Banderas Bay to Sydney Harbour


  • Total nights at sea to sail from Banderas Bay to downtown Sydney Harbour: 50.  Ben and Katy with us for 7 weeks, including 23 nights at sea (46%), Simon and Katharine with us for 1 night at sea (2%).
  • Duration: March 28 to November 22, 2013.  239 days, or 7 months and 25 days.
  • Therefore, at-sea night passages: 21%
  • 79% of the time near land…. and of that – 60% at anchor, 31% on a mooring, 9% in marinas.
  • Total distance: over 7,500 nautical miles (nm)… over 13,000 km…
  • Fasted speed: 8.5 knots consistent with surfing speeds up to 14.8 knots!
  • Slowest speed: if sailing below 4 knots, turned engine on.
  • Average speed on passage: 6.2 knots.
  • Engine hours: 175 hours (including coastal/port motoring and charging). This is the same amount of hours that we put on in one year cruising Mexico and covering only 1500 nm.
  • Strongest wind speed: 45 knots (in a squall, not consistent)
  • Percentage of time with one or two reefs in the main: 95%
  • Number of times with third reef or storm sail: 0
  • Number of times flew spinnaker: 3
  • Number of fish caught: 0…. we never felt like fishing or eating fish, so never put out the lines 😦
  • Countries visited: 8 (including Mexico and Australia)


  • We would spend more time in the Marquesas.
  • We would not spend the whole 3 months in French Polynesia.  We felt that the islands/experiences got better and better (and cheaper) the further west we went (not including New Caledonia).
  • We would spend much more time exploring Vanuatu.
  • We really would have loved to visit Aitutaki, Cook Islands. Hydroquest’s 7.2 ft draft made this impossible (the atoll entrance channel is very shallow). Hopefully on the next boat/trip…
  • We would outfit the boat with more solar panels or a wind generator (see our article ‘Fitting out for the South Pacific’ in Bluewater Sailing magazine’s October issue for more comments)


Punta de Mita, MexicotoNuku Hiva, Marquesas

2750 nm (all distances reported as   approximate)

March 28, 2013toApril 16, 2013

19 nights at sea

  • Ben and Katy on board… having 4 people was ideal
  • Seas generally uncomfortable
  • Wind 15 – 25 knots
  • Squalls in ITCZ… wet and grey
  • Various ‘at sea’ celebrations
  • Glowing ocean at night
  • Equator crossing and Ben’s proposal to Katy
  • Saw freighters in shipping lanes near Mexico. Saw   one sailboat at equator (a boat that left Punta Mita the same day as us and   arrived Marquesas same day!) Saw one research vessel near Marquesas.
  • Very little wildlife, except birds and many flying   fish and squid
  • The arrival! Will never forget that!
  • Day before leaving, windlass switch (solenoid)   failed. Jury rigged with Battery selector switch.
  • Day 12 of passage: Spinnaker halyard snapped at top
  • During Passage: Boom vang rivets started to work   loose. Upon arrival, retapped with stainless bolts.
Ou Pou, MarquesastoFakarava, Tuamotus

540 nm

April 25, 2013toApril 28, 2013

4 nights at sea

  • The first night we had intense wind/rain squalls   every hour
  • No ships and no wildlife (not counting birds and   flying fish)
  • Ben and Katy on board
  • None on passage
  • In Tuamotus, outboard engine prop began spinning.   Jury rigged
Toau, TuamotustoPapeete, Society Islands

220 nm

May 18, 2013toMay 20, 2013

2 nights at sea

  • Initially there was a big south swell, but it became   fairly smooth
  • Perfect wind
  • No ships. No wildlife (not counting birds and flying   fish).
  • Arrived Papeete at 3am so had to wait to enter   harbour
  • None
  • In Papeete, replaced anchor chain (it was rusty) and   windlass solenoid
  • In Papeete, replaced outboard engine prop
Moorea, Society IslandstoHuahine, Society Islands

80 nm

June 15, 2013toJune 16, 2013

1 night at sea

  • Simon and Katharine on board
  • Cruise ship passed at night
  • Sailed for most of night, but had engine on by the   morning
  • None
Bora Bora, Society IslandstoNuie

1060 nm

July 8, 2013toJuly 15, 2013

7 nights at sea

  • Worst seas after leaving Bora Bora
  • Seasick for the first time!
  • A few nice days of sailing in the middle
  • Saw one fishing boat
  • Shark and whale sighting
  • SPCZ encounter for last two nights.   Lightning/Thunder storms. No fun at all.
  • None
NuietoNeiafu, Tonga

250 nm

July 27, 2013toJuly 30, 2013 (crossed International   Date Line)

2 nights at sea

  • NICE
  • Flew Spinnaker until sunset on first night. Spinnaker   photo shoot!
  • No ships, no wildlife
  • Only one squall
  • None
  • None
Neiafu, TongatoSuva, Fiji

450 nm

August 18, 2013toAugust 21, 2013

3 nights at sea

  • Overcast and grey the whole time, but no rain or   squalls
  • Full moon
  • Comfortable seas
  • 15 knots
  • Saw a sailboat on two different occasions.
  • Visit from pod of Humpbacks
  • None
Vuda Point, FijitoTanna, Vanuatu

460 nm

Sept 25, 2013toSept 28, 2013

3 nights at sea

  • Left a day or two early, after a big low. Expecting   low winds.
  • Big seas and 25+ forward of beam
  • No ships, no wildlife
  • BUT – almost hit a container! Eeek!
  • None
Tanna, VanuatutoNoomea, New Caledonia

240 nm

October 1, 2013toOctober 3, 2013

2 nights at sea

  • OKAY
  • Wind forward of beam
  • Many ships upon nearing New Caledonia
  • No wildlife
  • Lost wind approaching New Caledonia. Motored 8 hours   into Noomea.
  • None
Noomea, New CaledoniatoCoffs Harbour, Australia

840 nm

October 14, 2013toOctober 20, 2013

6 nights at sea

  • Wind forward of beam
  • First two nights were bad
  • Came close to two freighters and both had to alter   course for us.  AIS saved us.
  • Dolphins in the open ocean (first time!)
  • Some lovely sailing
  • None
Trial Bay, AustraliatoNelson Bay, Australia

130 nm

Nov 1 2013toNov 2, 2013

1 night at sea

  • NICE
  • Coastal sailing… many ships. At one point, 20 AIS   targets.
  • Hundreds of dolphins in wee hours of morning
  • None

5 thoughts on “Banderas Bay to Sydney Harbour

  1. em says:

    WOW! Great that you kept such great track of everything! Truly an accomplishment! I am beyond excited for you! :)miss you guys a ton and I can’t wait to see you! XOX


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