I spent most of the weekend in bed. No I wasn’t unwell (thanks for the concern), I was merely exhausted after returning from a 5 day school sailing camp. This time it was the year 10 boys and girls from St Paul’s – and I must say what a polite, fun and enthusiastic bunch of young men and women they were. But my god can they eat! We departed Manly on the Monday with Capriccio and Oceans well down on their water lines, groaning under their cargo of tents, bbqs , tables and of course enough food to feed a small African village. We returned on Friday without a crumb or scrap of food remaining. I am sure most of the patterns have gone from the plates! Nineteen students and two long suffering teachers embarked on this odyssey that saw the team camping at the Sandhills and day sailing to Peel Island, Tangalooma and Mud Island. The concept of the camp is for the kids to experience what so many of us were lucky to grow up with, sailing, enjoying all the Bay has to offer and, as the toad said, simply messing about in boats. To see the enjoyment and delight of these kids as they saw countless sand rays in the shallows, loggerhead turtles, dugong, dolphins and even a shark makes these trips worthwhile.  As many of you will know the tide goes out for ever at the Sandhills, exposing hundreds of acres of sandflats alive with creatures including at least a million soldier crabs. I have never ceased to enjoy chasing these amazing creatures, herding them into great armies then watching them disappear into the sand. The good thing was that the kids at the campsite were far enough away to not see their skipper reliving his youth chasing after them and making machine gun noises as I pretended to be a world war one flying ace. It is important for your inner peace to be a kid from time to time. The trip was a great success, and the kids learnt a bit about sailing, came to love messing about in boats and oddly enough most thought the best part was beating to windward in 20 knots, sitting on the bow getting soaked as we plunged through wave after wave. I think I have spotted several potential bowmen, who think it is great up the pointy end. I told one that they can do this for five days in the Hobart race and he thought that would be ‘Sick’! Yes, I said, that is quite often the outcome.
Skipper Paul was greatly amused when his crew started playing a word game where you nominate the letter a word starts with and the category. ‘B’ was the word and transportation was the category. Naturally most of them said ‘Bus’ but one princess said ‘Bentley’. When the category changed to ‘something you would find in the fridge’ most kids said ‘butter’. The princess said ‘blue cheese’. Kids today.
Southern Cross can tailor a school sailing adventure for up to 35 kids and they too can enjoy what all the Moreton bay boating children grow up with. We can even arrange a bus to pick them up or their parents can drop them down in the Bentley. No blue cheese though I am afraid.
32 yachts will face the starter on Good Friday for the 68th running of the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race. Sadly I won’t be amongst them this year but many Southern Cross Yachting students and instructors will be. We wish all competitors a safe and fast passage and as always a great welcome when you get there. Good luck and fair winds to all.
That’s all for this edition, until next time have a great Easter.

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