Hamilton Island Race Week 13 – 27 August 2019

69380719_2949632831730298_2366230257985388544_oWe had talked about “doing” a Hamilton Island Race Week (HIRW) for well over a year. In October 2018, with some strong advocacy from the Navigator, we committed to competing in Hamilton Island Race Week in August 2019. A number of early decisions were made – the Skipper and Spinnaker Trimmer would tow the boat up; we would absolutely not sleep on the boat (excellent decision!); and the Navigator would help me tow the boat back home.

Having a goal to work towards provided a great excuse to fix or “reinvest in the boat” – refurbish the tiller; clean up the woodwork; fix the engine well blanking plug; check the rigging and mast; replace some halyards and sheets; add genoa winches; new jib and main; and install a chart plotter. I’ve added a list of what we did at the end of this post – the jobs kept growing as we found something else that needed doing. We did a major de-stow/de-clutter of the boat as well as an end of season boat detail – wash, cut-back, polish and wax until it looked like new.

The Spinnaker Trimmer took on the task of organising accommodation – and excelled himself while the Bowman became the Storeman/Purser/Quartermaster and built an excellent meal and provisioning plan. I undertook to organise our crew ‘ensemble’ so that if we didn’t go well, we would at least look good while creating a spectacle of ourselves. The Navigator also managed to get a whisky distillery to sponsor us with hats and grog!

In spite of having a plan, and good intentions to get out and train before the regatta, time got away from us and there was a flurry of activity over the three weekends prior to departure to get everything done. This was not helped by an intermittent trailer light fault that sucked up large amounts of time and money only to find out that it was in the towing loom on the car.

Day 1 – Drive Canberra to Grafton – Tuesday 13th August 2019

IMG_0025At 0545 hrs the Spinnaker Trimmer arrived on the door step, we hooked up the trailer and were on the road by 0630 hrs. Based on my last experience towing the boat to the Whitsunday’s we decided that we would stick to the Pacific Highway/Bruce Highway for the duration. Although longer in distance, and also time, we thought it the safer route with less likelihood of damage to boat or trailer.

Our goal for the day was to get to Grafton in northern NSW, a distance of around 900 km that we hoped to get done in less than 12 hours, giving ourselves plenty of time for rest stops on the way. The Spinnaker Trimmer had previously shared that he had never towed anything, including a box trailer, so this was going to be “learning by doing”. With hindsight, this phrase was pretty much to sum up the entire regatta!

All progressed well until about the 400 km mark. We were stopped in a long line of traffic in a road work zone on the and when we went to drive off again I felt a large amount of inertia in the trailer. Looking in the side mirror, Spinnaker Trimmer, quickly ascertained that we were leaving a black rubber trail behind us on the left-hand side. Unfortunately, it took 500 metres to find a spot where we could pull over again safely. The left rear wheel was not rotating, dragging the tyre along the road surface – and wearing a flat spot into it. Not sure if it was a seized bearing or a brake issue, we set out the warning triangles, jacked the trailer up and started pulling the wheel assembly apart. As the brake drum was pulled off the axle and starting to separate from the backing plate, there was a distinct “clunk” and then the hub started rotating freely again. On inspection the bearings and grease were cool, visually fine and rotating normally so I can only put it down to a magnet issue with the brake? After putting everything back together we decided to continue on with the same tyre rather than swapping it out for the spare – the logic being that if it happened again we could disconnect the brake from that wheel and have a good tyre to continue on with. It took about 405 minutes to sort everything out. There was a small increase in vibration from the flat spot on the tyre but nothing significant – and it lasted for the duration of the trip without issue – another 4,200 km, however at this stage the Spinnaker Trimmer was looking slightly sceptical and wondering if we were actually going to make it to Airlie Beach.

We arrived at the Jacaranda Motor Lodge, Grafton just after 1900 hrs where we had an excellent meal of roast lamb (don’t ask for the chicken schnitzel – or the waitress will tell you off) and then an early night. 895 km today!

