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East Australian Current

(Why does this have its own page???)

This is a well known current that runs southwards down the east coast of Australia.

Typically in the summer months it runs southwards from approximately Bundaberg and as far south as Sydney. In the winter and spring months it ends somewhat further north.

Effect on Ocean Sailing

As there are many north and south running ocean sailing races at various times of the year on this part of the coast, the effect of the current on sailing vessels is relatively well known. The current can set southwards at anything up to 3 knots, and 2 knots is not unusual. There are small counter-currents closer to the coast which can set northwards at up to 1.5 knots. So if you are sailing northwards, being in the counter-current as opposed to the current can affect your SOG by anything up to 4.5 knots.

Races north up the coast are usually known as "rock hoppers" as the yachts try to stay inshore as much as possible (often in the face of northerly winds) to obtain the best effect from the counter currents and stay away from the main part of the EAC.

Sailing southwards towards Sydney and points further south, it is commonly advised to head on a line due south from approximately Ballina on the NSW northern coast. This takes you on a course that is well offshore but also gives you the best effect from the current. At approximately latitude 32.15' south, make a turn to starboard and head for Sydney heads, or your destination.


These are from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's charts and continually update:

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