Monday, 31 December 2007



Huh? Come on! Over-exaggeration? No way!

Way! Seriously. I was out on the water yesterday about four hours, firstly on my Laser with Mr Hoon (in his Corsair, not his Trailer sailor), and then both of us together in his Corsair when the wind was absolutely howling in the later afternoon!

At first, there was absolutely NO wind! I mean none! Mr Hoon and I sat around chatting happily away until about midday, when we felt the smallest gust on our faces - so we went for it! he went out in his Corsair, and I in my Laser. After about twenty minutes we'd gone about 500 meters! But it was a happy drift. Then a slight steady wind from behind us saw us slowly progress all the way to the very far end of the Dam. I'd never been up that way quite that far before, about 2 or 3 km's. There was literally no-where else to go. It's really lovely up there. And empty - apart from the occasional water-ski boat, there was no-one else up there.

Mr Hoon rigging his Corsair.

I thought it'd be a long sail back, tacking (zig-zagging) into an oncoming slight breeze. Uh huh! literally as soon as we got to the far end of the Dam, the wind changed, picked up to about 10 knots, and swung around in direction. So, as soon as we started heading back, it was coming from behind/beside us! wOOt! So we had a good 90 minutes sailing in a gorgeous breeze all the way back to the beach.

It was simply magical out there. the sky was cloudless. And one of those skies that are so deep blue that kinda mess with your mind. The hills around us were dazzling green (after all the recent rains), splashed with the occasional purple of Patterson's Curse. The water was a reflection of blue, green and purple... simply stunning. if you could paint it, people would naturally assume it was an impressionist-style painting. It was that fluid to look at. Spectacular stuff.

I'm not exaggerating here either! The colours were both dazzling but washed together at the same time.

Plus the sailing was simply the best fun I've had all year, on my own, in my own boat!

Yes, having someone else out there to sail with really helped my self-confidence. Just having another sailing boat out with me gave me a sense of reassurance i don't normally have when I go out on my own.

Just as we got back to the main basin down near the main dam wall, the wind had kicked up to about 20 knots. Gorgeous! While Mr Hoon headed in, I stayed about zooming and scooting across the bay, riding the big gusts and hanging on by the skin of my teeth, whooping my head off - literally! They could hear me on the beach, I was told later! heh heh

Time for a quick lunch break. The wind had set-in to about 25-30 knots by 2.30 in the arvo. I made the call I wasn't going to go out again in my own boat - too strong for me.

But, Timothy invited me to come out with and crew with him in his Corsair. I didn't say no! I jumped at the chance!!!

Mr Hoons' Corsair.

I haven't been out in a sloop-rigged (that's a 2-sailed) boat like this for a long time. The Access 303's don't count! The wind was a steady 25-30 knots from the east, and to be honest, I thought it'd be a bit of a short sloppy wet ride in a bit of a plodder!

Boy, was I wrong!

For the next hour or so, we absolutely screamed back and forth across the bay! Absolutely brilliant! Water spraying, fishtail out the back, centreboard singing, hiking out..

We even went all the way up to windward and set a spinnaker! I haven't sailed a boat under a kite since like 1985!!! It was like heaven! We screamed along on a broad reach for about 15 minutes on one looooooooong run! wOOt!

I thought the Corsair would handle really roughly, being an older-style boat. No way! It handled like a gentle old lady! Like an absolute dream. Slow and steady to respond to a big gust. It just sat there and took it... and took off! I simply couldn't believe such a heavy old glass boat could scoot along so fast!

In the same conditions in a Laser, for example, you'd not only be hanging on for dear-life, but you'd be in-and-out-and-in-and-out with every gust. It'd be exhilarating - but exhausting! And doing lots of capsizing (well, I would have been heh heh.)

The Corsair kinda just sat up and sailed so smoothly - but what a great turn of speed!

No no, I'm not gonna rush out and get myself one. I'm just saying - I was so surprised - we both were - that she handled so easily and with such a great turn of speed! Yay!

We were soaked. Fresh warm dam water spraying everywhere from just traveling so fast. And I loved it!

It bought back a zillion memories from sailing as a teenager on Sydney Harbour.

I cut my nautical-teeth (so to speak) as a teenager sailing these things out of Manly, 16-foot skiffs. Gorgeous boats, but a bastard to handle! Really fickle and unstable, to be honest. A crew of four (in those days), and my job was to run the jib and set the kite (that's the big yellow thing in that pic). That's one of my dad's boats, also called "Wyreema". The last time I was out in something like that would have been 1985! A looooong time ago!!!

So, here I am, in this Corsair, with a jib and a kite, and I slipped into auto-pilot - after 20 years! I mean... I just subconsciously started calling out when a gust was coming... looking under the lee (beneath us) for any boats coming up... hiking, trimming... I mean, I hadn't sailed like that in 20 years, but I was almost doing it instinctively! Sailing as a CREW rather than a skipper/helmsman. That was how I used to do it in the skiff... it was part of my job to keep things together up front... but also moving about a lot, to counterbalance the other three guys as well. I kept telling Mr Hoon about how I was feeling, and laughing my head off at the same time! It was all very surreal... like my dad was right there with me and it was a flashback to sailing as an 18-year-old again.

The spray in my face was the strongest memory tho. It always has been during the past 2+ years I've been out on the water in boats again. Windy spray splashing your face is just so refreshing. Laughing happily the whole time.

Mind you, Mr Hoon wasn't just sitting there placidly either! He was having just as much fun as I was. He hadn't managed to take this particular boat of his out for over two years!!!

I was also quite aware that I'm not 18 anymore! My stomach and thigh muscles after all that hiking! Oooh! hahahahaaaa.

But seriously! That was the best days sailing I've had all year. Belmont back in March was really good, but as far as just pure fun, glorious scenery and spray-filled scooting - yesterday was it!

Almost better that sex! [blushes with a laugh]!

There was a better crowd of people there yesterday as well, than there was on Xmas Day and Boxing Day (when it was deserted). There were about 15 motor-ski boats on the beach-shore this time. All really relaxed, friendly, BBQ's, kids running about. Twas nice.

So yes...

A Good Time Was Had By All.
Peas be with ewe

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  1. glad you had a wonderful time Mal! I like being on the water also, it's always so calming.

  2. What a great day! And beautiful weather too!

  3. Thank you, ladies! It really was just one of those special magical kinda days!
    Mal :)

  4. I Know - beautiful days like that with the sun and wind and waves- make you glad that your alive, and you thank God for the pleasure of it! Good on You!