Most people that know me know that I am not a fan of racing (or indeed sailing of any sort) under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, there are a number of reasons for this attitude including:
1 – The fickle winds that bend, test, gust and die for no apparent reason, affected by all the tall buildings on either side of the harbour and the funneling effect of the narrow channel at that point and probably others reasons that I don’t know or understand.
2- The washing machine conditions; it is almost is almost as if every bit of wash that bounces up and down the harbour meets under the bridge, bouncing off the deep and vertical walls that have been placed there and “improved’ on since colonisation of the area.
3- Circular Quay is the epicenter of Ferry activity on the harbour (Circular Quay is “Central Station” for Ferrys) and for those that don’t know a local rule gives Sydney Ferrys absolute right of way, and don’t some of the captains like to enforce it. – Have a look at all the ferry routes on the map below. Time for a caveat here the majority of Sydney Ferry Captains are the most considerate navigators on the harbour.
4 – It just gets busy with boats of all sorts, from International Cruise Liners to little tinnies controlled by masters with equivalent variation of ability.
Then I look up and around, get my mind out of sailing mode and look at the scenery, and realise just how lucky are we to sail in this area. All this comment was generated when I came across a little video on You Tube that was uploaded a few months ago, it motivated me to pen the following an place it on the Video page of the site.
The West Harbour Winter Series race 4 (17-Jun-18) was held in pretty gusty conditions, the course started and finished in the vicinity of Cockatoo Island proceeded down the Harbour around Fort Denison and return to Cockatoo Island with a little detour around Goat Island. we did not do too well on scratch (5th) but were lucky enough to get a first on handicap.
There is a pretty popular web cam on Sydney harbour (https://webcamsydney.com/) and the operators were good enough to record the period when the Western Harbour Winter Series fleet went under the Bridge and then returned, They then sped up the video and up loaded to You tube. We are in the third group of yachts heading towards Fort Denison, the only boat in that group with a black main and light coloured genoa. Its worth a look and reminds me of how privileged we are to have such a special sailing area.
Some time ago Chris Low, one of our regular crew members took a photo of G-whizz on the Greenwich Flying Squadron pontoon. He then sent the photo to a friend of his in London, I think just to say look at what I’m doing while you’re over there enjoying a wonderful London Winter.
Carla, Chris’s friend, apparently has a habit of looking at a photo and then doing a painting from the image. have a look at what she did with that original photo of G-whizz, we think it to be pretty good.
I have always appreciated great photography, maybe it is because I’ve tried to create art through photography and failed miserably. This picture was taken by “Salty Dingo” at Sail Port Stephens 2017, it shows G-whizz under her symmetrical spinnaker, entering Port Stephens close to Yacaaba Head (the northern head). It is not so much a picture of G-whizz, but a piece of art that G-whizz happens to be in. Ann and I like it.
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” (http://3gwiz.com.au/passion_wp/?p=1873), 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.
As we are currently making preparations for G-whizz to have her annual out of water servicing on the slips at Michael Bartley Shipwrights, I was looking back through the records and came upon this photo from a couple of years ago.
It shows the G-whizz’s sail drive with the prop removed. The line looks strong enough to hunt for white pointers, we have no idea when or where we got it. We are grateful that no damage was done during the “Capture” or subsequent to it. I do not have a photo to show, but I am assured that it was almost impossible to see when the prop was still fitted.
As Michael said at the time. “I wonder if the fisherman is bragging about the Elan 340 that got away?”.