Distance run in the last 24hrs; 67.4NM
Average speed; 2.8KN
Weather; S/SE Force 2-3, grey skies, moderate visibility, slight seas
As the wind shifts to the SE just as we are approaching the Backstairs passage it causes us a slight delay on the time in which we had hoped to get through. We have approximately 30NM before we clear through the passage which would give us more sea room and options to sail, however shortly after lunch the wind dramatically drops off and when it can be felt it is so changeable, making it difficult to determine which course to steer.
By 1400 the wind changes again, as it starts blowing lightly from the NE and with it comes rain. It is the first time that the crew are required to attire in their wet weather gear. Off our starboard side we have Kangaroo Island and on our Port side we have Cape Jervis. This area has places named with both English and French influences; this is because of English explorer Matthew Flinders and French explorer Nicolas Baudin. Matthew Flinders was sent to ‘New Holland’ on an expedition to charter the coastline on Sir Joseph Banks recommendation to the admiralty. On the 8th April 1802 Flinders sighted the ‘Geographe, ‘a French Corvette which was commanded by Nicolas Baudin. Despite England and France being at war at the time, Baudin and Flinders exchanged details of their discoveries. Flinders then went on to name the Bay off the West coast of Kangaroo Island ‘Encounter Bay’ from their meeting. Flinders had already arrived and named the Island Kangaroo Island, but when Baudin landed there he renamed it L’Isle Decres, however for one reason or another it has remained known as Kangaroo Island.
By 1600 the wind is coming from the NE which is ideal for what we need to progress through the straits, however there is not enough of it and with a strong ebbing tide we soon find that out course over ground is 0 knots. Within the next hour we are heading backwards by speeds of 1.5KN. At 1745 the call goes out to start the iron staysails so that we can clear the straits and get out into the ocean. At 1800 the tidal direction changes to our advantage.
It is some of the crews first time on the helm and they are unfortunately learning the hard way, with strong currents and motor sailing making handling tricky. Although it is a cloudy evening and the sunset can’t be seen, it certainly lightens the sky with a vivid coral colour made all the more special with a pod of dolphins coming to play in our wake. It is a dark, dark night with no stars visible and just the sound of the engine ticking over making it harder for the crew to concentrate on staying awake. By 0350 we are through the straits and welcome the shut down of the iron staysails and use the wind, to once again push us along.
In the morning, now that we are clear of the straits, we want to set as much sail as possible and the call goes out to Foremast watch to set the Fore course and the Mizzen course. At 1100 there is an all hands call to set the Fore T’Gallant, Main course and Main T’gallant. To make things easier Lucy calls upon all the Marks from mainmast to go and unfurl the Main T’gallant. The Marks that now refer to themselves as Kiwi Mark, Scottish Mark and Aussie Mark.