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Crossing from North Straddie to Moreton on a 16ft cat


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I've been exploring Moreton Bay recently on a Calypso 16 and am considering a longer trip.

Is it safe to cross from Amity Point to Moreton Island? The charts show semi-protected water, but also logs, posts, etc. I was there on the cat last weekend and it looked quite protected from the swell on the bar.

Then, further afield how about from Moreton (say Tangalooma) back to Bribie (or Redcliff). This is quite long (on a 16" cat) and more exposed. Safe? Assumedly a south-easterly would be best?

Thanks, Brett.

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If you are happy with the condition of your cat and your own ability (can you right the boat 3 or 4 times without becoming exhausted) cruising Morton bay should be a piece of cake in most conditions. I did it on a Gwen 12 many years ago, sleeping on beaches under the main wrapped in the kite, most enjoyable.

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Have sailed a fair bit on Moreton, both my cat and lift keel 29 ft yacht plus others.

Moreton is a beautiful area with some great spots, be wary though it can turn dark and mean, mainly due to wind against current and get some very sharp waves, there is a lot of tidal movement through Moreton Bay.

There are a lot of sandbanks around the place, best advice is get a book called Beacon to Beacon, sort of a street directory for Moreton Bay, seriously works just like that only for the bay, lists channels, markers, depths, banks, anchorages, sandy beaches, etc.

Sometimes you cannot just sail in a straight line even though it appears that way, the best advice I got years ago was anyone who says they have not hit a sandbank in Moreton is lying....

Amity to Moreton, probably not much in that, although a lot of current goes down that Amity channel.

Then up inside of Moreton to Tangalooma, nice, check out Sandhills at Southern end and then snorkel on the Tangalooma wrecks.

Moreton to Bribie / Redcliff, mmmmmm.... that is definately up there for a 16ft cat, achievable? yes, will depend a lot on conditions on the day, looks around 15 nautical miles, with no safety boat / rescue would want to be careful about the trip.

That is the open part of the bay and a shipping channel to Brisbane Port.

With the right breeze and conditions could be a great 2-3 hour hoot, have sailed across to Moreton on the yacht many times and can be 10 - 15 knot seabreeze on beautiful conditions, can be great on those days.

Fit, prepared, safety considerations, status/condition of cat, what is emergency plan if it goes wrong?, waterproof VHF radio would be a must, mobile? but better with radio, should log in to Volunteer Marine Radio (Coast Guard) your departure / destination / eta and then log in your arrival.

Others may have alternative opinions.

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Hi Brett,

3 mates and i did the trip from redcliffe to tangalooma a couple of years ago on a hobie 16 and calpyso 16. We stayed overnight at the bunkers at Cowen Cowen owned by Moreton Bay boat club. From memory its about 17 miles straight accross, it took 7 hours to get there via Tangalooma, and 2 to get back. The Calypso had a capsize in the bay in 2 knots of wind by having a bit of fun double traping on the leward side, easily rightable in those conditions. Fantastic trip to do but i would definatly try to find another boat to do it with, and plan for at least an overnighter.

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Thanks everyone for the info: most helpful.

In summary, for others considering 'cat cruising' in Moreton Bay with a 16' cat (mine is an old Calypso):

- Sailing it solo is okay. Up to 15knots is manageable. Over 20knots would be dicey. Tried Victoria point to Amity for an overnighter with no problems.

- Righting solo is possible but difficult (I just managed in light winds with a 30L bag of water to add weight).

- Righting with two is much much easier.

- South of Peel Island seems protected for wind/current/waves ; north needs more attention (ie. semi-protected).

- Safety-wise I'm carrying a waterproof GPS, a mobile, flares, V sheet, small foldable anchor.

- If crossing north of Peel, I'll buy a handheld VHF radio (~$125), log into coast guard and try to go with another boat (for the first trip).

- Moreton is excellent of this kind of sailing with a shallow draught cat. It's very shallow very often.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Did a trip on my first 5.8 from Sandgate to Tangalooma via the sand hills.wind was se 10-15 in the morning took under 2hrs to get there.upwind .sailed down to Tangalooma (nice spinnaker run) had some lunch at the resort ,swim and snorkel behind the wrecks .sailed home in a 15-20 kt se,er took a little over 1hr 15mins to get back ,perfect reaching angle, averaged nearly 20kts on the trip back on the gps.

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  • 2 months later...

Updating on my experiences, after following the advice above:

I've done 3 overnighter trips around Moreton without (major) mishap. From Redland Bay to Amity, Amity to Moreton (no worries here), up Moreton West side to the very top (unprotected water), Moreton to Brisbane, etc. As people have noted, it's sometimes a bit nasty with the swell/fetch/wind and tide combinations. But overall, I think it's reasonably safe with some experience, the right equipment and two people. It's a great place to sail.

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