one minute there was wind... then
below.. the Overdirive crew
below, Simply ghosting along in light airs
The happy treasure hunt winner and
And then the prises started flowing......
Story and photos by Bob Norson
This winter cruising season has been awful
relative to paradise
Nervous eyes have been focussed on
the weather forecasts but like Moses parting the Red Sea,
a window opened for this Blessed event. God must
be a sailor and a multihuller at that as the week before saw
the big dollar mono guys getting rough treatment at Hammo. There
were reports of lost rigs (more than even normal) and one vessel
towed in nearly sunk from a rapid and violent wind change in
the Whitsunday channel. But not us.. the sun shines and the winds
are moderate so far.
As we arrived on the scene Friday, Raider
was rigging up in the car park by the boat ramp. It was good
to see such a competitive craft adding to the fleet. The mix
is always good for Rendezvous, the fast boys in division 1 and
the competitive cruisers like Southern Comfort in division 2
with newcomers for this year like Wendy and Ron of Brave Heart.
The field is larger this year but still a manageable size. It
is still the friendly, club like feel it has been since we have
been involved, which explains why we are involved. As you may
have read last issue, the Rendezvous was invented as a response
to the multi's being kicked out of the race week. The informality
may be a little bit of that rebellion still lingering
Ian and Cheryl of Xtra Chilli kindly volunteered
the use of there Bob Oram Cat as The Media Boat,
we had a great comfortable platform for the show. Sandwiches
and Guacamole (with extra chilli of course) and beer for lunch.
Journalism has its good days!
The start of race one off Airlie beach
was in moderate breeze. A short up-wind leg saw a few fast tacks
for the fast boys and then the run to Langford reef near Hayman
Island. Early on in Pioneer Bay Raider fulfilled its promise
of speed, marching away from the fleet. The boat is a serious
speed machine. Dave, the skipper of Schionning design Spudgun
confided later that unless the wind came up to 25 knots + it
was going to be hard to beat Raider. But things happen or people
make mistakes, so you never know.
We hung around the start area to catch
some photos and then joined the fleet on the line to Langford
where the division 1 guys would break off for Armit Island and
The Cones (Double Cone Islands) while the 2 and 3 fleet would
be doubling back to Pioneer bay and the finish line. We caught
Quick Skip on the way out, gamely slugging along on heady only.
We found out later that the sail maker had put the wrong slugs
on the new mainsail and they couldn't raise it.
As the bulk of the fleet neared Langford
the wind dropped out. Steve Halter on Time Warp said that they
had wind on either side of them but they were in a hole of nothing!
That's the way it was for a while. The fast boats got through
before it happened but the rest had a breeze here and there
that's racing! Back out in the channel and a while later the
wind came back in. The fun watching was Southern Comfort and
Cats Chorus as the two boats appeared to be closely matched and
both competitive. With their screechers up they got away from
us. The fleet got back in with a fine breeze and blue skies.
Raider didn't make any mistakes so came in well ahead of the
rest of the fast guys. Southern Comfort won the stoush with Cats
Chorus and the division with Simply taking the cruisers division.
At the gathering at the APYC that evening it was smiles all round.
12 packs of Crowny's were awarded and the you beaut stainless
BBQ from 'Cater Quip' was raffled off with Shirley from Vega
1 taking it home.
Knot Too Zippy
Not The Dart
Allboat and Cargo Marine
Boat Insurance Brokers
Emultihulls Yacht Brokerage
The Coastal Passage
Blue Water Jewelry Factory
Hogs Breath Café, Airlie Beach
Whitsunday Ocean Services
Home Hardware & Marine
Able Point Marina
There was a real poker thing going on as
it was a day of taking the punt
where do YOU think the
wind is going to be. The course was short and simple which was
good as it was a drifting contest
at times.. for some.
I had Ian of Xtra Chilli run me around in his dinghy, no worries
about rough water! I saw Overdrive in a hole of mill pond with
a breeze all around, not much of a breeze but the other boats
were moving anyway. Dave of Spudgun made a bet that running into
Funnel Bay would be where the wind was
. Wrong! He sat there
When a breeze finally came up enough to ooze them outta there
and toward Pioneer rocks the rest of division 1 was way gone.
Dave later described his recovery as the greatest comeback
since Lazarus. That was his last wrong move and the first
of several for others in the fleet. Rounding the buoy for the
return to the rocks saw Spudgun and Raider arrive at the same
time and to add to the fun the wind dropped out
same time. The boats drifted together and saw the crews fending
off by hand and feet. I missed a great photo as a crew pushed
off with his foot and became spread out dangerously similar to
a Three Stooges routine. He was saved by a helping hand. Crew
were pumping sails trying to get clear and turn the boats, serious
muscle work instead of wind power. Then
they were gone.
These boats make better than wind speed so when there is anything
at all they step out quickly. I saw Triple Vision come very close
to the rocks and commented on it
I found out later they did scrape some paint off a dagger board!
Handicap results for day two were; Div.
1: Thrill Neck, Fast Company and Sirocco. Div. 2 Triple Vision,
Time Warp and Bullfrog. Div. 3 Piglet, Tri Reality and Simply.
