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Old to new, it’s still the same

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 25 Mar 2018 14:00 PDT
The late Billy Barnett OAM © Di Pearson

He's almost a pal from old, nowadays, and he is very much part of the classic yacht scene around the globe. Apart from being an AUS Sailing certified SSSC Instructor, Manfred Speicher from Western Australia always has something new to talk about with me.

The subject was the passing of the late Billy Barnett OAM at an incredible 102 years of age. Yet it was the fact that he built Dame Pattie in 1967, and then Gretel II in 1970 that resonated the most. Years after she was built, I can remember seeing Gretel II on a swing mooring in the Harbour. Move on a bundle of years more, and I would be lucky enough to sail KZ-3 and KA-11, and marvel at the age of the 12s, which had 'died' off Fremantle. Just don't tell anyone still in that realm now. OK? 12m people are ultra-passionate, which is great.

Yet Barrett also made many a Dragon, and Manfred commented, "they included Trio, Tom Thumb, and former World Champion, Kirribilli. Clearly a legend shipwright from a family of boat builders, he and his 18 foot skiff, Myra Too, claimed the JJ Giltinan in 1951." Naturally, we join in passing on our condolences and best wishes to his extended family.

Jumping to very new then, and it is time to break out the beers for the SuperFoiler Grand Prix. A job well done! For sure you had to strap on the JATO rockets [see our earlier stories JATO ignited (Pt-I) and then JATO ignited (Pt-II)], but from the Macartney's kitchen table to the terrific spectacle in no less than five States in two months is past noteworthy. Determination, resilience, teamwork and chutzpah are just some of the states of mind you and the entire team drew upon to make it so. As the late John Meillon said for a very famous brand of bitter, 'Matter of fact, I got it now!'

As an aside, 5.5k is not the latest screen res. There'll be no Extra Ultra High Definition here. Not yet anyway. It is actually the number of nautical miles of the base route to get you to Osaka from Melbourne. As indicated last week, there was every chance the third, and bulk of fleet start in the Melbourne to Osaka race would suffer the same issues as the preceding two, and be delayed. The news came on Saturday, and on then on Sunday a 49-knot WNW buster at midday confirmed the thought process. It wasn't Han Solo, either, with many a 40 and 30 in the mix too!

The Nepean Wave Buoy chimed in with 2.5m, which combined with water pushing back in the narrow Heads, and facing a roaring WNW going the other way would have been utterly charming. Not. The new start time of 1500hrs AEDT for today, Monday March 26 was advised at the same time as we got the Answering Pennant you see here. Slack water is 1616hrs, so it will be on the nose to Shortland Bluff (Queenscliff), and then crack the sheets for reach out, maybe with a teensy bit of ebb tide, and then into some power running, by the looks of it. The latter is handy, for it is always good to get around 'Got A Bit On' island in a hurry.

Yet, it is not all going to be beer and skittles for the new day, with a forecast maximum for the new start of just 18 degreesC, with an 80% chance of showers, thunderstorms and hail in the morning, and still some 30 knots from the West that will be hovering around until later in the day. Welcome to ocean racing and Bass Strait, huh!

Right oh - here today there are some gems for you to review. We have information from Marlay Point (how good is it to see institutions like that still running), the Volvo rattle in toward Cape Horn, Moths and WASZPs, GC32s, Youth Championships, J/70s, Sail Port Stephens is almost upon us and this is its 11th year (can still remember the first time I went and what must have been its second iteration), the Pantaenius Cup is being run once again at SPS, and all you have to do is nominate which boats are on your team before or at registration to be in the running for prizes, there is also the Clipper RTW, the 30th Sanctuary Cove is going to be terrific and Multihull Central have Seawinds and Corsairs on display there, B&G give us new software for Zeus displays, Optis at Lake Garda, Olympic Classes in Spain, Accommodation options for Hamilton Island by Whitsunday Holidays, North Sails focus on design, the 18s, the Finns in Cadiz, and certainly there is much, much more.

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John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS

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