I am pleased to report that Pendana has survived her first New Year’s Eve (“NYE”) on Sydney Harbour! I use the word survive for a very good reason which I will get to shortly. Joining the festivities were five other Nordhanvn’s – Peter and Margaret’s N55 – Skie, Murray and Marrilyn’s N57 – Commander, Graham and Margarita’s Barquita – N43, the beautiful N76 – Voyager III whose owners I unfortunately didn’t get to meet and of course our N62 – Pendana. These five Nordhavns were joined by what I estimate to be around 300-400 other boats in what is a relatively small bay. It was fantastic to have so many Nordhavns in Sydney Harbour at the same time and I think five in the harbour at the same time has to be a record. It was a shame that Craig Brant White with his N62 – Atlas couldn’t make it as he was missed and would have taken the total number to six – most certainly a record!
With NYE fast approaching and literally hundreds of boats crammed into a relatively small area it soon become apparent that the next 24 hours pre NYE 2012 was not going to be a relaxing affair. My job would be to protect Pendana and fend off small and large craft who were trying to anchor within meters of our vessel. Without doubt, the afternoon of NYE day was the worst with smaller boats of all shapes and sizes coming from all directions dropping anchor in places that they shouldn’t and with ground tackle that was totally insufficient. Needless to say, this was incredibly stressful and something that I am in no hurry to repeat.
Picture below taken from Pendana of the boats. Also a full 360 degree image is available at http://360.io/z9sFav
We had a few occasions were words were exchanged and one in particular with a small yacht that anchored up 15.23 metres from our beam and even less from our flopper stoppers which were of course deployed not only to help dampen the role but also to help fend off the boaties that by this stage were coming thick and fast. I mentioned to the female skipper that she was incredibly close and as she said, “No problems, we will watch it carefully and move if necessary”. I said, “Ok fine”. Within ten minutes her yacht came within one metre of our flopper stoppers so I suggested, as politely as possible that maybe it would be best if she moved. At this suggestion she became rather grumpy and accused poor old Pendana of being too big and way too big with flopper stoppers deployed. To which I explained they are great to reduce role pretending to ignore her tone. Within a few minutes common sense prevailed and she realised she had no choice but to move, which I am pleased she did.
Picture below of yacht in question moving off.
The problem with NYE fireworks is that you end up mixed with professional boaters, experienced boaters and all the way to complete novices who have never dropped and anchor in their life. Hence the sheer panic when being approached by a boat whose ground tackle looks more like a thimble connected to their vessel with nothing but cotton thread. The number of multiple anchoring attempts made by these such vessels in tight quarters was enough to send me into an alert survival mode and strut the decks to ensure no one dared get close.
One 30ft yacht approached and thankfully decided to anchor well back from our stern. Within minutes of them dropping their anchor it was clear it was dubious at best as their ground tackle was not up to the task. What happened next was that a friend on another boat of theirs with no ground tackle at all approached and decided to tie up alongside the 30ft vessel. About 10 meters behind these optimistic ‘once a year sailors’ lay a lovely new looking 55ft sports boat with a beautiful shiny black hull. Within a few minutes the inevitable occurred and their thimble/anchor let go and they both flew backwards in the 20kt winds and while the 30ft yacht was able to start their engine and get out of the way of other boats the smaller yacht had no time and hit the sports boat bang on its bow and stayed there some time as owners exchanged details and passengers aboard both vessels held them apart.
Photo below of small racing yacht in contact with sports boat.
Between 6:00pm and 8:00pm, two large 55ft racing yachts both with professional crew aboard flanked our sides and as such I was finally able to relax in the knowledge that these guys were not only pros but were as eager as I was to ensure our boats remained separated. With a few kind words exchanged we could all relax and, as such, I did what all Australians do, and fired up the BBQ!
Photo below of Pendana’s first ever NYE BBQ!
Once the BBQ was turned on and enough food added to feed a small army we were treated to a wonderful flying display from two Redbull aircraft who executed the most amazing flying display I have seen for a long time.
Photo below of aircraft flying display with smoke on!
By 8:30pm it was time to relax, sit back and watch another perfect sunset over Sydney.
Photo’s below of the sunset!
NYE fireworks in Sydney occur in two displays. We have both the 9:00pm fireworks to allow those with small children to return home before the longer and bigger 12:00am display. Celebrations in Sydney dwarf rival cities, with only 100,000 attending Paris fireworks, while 700,000 revellers gather for festivities in London. In Sydney there are estimated to be around 1.5million people around the harbour foreshores and on water taking in the spectacle from just about every angle possible and there were 1.772 million Australians watching the midnight fireworks on television. Add that to the 1 billion international viewers and you can get a sense of what a spectacle it is.
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….HAPPY NEW YEAR! ……. And did Sydney explode with celebration? It sure did!
Photo’s below of the 9:00pm fireworks display over Sydney!
Wow, what incredible displays both the 9:00pm and 12.00 midnight displays were. Truly a remarkable spectacle and while incredible in every sense I am not sure I am in a hurry to do it again – although I can hear the protests from my children already! There are simply too many variables with other boaters that in my opinion makes it a risky affair. While Pendana survived unscathed I heard of four other incidents that occurred in the space of just a few short hours. I wonder what the real number of accidents were? …..and that’s just in one bay!
After our guests had gone to sleep Claire and I made our way to our cabin around 2:00am and fell to sleep quickly. That being said, however, I did set the alarm for 4:00am so that I could check the boat and those still anchored around us and again at 6:00am to do the same. I am thrilled more than words can say that Pendana sustained no damage whatsoever but luck had more to play in that outcome than management – and I don’t mean mine!
The following morning we returned our guests to the wharf and farewelled Skie, Commander and Barquita who all had other plans, while we remained at our anchorage for another day. By 2:00pm New Year’s Day all who had been close around us had now gone and the bay returned to its usual smattering of boats and my heart rate finally fell.
Photos below of the McCarthurs (our good friends) returning to wharf and just a few Nordhavns on Sydney Harbour, namely Skie, Commander, Barquitta and Voyager III. Unfortunately the lovely Mrs Kitts was not photographed leaving!
Our plans now are to head back to Broken Bay tomorrow, spend the night somewhere nice and head back to our marina on Thursday morning.
From all aboard Pendana HAPPY NEW YEAR and have a great, adventurous 2013!