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Rally circumnavigates Tasmania - five weeks and 800 nautical miles

by Sail-World Cruising/Lois Ryan on 21 Mar 2011
Schooner Cove SW

Tasmania. The closest big island to Antarctica. Lush, mountainous, secluded anchorages. With splendid weather in the summer. So why wouldn't you organise a yacht rally to circumnavigate it? The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania has been doing just that for the last 20 years or so, and the latest one has just finished. See the pictures, to envy, or maybe to think about joining the next one.

This rally was the 10th to run - they run about every two years, and they are called the 'Van Diemen's Land Circumnavigation Cruise', because the man who discovered Tasmania called it that in about 1642, and the Tasmanians are a nostalgic lot, conscious of their history.

The cruise left Hobart on the morning of Wednesday 16 February 2011, and the 22 yachts are returning this week, having sailed (or motored) 800 nautical miles, anti-clockwise around Tasmania.

During the voyage Lois Ryan on Emeritus 2 wrote a frequent!blog , and you can read the detailed voyage there. We are showing a selection of the gorgeous photos that appear on the blog.

For some of the boats it was their first time, for others they had made it a regular highlight on their cruising calendar.

Like many rallies (unless crossing oceans) there were regular stop-off points along the voyage for group barbecues, smaller gatherings on each other’s boats, dinghy expeditions and of course forays ashore for provisions, fuel, laundry, and the like.

The cruise, like other cruises, was about shared experiences, seamanship and taking responsibility. These are remote areas, and without the support of the other boats, a yacht that develops a problem could be caught out.

Naturally, they were mostly Australian boats, but every state was represented, and the Australians welcomed two boats from other countries - a Danish crew on one yacht and the 60ft Avant Garde arrived from a voyage across the Pacific.

Browse the photos to see just would await you if you decided to join the next cruise in 2013, and here are Lois's parting comments at the end of the cruise:

Hobart. Yes, the round Tasmania cruise, at least for those of us aboard Emeritus 2 is at an end. We awoke to a perfect morning at Recherche, and I found myself wondering why on earth the French ever left Tasmania. Somebody said they had work to get back to as well, but I don’t think that’s right somehow….

Before heading up to Alexanders for our final night aboard we took a walk up Cockle Creek and then said our good-byes to other


In the very calm waters of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, I began the lengthy but satisfying task of packing up and cleaning the boat. By the time we reached Alexanders – one of my favourite places in the whole world – it was time for all of us to spend the evening in quiet contemplation. We went to bed happily and slept soundly, even though the next day we knew our adventure would be over.

I really didn’t want to leave the boat – after all the places she had taken us, whenever we asked her to, and in any conditions. The only thing to do is plan the next cruise, but in the meantime here endeth the blog….

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