3:1 rule when
anchoring, you will need 45 metres of
chain/rope to anchor off Athol Bay on
NYE if you arrive much past 3pm. Many
boats simply don’t have the scope, ditch
20 metres of rope, and promptly drift
past. After a few failed attempts their NYE
dissolves into a farce.
So practise your anchoring and arrive
prepared with plenty of ground tackle.
Drop your anchor around similar craft
right at the transom of a boat so you pull
back and away during the set. Once on the
hook, you can take in the stirring views
and join the party.
On NYE, the sea of boats adds to
the special effects and you won’t find
an anchorage quite so stirring anywhere
in Australia. As the festivities subside,
some weigh anchor and head back to the
madcap ramps or quieter anchorages. But
we usually pull out a bed and sleep right
Get your sea legs at Athol Bay and
you’re ready to head just about anywhere at
holiday time. Which is where we’ll see you
next. Meantime, have a merry Christmas
and a safe boating new year. h
ON THE WATER
with David Lockwood
Jim Clark’s dashing new 100ft Comanche.
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