Christine departed her berth at Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron on the 17th of June, heading out into the sometimes fearsome Bass Strait. But not today, it was as calm as a millpond. We had a perfect start to our first major ocean voyage. The scenery passing Wilsons Promontory was amazing and we were often escorted by hundreds of playful dolphins. We passed through the Bass Strait oil fields at night, with the rigs lit up like Christmas trees. Sailors know this stretch of the coastline as “the paddock” due to the long distance between safe harbours. Our next stop was Eden NSW, which we entered at night! Certainly testing our navigational skills. We stayed here for a couple of nights to let a storm pass us by, and then it was off to Sydney. After passing Botany Bay we were treated to a very special event, whales breaching less than 100metres from us. Spectacular!
Christine holidayed at the CYCA in Sydney for a month before again heading out to sea, bound for Mooloolaba. As you head north the weather gets warmer and the clothing layers start coming off. We changed crew at Mooloolaba and took off for Airlie Beach. This was a sensational leg of the journey. We anchored for a night behind Fraser Island, and again in a little spot called Pearl Bay on our way to a stopover at Mackay (Great seafood from the Fish Co-Op here).
Our race crew for the first regatta at Airlie Beach gathered together on Friday 7th August for a practice sailing session on the local waters of Pioneer Bay. We were ready to start racing. The Airlie Beach regatta comprises 6 races spread over 7 days. Most races lasted 2-3 hours, with one long race, this took us 8 hours to complete in winds ranging from 5 knots to 27 knots; a hard day at the office.
We had a lot of fun at Airlie Beach, and some great racing and results. In fact, we won our division! A fantastic effort by all on board and, yes, we did celebrate in style that night.
Next day it was off to Hamilton Island for the second regatta week; a totally different experience to Airlie Beach. A bigger fleet, and very well run and organised. Not to mention the great food and restaurants. We performed solidly at Hamo, without threatening the top places. But all had a good time with great weather, food, racing, scenery, whales and driving around in golf buggies.