We’ve been planning on supporting the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club and the Asahi Super Dry NSW Country Championships for quite a few months now, everything was running to plan our chase boat was full of fuel and on the trailer and we were making good time to make the first race.
We arrive at the Stockton Beach boat ramp and find we’re the only ones there, which is preferably an excellent situation considering we’re a bit slower putting our boat in the water than others. We get our chase boat in the drink, and then the engine won’t start, after checking all the usual suspects, the fuel line, the ignition switch, the battery switch we begin to assume the battery is dead! Not what we need when we’re already 15 minutes late to the start of the first race.
So John jumps back in the car so we can drive the boat back on flat land to investigate further, while I stayed in the chase boat *next minute* I and the boat come crashing off the trailer landing clear on the concrete boat ramp. At this point I am thinking to myself, lucky this is a quiet boat ramp as my ego was already feeling pretty bruised.
So after some exciting ingenuity, we manage to lift the boat back onto the first roller of the trailer, and with a combination of reversing and cranking, we manage to get the boat back into position.
I leant over into the boat to take the key out of the ignition and accidentally turned the key and by what seems a miracle the engine ticks over! We quickly launch the Red Robin back into the water and check that she isn’t sinking.
Everything seems reasonable at this point, we pack the boat and start to head towards Stockton Beach, on the way we were stopped by Maritime Newcastle who asked us if we were heading out of the seaway. In which they advised us it was pretty rough, and our little boat might get swamped, and we should probably stay in the river. At this point, I was thinking “things come in three”, but we decided to brave it out and slowly motor out into the big blue to check out the conditions for ourselves.
We had a few waves come over the bow of the boat on our way out of the shipping channel, but everything seemed to smooth out as we got closer to the fleet.
We finally made it to the fleet for the start of the second race, and everything seemed right. One of the benefits of having a vessel so close to the waterline (which is also its Achilles heel) is that you can get interesting shots with the swell coming in and out of frame to create more depth and substance to a photograph.
Day number two rolls in, its grey dark and wet, and there seems to be a slight breeze blowing down the channel, we decide today is going to be a better day for launching boats. We find there is a newer boat ramp just a kilometre away from yesterdays fiasco, so we decide to launch Red Robin there. There are a few more trailers here, and the facilities are brand spanking new.
We sort everything out on our vessel first before we launch the boat and everything runs like a well-oiled machine, the boats in the water the seas are flat we’re off at 26 knots out of the river and into the blue. We meet the fleet who are waiting under AP, we all sit and float as the winds drop from four knots to three knots and eventually one knot. The ocean starts to get flat and then flatter and ultimately becomes a beautiful sheet of glass.
After two hours in desperate hopes some wind would fill in the start boat finally calls a race abandonment and we all head back in. It was kind of a disappointment as I was hoping to make up for lost time from day one; however we managed to get some great shots anyway.
You can find all the photos from the Asahi Super Dry NSW Country Yachting Championships here. Until next time, spot you on the water.