The Sail to Rottnest/Halls Head Classic Convoy

Report by Phil Lucks (Aquila IV) – DIV B Captain

March 19

It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. This was the theme of the weekend as a bunch of MOFSC yachts headed off early on Saturday morning for the annual road trip to Rottnest. Aquila IV’s intrepid crew of Reinhardt Koch, Jacqui Mason, Scotty (Allan Hill,) and Pamela Adams were all on board with varying degrees of enthusiasm for the early start.

Aquila was on a mooring at Doddies for the 08:30 cast off along with Wild Card ( Adam Toey,) Allouette (Peter Jameeson,) AlSafina (Bec and Jamie,) Andrea ( Milton Dhue .) Also along for the ride, but starting a little later (as they can go faster) were Triffic ( Neil Dixon) and Baruna (Rick Oswald,) as well as Tillerman ( Amelia Jones and Andrew Jones) who departed earlier to try to avoid as much of the swell as possible. So eight yachts in total for the inaugural weekend away.

Sadly, the weather decided not to cooperate. It was raining when we departed, with heavy grey clouds above and also rushing up the cost from behind us. The seas state added to the joy with large swells to roll down and winds from behind which shifted from South West to South East and back throughout the day. So we rocked and rolled all the way up the cost. The rain blew over after an hour or so, and with several cups of tea, a nice lunch (for those who wanted to eat,) and donuts galore we passed the time on the journey north.

We crossed the ‘finish’ line at 15:00 for a total elapsed time of six and a half hours. We were a couple of minutes behind Andrea (who had a small head start) and with half an hour of the rest of the fleet. Although this wasn’t a ‘race’ our total time would have put us in a great position on handicap so we were very pleased, especially given the conditions.

After picking up the mooring and enjoying a nice cup of tea it was time to pump up the dinghy, bolt on the outboard and head for the island.

The whole group got together for an informal dinner at the hotel followed by socialising and (in some cases) some very dodgy dancing. It was great to have a chance to chat to some of the other owners and crew. Often we see and say ‘hi’ to others in the course of racing, sailing and generally being around the club, but we don’t have a chance to sit and natter so this was a great opportunity. Additionally, Aquila was pleased to be drawn as the winner of the prize draw, (Andrea was third, but remembers, it’s the journey that matters.) We received a very nice bottle of Rum which was popular with Aquila’s crew as well as everyone else’s crew.

Back on board we headed to bed but sleep was not easy as the boat was rocking in the choppy swell and the wind continued to howl through the rigging. I sure we all eventually got some zzzzzzd’s but it seemed to be few and far between.

All of which led to a slow start this morning. Reinhardt and I headed for the island for a shower and a cup of tea early, then it was back on board for the famous raw egg toasted Hot across Buns. Since the last trip we have made some improvements to this delicacy which now sees the eggs cooked first before being put into the toasted HCB’s. Everyone seemed pleased with the improvement! (What happened to the Maple Bacon Milton?)

After this it was time to sail off the mooring and head for Fremantle Sailing Club (where Aquila is parked for the week.) The conditions were better today with less swell (particularly as we approached the coat,) and a consiststish east south easterly breeze of around 15kn.

We sailed on a tight reach across the bay and were tied up on the Collector Jetty soon after lunchtime. Also arriving in FSC where AlSafina, Wild Card and Triffic, all parked for the week before joining the FSC fleet to accompany the Halls ahead Classic race this coming Saturday. Brauna, Tillerman and Allouette all stayed for a few days at Rottnest and Andrea headed for Mandurah, just so Milton can sail back to FSC on Friday in time to compete in the race on Saturday.

So another great weekend of sailing and Sail socialising. The weather was horrible but apart from that we all had a great time, lack of sleep notwithstanding. As always thanks to to the crew. For all your help and support. We had five on board which made for a cozy atmosphere. Everyone found a bunk and there was food and tea aplenty. The crew also did a great job tidying and cleaning Aquila inside and put after we arrived at FSC which was much appreciated.

Thanks also to Group Captain Neil Dixon for all the organisation and to Rick Oswald for the initial idea. This is the kind of events MOFSC should be promoting to get the sailing group moving after a quiet period.

I would also like to make note of a couple of yachts and crew that really stood out this weekend. Andrew and Amelia of Tillerman fame, and their two very young children made the trip with us. The conditions, especially for young children were very uncomfortable but inspite of this and some expected Mal De Mar they made it to Rottnest and dinner last night. I hope you all had a good rest today on the island and a chance to relax after the difficult day on Saturday. Also, Jamie and Bec of AlSafina, the smallest boat in the fleet. Great to see you out there and keeping up with the fleet for most of the journey north. Again, not easy conditions in a 24′ yacht!