May 23, 2019

Saturday 18 – Sunday 19 May 2019

Challenged with the objective of proving how well they know their stars and their knowledge of celestial navigation, 10 vessels participated in the Starry, Starry Night cruise weekend to the Sandhills on 18th and 19th May.

With the promise of 15 to 20 knot SE breezes all weekend it looked like we were all set for a ripping sail across and back. Alas the weather Gods had not read the forecast and the winds were fickle on Saturday with the early sailors getting a nice sail, but the rest having to motor. Oh well, the anchorage was calm, at least initially. Then came rain and squalls as well as a cloudy sky putting paid to the idea of Sundowners ashore and a moonlit walk on the dunes under the stars.

Undaunted, the 20 strong crew reconvened, equipped with three sextants, on the good ship Scarlet with hosts Kerry and Craig Margetts (and Rhett the dog) making us all very welcome. We love having catamarans in the group!! As luck would have it, no sooner had Sundowners commenced than the skies cleared, the sunset shone, and the seas abated. We were blessed with a lovely Nautical twilight which set the scene for the celestial quiz. Sailors take quizzes rather seriously and this was no exception with lots of gray matter whirring and hushed voices concealing the correct answers. Do you know how many constellations are in the southern sky? Well we all do now as well as a whole lot of other useful stuff. Fittingly, our hosts Kerry and Craig were the quiz winners with the consolation (or is that constellation) prize going to Sally and Dean Johns.

Out came the glow sticks and the mood became even more festive until it was time to go back to our boats for dinner and a “quiet night”. Now some of us did have a calm night but not Phil and Rossy on Oceana 1 or Rob and Deb on Sundance Deesse who had a real drama! Around midnight Deb called Phil and Rossy for some urgent assistance. They had a large turtle with a crab pot float and line wrapped around their anchor chain and they couldn’t get it off. It was being held under the surface and was having trouble getting up to breathe. So, Phil and Rossy got out of bed, suited up, launched the dinghy and went over. Armed with only one head torch between them and Phil’s trusty Gill harness cutter they managed to free the turtle very quickly.

Phil is sure the harness cutter was the key to the success. The harness cutter meant Phil could cut the lines with one hand without the risk of puncturing the turtle, the dinghy or any crew members. It cut through the poly line like it was paper and the turtle, which was in quite a bit of distress took off very quickly. Yay! Sailors to the rescue!

Morals of the story:

  • Sailing in company is safer and more fun,
  • Always keep your radio on, and;
  • If you haven’t got a harness cutter, you really should get one. They are cheap,
    small and work brilliantly.

The next morning, we awoke to more squalls and showers and then miraculously about mid-morning the sky cleared, and we were treated to a lovely sail home with the promised 15 knot SE winds.

Thanks all for participating. Thanks to Kerry and Craig for their hospitality and thanks to Phil for sharing the turtle rescue story.

Another great Sail Cruising Group event.

Don’t miss “Show your Footy colours“cruise in June hosted by Helen and Lester of Joule.

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