The perfect day out

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Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Mornington Peninsula
January 24th 2010
Published: January 29th 2010
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Day 273 - Rye

We wake up unbelievably excited this morning, we’re going sailing! Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! There’s no messing about, we’re showered and organised quick as a flash so that as soon as Bill gives us the nod we’re good to go.

The girls are already up, it’s rare that we crawl out of bed before them these days but the rest of the household is still tucked under the covers.

There is a game plan for today which should see both of the girls on the yacht later on so long as the wind isn’t too strong and the weather holds well. First things first though, the boat is stored alongside the house at the moment and needs putting into the water before the real adventure can begin.

We journey down to the Sorrento boat ramp with Bill at the wheel of the ute. There are preparations to be made on land before the yacht enters the water and Darryl is quickly up top to assist.

One of the first jobs is to haul up the mast and then rig up the main sail and the gib which involves a lot of clambering over the deck. It’s quite an intricate process but Bill has made everything a lot easier since he came up with an ‘A’ shaped frame to keep things steady while the winching operation is carried out.

When we’re ready to go Bill pulls the ute round the corner to an empty bay in front of the boat ramp and we wait until the ramp spot is vacated so he can reverse the trailer with the yacht into the water. It’s quite an operation to manage and the most important thing now is that neither I nor Darryl let go of the mooring ropes or the yacht will float away!

Luckily everything goes smoothly and we’ve soon got the yacht moored securely while we wait for Bill to park up the ute and the trailer.

Then we’re off, albeit it initially under motor power until we’re out far enough to bring up the sails, drop in the keel and finally fix in the boom. Once the sails are up and Bill tacks into the wind we really start to pick up some speed, now all we need to figure out is in which direction we should go.

Darryl is taking to all of this like a duck to water, he’s sailed before but it was over 30 years ago whilst serving in the army and he was assigned three separate weekly stints of sailing from Germany to Denmark. Maybe he really was a pirate in a former life!

Bill keeps a close hand on the tiller while we’re getting used to the movement of the yacht on the water, it’s quite a different sensation but we’re loving every minute of it and having a great time with the wind in our hair.

The conditions are really good and calm enough for Charlotte and Amy to join us so we head towards the yacht club in Blairgowrie where we can moor up and get them to meet us. It’s round about now that we realise none of us have brought our mobile phones. Meeting up might be a bit more of a challenge now especially when we can’t remember Grant’s, Anna’s or even Helen’s mobile numbers! Technology sometimes makes things way too easy and when it’s not to hand you get a bit stuffed!

Bill navigates us into the marina and we find a temporary mooring while we hop off into the yacht club in search of somebody willing to lend us a mobile phone so we can ring ours in the hope someone will answer! We knew we were clutching at straws and after both of the phones just rang out we went with Plan B - for me and Darryl to walk back to the beach house in the hope that somebody was at home.

The walk didn’t take us that long, maybe half an hour or so but a new challenge greeted us when we arrived - everyone was out and we don’t have any keys! Luckily Darryl remembered where the spare keys are so once inside we found all the phones, grabbed our car keys and rang Grant on our way back to the yacht club. Grant and the ladies are out shopping so Bill suggests we head back out onto the water and return to pick them up about 3pm, there are no arguments from us as we’re loving our new sailing experience.

Bill navigates back out to the bay and once the main sails are pulled up by Darryl we’re off skipping over the waves again. We’re invited to have a go on the tiller so I’m first to take over the controls and although I struggle to go in a straight line it’s not too bad an attempt for a first timer. I’m really surprised how sensitive the tiller is, the slightest movement has an almost immediate impact on the direction we’re travelling in and if that movement turns us further into or out of the wind that’s what makes the difference in terms of our speed. It’s all very interesting.

Things were going along nicely, my zig zagging had been accepted by the boys and I sat happily at the back of the yacht feeling very proud of myself. While we’re sailing along at around 6 knots the yacht is leaning over on its side so we have to position ourselves on the high side of the cockpit to get the most comfortable ride. What happened next gave us the end result of me in a crumpled pile in the back of the cock pit and no longer holding on to the tiller! Darryl was holding on to the rail and Bill was now on a rescue mission to regain control of the yacht! Ooops! We’d experienced our first bout of tacking (trying to change direction) whilst ducking from the boom and somehow one thing led to another, the wind had got the better of me and there I was in a pile! There was no real drama though and Bill had everything back to steady state very quickly, it wasn’t as if I’d thrown us all overboard or anything!

The intention had been to navigate across to the fort but we’d had to come a long way along the coast line to avoid shallow waters and now we were in danger of missing our 3pm rendezvous with Grant and the girls.