Overdrive was the hit of the party that
evening at APYC.. brilliant sombreros and wild coloured .. shirts?
Whatever.. $10 meals, a busy bar, loud conversation and lies
Good times! Dave looked three sheets to the wind but he always
does. If Dean Martin were reincarnated as a sailor he would be
Dave of Spudgun. (That shows my age, doesn't it!) More Crown
Lager and wine were given away and more prizes raffled off.
An eager crowd was gathered at the
APYC/Anchorage Restaurant for the 1000 check in. Tony had a complimentary
breakfast waiting of tea, coffee and crumpets. Boats were awarded
a card in a sealed envelope at the meeting and would earn the
rest of their five cards by completing the course. A course was
laid out in the bay of about 6 miles. The weather was perfect
for this kind of event.. that is very light wind, just enough
to stroll around and enjoy the company and antics of Quick Skip
which renamed itself Quick Lei for the event
hhmm and Overdrive
with great costume and less than serious sailing! Boats were
all over the place taking photos and visiting along the way.
There was plenty of time to do it.
Everone gathered up at APYC at 1600 for
the laying down of the poker hands.
Sharon of Southern Comfort was on suicide watch with all cutlery
removed from the boat in case she didn't win and there were many
bribe offers and attempts to pull extra cards out of the bag
The suspense was terrific as low hand after low hand was revealed
and recorded. For a while it looked like a pair of jacks could
take it but then Vicki of Triple Vision came up with a pair of
Queens.. both of hearts no less! More hands were unveiled but
none were better, so it was Vicki taking the treasure chest of
over $5000 in jewellery and gems. Her favourite gem is Sapphire
and it turned out that there were two rings in the chest of sapphire
and diamonds set in 14k gold, it was meant to be. A very popular
win that was applauded by all, even Sharon. Vicki's hand was
a beaut. Whatever nickname she may have had before doesn't matter,
she is now the one and only Queen of Hearts.
High Voltage was the last to enter and
came up with a poker hand so awful that it was the worst. They
were awarded the pity Prize of an 18 k gold medallion
of a sailing catamaran, perfect for them and their shiny new
Congratulations to all who attended
what great sports!
A big disappointment for Raider as a misunderstanding
of the race schedule had them leaving before day three to make
it back to Brisbane in time for the sailors curse
A great shame as the boat was impressive and sure to keep the
rest of the field on high alert. We all hope they can make it
The weather forecast was for 20-25 knots
and they were right on. The course was a short up-wind leg in
the bay, a run to Double Cone Island and back for Div two and
three with the fast guys continuing on to Armit Island before
heading home. Xtra Chilli set me up a few miles out near the
point where the protection of the headland ended. The idea was
to be near the best line to the 'Cones' and have a photo feast
as the fleet blasted by under spinnaker. A good idea
sometimes things just don't work the way you think, for me or
the fast boats. Sirocco was screaming toward us under light spinnaker
ahead of the rest, when suddenly the big kite went to shreds!
Wild Thing was right behind and nearly caught up after Sirocco
stalled while trying to collect the damage, when
there went Wild Things spinnaker as well! The race leaders in
fabric scattering all over the bay
my POS Olympus camera shits itself!!! Of all times!! Fortunately
I had a small spare camera along to get some shots of the destruction
but there was no future in trying to hang with the fleet so we
sailed back to the anchorage, got out a beer and binoculars and
The fleet came in sooner than expected
with the excellent wind and changed the order of things a little.
Boats like Vega did especially well. Ian had said before that
he prefers sailing in 40 knots and I thought he was exaggerating.
I am a believer now. Most boats came in with a tuck in the main
and small jib. Dave of Spudgun reported that he wanted to shake
out his reef in the bay but a line broke so he carried it all
the way in. Vicki (aka Queen of Hearts) of Triple Vision was
charging hard enough to try to make a submarine of her, so lost
a little time regrouping before the blast to the finish. All
great sailing and no casualties of note.
Div 1: Fast Company, Thrill Neck, &
Spudgun. Div 2: Zippy, Vega1, & Tell Tales.
Div 3: Simply, Tri Reality, & Piglet.
The party that night at The Anchorage Restaurant/APYC
was a wonder. Steve Halter did a fabulous job of keeping an entertaining
pace to the presentation of gifts and prises which, thanks to
great sponsorship, were very plentiful. It was mentioned by one
that this regatta is richer in prises then the big events that
we won't mention here
It was a brilliant get together that
all will remember for life. Many were saying this was the high
point of their sailing to date and the cruisers were particularly
pleased that their insurance still covered them in the non-spinnaker
classes. The fastest and the slowest all looked after. There
is no doubt that this was the best and next year promises even
more. Tony shut down the restaurant to non-participants and the
sailors ruled. All through the series there were $10 meals and
great hospitality. I could go on all night
The overall Winners! (handicap)
Div 1 Thrill Neck, Fast Company and Spugun Div 2 Triple Vision,
Bushy Tails and Overdrive Div 3 Simply, Piglet and Tri Reality