Day 2 – Drive Grafton to Calliope – Wednesday 14th August 2019

After a good night rest we were on the road at 0620 hrs heading north again. The plan for the day was to try to get to Rockhampton, about 950 km. Unfortunately there was 50 km stretch of intermittent road works north of Grafton that really slowed us down. It’s great to see the amount of investment and work going into making the Pacific Highway dual carriageway and in a year or so it should be complete all the way to the border.

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No mechanical issues today, however great kudus to the Spinnaker Trimmer who drove through Brishane’s traffic with great aplomb! By 1700 hrs it was clear that we weren’t going to make Rockhampton without several hours of driving after dark, so we pulled into Calliope, at the intersection of the Bruce Highway and the highway leading into Gladstone. Total travelled today was 840 km. Another quirky stay with the bonus of the $40 meal deal. This provided dinner, a cooked breakfast from 0530 hrs and a takeaway lunch of fruit, boxed drink, biscuits, sandwich and a wrap!

Day 3 – Arrive Airlie Beach – Thursday 15th August 2019

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Leaving Calliope – not the biggest rig on the road
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Central Queensland

Another before sunrise start with good time being made to get us into Airlie Beach at 1400 hrs. Having had our cut lunch on the road we were into unpacking, rigging and launching. We had a good chat with Simon, who had arrived just before us towing a Ross 780 up from Melbourne to compete. He was waiting for his wife and friends to fly in and was going to sail across on Friday afternoon. All kudos to him – it was a spur of the moment decision taken a three weeks out!

The mast raising was straight forward with the biggest challenge making sure that we had taken everything we needed from the car and put it into the boat – tools, personal gear, provisions and sailing kit. The boat was full of food and grog for five people for eight days, and their personal bags. We had provisioned in Canberra to keep costs down, and were pleased and surprised to find that nothing had shifted or broken during the road trip.

At 1630 hrs we launched from the public boat ramp at Coral Sea Marina (formerly named Abell Point Marina) without issue. Once in an overnight marina berth we walked back to the ramp and dropped the car and trailer off at the home of the local taxi / shuttle bus company owner who let us park the rig on their front lawn so they could keep an eye on it for the next 10 days. Spinnaker Trimmer and I had dinner and drinks at the Marina Pub before we crashed on the boat for the night.

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Day 4 – Sail to Hamilton Island – Friday 16th August 2019

After showers and breakfast at the Marina we set sail for Hamilton Island at 0830 hrs. This was Spinnaker Trimmer’s first offshore / coastal hop so he became the helmsman as we set sail in 15 knots of SSE winds for Hamilton Island. We made the most of this time to check out the new sails and get in some training.

We arrived around 1300 hrs after experiencing an easing of winds and the tidal change as we came around Dent Island, and then joined the long queue of yachts waiting patiently at the leads to Hamilton Island Marina for the concierge service to show them to their berth. I was very familiar with the Marina, having stayed twice in the past ten months, and only five weeks previous. We made our own way across to B Arm, Berth 2, East –  Quo Vadis’s home for the duration of the regatta. It was nice to see that the marina staff had gone to the effort of placing the trailer yacht division in close proximity to each other – a Magnum 8.5, Clubman 8, two x Ross 780’s, a Ross 650, and Snook 23 on A Arm; with three Noelex 25’s and an Elliot 7 on B Arm. This made for great camaraderie between the division, and especially the three Noelex’s.

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Made it!

Soon after arrival we headed up to the pub for lunch, and then across to the Hamilton Island Yacht Club to complete registration and sign on. There was a gift bag for each boat containing hull stickers, printed sailing instructions, class pennant as well as a case of beer from one of the sponsors!

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Back at the boat, Spinnaker Trimmer looked inside the cabin, muttered something under his breath and then disappeared towards the Marina Village. He returned a half hour later with a golf buggy and the welcome news that he had been able to negotiate moving into our accommodation a night early so he wouldn’t have to sleep on the boat and put up with my snoring! It took as three buggy trips to shift all the gear from the boat to an incedible apartment, which we celebrated in appropriate style with beer and pizza and then an early night. Thank you, Spinnaker Trimmer and General!

