Could things have gotten any better since my last blog – well yes, they did. When I last wrote we had our final day at Airlie Race Week to contend. We were all pumped as we went out to the start line, singing our theme song for luck ( I don’t know , where I’m going to go, when the volcano blows – Jimmy Buffett – don’t ask), we had a fantastic day on the race course and came a glorious third, finishing up sixth overall! We were so proud of our Kitty KAT and of our wonderful crew of Janene, Lou, Tricia, Bec and Neil.
We took ourselves off to the bar for the prize presentation, where we had another surprise in store – we won the Best Dressed Crew Prize! I’ll post some photos soon so you can see what a best dressed crew looks like!!! The Wolverines were playing so we had a great last crew night out! The next morning it was up early to get all the gear back on the boat, it was time to head for Hamilton Island and our next regatta. We farewelled Neil at Airlie and delivered Tricia and Lou to Hamilton for their flight and set about the task of taking everything off the boat again. Not easy because this time we were rafted up amongst six other boats! Donna and Ian joined us, Janene was staying for a couple of days and Bec was staying for the whole regatta so once the introductions were done – we were raring to go.
There was an opening street party with free beer which the crew went to, Chris and I went to the owners party, it was being held in Hamilton Islands brand new six star resort, and as Donna said – it was our only chance to ever get in the door. We were suitably impressed – especially with the free food and wine and the goody bags at the end. Hamilton Island Race Week seems to have gone up market this year – exceptionally well organised with great bands, food stalls, lots of giveaways for the crews.
All hyped up we headed off to the start line the next morning, this was a completley different game to Airlie – there were 216 boats at the start in Dent Passage – which is really narrow, my heart was in my mouth as I was on the bow doing lookout for other boats. Now any bowman will tell you that this is the most thankless task on a boat. You have 200 boats coming at you, all of whom have right of way over you. Your job is to direct the skipper around this maze by pointing which direction he should go in to avoid a collision. There are a few problems related to this job however, often you point a direction for the skipper to go, but the boat doesn’t change course so you look behind and all the crew at the back have their backs turned to you while they are watch the big boats start. So you shout, “oi, go up 10 degrees, theres a boat below you” and you get a reply off “I can see him, theres no need to shout”, so you decide not to shout the next time it looks like we are going head to head with another boat and you get roundly abused for not “shouting up”!!
I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account of each race, except to say – the racing was fantastic, the crew work was exceptional, in an entire week of racing – not one screwup! The crew gelled beautifully. And we came an amazing ninth over all!
Some of the many highlights worth mentioning;
Donna organising the crew to salute the race committee on our sail past on Friday – she had us all standing to attention and saluting like we were born to it!
Ian being our last man-standing at the partying everynight!
Becs multitasking as she wound up the spinnaker while furling the headsail!
Lay day at Whitehaven Beach, where our friends Tara, Jane and Matt joined us and we had the best party. The highlight of that day for me was when we were back on the dock having a few drinks and Tara told the very cool and trendy boat next door to please turn down their very cool and trendy music as we couldn’t hear ours. When they did we proceeded to turn Abba up to full volume and sing and dance along for hours. If there is an uncool award – we got it, but we had the best fun!
The great tactical work we had on our last two days – everyone was on the ball and picked the course beautifully!
The fireworks, the bands, the food, the laughs…..
Thanks to everyone who joined us for both race weeks, we loved sailing with you and look forward to doing so again in the future. Now Chris and I are off on a land based holiday for a week before we meet our delivery crew in Airlie and start heading home!
And by the way – I lost my voice somewhere on Hamilton Island on Monday last – if anyone finds it could you return it, I’m sick of sounding like Kermit the frog!