Departing Port Dalrymple
Our stay in Launceston was busier than might have been expected. After spending a night at anchor in Bell Bay we collected John, our pilot, his wife, and an exchange student who was staying with them at seven in the morning. We headed down the Tamar river and the crew got a chance to enjoy the scenery of riverside farms and vineyards along the way. Our arrival in Launceston at midday coincided with a wooden boat rally at the Launceston Seaport marina. So visitor numbers for the weekend were high, with a crowd already gathered for the festival. During the week several schools also came down to visit the ship. A total of two thousand people looking over the ship during our stay. Wednesday was a busy day with the crew getting the ship ready for sea whilst I sorted out all the final bits of paperwork and permits for our passage up to Sydney. Finally at 1530 most of the paper work had arrived and we cast off the lines and proceeded up the river. There was still one final form that was being faxed to us, which we managed to pick up along the way by pulling in alongside the wharf at the Rosevers Pub to collect the document from our shore manager. But the wind had picked up and it was a slower passage down the river then expected. Finally, we managed to drop our pilot Ron off at Bell Bay, and after a few other complications were sorted out we finally managed to drop the big anchor at around ten o’clock in order to wait for the morning tide and for the wind to swing into the west to give us fair winds for the passage north. But it wasn’t to be a quiet night. I was called at 0300 by the anchor watch with great urgency for the anchor was dragging badly. All hands were instantly called to haul anchor. The ship was driven up on the anchor and all hands pulled the cable in until the anchor reached the water line. A new position was found for our anchorage, not far from the old one, but I hoped it might hold a bit better. The anchor was dropped again and luckily it seemed to hold well. The wind gusts had eased significantly as well. The crew were able to get a few more hours sleep before we hauled the anchor up again at 0630 and proceeded to sea, taking the ebb tide out through the river entrance. The wind was blowing a good 25 knots from the west once we were out so the lower sails were set and off we headed at a good speed in the right direction. Always a good start to a trip, lets just hope the wind lasts to get us all the way across the Strait.