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Day 5 – Hamilton Island – Saturday 17th August 2019

After a late start we unpacked the provisions, grabbed a coffee from the bakery, did some last minute jobs on the boat, chatted with the other boats and waited for Spinnaker Trimmer’s wife, the Bowman and the Navigator to fly in from Canberra. The team arrived early afternoon, and after a quick break we headed out for our first sail as a crew in over four months and a bit rusty – new winches, new spinnaker sheet setup, new sails, first time for Bowman launching from a turtle bag instead of a bag hanging off the bow etc! What could go wrong!

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Big dinner at the apartment that night, watching the sun set over Dent Passage with lots of discussion on the coming weeks racing.

Day 6 – Race 1 – Sunday 18th August 2019

IMG_0142IMG_0072IMG_0071The first race saw us develop what would be our pre-race routine for the week. The Navigator and I would check the weather, wind and tides and attempt to predict which course the Race Committee would set, while Bowman and Spinnaker Trimmer would prepare rolls and wraps for lunch. The Navigator and I would then head down for the 30 minute briefing that was held daily. Later in the week, the Navigator would attend the briefings while I opened up the boat. As the briefings were concluding the course would be sent by text message, we would gather for our own race briefing and then head off. The most important routine was the daily phone call to our guru in Canberra to discuss strategy for the race. Reedy would talk us through the course and tide, discuss broad options and help crystallise some decisions around sail plan options. His help was invaluable!

With the trade winds well and truly in, the prevalent winds were from the S, SSE or SE for the week. The sailing instructions detailed 38 possible courses and as the week progressed the Race Committee published additional courses to take into account strong winds. The courses were divided into two main categories – those that started at the Eastern Start Area and those that started in Dent Passage, immediately opposite the Yacht Club.

The Eastern Start Area was 4-5 nm from the Marina, off the north eastern corner of Hamilton Island. Starts from here were to windward with lots of space on the line, heading for a laid mark placed 1 ¼ to 1 ¾  nm to windward and then on with the course as described in the instructions.

The Dent Passage starts were a lot more constrained. Lots of boats in a narrow passage, navigational hazards in the form of reefs and rocks, and a prohibited zone off the end of the runway to prevent yacht masts impacting on the operations of aircraft on final approach. To really complicate matters was up to 3.5 knots of tide ripping through the passage and wind funnelling through it. Invariably this meant downwind starts while the tide was ebbing north through the passage – pushing competitors onto the start line very quickly! While I am very comfortable with upwind starts it soon became clear that I need a lot more work on the downwind starts. The time for the boat to cover a hundred metres in these conditions was orders of magnitude quicker that I was used to. Combined with the knowledge that if we were over the start early that it would take a very long time to work back against strong wind and tide made me very (too) conservative. More practice (more Race Weeks) needed! And of course, conditions for the week saw five of six races starting in Dent Passage 

Course 14, on the rhumb line, was approximately 13.1 nm long, commencing in the Eastern Start Area; past the laid windward mark, around Pentecost Island leaving it to starboard, then into Dent Passage finishing in a northerly direction. The trailerables’ were the first division off the line at 1000 hrs with the 17 remaining divisions and 200 boats starting at 5 minute intervals behind us! Every course that day used Pentecost Island as a rounding mark, which made for an amazing spectacle.

We had a good start, with Genoa. Mixed results getting around Pentecost Island – do we go for minimum distance, go close to island and hope to pickup some light wind curving around the island or stay out, and sail further? Of course as we arrived at Pentecost Is so did every other division which made for some interesting sailing. After we were around Pentecost the wind died down a little so sail trim, and weight management became key as we chipped away at the boats ahead of us.  

