Hobart to Melbourne to Hobart

Posted on October 25, 2013 by Jack Kelly
Tags: windeward_bound

At the end of September we voyaged to Melbourne to meet the incoming fleet that would carry on to Sydney for the International Fleet Review. Melbourne took the opportunity to have a tall ship festival in Williamstown, which was an excellent but intense few days.

We had a pretty uneventful trip up, with not much wind and a lot of motoring. An easy crossing of Bass Strait had us anchored at Refuge Cove in Wilson’s Prom, waiting for a front to pass. I actually managed a decent sunrise photo, too:


After things settled a bit we motored past the heads and up into Port Phillip Bay, where the wind picked up and made the final few hours a bit lumpy.

Melbourne Skyline

We arrived after just about everyone else, so we came in to find a full wharf, and the organisers had put the Dutch ship Tecla in our spot. Can’t get a park anywhere!

Tall Ships at the Wharf

We didn’t do a lot of day sailing, but instead opened the ship to visitors for several days. We each had a few hours here and there to go exploring and have a look elsewhere:


This is the Bark Europa. She used to be a light ship (i.e., a floating lighthouse) and her thick steel hull means that she still regularly visits Antarctica.

Young Endeavour and Lord Nelson

In the foreground is Young Endeavour. She’s run by the Royal Australian Navy for Australian youth, and she’s the ship that gave me the tall ship bug. In front of her is STS Lord Nelson. She’s built for disabled trainees, and the thought that’s gone into her all over is remarkable. The wide decks have a raised strip in the middle so the blind can find the fore-and-aft line, and the hand rails have embossed markers pointing for’ad. The bowsprit is wheelchair-accessible and they can even hoist wheelchairs aloft.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a tall ship event without pranks. I found a rare bread tree during my wander around Williamstown:

Bread Tree

And someone offered Europa for sale. And put a beard on her figurehead.

Europa for Sale Europa Bearded

Someone else put oranges on the bull’s horns, but I didn’t get a picture of that.

We did have one day of sailing, and that was a ripper. Grey skies and drizzle gave way to good winds and sunshine almost from the moment we left the wharf, and we took the opportunity to set as much sail as possible:

Sails Set

The plan was simple. Young Endeavour would sit at anchor…

Young Endeavour at Anchor

… and the rest of us would sail past her, saluting as we went. And look great while doing it.


That’s Tecla, and the scuttlebutt said that she sailed over with 4 people on board. From the Netherlands. Our resident Dane claims that the Dutch have a mental disease, where if they see something that floats, they’ll put masts and sails on it and take it around the world.


And that’s Oosterschelde, the third Dutch tall ship. Both her and Europa were gorgeous inside, with varnished timber and such everywhere. Oosterschelde’s saloon had one tap in the sink, and it dispensed Heineken.

Enterprize and Cannon

Meanwhile, Melbourne’s own Enterprize was sailing around saluting everything that moved with her cannon.

Europa and Spectators

As you would expect, Europa looks beautiful under sail.

Now this is the Soren Larsen, which was built in the late 1940’s and still has her original engine.

Soren Larsen and Spectators

After the sail, we all had to furl our sails and that was a perfect time to take a camera aloft:

Ships from Aloft

And after a few days in Melbourne, we all took off for the next part of the big adventure:

Departing Ships

We all made our way out towards Hobart. With strong easterlies forecast for the majority of the trip, everyone decided to go down the west coast of Tasmania.

Fleet Astern

Our trip across Bass Strait was quite a bit lumpier than last time, as you can see from how the harness stood off the bulkhead in the main accommodation area:

Flying Harnesses

Making the west coast trip meant that we were all able to spend some time in beautiful Port Davey, a magnificent part of south-western Tasmania that I’ve written about before. We didn’t get a chance to go ashore and explore like we usually do, but some of the other ship did get to put feet to solid ground. It was great to be able to share that place with everyone else.

Europa in Port Davey Oosterschelde and Young Endeavour in Port Davey Soren Larsen in Port Davey Tecla in Port Davey

On the way back, I had time to do more ropework, finishing up yet another bottle:

Another Ropeworked Bottle

I’m running low on string and people keep giving me bottles. If I’m not careful, I’ll get stuck in the cycle of “I have heaps of string, I should get bottles and ropework them” <-> “I have heaps of bottles, I should get string and ropework them”.

On the way back up the channel, Soren Larsen had to take on a pilot to finish her journey into Hobart.

Soren Larsen takes on a Pilot

And we made it to Hobart! That’s all for now.

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