Akuna Bay Cruising Club

Commodore's Message - January 2008

Monday 14 January, 2008

Well happy New Year to you all, I hope you and your family had a great festive season. The New Year is off to a good start.
Kim and I took delivery of our New Yacht "Wilparina" just before the break, in time for the Club Christmas Lunch. Many members who attended the lunch ended up on "H" arm for the inevitable party and checked her out. Since then we spent from Christmas till the 6th on board. A few teething issues remain with her but a great boat. We have covered around 250Nm in her and used about 50 litres of fuel (marginally more fuel efficient than most cruisers).
Starting with our well attended Club Christmas Lunch at Il Piemonte with an excellent selection of food wine, with entertainment provided by the members at their tables. It was also good to see Elizabeth Cashman present so soon after the sad passing of her husband Terry ("Sea Sniffer" on D arm). Terry and Elizabeth were keen club members and attended many of our functions over the years.
The group returned to the marina and assembled on "H" arm at the back of Eagle and Wilparina. It was a good test to the strength of the marina as the arm was covered in tables, chairs and revellers. Much fun was had by all until late into the night (and early morning for some). No one fell in and no complaints from other boats.
We met with and rafted up with many members over the break and all seemed in good spirits.
We also held many impromptu outing on various boats with numerous visits to the new Pub at Patonga. It is a brand new and fantastic place for breakfast, lunch dinner a beer and wine. They are applying to get a couple of moorings so you can hang off them. Best set is to moor behind the headland but watch the dept at about 6'. Anchoring is good holding in sand but watch the depth and drop of the tide. We visited in Wilparina which draws about 2.2m and had to anchor well out from the beach and go in by dingy (A story later). She held well for about the length of a good long (three hour) lunch in about 12kts wind. We also visited for breakfast in the scoot boat which we just tied up to the Jetty.
Other trips over the break saw us in Maitland bay which is outside the heads, about 4 miles north out of Barrenjoey past Box head. On approach watch the reef on the North Eastern side. It is well marked on maps and again a beautiful destination in a light N, NE, and NW winds, but no good in anything else. Holding is excellent in sand and has one of the prettiest beaches going. We also made three trips to Iron Ladder bay which is at the entrance to the waterway into Gosford inside the heads, again this is good in N, NE and SE winds with good deep holding in sand and great beaches.
We visited the RMYC for an overnighter on New Years Eve. This was a good evening which we will try and organise for a club event in the future.
"Talisman 4" a Riviera 51 belonging to club members Richard and Linda Leupen travelled up to and is still in Port Stephens. Barry Southern and I travelled up with Richard taking about three and a half hours for the good smooth trip. "Cool Change" a Riviera 43 owned by Jeff and Trish Sheehan has been seen variously in Port Stephens, Akuna bay and the harbour over the past few months. It is now back in Akuna bay but covered in the soot from long journeys. Many club boats were out and about which was good to see.
The rough conditions out off the coast were very challenging for those who ventured out. The Turner's, Southern's and the Nolan's ventured out with me on "Wilparina" on a very windy but beautiful day on one of the trips to Iron Ladder bay. A bit of an adventure with Barry managing a 360 turn in a sail boat that must have frightened the boat coming the other way. To keep everyone calm we shortened sail and carried on and we estimate through waves at 2.5 to 4 metres. We all handled that very well some photos will be on the web site shortly.
As to our visit to Patonga for lunch aboard "Wilparina". As mentioned above we anchored off in reasonably rough and windy seas. Accompanied by the Murray's and Barry Southern we ventured into the beach in a rubber inflatable. The surf on the beach was a bit much for the intrepid travellers as the boat breached tipping us into the surf. After dragging the dingy 500m down the beach we sat for lunch at the pub ordering fish and chips and a fisherman's basket (great Tucker). A few beers and three bottles of Oyster Bay washed all that away. The crowd were a bit, well, Feral (not the ABCC members) with a serious shouting match between two "ladies" about the right of one of them to smoke, very colourful. I was doubtful about our ability to row back to "Wilparina" so tried in vain to get the attention of a water taxi. As you may know Kim Murray is a champion Dragon boat rower. So the three men sat around the edge of the dingy while Kim rowed us back while kneeling on the floor. The look on the blokes at the end of the jetty had to be seen to be believed. The only thing that would have made a better sight would have been if the men had a stubby each. Kim would have made it back if I had not dropped my hat in the water about 100 m short of the boat. Thanks Kim amazing.
A couple of reminders, only three boats to a club mooring please. Also be careful of drinking and falling off boats if you hit the water in an unconscious state you will sink immediately. I have witnessed this were young bloke drowned, and saw many similar possibilities of such incidents over Christmas. It is a good thing to practice man overboard drill as you find just how hard it is to get back and pick anything up and get it on board. We had three drills over the break with Barry Southern dropping his much loved "Margaritaville" hat over twice and me dropping my hat out of the dingy off Patonga. All eventually rescued safely. The drill is to get someone to absolutely keep and eye on the victim and keep them in sight, mark with your GPS or Dan buoy if you have them. Throw any thing to them that will float turn and at 90 degrees to your course and asses the best pick up method. Staying on station over a person is very difficult and as I said should be practiced. When you are near them throw a rope and make sure that you throw them a life ring in case you have a delay in getting to them. Watch out for props and exhaust water. Also check how hard it is for someone to climb out of the water onto your boat and also how hard it would be for you to get someone back on board. Think about how you would do this.
Remember the Australia day weekend as we have a dinner dance at the café on Friday night 25th January, book with Vice Commodore Kim Murray (0408 899 591). And our Australia day lunch on Hungry Beach on the 26th followed by a raft up in our bays.

Good boating
Stephen Smith
Commodore Akuna Bay Cruising Club.