Around Hamilton Is we were challenged by tide and eddies off the southern point. A slight wind shift gave us the chance to run a shy kite. Once in Dent Passage Once the strong northerly current pushed us across the line to finish eight minutes behind the lead Noelex.We finished 8th in the division in 3 hrs 59 min. Not our best racing but a good shakeout.

Day 7 – Race 2 – Monday 19th August 2019

Race 2 saw two thirds of the fleet, including ourselves, on Course 9. Approximately 18.8 nm on the rhumb line, it was our first Dent Passage start, heading north, leaving Dent Island to port, heading south then across to Pentecost Island, leaving it to starboard and then back to Dent Passage for a northerly finish.

We rang Reedy, for some pre-race advice:

  • Avoid tacking onto Dent Island – Remain 200 meters to 300 meters off, beware the southern point of the island, watch for choppy water, and keep an eye on the tide.
  • It is possible to pickup up wind flow around Pentecost Island if you go in close.

We had discussed coming out of the Marina entrance with one minute to go, all sails up, port pole up, up with the spinnaker and then heading direct to the green lateral mark at the northern end of Dent Island. Reedy thought this might be a tad too aggressive! Instead we went for a pin end start, on the western side of the passage, on starboard . . . and were two minutes late across the line as I was too concerned about being carried over by the tide. We had to gybe the spinnaker up to the lateral mark, but were able to position ourselves as the boat closest to the island. This really paid dividends as we were able to come inside of a number of larger yachts with deeper drafts and make solid gains. While there is a confused “transition” period when rounding the islands it is clear that the wind wraps around the sides of the island rather than flowing over them, so there is rarely a total or complete wind shadow (unless you are ridiculously close). We then found the current to drag us down the western side of the island.  Some good navigation, and use of tide, saw us chip away at a couple of boats.

Crossing familiar waters between Hamilton Island and Pentecost Island, we sailed well to pass a number of boats. Rounding Pentecost was frustrating again. with a drop in wind, tidal change, and other fleets closing in making it difficult to pick and hold a course. We went very close in, and  at one stage we were traveling side ways in a losing battle with wind and tide, reminiscent of the Marlay Point Overnight Race. Once around Pentecost we sailed the shortest course back to Hamilton Island, while some boats headed further west to see if they could sail a deeper leg running a spinnaker. We persisted with genoa not certain that the potential speed gain would outweigh the additional distance.

In the lead, and approaching the finish we were frustrated (understatement) when just on the line we had to tack outside the mark to avoid a catamaran that had hit the mark, then tacked onto us on port. We then had to head back up wind and tide to round the mark. There was discussion about protesting and seeking redress for the time lost. We regretted not doing this by the end of the regatta, finishing 5th in the division, although first Noelex across the line, with 4 hrs 48 min 09 sec elapsed time.

Day 8 – Race 3 – Tuesday 20th August 2019

Really strong winds! Race 3 was to be an Eastern Area start, however the race committee started to send out a flurry of SMS to competitors with strong (very strong) winds gusting 37 knots at 0742 hrs, and a steady 27 knots at 0900.

It was not clear if we were going to get a race in, although after a 3 hour postponement the winds started to ease to 25 knots and the race committee posted a new, modified course, to keep the race in as sheltered an area as possible.

Again Reedy was great with his advice.

  • When traveling with the wind try and sail in the smooth water.  Against the wind stay in the lumpy water.
  • When using the spinnaker keep the pole low, the tweakers in and use a small sail.
  • Stay close to Henning Island when going with the wind.

There was a fair degree of trepidation from all of us as this would be the most demanding conditions we had raced in. The course was described as a special course for special people! We started well, under kite, with 26 knots from the SSE behind us. As soon as we were out into Whitsunday Passage we had 3 m seas and a solid 25 knots gusting much higher.

We held our own against boats much bigger than us, all of us in very close proximity. There was lots of chatter on the boat that went very quiet when we saw a 40 foot yacht, under spinnaker like us, broach 50 meters off our starboard bow. We went in survival mode and worked hard to keep the boat flat. As the wind dropped to around 20 knots we shook out the mainsail reef. It was great to get lots of encouragement from larger boats – complimenting us on our spinnaker – until we had our own broach. Karma.

