So....four guys who came together somewhat haphazardly don their Cheeky Crew T-shirts, say goodbye to loved ones and set off from Sydney to Melbourne on this unfamiliar sailboat. We played for a day in Sydney Harbour, learning some of the basic systems and anchored at Camp Cove, just inside the heads in readiness to bolt out into the big blue the next day.
I had been researching the weather for some time and couldn't believe the wind direction and strength we had forecast for the first few days of our trip. With the knowledge of how tough the conditions can get (and quickly) I was concerned that I was seeing the forecast through rose glasses...But no...It was fabulous!..We were dealt some gentle following winds on day 1, allowing us to settle in and learn more about the boat before the wind blew up....
As we turned the corner (around Gabo Island) on the second night and jibed in 25 knots of wind the seas started to build. We had already put on our wet weather gear, life jackets and tethers in preparation for a long night.
As the gusts kept building I was concerned that we were going to see over 40 on the dial and I braced myself...Seas grew behind us and Cheeky Encounter handled the conditions beautifully. It was my turn to go down below for a rest which I did willingly....I was awoken abruptly by 'Andy, we need help!' coming from Kevin and I quickly got dressed enough to assist. The autopilot had chosen to go doolally and Kevin needed help removing a line under load from a cleat...A few minutes later with the assistance of a knot learned on Youtube, we were back in business, but it was blowing hard...soon it was time for Stephen and I to be on watch. I suggested we let Stephen sleep on as I didn't really want him to witness the conditions...He slept through til 6am. The day was breaking as Stephen climbed the companion way, exposing the scale of the following seas we were riding. "Ok" says Stephen, "this is the new normal is it?"