It’s Captain Jack’s turn on the tiller and he does a very, very commendable job. The only drama that presented itself was the challenge of the shallow waters which somehow due to our enthusiasm and excitement we’d forgotten we needed to avoid and whilst we were focused on returning to the yacht club they somehow snuck up on us and we were nearly grounded! Again, there was no drama as Darryl very slowly and gently brought us through it while Bill raised the keel to give us a bit more lea way. We weren’t the only ones to struggle though, we spotted another sail craft in exactly the same situation! Darryl navigated us the right side of the red markers which are the indicators for the shallow waters, bit late but we found it eventually! It’s quite tough with so many other sail craft in the waters around us, there’s a lot to avoid but each time we ask who has right of way Bill confirms that belongs to us. It makes us chuckle because we can’t come up with a scenario where we haven’t got right of way! Sail crafts have right of way over anything with power, with the probable exception of the Queensciff and Tasmania ferries which also frequent these waterways, they’re way to big to argue with!

With Bill back on the tiller Darryl is making light work of the rigging and we’re soon navigating our way back into the marina and another mooring spot just in front of a very exclusive looking motor boat. Even Bill admitted that he holds his breath when mooring up for fear of knocking somebody else’s pride and joy but he brings us in perfectly with room to spare.

Being on the yacht is a fabulous experience and we’ve loved it, in fact even being this side of the ‘Private Moorings - No Unauthorised Entry’ signs on the gate to the moorings is fabulous! Some of the crafts in here are just unreal although we do love Bill’s the best!! Wink wink!

The girls are very excited to be coming on board but first things first we need to kit them out with life jackets, just to be safe. Grant decides to come with us and the yacht radio is quickly reciting the cricket! The girls take a little while to get use to the motion once we’re out on the water and that isn’t helped when the wind catches us and sends us onto the high side and them into the perils of girly screams! Amy yells at us to stop it tipping and because I had the tiller I’m feeling really guilty about scaring them. It was the wind, honest! Darryl did no better when he took over as the wind struck up again and tipped us the opposite way. Probably not the best introduction for the girls but if they can handle this they can handle anything!

Bill is soon back in control and although there is a lot less room with 4 adults and two children on board we manage the sailing quite well. We sail out towards Point King as it’s somewhere the girls will recognise; Charlotte finds her sea legs along the way and goes off with Darryl to explore the deck up top. It was great fun and the girls did enjoy it even though they were a bit unsure to begin with. Charlotte was so relaxed at one point that she fell asleep snuggled up to Darryl!

When we got back to the yacht club for the final time Bill, Darryl, Grant and the girls set off in the direction of the club tinnie while I got to work on clearing up! A few things had been thrown around plus there’s a bit of a leak so below deck is slightly soggy.

Once that’s all been sorted then it’s just a matter of me getting off the yacht unsupervised without landing in the drink and remembering the exit technique Bill taught us so the boat doesn’t rock up and catch you between your legs! It’s a perfect landing and I’m good to go.

While I’m driving Grant and the girls to pick up the trailer and ute, Bill and Darryl are left with the job of securing the yacht to a floating mooring which is why they needed to get hold of the club tinnie. They were hoping to be chauffered out to the yacht and then onward to the mooring but no such luck. The previous user of the tinnie assumed that Darryl was an old hand at driving them so instructed him to jump in so he could jump out. Despite a pleading look to Bill there was no assistance forthcoming as Bill needed to motor the yacht to the mooring so couldn’t be in two places at once. Dar was on his own! The throttle on the tinnie was very touchy and seemed to be either full engaged or off, you can probably imagine that the journey across the water for Darryl wasn’t particularly smooth and made him pretty nervous as he passed by million dollar yachts just feet away. He manoeuvred it successfully though and met Bill at the yacht which by this time was secured at the floating mooring. Bill then jumped aboard and Darryl immediately handed him the controls which was probably just aswell as a sea plane had just landed and we all know what Darryl’s attention span is like when planes are around. We’ll say nothing much about the tinnie landing eh Bill!

We’d had the best day and just loved playing at sailors, it was really great and so much fun. Back at the beach house we had more company for this evening, the beautiful Mel with children Georgia and Ethan had arrived. We love Mel and it’s great to see them all.

Grant is on cooking duties as always but Mel has brought Bolognese for the kids plus of course there’s the usual cheese platter and some zucchini slice which Mel made too. All beautiful and we’ll certainly not go hungry. Grant’s offerings were a fabulous mussel pasta and cannelloni - both beautiful although we did decide the cannelloni had room for improvement! Ha ha, what a cheek!!

A few beers, a few wines and a lot of chatting & laughter ended another great day. In lovely surroundings and great company we’re having the best time.

Dar and Sar

Additional photos below
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Group shot on the yachtGroup shot on the yacht
Group shot on the yacht

Amy, Charlotte, Grant and Darryl

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