I could not take bearings of the only lighthouse (the Southernmost lighthouse of Tasmania is on Maatsuyker island) in the desired intervals to get my position because of the unreliable wheel adapter. It kept me glued to manual steering in the nasty weather.
It was nerve-racking—blind sailing among the hidden rocks which could end our race and probably our life simultaneously. Almighty’s guardianship became obvious at dawn when the contours of these steep-sided, dark monsters became visible behind Puffin.
But we had to reach a safe shelter before the storm’s peak. And it was possible with a shortcut via the D’Entrecasteaux channel, inside of Bruny Island.
Further Heavenly assistance was in high demand as the storm got stronger, and me less so. The sea became shallow with scattered reefs, so I switched to storm sails. I did this to avoid a speedy grounding because I did not have an operable depth sounder (it was broken in the knockdown).
Recherche Bay looked like a suitable shelter, and I saw a boat already anchored there. But my upwind maneuvers to get inside that bay were unsuccessful. My storm sails, ideal for offshore heavy weather sailing, failed me in the close-hauled upwind sailing as the wind frequently shifted in direction and strength.
I had to keep going in the still wide but reef-divided channel, relying only on my biosensors. The next charted prospective anchorage was Southport, in the Bay of Deephole. Puffin had to race against the approaching dusk and the storm’s peak.
I started the engine to improve Puffin’s control, but the undersized prop (beneficial during offshore sailing) did not help much, and my upwind sailing into the bay failed—again.
Completely frustrated, I kept sailing further into the darkening channel. After analyzing my options, I decided to make a risky move. I sailed eerily close to the peninsula on the bay’s East side, then changed tack and hugged the shore, just an arm-stretch distance from shore, while sailing towards the anchorage.
The nearby land and vegetation weakened the wind and frequently gave a favorable lift for our heading. But it also threatened us with nasty grounding.