The race went quickly and we were very pleased to find ourselves 1st in our Division, and first Noelex across the line with an elapsed time of 2 hrs 07 min 32 sec.

Day 9 – Lay Day – Wednesday 21st August 2019

The Lay Day/Rest Day was a day of small goals hanging around the apartment, relaxing and doing a few make and mend jobs on the boat. This was of course no way linked to staying up late listening to a “Queen” revival band, celebrating our first podium finish. We don’t bounce back as well as we used to!

The weather forecast was looking significantly kinder than on the Tuesday, which was reassuring. The next challenge was that the racing was now likely to move to the Whitsunday Passage. The Whitsundays, subject to 3–4 metre tides that create currents that accelerate through the passages between the islands. When the direction of the wind and tidal currents oppose each other, conditions can become very challenging for small boats.

We took the time to “phone a friend” and discussed some options. The “Nav” also took the time to attend the “Shoot the breeze” sailor briefing.  Interestingly the advice of the day from the experts was something Team QV was doing quite well with – communicating and wargaming the racing before heading out on the water.

Day 10 – Race 4 – Thursday 22 August 2019

Another average Dent Passage start for the skipper, however we were not last across the line. Tide moving north through Dent Passage at 3 knots, with wind heading the same way make the consequences of being across the line early almost catastrophic – no excuses just more practice with spinnaker starts needed!  Regardless the “spinnaker whisper” had the “kite” flying well and we were accelerating past many in the fleet before we had passed the northern tip of Dent Island. We held the spinnaker up for the transition around Dent for the long crossing to White Rocks.

The wind was a solid 20 knots, gusting much higher for the crossing across Whitsunday Passage. It was mid way that we had our first equipment failure when the starboard spinnaker sheet let go mid crossing.  Luckily we had the genoa rigged on deck and we were able to change across to it while the spinnaker issue was sorted.  It took twenty minutes of rocking and rolling for the bowman to remedy the problem and have the spinnaker up and pulling us along again.  To make up the distance we carried the spinnaker around White Rocks which paid off in spades or more importantly boat lengths.  

Coming back across the Passage, into the wind, we conducted our first headsail change underway as we swapped from genoa to jib as we were overpowered and decided to prioritise pointing over speed. It was a sharp change and helped outpoint the other Noelexs, and head direct to Henning Island and Dent Passage.  As we closed on the finish we had to mix it with the bigger boats in tacking duels to the finish.  Having made great ground after our equipment failure, we managed to catch the other Noelex’s and were ahead of them across the line with an elapsed time of 3 hrs 36 min 51 secs but unfortunately not enough to get ahead of them on PHS. Final ranking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd to the Noelex’s with us in 3rd place.

And of course no Race Week at Hamilton Island is complete without the encountering some wildlife when coming back into the marina!

Day 11 – Race 5 – Friday 23 August 2019

The “itty bitty” boats (us) were the last to race on Day 6 of the regatta.  So there was plenty of time to dwell on the race – which is not always a good thing!  “Shoot the breeze” was an interview with world class Australian sailor, Sam Newton. Sam spoke of his Sail GP™ experiences with flying boats as well as pitching his sailing business – he spoke of the importance of planning and thinking ahead. Something we had done well up to this point.  At the morning briefing there was a reminder that “sailing is not a contact sport.”  A timely reminder after a number of boats came into contact in the previous days.  As usual we “phoned a friend” for tips – Reedy’s, sage words were again a powerful tool for the race

  • Race hard to White Rocks under spinnaker.
  • When using the spinnaker keep the pole low, the tweakers in, and use a small sail.
  • Be conservative around Dent Island with a starboard tack and a start in the middle of the line.
  • Stay in the deep water to maximize the current and use the big headsail.
  • Set the Jib on the way home 
  • No tacking in the passage. 

