Ships Log:(updated as time permits)
5-14-01 - Hi Gang. Astor is presently tied up at the CYCA. A new part of town for us as we were near Darling Harbor before. This is were the real "yachtie" action is.
We had a horrible trip through the north end of Bass Straight where all the seas meet and it gets shallow.
Before that, however, we had a great time.
We left Hobart and anchored in some coves down the Derwent and spent a few nights in Port Arthur waiting for a weather window. We picked up a wonderful southerly and sailed up the east coast of Tasmania flying our asymmetrical chute. Astor was saying farewell to Tazmania with grace and style. A strange radio problem forced us to go without our SSB weather reports and we listened to the local reports instead, which stated everything great: southerly 20 - 25. So we sailed on, missing Mariah Island and Wine Glass Bay.
All was wonderful until my watch(go figure). We just missed a freighter. I can't believe how close we were and how fast it happened. It was frightening. Shortly after, the wind began to build. Thinking back, it was almost like the freighter was trying to tell us something. As if it was warning us not to pass.
From 2 a.m. till when we got to Eden and it blew. Once I saw 48 on the windspeed and I know it was higher at times. Outside Eden, Richard at the helm, was hit by a wave that washed away his glasses($500US Armani, you are welcome King Neptune!) and filled the cockpit with water and foam, also triggering his self inflating safety harness. Eden was a welcome anchorage!! Protected and comfortable, I was once again thankful to have the additions to our wonderful crew, Daniel and Rhys. They are an answer to my prayer!!!
We all were fine, though a bit humbled, and ASTOR was wonderful. It was worse than the weather we encountered off Point Conception a few summers ago.
We spent a few days in Eden (which we really like) waiting for a southerly. We headed out and had a wonderful sail direct to Sydney. Once here we spent 5 nights at Farm Cove, right next to the Opera House. With no one else in the anchorage - it was perfect with great access to town.
Though we have been warmly accepted by the people here in Sydney, and welcomed by the many that have roots connected to Astor, we feel it may be time to move about. We plan to leave in about 10 days for New Caledonia and Vanuatu. These are places that we were rushed through and feel they need another look. Future plans include heading back to the Great Barrier Reef around September or October, then on to points south for the hurricane season.
Through the people we have met, it is incredible how much we have learned about Astor's history . We now have pictures from a man who's grandfather sailed with the owner when she came to Sydney in 1927. WOW!! What a wonderful experience this has been.
Our sailmail is better than ever. We had a local expert out and tuned it up with a few filters and new programs. It is really fast now. The problems with the radio turned out to be only a bad fuse - thank goodness that was all.
We will keep you posted. -Lani
4-22-01 - The following is a special report.
I have news of Astor--Lani called Saturday evening to say they had sailed out of Hobart and north across the Bass Straight towards Australia. They encountered a fierce storm with high waves and gale force winds. Lani describes the trip as horrible.
All aboard are safe and sound but they have lost all E-mail and radio contact. Repairs will take some time.
Astor is now in the port of Eden. --- Daisy Straman
4-10-01 - Hi Gang.
We are still at the RYCT. It is nice to be at a dock as we are able to accomplish a lot. We have gotten caught up on our varnish and completed many other projects that needed attention. I am not sure that ASTOR has ever looked better than she does right now. We have stripped all of her bad varnish and she is sitting here looking very yachty!!
I wish I had some exciting things to report but we have actually had a quiet time. Today we had loan of a car and went touring. We went to the Tasmania Devil Park and Port Arthur which is the remains of a prison.
One exciting thing is that Rhys Cole is joining us as crew and he arrives tomorrow. We are so happy to have him back. He has quit his job, given up his apartment and will join us for awhile.
We are planning to leave this weekend for points that will eventually wind us up in Sydney. Mariah and Daniel will be flying out to New Zealand (a visa requirement). Rhys will join them so they will have a tour guide.
We now have our digital camera and will get some good shots as we venture up coast.
