48th ANNUAL CRUISE 17-24 April 2017

Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron

48th ANNUAL CRUISE 1724 April 2017

I missed the 2016 RSYS Cruise because Gouldy was away overseas and Kero was not available, so I was looking forward to again doing the 2017 Cruise on Margaret Rintoul (MR). This turns into a bit of a headache for Gouldy as his daughter Felicity and son-in-law Asa are visiting from London and Pru is not happy about Gouldy being away all week.

So, he compromises by doing the race up from Sydney to Broken Bay (BB) and the first inshore race before heading home, and, later, the final offshore race back to Sydney. This means some switching of crew and we have various combinations of Gouldy, his son-in-law Asa, co-owner/skipper Paul (Kero) Kerrigan, Keros nephew Josh Olsen-Kerrigan, Donny Finch, John Sheridan (Shero) and myself. The Kero/Shero sub titles did tend to cause some confusion at times, but that may have been due to overindulgence of one form or another.

Day 1, Monday 17th April Offshore Race 1: The race from Sydney Harbour to broken Bay turns into a non-event for us on MR. As in 2015, due to too light winds, the R.O. had the AP flag flying and keeps moving our start line further and further north searching for wind. Eventually a very light ENE sea breeze fills in and the RO finally starts the race off Bangally Head making it a race of about 3>4nm to the finish line north of Barrenjoey.

Even this is not enough for MR as the 3-5 kts of wind can barely get the old girl moving, so we withdraw and motor all the way to Hallett’s Beach for the sausage sizzle. This turns out to be a mistake because we win the second offshore race from BB back to Sydney and, as things turned out, all we needed to do was finish this first race to win the offshore points score.

No matter, its beautiful day, and for this non-race we have a crew of six with Gouldy, Asa, Kero, Donny Finch, Shero and me. We enjoy a very pleasant motor up the coast and into Broken Bay to Hallett’s where we get settled in before the rest of the race fleet arrives. Later the beach gets very crowded for the first party of the cruise, a sausage sizzle and beer call. Later, we top up with BBQ Steaks on board washed down with plenty of red.

The sausage sizzle at Halletts Beach

Day 2, Tuesday 18th April Inshore Race 1: A beautiful, warm sunny day which in fact turns out to be a feature of the entire week, with winds varying from light to medium light. The courses have changed a long way for the better since 2015, with starts off Flint and Steel Point in the true breeze instead of the light, fluky breezes we used to suffer with the starts off Challenger Point in previous years.

On MR we get a good start and are going well in an Easterly of 8-10Kts, almost holding on to the others in our division until we reach the weather mark off Lion Island.

MR off Barrenjoey Head.

There the race turns into a close reach to a mark off Barrenjoey, then a long run/reach to the finish of Challenger Head via a mark near Walker Point. All of which absolutely suits MR with its new mizzen boom and as-new mizzen sail; we take the lead on the run to Walker Point and hold on to it for a 1st on handicap.

At this point, Gouldy and Asa, fearful of Prus wrath, have to leave us for most of the week and head back to Sydney. This means us motoring back from the race finish to the Palm Beach wharf in order to put them both ashore where they catch the bus back to Sydney, leaving Kero, Shero, Donny and me on board. It being a bit late to head back into Broken Bay we decide to overnight on a mooring at The Basin.

The cruise fleet overnights in Refuge Bay and a progressive dinner is on the schedule. However, we had not entered for any of the social events for this cruise, not the Progressive Dinner, the Galley Gourmet Challenge, Pizza Oven Dinner, or Picnic-at-The Basin. Instead, we keep Kayes great beef bourguignon‎ and several bottles of red to ourselves and enjoy a merry night at The Basin.

Day 3 Wednesday 19th April Lay Day at Refuge:

Early in the day we motor down to Cottage Point to pick up a few supplies and Keros Irish Nephew, one Josh Olsen-Kerrigan, who has just stepped off a flight from London. He displays amazement at our Broken Bay water and bush wonderland so close to the city and is a little nervous because this is his first time on a sailing boat. Under his Uncle Keros wing, he adapts very well and is a pleasure to have aboard. We have a lazy day at refuge except for Shero who is obsessed with polishing and cleaning anything that doesnt move and spends most of the day at it.

Day 4 Thursday 20th April Inshore Race 2: Another fine day, almost identical to Tuesday except the breeze is a bit lighter. We almost repeat our Tuesday success, this time with Kero or Brooksy steering in Gouldys absence, but the light, fluky winds from Flint and Steel to the finish at Challenger Head favours the lightweight boats whichpush us into third place on handicap.

