Sailing in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel around Bruny Island

D’Entrecasteaux Channel

by John Quinn on 16 Nov 2005

This is Tasmania’s most popular cruising ground, featuring miles of sheltered waters and safe, secluded havens between mainland Tasmania and the beautiful Bruny Island. The channel is only about two hours’ sail from Hobart, dependent on the wind of course. The waterway is entered between Pierson’s Point and Dennes Point on Bruny Island, from where you can sail south across North West Bay to Barnes Bay, a highly popular overnight destination for the weekend sailor, is less than an hour’s sailing from Pierson’s Point.

Barnes Bay offers a choice of several safe anchorages, and favourites include Sykes Cove, Alexanders, The Duck Pond and the Quarantines.

Across from Barnes Bay is Kettering, home of cruising yachts, where there are hundreds of boats in marina berths or moored in Little Oyster Cove. Kettering offers the visiting sailor a wide range of facilities at Oyster Cove Marina and South Haven Marina (all marina and facility details are listed at the end). In addition the visitor can secure boating equipment and distillate and fresh water from the Oyster Cove Chandlery and Kettering Marine. There are slipway facilities, and shipwrights are generally available to assist with any serious problem.

Just a few miles south of Kettering is Peppermint Bay. Here the visiting sailor and crew can moor the boat or come alongside the small public jetty so they can sample the best of the state’s food and wine. A marina complex is under consideration.

Sailing further south offers a range of other safe anchorages on both sides of the channel – from Snake Bay, Missionary Bay through to Little Fancy and Simpsons Bay. Drop a line and you’re almost guaranteed a flathead!

Past Simpsons Point, the D’Entrecasteaux Channel moves into more open water where such delights as Partridge Island, the fishing villages of Dover and Southport, and the Huon River offer magnificent scenery and some delightful anchorages. An hour’s sail up the Huon River brings you to Port Cygnet a delightful village – the pub lunch is well worth the short walk to town and a night moored out side the boats in Copper Alley Bay will guarantee a peaceful night in most weather. For those interested in traditional boat building the Wooden Boat School is further up the river at Franklin.

Cruising yachts can sail south into the historically important Recherche Bay, gateway to the southwest wilderness. While an attraction in itself, Recherche is the stepping stone to Port Davey. This voyage is not for the faint-hearted, but rewards the adventurer with its pristine beauty and virtually primitive, untouched grandeur.

Alternatively, you can sail east and circumnavigate Bruny Island through The Friars to Adventure Bay where both Cook and Bligh took on water and timber.

Golden Globe Round the World Yacht Race

The fourth placed competitor in the Race – Susie Goodall ( the youngest and only female competitor) is due in Hobart on Thursday 1st November 2018.

With over half the fleet now either retired or rescued and some horrendous storms encountered so far, it truly is a remarkable effort by Susie to be still in the race.

SailTas will be out to greet Susie when she anchors off Kingston Beach for a required stop over.

Anyone wanting to join the welcoming party please contact us on mobile 0412480424.

SailTas Nova Commendation

SailTas is delighted to have received commendation for the Southern Stars of Tourism Nova Award. We were commended for providing a range of skippered sailing cruises and offering guests the opportunity to sail the vessel, fish, dive, surf and beach comb or simply to kick back and enjoy the magnificent scenery of the D’entrecasteaux Channel.


In harnessing the power of the wind, SailTas glides soundlessly across the water leaving only a light trail of wake behind. Cruising at a leisurely pace through marine and birdlife habitats SailTas guests are given the opportunity to see various species in their natural environment. Many guests are novices to sailing and genuinely enjoyed being introduced to the sport where their desire to learn more is ignited.


As a tourism venture in Kettering, SailTas offers an alternative to spending a day in the car and driving the length of Bruny Island. The company has formed associations with local food and wine businesses such as ‘Hughes and Hughes Wines’ and ‘Fed Up Foods’ who ensure guests are indulged with locally sourced fresh and gourmet produce and wines. SailTas has also formed strategic alliances with Kettering based accommodation providers such as Bruny Vista Cabin. The business has piqued the interest of sailing enthusiasts across the world, drawing visitors from Norway, The United States, China as well as mainland Australia, further promoting the Channel and Bruny Island as a holiday destination.

All aboard for Business and Pleasure

  • Group listening to the safety briefing
    Assembled for safety briefing

Sailtas is often chosen by businesses to provide a day out for corporate guests and their families or for team building within the organisation. In establishing any business partnership it is important to know and trust the people you are to be working with. Often you only get to fully appreciate a persons skills and qualities when you see them interacting with their families and friends. Sharing different experiences and challenges also offers insights into how they might respond in various contexts. It isn’t surprising that  Sailtas frequently takes groups of up to twelve people associated with a business partnership for an all-day sail. A typical example of one of these cruises is detailed as follows:

Sailtas received a booking requesting premium seafood for a group of twelve Chinese business partners and their families. While our standard seafood chowder, cheese and fruit platters are quality Tasmanian produce, the group also requested fresh crayfish, abalone, oysters and prawns which could be  barbecued on board or served ‘au naturale’. Four children were included in the group, three requiring Sailtas to supply the appropriate sized child’s life jacket. Most of the group had never sailed before.

We provided a dockside safety briefing followed by a tour through the boat where we pointed out the features and facilities, demonstrated the use of equipment and how best to manoeuvre through the boat. We cast off and headed up the Channel towards the Salmon Farms off Shepherds Hill to give our guests a glimpse of the seals that usually linger close to the fish pens. While our guests were not in the business of salmon farming, the exercise prompted a discussion about the business success salmon farming has experienced. The enthusiasm of the children  looking for seals added to the general feeling of optimism on board.

Feeling comfortable with the gentle motion of sailing, a few people felt confident enough to take a turn at helming the boat. A young woman, attentive to the subtle changes in wind and the angle of telltales on the sail  proved most adept at keeping the yacht on course. Buoyed by her success she shed her quiet, demure demeanour and shared stories about her experiences in China and her student life in Canada. The conversation that followed, flowed through the cockpit revealing how worldly this group was, as most had studied and worked abroad.

At midday we headed into Nebraska Beach to give everyone the opportunity to have a wander ashore, particularly as the children wanted to run and play on the beach. We lowered the dingy, while our guests donned life jackets, rolled up the legs of their trousers for a beach landing and selected a beach balls, cricket set and a frisbee to play onshore. It took four trips in the dingy to ferry the entire group ashore and back to the boat, so we were delighted that one of our guests wanted to stay onboard and help us prepare and barbecue the crayfish and abalone while the others played.

With everyone back on board, lunch was served along with premium Tasmanian wines and craft beer. While the freshly barbecued seafood was superb, the real winners were the bowls of seafood chowder which warmed the hands and stomach. After lunch the fishing rods were brought out and lines were cast into the bay without a bite being felt. We hoisted sail as the wind had picked up several knots,  perfect conditions for an exhilarating sail. Our group preferred to find another sandy bay were they hoped to find a flathead lair, content to fish idily on the foredeck with a drink and the sun reflecting off the water.