Love to you all, thanks for keeping up ---Lani
3-18-01 - Well it has been quite a while since our last update. Altho we have really enjoyed the attention, it is nice that things are slowing down again and we can get back to enjoying our surroundings.
We found ourselves mentioned on the website of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival and they even put up a nice picture of Richard and I. Notice the grip on our trophy. We thank them for taking the time to mention us and for hosting this grand event.
Recent events from down under include another visit from Peter Warner. He had planned a big party for his birthday. Over 150 people were invited and plans included flying in his Tongian cook and have a real feast. However, as the time got closer he decided he would rather have a quiet sail holiday instead. So he cancelled the big party. Well, his friends and forrmer crew still had a party at Rob Macauley's house in Sidney. We were thrilled to have Peter here aboard the ASTOR to help celebrate!!!
It is a great time to visit Australia. The weather is just great, and we are not deserving of the local hospitality. The people are gracious as always, and the US dollar is really strong @ 49 cents.
It's great hearing from all of you, so feel free to send messages through the website. ----Lani
2-24-01 - It's great to be cruising again. We were fortunate to have a full boat as the Frosts, Jordans as well a Justine & Peter Warner are on board. After leaving Hobart we sailed down the Derwent River to the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. We anchored at Little Oyster Cove in the channel for the night. Almost no boats cruise in Tasmania so we nearly had the cove to ourselves. It was nice to be at anchor again. We had a wonderful dinner of Tazi Atlantic Salmon - happily our salon table seats 10!
The next morning [2/14] we sailed around Huon Island and up the Huon River. We had 25 to 35 knots on the bow and so we tacked up the river to Port Huon. It took us until 5 p.m. We were able to tie to the Port Huon Wharf and meet some of the local people that were former sea scout cadets and friends of Peter. We had a lovely evening. Unfortunately the Frost's departed at day break with Rodney Goode, a former cadet who drove them to the airport (thanks Rodney). We had such a wonderful visit with them. The next day 2/15 we were treated to a wonderful lunch by the Warners at the Kermandie Hotel and a tour of the local salmon farms by Micheal Wilson. The salmon farms are different from the farmed salmon in the US as they grown big Atlantic salmon with filets 24" to 30" long. Really good and quite expensive. However, we did not have to buy anymore salmon as the former cadets are active in the salmon farms and were very generous to give us plenty wonderful salmon. Peter & Justine departed for Hobart then Sydney. Peter promised to return for his big Birthday.
Port Huon was perfect, Marion Jordan picked a gallon of blackberries and we had blackberry trifle, shortcake & pancakes. Then Richard, Marion, & Jim plucked a bucket of oysters from the shore. We did the math later and we must have had about 70 oysters. The best I have ever tasted. Later that day [2/18] we had a wind shift and had to go across the bay to have a sheltered anchorage. The next morning (which was Richard's Birthday), we up anchored and headed down the river to Dover.
Dover proved to be a beautiful harbor and sweet town. We anchored down near the place that ASTOR's mooring was some 35 years ago. Now we were able to relax and recoop from many days of intense fun. On 2/21 the Jordan's packed up and stayed ashore as they had an early flight out.
The Jordans' treated Peter and Richard to a joint birthday dinner at the Dover Hotel. We celebrated Peter's Birthday by sailing to Recherhe Bay near the south tip of Tasmania. We were able to find more mussels and oysters - ooh delicious.
Today, 2/24 we are headed back to Hobart.
We'll keep in touch - Lani
2-21-01 - Greetings from Tasmania.
We have been so busy having fun with visitors that the time has just flown. We arrived in Hobart on Thursday the 8th of February, just in time to pick up Jim and Marion Jordan at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. They had just arrived from Newport Beach. They are long time friends from our yacht club. At that point we had Chris & Dale Frost and Jim & Marion Jordan on board (continuous party). The next morning we moved Astor over to the Elizabeth street wharf in Hobart for her berth for the Wooden Boat Festival of Australia. We were glad to be on time for the Festival after all the delays because of weather.
