on way to Launceston
Well much has happened onboard the “Little Dove” over the last couple of months. The Wooden boat festival was a wonderful gathering of wooden ships, yachts and pretty much everything that floats and is made of wood. As well as being such a large gathering of actual vessels it was also a great social event, with many crew past and present of Duyfken. The festival was also a huge success for the organisers with visitor numbers greater than expected. Duyfken stayed in Hobart for a week and a half after the festival and had several day sails on the River Derwent. It was great to be able to allow people to get out on the water and experience what it is really like to sail a sixteenth century replica. The way she is tacked, and on a few occasions even the enjoyment of pulling up the anchor by hand. The ship also had a change of volunteer crew, so it was a good chance to get some sail handling practise in before the ship headed out to sea. The Duyfken’s first stop after Hobart was Port Arthur. I was very much looking forward to this trip for Tasman peninsula has a connection to ships similar to Duyfken. For Abel Tasman, the first European to pass through these waters in 1642, sailed the Tasman peninsula in the ships, Heemskirk and Zeehaen; and both were similar to Duyfken. However, for all my enthusiasm the actual sailing part of the trip was frustrating for we seemed unable to shake off the curse of light contrary winds, so we motored most of the way. With only a two day stay scheduled for Port Arthur, it was necessary to arrive on time. Still, as we approached the jetty a very light breeze allowed us to drift down onto the wharf with two topsails set. It was a small and tight wharf for a vessel of Duyfken’s size, but the conditions were just right for sailing onto it. We ghosted in and had the first mooring line ashore before we had to use the engines. It was a quiet but very enjoyable stay in Port Arthur. The crew were busy keeping a close eye on the vessel at nights for some of the mooring lines needed constant attention. The weather was kind to us. Although, there was a very impressive storm, due to the wild array of lightning and a thunderous quantity of water, that passed over us on Saturday night; however it produced very little wind in the bay and thus was of no great consequence to the ship. The ship’s passage now heads north. Our first stop will be Launceston and then on to Sydney for a brief stop before heading up the coast to Brisbane. With rather rolly conditions getting around Tasman Island, many of the crew spent a little too much time appreciating the beautiful scenery of the coast line, as they tried to regain their sea legs. However, ‘The Little Dove’ is sailing well having passed through the sharp swell and may we hope the wind lasts for the night.