The weather forecast was the same at the previous day – strong at the start and then tapering off as the day went on.

Another spinnaker start – with the crew getting it up quickly, but slow across the line again. We were able to pick our way quickly through our division to get to fourth place before entering the Passage.  

Some great shots of the boat were taken by a spectating helicopter, who I’m sure was waiting for something really catastrophic to happen. The photos above shows a fully displacement hull trying to plane! We achieved our fasted ever boat speed – 12 knots! Note all the crew at the back of the boat in attempt to stop the death rolls! We left the jib up as I didn’t want the bowman going forward and changing the balance!

The yellow and blue spinnaker is an old “blown out” one that we literally purchased from the boot of a car, at the Marlay Point Overnight Race in Victoria. The seller was a former Noelex 25 owner, who had lived in Canberra 15 years prior and who had the sail made to match the Australian Capital Territory colours. In 20 knot + winds this 20 year old sail worked well, and allowed us to preserve the very expensive, and larger, North Sail spinnaker for other events.

Unfortunately we had another spinnaker blow out crossing the Passage – the same snap shackle again.  The bowman pulled in the spinnaker and fixed the sheet in record time.  This time we were running the jib so the penalty in terms of placing was a little more than the previous day. For the rest of the day it was a Noelex drag race with all three sailing in very close proximity.  We all had the same sail plan (full main and jib) which gave us insight into who was faster and pointing better. We finished the race in 2 hrs 48 min 33 sec; for 7th place. Even with a late start and equipment failure we made up a lot of lost time to be only 3 min 17 sec behind the lead Noelex. Not bad over 14 nautical miles!

Spinnaker Trimmers wife had been with us for the whole week, and my Admiral flew in from Canberra on the Friday morning, with both joining us for a twilight sail after the race.

Day 12 – Race 6 – Saturday 24 August 2019

Last race of the regatta and lots of pressure – the opportunity for a podium finish! Based on the prevailing and predicted weather conditions we expected to be going north and out into the Passage again.  And as usual our “phone a friend” Reedy was full of great advice. 

 The navigator took the time to attend the “Shoot the breeze” sailor briefing.  Mark Richards, of Wild Oats fame, had the stage and spoke on the importance of the basics and ‘actions on” when challenges arise.

Last race of the week and the trailer sailers were away early in the order of march.  It was great to have clean wind, but it also meant that we had to jockey for position in the tight starting box in side Dent Passage. We were out there early and the I was determined not to miss another start.  We made a couple of approaches to the line to make sure of it – it turned out to be our best downhill start of the regatta. 

The photo above was taken just after the start, by helicopter, while we were still inside Dent Passage heading north. I was worried about much stronger winds as we exiting the passage so had left a reef in, in case we were overpowered as we entered Whitsunday Passage. We were able to shake it out and held the spinnaker up without issue all the way across to White Rock. This is my favourite boat photo!

Again it turned into a race between the three Noelex’s. We ran a jib for the return leg, pointing high and faster which was pleasing.   One of the Noelex’s decided to head north to see if there was advantage there, while the other stuck to us like glue for the return crossing.

The Race Director had done a great job, and it got very busy as we entered Dent Passage with every class making a run for the finish at the same time.   Even the IRC super maxi’s and the TP52’s were in the final few miles of the race.  

It was great to see Wild Oats behind us in the tacking duel of the final miles – the only time we will ever look like we are beating a Sydney to Hobart maxi!   It remained a close tussle with Pipedream all the way to the line but we managed to keep them behind us all the way. It was a great finish for a great week of sailing. We finished the race in 3 hrs 39 min 25 sec, the first Noelex across the line, and third place for the race.

Best of all we came a respectable third place overall for the regatta!

Presentation Dinner

After a week of hard sailing, more bruises than we could count, and a podium finish we could not miss the presentation dinner – which is always a specular.

