A great day on Saturday, March 10 as our fleet went down to Martha Cove. Sun, flat seas and just enough wind to sail. Highlights included one deep drafted yacht being stuck in the middle of the Martha Cove channel for 30 minutes. Sunday was a sail (for some) across to Queenscliff in gusty conditions, with a great communal dinner Sunday night at QCYC, the ambience helped by enthusiastic attempts to empty the QCYC bar fridge.
Many yachts departed Monday for home ports, but for the true stallions (and Amazons), the Bass Strait’s, Monday was a rest day. There was mumbling about strong winds Monday PM but the real reason for the rest day was so Captain Cousteau, sorry Kostos, could get crew reinforcements (Garry Finemore) on Tuesday morning’s ferry from Sorrento. As is usual Winsome went out the Heads first and radioed back the conditions were BENIGN. 90 minutes later the power boats left (Ti Amo, Four by Eight, Graycious and Five Rhythms). By then the tide was flowing out into a 3-meter swell and 15 knot southerly. Stevie A (Richards) declared it the roughest exit from Port Philip he had ever done. T.K made no comments that could be printed, except “bloody Simon Hemingway and his benign”. Anyway on to Flinders for lunch that turned into a slightly bumpy Anchorage overnight. Still no answer from HMAS Cerberus about if we could go in there for one night, but Captain Cousteau was on the case.
Lunch next day was at anchor at Sandy Point with a lovely beach which we swam across to, despite the strong tide. Winsome picked up a 20-foot tree from the bottom entangled in the anchor chain. Another swim for Steve Cumming to free the mess. Still, no answer from the HMAS so we anchored off Cowes. At this point, as the only yachties in the group – Winsome owed great thanks to the powerboats who ferried us around (Uber Dave McCutcheon) and fed us each night, with a different boat playing host. We did offer to sit ten people around our camp table with pasta and canned veggies for dinner but the invitation was declined. Anyway, a lazy Thursday going cruising to Hastings, Rhyll and Gardiners Channel but still no answer from the HMAS. Reminds me of the time I tried to join Cheltenham Tennis Club (in Sydney) and they lost my application three times before I got the hint. We anchored off Cowes again. We decided to leave for Port Philip on Friday to beat the weekend gales that were forecast. Winsome left at 6 am Friday for SYC and the rest left at midday. The power boats caught Winsome at the end of West Channel after a smooth passage through the Heads and all arrived at SYC Friday afternoon.
A great week with great food, drink and the best of company. Special mention to Paul Gray as he spent most of the week fixing issues on his boat and on others and thanks to Captain Cousteau for his leadership. Cruise in Company highly recommended to all boat enthusiasts no matter the size- we had a 22 footer with us one year.