Preparing for Sail Port Stephens

Our crew for Sail Port Stephens is an amalgamation of our crew and some refugees from Umzimkulu 2. (Ann, Chris and myself from G-whizz and David, Danni and John from Umzimkulu 2). Last Sunday we went out for some spinnaker practice and give the Umzimkulu crew a good familiarisation of G-whizz. Unfortunately Chris has this preoccupation with keeping his business ticking over and was not able to join us.

We did innumerable gybes with both the symmetrical and asymmetrical spinnakers, and while we are by no means experts we all now feel comfortable with the processes involved, the practice also exposed a couple of little wrinkles that have now been rectified, as John said “That’s the benefit of practice”. All this was performed without the added distraction of using a headsail, so we still have a bit of a magical mystery tour ahead of us.

After returning home I read David Edmiston’s latest blog entry “Countdown to sail Port Stephens” (, it dawned on me that by comparison we are in a pretty good space, our concerns are a little modification to the asymmetric tack fitting, sorting the logistics of getting a boat, it’s gear and six people from Sydney to Port Stephens and back and most importantly, is there enough gas in the LPG tank for the trip? While David is still working on the interior of his boat. You really have to admire this bloke, his efforts in building his own 40 foot boat are really impressive, in its first few twilights it has shown to be quite an impressive performer, and sitting on its mooring it  looks like something that came out of one of the premium builders in Europe.

There are three boats from GFS going to Port Stephens for the regatta, David Edmiston’s Didi 40CR – Passsion X, Michael Grove’s Jeanneau 379 –  Agrovation and of course G-whizz. All three of these boats will be crewed by members of GFS, with representation from Umzinkulu 2 on G-whizz and John and Leslie Veale’s Hasta La Vista on Agrovation. I feel sure that this will provide for substantial bonhomie off the water and a high degree of competitiveness on the water. We are all looking forward to it.

It has been a while since we have flown spinnakers and I think we have forgotten how well G-whizz likes these big light weight sails, she really lifted her skirt up and showed us a good turn of speed. David, who skippers Umzimkulu 2 remarked that he did not want us to use these sails in the Saturday point score races as he may not be able see which way we went.