The Tall Ships fleet left Melbourne on Saturday 14 September, but gathered at the bottom end of the Bay to catch Sunday morning's high tide through Port Phillip Heads.

WBA member Roderick Smith was a keen specator on Sunday morning...

The original announcement was for 10.00 Sun.15.9 off Blairgowrie; that was changed to 8.30.  Searoad ran a 7.30 public sightseeing cruise, booked out. Smaller fishing charters ran public cruises from both Queenscliff and Sorrento.

The fleet did assemble from 10:00 - 10:30, and came through the heads around 11am. Apparently Tecla had gone through on Saturday and Enterprize returned to
Melbourne on Saturday.

Windward Bound went through first, closer to the Point Nepean side of the channel, but still on the Point Lonsdale side of a container ship which was entering port.

I had chosen Point Lonsdale because it would give the better view, and arrived at 8.30 when parking was available, but filling rapidly. After checking all vantage points, I settled on the beach because I could take photos with both heads in the one view, and then took only one which exploited that.  The jetty had space, and gave the closest range for photography, with Point Nepean as a backdrop.

The boats tracked nearly to Queenscliff before turning for a straight passage through the heads, under sail rather than motor.  That location also provided good views.

While clearly those at Point Lonsdale knew that the event was happening, many commented about the lack of publicity for the whole week. The crowd favourite was undoubtedly Europa: large, white, and all of those sails, the very image of what the general public thinks when envisaging a tall ship.  It was certainly very stately, and made surprisingly rapid progress, and soon vanished from my view behind the headland.

All photos by Roderick Smith

Leaving Melbourne

At Port Phillip Heads

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