Hobart to Darwin

Published 14 years ago, updated 4 years ago

Posted 4 April, 2009 – see bottom for feedback from cruiser following his voyage.


Both of your books are on my boat at the moment in Hobart, and I’m in Melbourne Australia. I’m considering leaving Hobart for the west coast of Australia to Darwin, across the top then south back to Hobart (7,200 nm).

Earliest time to get away is late April. Plan to get through the low lats to escape cyclone season. If not I will stay south enough on the west coast and wait out until April 2010.

Crossing the Great Australian Bight will be by hugging the shore to pick up easterlies, and offshore winds that seem to prevail. My boat is a Nordhavn 55 and is a rhumbline specialist with a range of 3000 + nm, and SOG av of 8 kts.

Every report I have read of boats crossing GAB in the conventional way West to East, all have a tough time of it with winds on the nose often. I am doing this to explore our beautiful coastline, not a macho passage event.




I dealt with this route in my latest (6th) edition of World Cruising Routes and I pointed out the same difficulties as those described by you. I also said that the best time to do it is at the height of summer, in January and February, when there are occasional bouts of easterly winds… You could be lucky even later, but otherwise your plan sounds very good (well, the only reasonable one as there is no logical alternative), so all I can do is wish you good luck!

Bon voyage.

Jimmy Cornell

Subject: Crossing the Great Australian Bight in May – East to West

Date: Sun, May 24, 2009



Just completed the 2350 nm trip Hobart to Perth. Apart from Bank Strait at the NE corner of Tasmania, it turned out to be a cakewalk in sublime conditions all the way. However, a sailboat would not be happy as the only wind we mainly saw was apparent from our own boat speed. The conditions in the middle of the trip were like being in the Doldrums, but our 330 hp John Deere had us on the rhumb line at 8 kts. Love sailing, but not good for long passages like this.


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