We had started the regatta with three aims – be safe, have fun, and try to for a podium finish. I’m very happy to say that we achieved all three. The three Noelex’s all ended up on the same point score – 19. The Racing Rules of Sailing, state that if there is a series-score tie between two or more boats, each boat’s race scores shall be listed in order of best to worst, and at the first point(s) where there is a difference the tie shall be broken in favour of the boat(s) with the best score(s). No excluded scores shall be used. Even though all three Noelex’s had the same score, we came third overall.

With a 3rd place regatta trophy, a 1st place race, and two 3rd placings it was great to be able to present a trophy to each of the crew in thanks for a great week and making the regatta possible.

Day 13 – Departing Hamilton Island – Sunday 25 August 2019

All good things must come to an end! We spent the morning doing the final clean on the apartment, and packing the boat for the trip back to the mainland. Spinnaker trimmer, his wife, my wife, and the Bowman were flying back to Canberra, while the Navigator and I were the designated return crew.

The Nav and I left mid morning for the trip back to Airlie Beach, and it was quite a procession of boats heading home. We had another great spinnaker run, across to Molle Group, through Unsafe Passage and then into Coral Sea Marina. Our original plan was to either spend the night in the marina and retrieve the following morning; or to retrieve the boat that afternoon, sleep on it and leave on the Monday morning.

In the end we made much better time than we expected – both in the sail across, retrieving and dropping the mast, so made the decision to hit the road and see how far south we could get while there was still light.

The Navigator found a “unique” motel, at a small town called Ilbilbe, 220 kms south (population 249) that we arrived at just prior to last light.

There was a very strong resemblance between where we stayed and the Norman Bates Motel from Psycho. Especially amusing was asking if they had a restaurant, to be advised “of course”. This ended up being the 24 hour road house, 400m down the road.

Day 14 – Ilbilbe – Grafton – Monday 26 August 2019

We had a very early start from Ilbilbe and headed south with no firm plan as to how far we would get. We pushed on for what would be a very long day – just under 1,200 km when we pulled into Grafton. This sort of distance was only achievable by swapping out every two hours with the Navigator/co-driver.

The only negative of this section of the trip was the road works to the north of Grafton, then rain, and a near miss with a truck that was driving too fast and recklessly in the dark – speed limits obviously optional for him!

Day 15 – Grafton – Canberra.- Tuesday 27 August 2019

By now we were keen to get back to Canberra, and made very good time for the last 890 km to home.

Final Thoughts

We had spoken a lot about this trip, and I believe that it exceeded everyones expectations! We finished the regatta with a real sense of achievement, having sailed in a magnificent part of Australia, in very demanding conditions for a small 25′ trailer sailer.

Personally I felt “flat” for a few weeks after getting back to work, coming off the high of completing a dream of racing my own boat, with friends, in one of Australia’s premier yacht regattas. Having now competed in the Marlay Point Overnight Race; and Hamilton Island Race week – the next iconic event must be the “Bay 2 Bay” race, from Tin Can Bay to Hervey Bay through the Tin Can Bay Inlet and the Great Sandy Strait and into Hervey Bay with an overnight stop at Garry’s Anchorage between Fraser Island and Stewart Island.

Something to plan for 2021!

Total distance driven – 4,600 km.

Thanks crew!

One thought

  1. Hey funky

    Great account of the event and well done on the podium finish. Awesome that you have ticked off some classics. Bay to Bay (or Great Sandy Strait race, I think it used to be called) was something Dad and I were keen on many years ago! It would be an awesome event (apart from the sandflies!) We wanted to do it on a 16ft cat. Virgy used to crew for Dad on a Hydra (something like that would be fun). I trust you are well. No doubt busting to get to Sydney and sail your new boat.

    Pete O.

    On Mon, May 11, 2020 at 10:08 PM Quo Vadis Adventures wrote:

    > Quo Vadis posted: ” We had talked about “doing” a Hamilton Island Race > Week (HIRW) for well over a year. In October 2018, with some strong > advocacy from the Navigator, we committed to competing in Hamilton Island > Race Week in August 2019. A number of early decisions were ma” >

    Like

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