Published: June 3rd 2012June 2nd 2012
Having been welcomed into the Sharpe family household by Paul, Kelly, Ashley and Kyah the night before over a dinner of roast pork and a Nerf gun battle, today we were being taken on their sailing boat that Paul would be skippering in a race.
Following Pauls advice Will dressed in board shorts and a T-shirt as he had packed the wet weather clothing to wear on the boat and Jo put her wet weather gear on in the house to save changing on the boat ,before being picked up by a Tim who would be crewing on the boat today. With the sails and ice-box in the packed car we stopped off at McDonalds for Paul and Tim to grab a last minute snack (Will declined the opportunity surprisingly!) before driving to the yacht club on Lake Macquarie.
After a short ride out to Paul’s boat in a dingy that Will steered through more luck than judgement we tried to help Paul and Tim set up the sails and rigging on the boat, although it was clear to see we were land lovers! It wasn’t long before things were ship shape and we’d been
joined by the final crewmember for the day, Crash (we didn’t like to ask why he was called Crash, we thought it might be best not to know!). As it was time to start sailing Paul suggested it was time for him and Will to put on the wet weather clothing to avoid needing to do it mid race. It was at this point they realised they were missing something, although they had remembered the chilled drinks! So they had to settle for not going thirsty but possibly getting rather wet as we headed for the start line with fingers crossed that it wouldn’t rain!
Today’s weather wasn’t looking great with not much wind and a few drops of rain in the sky, which didn’t compare well to the stories of the excellent sailing they experienced last week! Not deterred by the conditions there were eight or so boats competing against us, so as we got within a minute of the race start, the starting line got pretty congested as everyone was tacking for position. Unfortunately one of our competitors sailed across our line and ruined our start by stealing our wind so we quickly lost ground
to a couple of the other boats.
With the leaders quickly sailing off we struggled to build speed and found ourselves fighting against slower boats in the race for the majority of the first lap. When we did manage to harness the wind we reached 5 knots; although the week before this boat was sailing across this lake at above 18 knots to give you an idea of the conditions.
Although we did catch and overtake another boat on the second lap our biggest battle was keeping Paul’s boat moving forward with the little wind available. Considering our speeds were pretty low it was good fun sailing with the guys, and fortunately for Will and Paul there was no heavy rain, and we finished some distance behind the leaders in third place.
As Paul and Kelly were taking the boat away next weekend we again tried our best to help as requested when they mounted the yacht on the trailer before driving back to their house to gather our suitcases and jumping on a train to Sydney to Will’s cousins house where our journey in Australia started nearly nine months ago.
There are more photos below