CHAPTER 2 April 17 –April 24
We began with dinghy forays around the Broadwater, across to shopping at Australia Fair, to the Fishermen’s Co-op for fresh prawns, and on canal tours behind Surfers. Fortunately, the weather remained fine until we returned to the boat, then the heavens opened (again). Rob from GM Sails dinghied out to replace the top batten receptacle on the mainsail, with further replacements set for June. A rainy motor round to Paradise Point saw Allikat anchored with Ultimate Dream and later, Out of the Blue II, close by the jetty. The rain and squalls became set in. More Lightwaves arrived before registration by Friday lunch and the regatta began with the “Take Me There” photos from all the yachts, followed by some interesting questions and answers about touring the Kimberleys. Needless to say, as that is our plan for next year, we listened very carefully!
The first sailing event of the regatta was a twilight sailing cruise in the Broadwater up to the top of Crab Island. The following winds were light, even though the sky was threatening as the yachts sailed under screecher to the top mark. Just as we were to turn, a sudden squall hit, with the wind gusts reaching 30 knots – and we couldn’t get the screecher in quickly enough – so now we have to get the tear in the screecher repaired while we are back in the Bay. We were dampened in more ways than one!
Excellent at improvising, the Lightwave organizers had set up tarpaulins ashore for the spit roast dinner and band, and soon everyone’s troubles were forgotten as people relaxed and traded stories and hints, even though the rain continued through the night.
Saturday morning dawned wet and dismal, but the Lightwaves made an impressive sight as they crocodiled their way through the channel markers, fortunately passing the shallows near Jacobs Well successfully, en route for Karragarra Island. Our guest on board for the day was Caroline Strainig, editor of Cruising Helmsman. The afternoon “exercise” was to sail to Canaipa Point and collect some sand from shore. We set off after John provided entertainment for the boats around us by going up the jib in the bosun’s chair to repair the jib furler, where the grub screws had come loose (again). This involved several journeys up and down, trying to find the right sized allen key, but eventually we set off on our quest. The first disaster was the dinghy rope breaking, which involved trying to retrieve the dinghy with a boat hook – yet more entertainment. The potentially more serious disaster was flipping the dinghy as Mal set off to shore to acquire the sand. Fortunately he was safe (if very wet) and we managed to retrieve the dinghy (again), turn it right side up and John got the outboard going again. We can be lucky! John set off to get the sand, and we didn’t tell him until he was back on board about the phone all from Roger who said not to worry about the sand as the shore was too muddy! The evening meal and entertainment was at Coochiemudlo Is (yes, that funny name again). All the crews were taken there by ferry, as our anchorage had been moved from Coochie since it was too exposed from the south. When the ferry arrived at the wharf everyone was pleased to be anchored elsewhere! Another excellent night with everyone talking incessantly (and loudly over the band) before returning to the yachts in the rain.
The last day of the regatta involved a tactical sail from Macleay Island, round the top of Peel Island and into port at Dunwich on Stradbroke Is. With our first day of blue skies and fair winds, the yachts were a marvelous sight as they headed north. Twelve cats were rafted together (4 deep) at the wharf off the Littlel Ships Yacht Club, where lunch, the Lightwave auction and presentations were made. Eight boats stayed at the wharf overnight, with much visiting and nibblies before dark. The next morning saw boats scattering in all directions – some home, some off to serious cruising north, others just to potter round the bay. We have made some great new friends. Monday morning also saw Mal’s departure, as he caught the ferry to Cleveland prior to flying back home. We headed north to Tangalooma, with an excellent sail across Moreton Bay. A walk ashore along the beach and the “Wild Dolphin Resort” jetty at dusk discovered that midges still exist (for Pam anyway) and a rolly overnight anchorage, with the inevitable rain ended our furthest foray north at this stage. The next two days were spent following the channel markers south (with a sail for the first section across the Bay), stopping overnight in the Macleay channel again, before regaining the Gold Coast. With a south easterly still blowing and ominous clouds all around, we anchored off Wave Break Is, just inside the Seaway entrance. Expecting a visit from the Victron technician tomorrow, we will move back to the Marine Stadium north of Sea World, before traveling to Hope Harbour Marina on Friday, where Allikat will stay until our return in June. Time then to fly home.