Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sailing North: The Best Laid Plans

22nd June 2011
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron

Des-ti-nat-ion     A place to which one is journeying or to which something is being sent.
                                  Websters Dictionary.
                        The place where one wishes to sail, and from where the wind is blowing.
                        Capt’n Willi Cinque

Those of you who read the log of our journey south would know that we spent most of our time bashing into the prevailing South Easter, motoring a considerable part of our journey from Cairns. At times this South Easter was the size of Cyclone Yassi, at times a moderate 15 knts but relentless. Frustrating as it was not to be able to actually use this sailing yacht to sail, we consoled ourselves in the knowledge that going north the same wind which was being so disruptive to our plans would be harnessed to help us.

Imagine if you will then, our pleasure at waking up this morning to a sun hanging high in a bright blue sky. Not a cloud to be seen the morning is crisp and cool, and a gentle North wind is caressing the water with a forecast of increasing to 20 knts during the day. From the North. Where we are going. The one that only blows once a year,in September when we are due to ride it back to Brisbane. Oh, thank you weather gods!

Last night we hosted Steve and Dulcie from the yacht Monique aboard Dreamagic. We first met them in Cairns, then again in Yeppoon. We were rather looking forward to catching up with them in Yeppoon this year when they turned up moored on the same finger as us at RQYS two days ago. Then again, bumping into old friends (or should I say friends of long standing, they are not that old!) in some marina or bay is one of the pleasurable aspects of cruising.

After dining with them in Manly, and a few drinks to discuss the weather back aboard DM, we decided to delay our departure a day, and do WAGS!

Steve and Dulcie and their delightful 8 year old son Killi were our crew as we motored to the start. One thing we hadn’t managed to do is put the reefing lines in so we thought we would pop those in as the main was being hoisted. A simple job, no more than 10 minutes.
Thirty minutes later, and with less than 10 minutes to the start time the sail was half up, the second reef was tied to itself, the boom was parallel to the mast and things were looking decidedly awkward. The wind was gusting 20 knts, the shallow water was looking decidedly too close but in order to keep the boat into the wind that was the direction she had to point.
With 3 minutes to go we had a main up but with the reef lines cascading out of the back of the boom rather than through the clews, and a headsail on the furler was half out.
With 30 seconds to go we had the furler sorted, the reef lines abandoned and the start line in sight. We were 35 seconds late over the start. That deserves a beer, or several.
The sail was brilliant! I am very pleased with Dreamagic at the moment. Maybe the longer courses at RQYS are more suited to her than the short Cairns WAGS courses but her performance has been improving steadily since we got here in February. Dreamagic caught and held a couple of Seawind Cats on what is supposed to be their best point of sailing, the Broad Reach. Round the Hope Banks and beating to windward we said goodbye to our neighbours and caught most of the fleet. At the finish mark we were 5th from over 40 boats including several Farr 40 one designs. A great day sailing.

An early night because we are DEFINATELY leaving tomorrow!

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