Welcome to Yachting Girls

Welcome to a blog where the adventures of a team of crazy women who are mad about sailing can be shared.
We are living in the beautiful Huon Valley in Tasmania, surrounded by outstanding sailing waters.  In June 2007 my husband and I purchased a Columbia 27 cruising yacht.  My husband crews in a Top Hat 24 in the races held by the Port Cygnet Sailing Club so our yacht was going to sit idle for most of the sailing season.  A great idea came to us - lets have an all women crew and take on the men!

Follow our adventures...share our laughs...cheer us on...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Alas the season is over...

Now that April is over so ends the racing season for the Port Cygnet Sailing Club.  The past two Sundays have had regular races  with 12-15 yachts taking part.  I was fortunate to sail with Coach Harry for both races and had a great time.  I learnt a great deal as per usual and found the Clansman to be a very stable and easy yacht to sail.  Harry has two speed winches on his yacht which are considerably different to ours and are probably something that we should seriously consider buying if we can spare the cash.  Jib sheet handling was much easier with such winches. I am hoping that, before the winter really settles in, we will get in some social sailing.  We still need to have a few drinks and a meal to celebrate the "Girls" taking to the water and completing the season. Life just seems too busy at the moment. I am really going to miss the Sunday afternoon sailing though.  

This week Peter will be installing the Navman Fishfinder that we are installing to use as a depth finder and also the new Navman Chart plotter so we will be  prepared for the next season.  The jib will need some repair before the winter, as will the deck sealing.  We have serious issues with water getting into the space between the fibreglass shells so we need to do some work on this before the rain really sets in.  

One notable success was the satisfactory completion of a Marine Radio Operators Certificate course!  Now I can legally use the VHF radio on board Pathfinder which we have yet to test. A two day course and an exam were required which proved challenging. I was delighted to learn that I passed with flying colours.  The next task is to get a motor boat license which one must have if in charge of a boat with a motor over 5hp.  Again this requires a practical and written test so I will endeavor to do this over the winter.  

Great sailing to all... 'til next time...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Racing again- Yippee!

Sunday racing is not a normal activity for me as I usually sit and enviously watch from the clubhouse whilst Peter and Stan do their thing. Peter had tentatively arranged with another guy to take Pathfinder out racing for the final three races of this season but I must admit to having felt unsure of sailing with someone who had never handled our yacht so did not pursue the option. I was dressed in my Sunday 'going to church' clothes so was a little nonplussed when asked by coach Harry if I would like to crew for him on his Clansman. After searching the back of the car I came up with an old pair of track pants and a wind-cheater  so was able to dress a little more appropriately. With the loan of a spray jacket and with my life vest (which I always keep in the car) I was ready to go - not elegant but definitely comfortable!  

The Clansman is a sleek and graceful yacht to watch and proved to be a very comfortable and yet exhilarating sail. We made an excellent start - perfectly timed and at the best end of the line for the weather. The race started in a stiff 15-20 knot breeze from the North East. The course was interesting. The first leg was sailed on a broad reach downwind and to the east. As we approached the first mark the wind dropped considerably and we were really struggling to make the buoy. Around the mark and across the base of the triangle close-hauled we were maintaining a healthy place in the field- well ahead of the other cruisers and not too far behind the racing class yachts. The third leg of the triangle proved to be affected much by the fickle breezes that are so frequently experienced in Cygnet Bay. Brisk breezes alternated with a whisper. Unfortunately we were passed by a Derwent class yacht and although we were able to keep up on the next leg we were never able to overtake. Throughout the rest of the race we had periods of pure exhilaration and other periods of frustration but it was just great fun. Harry and I worked well as a team and I really learnt a lot. I must say I also was delighted to realize that I was feeling so much more confident and competent. I felt a part of the yacht - in tune with the whole process. On the last leg we had a great tussle with another yacht called Snafu and it looked like she would cross the line ahead of us but we made the finish line just seconds ahead. I was able to manage all aspects of the sailing and mooring with few hassles and feel that I am now far less of a liability as a crew member. In the scheme of things we did quite well considering the weather. We came 8th out of 15 yachts. The slow pace in the middle of the race certainly did not suit the Clansman - she revels in strong breezes. I have been invited to sail again next week although Coach Harry's normal crew will be back aboard and there will be way less work for three crew! Still the temptation to relive the experience is strong...... 'Til next time.