As the new financial year gets underway, sport has shoved the economy and politics off the front page of our newspapers. Hundreds of thousands of Australians are nodding off at their desks this morning, exhausted after staying up all night watching a bunch of skinny guys in lycra ride around France. Yes for 21 days ‘Julia’, ‘Tony’ and ‘Campbell’ take a back seat to ‘Cadel’, ‘Matt’ and ‘Stuart’ as we cheer on the Aussies in the world’s biggest bike race. Yes sport and in particular cycling is very different from politics. In cycling we watch the riders mouths open to suck in air as they suffer in pain. When the politicians open their mouths it is us who suffer. And what more could be said about our magnificent men in maroon last Wednesday night? I quote one particularly eloquent TV commentator ‘The boys done real good’. And to think that news of a NSW series win has never been discussed on an iPhone, nor posted in facebook! A lot has happened in the world over the past 7 years since the boys in blue last hoisted the trophy. Yes well I think I have rubbed that in far enough!
Closer to home and of far more importance was OAMPS Youth Week held at RQ over the past week. Now in its fifth year, what started out as a school holiday regatta for the local kids has grown to be the unofficial and (in the case of the Flying 11 class) the official winter nationals for youth sailing in this country. This year we had kids from all states and territories, Hong Kong, Singapore and the US. Medals are awarded to the top boy and girl in each class as well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall. Most anticipated is the award for the top overall state. And yes folks it was the Queenslanders who brought home the cup. As MC of the presentation ceremony, I may have mentioned the parallels to the State of Origin win during my speech. About 15 times. One must take these opportunities whenever they arise! And true to all youth regatta presentations, the first few minutes is taken up ‘presenting’ junior sailors with their own lost property left around the club each day.
It occurs to me that every family has its own ‘King’.
Last week I threw off the manacles of office life and instructed on a five day course.
The weather was nothing short of spectacular, glorious blue skies, a range of wind speeds and cool evenings that make sinking into your bunk an absolute pleasure. I hadn’t done a 5 day course for a few months and I never cease to be amazed just how beautiful the bay is at this time of the year. Sometimes I think my instructors should be paying me!
With Capitan Steve and his crew on Capriccio and my crew aboard Oceans we departed Redcliffe together for a longish sail in company to Canaipa, where hot showers and barbeques ashore awaited us. Naturally this became a race (as any 2 sailboats going the same way will) and after about an hour and a half we overtook Capriccio and a resounding victory to us seemed assured. What we hadn’t factored into our race plan was the exceptionally low spring tide. Now just south of Peel Island at the entrance to the narrow channel there is a bank. A mud bank. This bank, not unlike the money lending institutions of the same name, is shallow and shifty. As we approached on this fateful evening, Capriccio was a dot on the horizon and moral on board had gone from good to cocky! Knowing we might not get across we decided to risk all (its only soft mud!) and I called for ‘maximum heal’. Boom out, crew to the leeward side we bumped across as far as we could before the inevitable happened and our forward progress halted. Now there was a lot riding on this – first use of the showers being the ultimate prize. In dismay we watched the other yacht grow in size, its shallower draft the key to victory. Frantically the crew worked out secondary port calculations to 5 decimal places as still they came on. As they approached the start of the bank we decided to go below to deny them the pleasure of us having to watch them pass us and after a few minutes we heard a shout and looked out the hatch. To our great delight they were aground right next to us – our bows locked in a silent and futile dead heat to nowhere. So this is some home work for you all. If 2 yachts run aground at low tide, one with a draft of 2.7 metres and one with a draft of 1.7 metres, which one will float off first? A Southern Cross Yachting cap to the first correct answer emailed to us!
So with this great winter weather, handsome and oracle-like instructors, and real world tidal height demonstrations, you would be mad to not book your weekend or 5 day RYA practical course right now!
That’s all for this edition, until next time, watch the depth sounder!