Blog Post 35 by Jon Sanders: Sydney
(Not everyone reading this blog is a yachts person or a sailor residing in Australia).
I have entered lots of harbours, but few are as natural and magnificent as Sydney, although Rio de Janeiro Brazil comes to mind (both natural harbours).
Sydney Harbour is surrounded by a modern city and some parks, it is busy though not just commercial, with big boating activity. By world standards, leisure in the Harbour is huge. Clean – some might say not clean enough (it’s pretty awful in a lot of Asia; not here!).
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has a busy marina, and it is all masts…
A forest of them. A Bird Cage Marina. Nice.
The only powerboats are a Past Commodore, the sturdy start boats (that mark the start and finish line in yacht racing), and Ribs – with hard-bottom rubber sided open vessels, powered by a big outboard motor and used to assist sail training, yacht races, and to ferry crew to moored yachts in Rushcutters Bay – home of the Cruising Club of Australia (CYCA). World famous home of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
The weather on the Hobart route can often be challenging, including in the Sydney region, which can be different in the middle of the course, the stretch called the Bass Strait (or pond) and different again in Hobart (the southern region of the Island State of Tasmania).
Before I started from Perth/Fremantle in Western Australia, on this 10th circumnavigation, an Australia Yachting safety inspector checked my yacht. Much of those yachting requirements begin with the CYCA because of their immense experience. From the CYCA it ends up worldwide.
On my arrival in Sydney, I received a message from former Senator and Federal Minister Ian Campbell, with an invitation to spend a day on his Oyster 68. Ian had recently sailed the yacht from Western Australia; on board would be Commodore Michael Campbell – Royal Perth Yacht Club, and wives (Ian and Mike are not related, well maybe a few hundred or hundreds of years ago. They don’t know either).
Robin Morritt and Gareth Owen-Conway (Royal Perth Yacht Club) flew in from Perth, arriving 9pm the night before going out with Ian, the next day – we three have done much Ocean sailing together, including Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro yacht race – wanted something to eat, they did. We caught a taxi to nearby Kings Cross. We used to call that ‘Smut Cross’ (is that politically correct?). How would I know!
It was Friday night, but the Cross didn’t seem to be the hustle and bustle it once was. Didn’t notice any guys touting for… doesn’t matter.
Gareth and Robin decided on Mexican. I eat everything and anything. I didn’t like that Mexican much; maybe because McDonald’s was just down the road (we should have gone there).
Afterwards, we found an off-shoot friendly trendy bar – Hon Ian Campbell will be reading this. Now he will know why we were a teeny weeny bit late next morning.
We sailed from Jones Bay Wharf, where Ian’s boat was tied, to Spring Cove in the Harbour on the north side of North Head. That is a nice place to picnic.
Several days later Paul Furness, Regional Rear Commodore of the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) – worldwide – in conjunction with the Cruising Club of Australia had a reception for me at the CYCA.
At the reception were two Royal Perth Yacht Club members – from the other side of the desert. Sean Bennett and Andrew (Bink) Campbell. I have done a lot of trans ocean sailing with Sean. Andrew sailed with Ian from Western Australia etc.
The CYCA and OCC were wonderful! The staff and members were the ultimate.
To become a member of OCC, one must have sailed at minimum 1000 Nautical Miles without stopping, with the vessel sailed to be under 70ft (might be 75 ft); I am a life member. The OCC provide contacts worldwide.
Also at the event was Wolfgang Salinger, who supplied me with the Seawind Whispering Wind Turbine. Salinger is the product’s dealer in Australia. German. The turbine provides power to my batteries. In a full on gale, such as I had from the west in the Aghulas current south of South Africa (I suppose I could write South of Africa – not out of Africa), anyway, with all power units turned on (B&G gear and the rest) the batteries all remained maxed charged. No need to start the engine in all that very rough stuff to charge the batteries. – It is a bit important. – And if the need be, one can switch the turbine with its carbon fibre blades off, by switching a switch. Just like that.
The event was hosted by Paul Furness Rear Commodore OCC, Karen Greta CEO CYCA and Terry Wise CYCA.
A few days later Sean Bennett arrives at CYCA again. Instead of giving the command to take off respective lines on the near 100ft super-power yacht he captains, he simply chucked mine off.
We motored to the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM).
Met by Daina Fletcher chief curator of the Maritime Museum, the Museum naval architect David Payne and Andrew the museum filmmaker. Andrew photo’d me all over the yacht, everywhere. Not fussy what he photo’s (I am not exactly David Beckham).
Then there was an oral stint in the main building, led by Daina. Followed by lunch in the Museum’s restaurant. Yum!
All-in-all it was a superior experience. Beautiful people. David Payne’s uncle was Alan Payne, Australia’s first Americas Cup 12-meter designer, with the famous Gretel’s. In those way-off days, Dainer worked for Alan Payne.
Sean, now with his Taiwanese hostess and me, took PB2 back to the CYCA. Two days later Laura and Luke from B&G came to the yacht. Luke armed with another exotic camera. With them was Kevin Green, a Scotsman and international yachting writer. Naturally, surprise-surprise, he too armed with a camera.
If one were not acquainted with B&G gear, after meeting Luke and Laura, you would probably be most interested. Why? – dunno. Their charisma I suppose. Bit good.
Kevin Green, writer. It was my turn to grab a camera, well, actually (I loathe to write) my iPhone 6 – how unsophisticated, to photo Kevin’s 650 off-road Yamaha motorbike. That is all the things I cannot properly do. Would like to. I suspect my family would soon be throwing ashes into the creek – mine!
Robin Morritt, much as he has a love for the sea, his real major adventures are on his three off-road motorbikes. He travels 1000s of miles, each year, across Australia and its deserts. Much off road. He’s a geologist with PhD, has held major positions with important mining companies. On his motorbike he explores. WATCH this space.
Back in my wee world. I am a bit early to head west to Western Australia, but soon.
Kindest regards to all.