MR in Inshore Race 2.

This night we head for Yeomans Bay to raft up with Peter Hemery and Bob Byrne on board Bobs big motor cruiser. I had also pre-arranged, for the third time, to enjoy a curry night on board Chris Harpers Crackerjack, something thatis clearly becoming a tradition for us on the cruise. This time MR provides Kayes fabulous chicken curry to the feast as we marvel at the roominess of Chriss Hanse 40; he and Jan entertain about 20 people aboard that night.

Bobby & PH surveying the world from their luxury perch.

Day 5 Friday 21st April Inshore Race 3: Another warm, sunny day to the delight of our young Irish mate, Josh, who has just suffered through a London winter. The breeze is similar to Wednesday.

On this occasion, although we win the start, we receive a tactical lesson from Anitra which, demonstrating some local knowledge in an ESE wind, sails from the Flint and Steel start line all the way across to the coast west of Middle Head into a clear breeze which carries them out to the weather mark off Lion Island with just two tacks and well into the lead. I learned this lesson in 2015, but had forgotten it.

From there its a close reach into Pittwater to a mark off Great Mackerel Beach and back out around West Head to the finish at Challenger Point. This is a slow race for us but we do a better job of hanging on to Anitra V than the rest of Division 3and earn 2nd place on handicap.

This night its Pinta Bay for the night, a night of Donnys spag bol and lots of drinking aboard both Bobs motor cruiser and MR. We wake in the morning to a spectacular sunrise and mild hangovers.

Rafted up in Pinta Bay in the morning shadows thats MR next to Bob Byrnes motor cruiser on the left.


Early morning at Pinta Bay

Day 6 Saturday 22nd April Lay Day at The Basin:

We pick up Gouldy at Palm Beach wharf giving us a crew of Gouldy/Kero/Donny/ Shero/Josh and me for our final 2 days of racing. The weather changes to cloudy and otherwise fine, but we continue our standoffishness to the clubs planned social activities ashore: a picnic at The Basin.

We opt instead to stay on board and finally succumb through sheer embarrassment to Sheros constant cleaning and polishing activities and actually help him. MR ends the cruise looking cleaner and shinier than it has in years.

Shero and Donny-looking-serious

A few of our Division 3 competition:

Anitra V Phil Brown

Viva Ken Hudson

Out Of The Blue . John Van Ogtrop

Irish Michael Delaney

Day 7 Sunday 23rd Inshore Race 4:

This started off Soldiers Point in Pittwater, just a few hundred metres from our mooring in The Basin, in slightly stronger breeze than Fridays race. It was a pleasant reach out to Lion Island and back but the breeze went L&V once we were back in Pittwater, so much so that the RO shortened all courses drastically.

This worked much to MRs advantage as we were then in a good position not far from the shortened Division 3 finish although we had to do some frantic light weather sailing to stay ahead of and beat Out Of The Blue, our main competition for the Division 3 inshore points score.

We motor in dying breezes up to the Royal Motor Yacht Club marina and a cosy berth. Celebratory drinks are enjoyed before a long shower at the club followed by more celebratory drinks. We enjoy Donnies spicy beef ribs on board before heading up to the club for a few more drinks at the cruise dinner and to hear the race results of the day. We had earned a 2nd in todays light airs battle to give us one 1st, two 2nds and a 3rd for the regatta to win the Inshore Points Score.

Day 8 Monday 24th Offshore Race 2:

This is almost a repeat of Offshore Race 1 only in the opposite direction, from Barrenjoey to Watsons Bay as the sea breeze refuses to build despite it being a warm, sunny day. A very light easterly comes and goes, mostly goes, as the R.O. moves steadily south under the A.P. pennant.

We eventually get a start just north of Long Reef in an ENE breeze of about 5-10Kts. Its enough of a reach to power up our mizzen sail and we romp along at about 3-4 kts. The much-shortened course suits our handicap and we manage to hold off our only competition, Out Of The Blue to take another 1st.

And so ends a most enjoyable 2017 RSYS Cruise on the mighty Margaret Rintoul thank you, Gouldy; thank you Kero.

MR back home and looking better than ever thanks to Shero and helpers.

Gouldy celebrating the Inshore Points Score win of and with the NYYC trophy at the Cruise prize-giving night on 6-May.