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Going down the mine

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 6 Sep 2020 15:00 PDT
Going down the mine all right. Massive bulb and not the biggest for'ard volume ever... Also very blustery and full of bullets - to these RC yachts it would have really been dogs off chains! © John Curnow

It would be easy to go bow down, and let the greenies swamp you up to the mast during the course of the last passage of time. Focus on the wrong thing, and pretty soon it's all you get to see. It certainly has all been a bit surreal, so before we get into magic mushrooms, or dwell in the opium den, please indulge me for just a second.

Now it was in Decloaking Klingon Bird of Prey to Port that I wrote, "Alas, there are plenty of positives around in the new order. You just need to make sure you're looking..." That statement, and then our Managing Editor's missive last week, Doing something different, certainly provided for some good aide-mémoires. Maybe not totally profound, like running over your phone with the ride on mower (the aftermath of which was a jigsaw puzzle that was never ever going to get solved BTW), but certainly provocative and distinct, so that you enjoyed your own wry smile.

So ever since Mark shared the satellite image of his course with son Sam in their scow in the estuaries near his home in the UK, I have almost been lost into my very own version of the classic, Swallows and Amazons. Now originally I thought it was some kind of running track, and had pondered how awesome that would be. Then when I discovered that it was sailing, and subsequently talking further with Mark about sailing along in the reeds, having to stand up so that you could see over the tops of the grasses, and it had been 35 years since he had been along some of these tracks, well it was not difficult to let the boy in oneself go for a wander.

That moment of abandon, inquisitiveness, and armed with the eyes that only a child can truly possess would serve me well all week. Driving along the coast one morning, something I do a lot of, I just spontaneously elected to pull into one of my favourite lookouts. That split second selection was rewarded with a marvellous whale sighting as it frolicked along the coastline, doing whatever it is that whales do when cruising and eating in what was effectively a millpond.

Now it was not as fantastic as when the Australian Sailing Team afforded me the great privilege of joining them for a day's training off Coffs Harbour (see here and here), but in all fairness, not many things are. Dolphins in the surf and yet more whales have also provided for some special moments in the intervening time.

On Saturday, the afternoon saw a stiff Nor'easter kick in and with it the kites all take to the seas. I have windsurfed, and that's the extent of my boarding. Suffice to say I sat and enjoyed studying their tacks and gybes almost as much as watching returning sailors walk up the beach with board under one arm and the other manhandling the kite that is still aloft. To me it is all akin to watching a fire. I get that mesmerised. Perhaps I need to try something different and see if I can actually do it?

All of that positivity was certainly wonderful to have, for I felt quite devastated for the Youth AC, and all the many people involved with that cancellation. The postponement of the 2021 Sydney to Auckland race until 2022 was equally disappointing, but full marks to RPAYC and RNZYS for going the early call, which is always hard at the best of times. Seeing the Finns racing in Poland was great, and in the USA there were races conducted like the Stamford YC's Vineyard Race on the Labor Day weekend for something like 90 boats. I do hope some of those crews found our posting of Tidetech's Long Island Sound including a free model to be useful.

Unequivocally, however, it has been shorthanded sailing that has lit up the server of late. Jeanneau now have ten Sun Fast 3300s in the UK, and it looks like there could be eight in Australia by Christmas, certainly in January. On top of the ones in Europe and the USA, I reckon the charming Paul Blanc and his team at Jeanneau must be delighted. Little wonder it is all about 3300 feet and climbing...

Seems that the crewed side of things is garnering more and more interest too. The Mark Mills penned M.A.T 1340 continues to strike loads of interest, and there appears to be certainly one other very exciting development unfolding in the 40-something space, as the IRC rule releases the shackles that have strangled this most approachable of vessel sizes for far too long.

So yes, there's always something to behold, especially if you're actually looking!

Right oh - there is plenty of information on the group's websites for you to review when you can. Please avail yourself of it.

Now if your class or association is generating material, we can help you spread your word just by emailing us. Got this newsletter from a friend? Would you like your own copy next week? Just follow the instructions on our newsletter page. Whilst there, you can also register for other editions, like Powerboat-World.

Finally, thank you for keeping a weather eye on Sail-World. Your increased patronage and sensational, heartfelt comments have made our crew work even harder to bring you the best from all over the globe...

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS

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