Eden yachties: ‘Beware the east coast low’

The back slapping is over in the wake of the May, NSW Budget funding announcement, of $10million to build a wave attenuator in Snug Cove, Eden.

The wave attenuator is proposed to protect small boats moored in the deep water port from damaging winds and swells.

Now the hard graft starts to get it built.

For local yachties Patricia and Richard Lamacraft, that build won’t come soon enough.

The retired RAN Rear Admiral and his wife lived on board their 41 foot, older style yacht, moored just off the Skinny wharf at Snug Cove, for six years.

They are no strangers to the uncertain weather conditions for small boats moored at the port.

Now they spend six months at sea and six months on land, but continue to keep constant watch on their preferred long-range weather forecaster, MetVuw, who have a comprehensive 14 day forecast. 

“We do a lot of cruising, and we have a lot of cruising, yachty friends and they come to Eden but we never see them because they’re always sheltering on the other side of the bay,” Richard Lamacraft said.

“If there’s a big east coast low forming, I tend to take it (the yacht) over the other side of the bay for three days.

“In the last six years I’ve probably done it about three times.

“We are so very much focussed on the long range weather forecast,” he said.

It’s not just the weather the Lamacrafts and other yachties have to contend with.

“Most insurance companies in NSW won’t insure a boat on a string mooring now, because there have been so many losses.

“If that trend continues, unless you’ve got your boat in a marina, you won’t be able to insure it,” they say.

The difficulties with insuring boats, and the uncertainty of weather conditions in Twofold Bay, are the main reasons attributed to some yachties taking their expensive investments and mooring them elsewhere.

“In the last year, we know of two couples who have bought big yachts to live down here, and they’ve ended up taking them up to Sydney,” Patricia Lamacraft says.

“One put a mooring in, but they lived (up at) Tura, and they felt that they couldn’t relax so took the yacht up to Pittwater.”

Richard Lamacraft does not seem to be sold just yet on whether the wave attenuator will provide the needed protection.

“I will be interested to see, when all this goes in, when we get one of those big surges, with the big long swells coming in, how it goes.

“When we get the huge surges, and you see the boats charging up and down the wharf, I just wonder.

“You know the design of the marina and the breakwater will have to be able to accommodate that.”

From a man who has had a long career specialising in engineering and design, including overseeing the construction of 10 Anzac class frigates for Australia and New Zealand and redesign of others such as the HMAS Melbourne, his concerns are worth listening to.