We had expected the Festival to be a modest affair, were we wrong. There were about 300 boats in attendance from large to small. The Bark Endevour and 4 other square rigged ships were also on display. There were usually 3 or 4 musical groups playing at various stages around the Festival and a theater group that did sketches about Tasmanian folk lore and sailing. There were boat building contests, model boat displays, and radio controlled sail boats sailing all around the festival. Astor was in the middle of all this drawing quite a crowd.
We expected the Tasmanian people to remember her but we were unprepared for the numbers and the emotion. Astor was leased to the Sea Cadets of Tasmania for one year by Peter Warner and she spent that time in Tasmanian waters as their training ship. We have met about 35 of the 50 or so cadets that trained on her. They are now in their 50's but still can remember every detail of their time on her. We have also met their long suffering wives who have heard all the stories but had never seen Astor. They can now understand why the cadets are still so emotional about her.
After sailing 10,000 miles Astor was still ship shape enough to win the Grand Prize of the festival- a 5 liter keg of the best single malt whiskey from the premier Tasmanian distiller.
Peter and Justine Warner flew in for the festival on Friday to see the festival and to cruise Tasmania with us after the show. I think that they were overwhelmed by the response also. Peter had spent a number of years commercial cray fishing the Tasmanian waters and saw a lot of old friends at the Festival.
On Tuesday we left Hobart to cruise down the D'Entrecasteaux Channel and up the Huon River with a full crew, Chris & Dale, Jim & Marion, Peter & Justine, Daniel, Mariah, Lani and I.
Cheers, Richard & crew
2-7-01 - Hi to all,
The wind finally decided to cooperate. We up anchored at 8 am Friday for Hobart. Friday's sail was great, we logged over 200 ktm's in 24hrs and now are through the Bass Straight and sailing down the east coast of Tasmania with about 180 ktm's to go. If all goes well we will be in time for the festival.
Our current position is: 40.49.15 S, 149.20.44 E
Cheers, Richard & crew
2-3-01 - We are anchored in the port of Eden which is the last port of refuge on the main land before crossing the Bass Straight for Tasmania. The weather has not been cooperating, so we will stay here untill it improves. There are 12 ? boats doing the classic cruise to Hobart (we are one) for the Festival. About 8 of us were in Eden on Friday morning. 6 of the boats decided to leave despite a less than favorable weather forecast, we did not. Today we got news that the boat in charge of the cruise, Tradewinds, has sunk in the Bass Straight. All the crew were rescued by helicopter by the Australian Navy and are safe. First reports are that Tradewinds rolled 360 degrees and lost her masts and started taking on water. The ocean, especially the Bass Straight is not something to challenge.
Trade Winds Supplimental: Special Report -(Thu, 08 Feb 2001)
Dear Webmaster and followers:
I'm the skipper of "Trade Winds", and I'd like to point out to you the facts regarding the situation to my yacht.
My decision to leave Eden was taken with all the skippers involved in my cruise. The forecast was 20-25 knot wind's dying early afternoon to evening to 10-15 knot's, this did not concern myself or crew.
Trade Winds suffered a "knock down" at 20.30 on Friday evening losing her life raft/Rudder/rear hatch and her propeller was fouled, she did not capsize. Wind speeds at this time were averaging 45-55 reaching 60 knots with 5-6 metre waves hitting the yacht. During the night six further knock down's were experienced, the rest of the fleet some 10 miles to the west of us were experiencing abating conditions. At 05.30 I sent out a may day call due to my situation, we were picked up at 08.30 by Helimed 1 from the Victorian Ambulance Service with the assistance of the Contship Vision from Hamburg enroute to Sydney.
The conditions that my yacht was experiencing was not predicated by the weather forecasts.
