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 New Wide Bay Bar Route you need to know about

 WYPT 1  25 46.606S - 153 07.748E
 WYPT 2  25 46.765S - 153 07.065E
 WYPT 3  25 47.037S - 153 06.474E
 WYPT 4  25 47.839S - 153 05.253E

I want to explain how this all came about as the background may lend confidence to your decision to use the information or not. October 2018 I was sailing south through the Sandy Strait and exited the bar on a fairly quiet (10 to 15 kts) morning. The tide was LOW SLACK! I firgured I would have a look and see.

I noticed that the leads on Inskip Point (lower left in image) were not useful. There was breaking water on the suggested course. The red arrow indicates my course. I had heard that the point to turn SE was about 200 meters further than indicated on charts like my CM93 charts above. I changed course as soon as I found a gap in the breakers and carried it until it became obvious I wasn't going to make it. That is why the loop in my course. I saw a fishing boat had come in and from a more northerly entrance so I just carried on until i found a path through and it worked well. It was tense as it was new ground but we were never in danger on that track.

Then... making north a few weeks ago we were anchored at Double Island Point where wind was being recorded at 30 kts. To work the tide up the strait I needed to clear the bar early, about a quarter of a making tide. Conditions were very rough. Another cat went ahead of me which surprised me. I followed their course via AIS to see if they knew something I didn't! They attempted to make the usual path but were beat back. My recent track is marked with black arrows in the image above. See additional text following the image below.


At one point they were actually thrown back in reverse according to their track on my screen. To preserve their course I super-imposed a route over it as they were sailing. That is the route shown in the graphic above. The red arrow indicates where they had a drama of some kind. The point of this is that they eventually found their way to my original track and faired well after that. On my crossing a went a little north from my original track just because the howling wind was pushing us around and there appeared to be plenty of water and no breakers. I never saw less than 20 feet and though the water was rough, never sensed danger. On the old route I would never have attempted a crossing at low water or with wind of 25 to 30 kts... no way.

I should note that this is from my experience and should not override your own decisions as to what is safe for you.
Use your best judgement when crossing any bar!
Cheers, Bob Norson

The author, Bob Norson expressly disclaims liability for any act or omission done in reliance of this article or for any consequences of any such act or omission.


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