If you think you have seen Australia’s vibrant city, Sydney, from all perspectives and experienced all kinds of activities offered around the Harbour – from the Bridge Climb to the numerous Ferry tours – you might have to think again. Probably, you’ve never had the pleasure of hoisting the sails of a Dufour sailing yacht off Darling Harbour and glided silently past Sydney Opera House. Sydney by Sail – an unforgettable sailing experience!
When you are in Sydney, it is not too difficult to enjoy its breath-taking skyline from the water. There are dozens of Ferries departing from Circular Quay, which pass right next to Australia’s most famous landmarks and eventually take you everywhere around the Sydney Harbour area. However, crowded and noisy Ferries won’t offer the best experience on water.
The best way to enjoy Port Jackson is to head over to Darling Harbour, get on board a sailing yacht from ‘Sydney by Sail and Performance Cruising Yachts’ and set sails. This is what I did and in fact, the experience is unforgettable. As soon as we left our mooring on this sunny, warm spring afternoon and motored past the Australian National Maritime Museum towards Goat Island, one of the crew members states ‘Wow, this is good for the soul!’
Yes, it is – no doubt about that. We are on board a new Dufour Grand Large 310 – a fast sailing yacht of less than 10m, designed by the renowned Italian architect Umberto Felci – and soon hoist the mainsail in the lee of Goat Island. Once the sheets are tensioned, our “Krakatini” picks up speed and we get closer to the imposing Sydney Harbour Bridge. Time to get the cameras ready for your holiday’s best shot of Sydney or simply sit on deck, relax and enjoy the stunning skyline.
The headsail is unfurled once the bridge is passed and we sail smoothly towards Fort Dension. We have a lovely breeze from the East this afternoon, as we tack up Sydney Harbour. What a superb view and what a great atmosphere on board! Under the guidance of the skipper, everyone in the crew enjoys the opportunity to take over the helm and manoeuvre ‘Krakatini’ past Robertson Point, Point Piper, Bradleys Head, Georges Head up to Middle Head. For some, this is the first time sailing a boat – everyone loves it. Off Middle Head, the open waters of the Pacific Ocean come into sight. We tack back and trim our sails for the downwind ride back to Darling Harbour. Time to get some drinks out, sit back and listen to the gentle gurgling of the water at our stern!
As we approach Double Bay, we get a look at Sydney’s stately mansions and enjoy a fast sail past Clark Island. Soon, the Opera House and the downtown area appears again – this time to the port side of the boat. While gliding under the Harbour Bridge, the headsail is furled in and, finally, just off the Sydney Theatre Company and the Millers Point, the mainsail is taken down. All crew helps to pack the sail and prepare fenders for the berthing manoeuvre. In the end, sailing is all about teamwork!
Unfortunately, as the Pyrmont Bridge – one of the world’s oldest electrically operated swing bridges – is just to our bow, the 3-hour-sailing experience must come to its end. It was such an enjoyable trip, with excellent weather conditions and lovely people on board – it’s a pity that the experience is over. I am very sure that everyone will remember this unique sailing trip with happy memories!
Yannick has been sailing since childhood and has already logged many many nautical miles on board various types of boats: Dinghies, monohulls, catamarans, performance offshore racers. He is the sailing expert and collaborator for the blog.
Festival Pontoon, National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour NSW 2000, Australia