Trade Winds will hopefully be towed into Eden within the coming days, she is a dear old friend and very tough. She showed this when winning the 1949 Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race making her a true classic.
- Thanks, Michael
For all concerned, we aboard the Astor are fine and safe. We hope to cross to Tasmania on Monday if the weather improves and should be in Hobart in time for the start of the Wooden Boat Festival. As always, safety is utmost and the schedule is a distant second on Astor.
For the record our position is: 37 04.33 S, 149 54.1 E
Chris and Dale Frost are on board for several weeks having flown in from San Diego. They are long time friends that we have sailed with for many years and we all are having a good time catching up on California news and gossip while we wait for the weather to change.
We will keep you posted as to our progress.
1-30-01 - It is true we have finally gotten out of Sydney. We are on the way to Tasmania for the Wooden Boat Show (www.awoodboatfest.com). We currently are in Jervis Bay - about 120 miles south of Sydney as a southerly change(the bad weather comes from the south) came in and this is a good place to hold up.
Our current position is 35.07 S, 150.44 E
We had a wonderful time in Sydney (as you probably read) we got to meet a lot of the former crew and friends of ASTOR. All great people and the hospitality was truly amazing.
We hope to leave here in a couple of days, when the normal winds return, for Eden which is the last port before the Bass Straight which separates Tasmania from Australia. The weather in the Bass Straight can be rough so timing is important. The good news is that the weather forecasts are very accurate here so we should be able to time the crossing well.
We will keep you posted- Lani
1-10-01 - We love Sydney! Visiting any town within months of having the Olympics is probably the best time as they are still shining and clean. I remember LA in '84. Who would have believed it could look so good. Anyway, we are very busy getting ASTOR looking good. Her varnish was alittle dull upon arrival but now she is looking probably better than she has looked in years and certainly better than when Peter Warner owned her. We have spent hours and hours stripping, sanding a varnishing not to mention polishing bronze. We have found time to go the the ballet at the Opera House and of course do some shopping.
I will try to update you since our arrival in Sydney. It mostly concerns being reunited with Peter Warner and crew.
Rob MaCauley former crew and now film maker lives near by in a suburb of Sydney. He made all of the arrangements for our dock right downtown here in Sydney. We could not have a better location. He met us at the dock and the next day took us on a 4 hour tour of Sydney after he treated us to lunch at the CYC (Cruising Yacht Club - who put on the Sydney to Hobart race). We were not able to get a berth there because of the Sydney to Hobart race was just weeks away. We really like it better down town. Rob has driven us around for little repair jobs that we needed. Not to mention having all of us over for dinner and swim.
Richard, Mariah & I (Daniel stayed home as his mom was here) were treated to a weekend away when Peter Warner picked us up and drove us to his lovely home in Razorback nearly 50 miles away in the Southern Highlands. We had a wonderful dinner and spent the night. While we were there Peter shared his box full of ASTOR treasures with us. They included scrapbooks of clippings and memoribilia from ASTOR's famous racing history. The next morning we were picked up by Bruce Rosenburg who drove us another 50 miles further to his beautiful home in Burrang. Bruce had crewed on ASTOR when she was ADA. So were once again treated to pictures and stories about the famous ASTOR/ADA. We had dinner with some of Bruce's friends who knew ASTOR and her history. Bruce has a magnificent garden on the edge of the rainforest it was wonderful to see the flowers and foliage of Australia. By the way it is very similar to the US but their emphasis is on different flowers. After all the latitude is 33 - 52 south, that is why it is so hot here! This is the hottest weather that we have had. We returned home via train. It was our first time away from ASTOR in over a year and the first time for Mariah and I to enjoy a tub bath!!
