Sunday, May 6, 2007

Trip to Horseshoe Bay

This trip isn't actually part of our Great Europe Tour but it's an opportunity to add a little interest to this site before sending the link to you. Over the May Day long weekend (5th May to 7th May) the weather was perfect for a little trip in the south of Moreton Bay to a little anchorage known as Horeshoe Bay. This anchorage lies off North Stradbroke island and offers good protection and minimal swell during a prevailing Northerly wind. As we were sailing pretty much downwind the skipper thought it might be a nice chance to drag out the mouldy old spinnaker. The crew are generally opposed to the spinnaker as they consider it to be a weapon of mass destruction. For those non-nautical types who may be reading this, a spinnaker is basically a very large sail made of light weight cloth specifically designed for light wind conditions and ideal for downwind sailing.

Things were going along nicely, managing roughly 5 knots in virtually no wind with no difficulties at the helm. As this picture shows, the crew were actually having a pretty good time.

That is until the inevitable single catastrophic event that comes with every sailing trip - no matter how perfect the rest of the trip may be. As I said, everything was going along swimmingly, until the sea breeze kicked in at around 3:30. A sudden gust saw the boat heeling over at an alarming angle, prompting the skipper to cry "ease the sheet" (that means let the rope go so the sail has less power). The diligent crew did as they were asked, in spite of the sheet flying off the winch during which time the sheet ran free and managed to take several layers of skin off the crew. The decision was made to down the sail, which proved harder than we imagined.

The long and the short of it is that the spinnaker came down in a most unauthortodox fashion, leaving us drifting toward a danger mark, but generally safe and unharmed. That is, of course, aside from the crew's leg which had a white streak of missing skin, only matched by the crew's new finger print which had been sanded down by the running spinnaker sheet.

The rest of the weekend was blissfully uneventful with the chance to catch up with some old neighbours from the marina - we all ended up at the same anchorage. I suppose it wouldn't be sailing if there wasn't at least 1 life affirming moment in the trip.

Cheers & Enjoy.


Malgas said...

The skipper says: "The spinnaker sock (a device to down the sail) did not work properly. The skipper then did not get the sail down in an unorthodox fashion but, "spiked" open the windward clew and then did a "float" drop hauling in the sail at the sheet clew. The crew was manning the halyard. This a standard racing manouver unbeknown to the crew. Cheers the skipper. ;-)"

Unknown said...

Hey Marco and Monica,

I think "the crew" has a few options:

File an occupational health and safety complaint
Ask for a payrise!

All of the above options have an element of danger as "the captain" may tell the crew to walk the plank.

Have fun on your trip

Anonymous said...

Hope you have a fabulous trip. Good luck with the sailing. Sounds like it's never dull.