Daniel's mom arrived 12/14 and we really enjoyed having her stay. I needed some adult feminine company. As all of my cruising friends had gone to New Zealand. We were able to shop (she even liked fabric stores) and talk about our kids. Having Daniel and Janet aboard really made our Christmas special as it was odd being in Australia away from Daisy and friends. Janet brought us a little Christmas tree and enough little white lights to span all of our standing rigging. It was a sight! Christmas in Australia is simpler than in the states. Most homes do not have fresh or any Christmas trees as they really do have evergreen trees or treefarms. I never saw a Christmas tree lot. Even 2 days before Christmas the shops were not crowded and people just seem to relax and enjoy the holiday. I did bake cookies but it was just too hot to cook the usual Christmas dinner so Daniel barbqued Salmon purchased at the local famous Sydney Fish Market.
In addition to Peter Warner, Rob MaAuley and Bruce Rosenberg we have been meeting many other previous crew members. So of course on 12/26 Boxing Day, the start of the Sydney to Hobart Race we got to meet and sail with them, 7 in all. We had a total of 27 aboard as we welcomed all of their families. Many of these families had heard their whole about ASTOR and now was the time to see it in person. It was a beautiful day on the water in Sydney. It is hard to describe how important this race is to the whole country. There were hundreds of boats on the water which I expected but when I look up on the buffs and shore of Sydney north and south there were thousands of people lining every visible point. It was amazing!!!! We sailed out at 10 a.m. and toured the bay then proceeded out of the headlands where the wind freshened and we hoisted a few sails. We sailed around and secured a good vantage spot to watch the race boats. It was thrilling. Later in the race they had bad weather but for the first day it was a perfect 10 as we had calm seas and good wind. ASTOR, with Peter Warner at the helm strutted her stuff doing 9- 10 knots and we were able to fly the coming home pennant that I sewed in Coffs Harbor. We had made this 8000 mile journey to enjoy this wonderful day.
We barely recovered from this and Janets's leaving when New Years arrived. Wow - I have never seen such fireworks. Not just at midnight but also at 9:00. The whole city is full of fireworks including the bridge, pontoons in the bay and the tops of all the building send off fireworks. It cost millions of dollars and it is worth every penny. It must be good to the country's p.r. as I am sure that all the news agencies broadcast it.
Last week, all of us including Daniel ventured down by train to the southern shore resort town of Corrella to visit Bruce and Chastin Perry. Bruce was former crew on the '63 Transpac Race. We had a wonderful day at the beach, lunch and guided tour of the area. We are totally spoiled by these fabulous people.
Yesterday, Mariah and I went off shopping in Sydney with Chastin Perry who showed us the best places to shop for opals and the most scenic spot for lunch.
Now, if you throw in catching up on cruising friends who are now here in Sydney and all of the drop in visitors that want to see and talk about the famous ASTOR you can understand why I have not found time to send out much email.
Love to you all, ---Lani
12-18-00 - Hello to all followers! We are in Sydney. It has been a whirlwind since we arrived. We sailed in on 12/11 - after leaving Nelson's Bay. We had Peter Warner and Bruce Rosenburg as guests on board for this last hop down the coast. Peter was a former owner and Bruce sailed on ASTOR with the Stuart Family when ASTOR was still named ADA. It was a wonderful trip although the winds were light and we motored all night - it was a thrill to come in to Sydney Harbor (we were video taped for over and hour by channel 7 news). We still have not done the follow up interview so it has not aired yet. We are currently at a dock near the Maritime Museum and very close to town. I am sorry not to write sooner but we have be visited, and entertained endlessly by the former crew and admirers. It is amazing how popular this boat is.
We just got back from a weekend in the country. We visited Peter Warner and Bruce Rosenberg spending the night at each of their homes and then we were driven around for the full tour. I am still not sure where we were but it was beautiful. Australia is amazing.
Janet Giessmann - Daniel's mom arrived on the 14th so we have been busy with her. She is a delight!!
So sorry that it has taken so long to email. I feel that we have just come up for air. Now we have to get ready for Christmas.
Thanks to all of our friends and readers for all of the great support along the way.
Merry Christmas to all - I will get back to you soon. ---Lani