Tony Harland – 12,13 & 14 FEB 2016
South-easterlies, gusting to well over 20knots, made for some interesting and exciting sailing and necessitated a change of program mid-event during the inaugural “Pineapple Raid” in southern Moreton Bay.
This event, organized by Euan MacDonald of Amity Yachts/Australiawide Boat Sales, was a three day rally style gathering designed for small, shallow draught vessels. There were two categories – “sail only’ which included the likes of the Jubilees, trailer sailers etc., and “raid” – boats propelled by sail and/or oar. In the event, the strong following winds negated the need for “oar” even within the narrow, winding Wally’s Gutter and Mackenzie Channel near Jumpinpin.
The strong south-easterlies caused problems for a couple of potential participants even before the start. Endeavoring to journey from Redland Bay to Southport on the Thursday, the Jubilee “Lyla” suffered a broken boom and returned to Redland Bay, and the Jubilee “Stella”, towing a 19’ Chamberlain Gunning Dory, turned back with outboard motor problems.
However, some 22 boats and 70 or so participants made it to the pursuit style start near Curridgee on Sth Stradbroke on Friday Morning (most overnighted at Southport Yacht Club on Thursday night). All participants experienced a great ride in fresh wind/flat water over the 22NM course to RQYS Canipa on the NE tip or Russell Island. Only mishaps were yours truly who capsized the borrowed 16’ flattie skiff “Bella” during a flying gibe near the entrance to Wally’s Gutter, and the crew of my old Chamberlain Gunning Dory “Grytviken” who bottled shortly thereafter. However both boats recovered quickly without assistance and finished near the head of the fleet.
Camps were set up on the lawn at Canaipa and a wonderful dinner was prepared on the outdoor facilities by on-board chef Nicola Noble of Char Baby Catering.
On Saturday, the plan was to continue north, via the Southern Moreton Bay Islands to the Little Ships Club at One Mile on Stradbroke Is., with the fleet returning south to a finish at Redland Bay on the Sunday. However with the strong SE wind forecast to continue throughout Sunday, it was decided that the trip back from One Mile would be hazardous, especially for the small, open “raid” boats. The fallback was to camp another night at Canaipa, conduct a “round Karragarra Is. race” on the Saturday in the relative shelter of the islands, and return downwind to Redland Bay on Sunday.
Since dinner on Saturday was to be at the Little Ships Club, the organizers were not equipped to cater again at Canaipa. Miraculously, the tiny RSL Club on Russell Is. was able to accommodate an extra 70 guests for an excellent dinner.
The decision not to proceed to One Mile proved to be the right one, and nearly all participants enjoyed some safe but lively sailing on both days. (The only “casualty” was yours truly again capsizing “Bella” at the start of day 3, this time breaking the gaff in the process – had to quickly build a new one in the day or two following before the rather fussy owner found out.)
A final lunch and presentation was held at Pelican Slipways Café on Weinam Creek at Redland Bay. The proprietors closed the café early to accommodate us, and cleared the slipway pontoon to facilitate the rafting up of participating vessels.
Notable among the achievements was the efforts of young Tom Robinson and his crew-mate Callum Ferguson, who rowed Tom’s Chamberlain Gunning Dory over the whole course on all three days in less than ideal rowing conditions.
Four WBAQ members participated. David Hoffman had a great ride in “G.I.Go”, as did Matt Moore in his re-rigged 16’ skiff “Belle”. Barry Rawlinson skippered the winning “sailing” entry, the Jubilee “Beverly” and as mentioned, yours truly had a less than distinguished raid in “Bella”. (My brother in law Dugald from the Isle of Wight and his wife Nicky added an international dimension to the event, sailing our Jubilee “Jason”.
The overall “raid” trophy was won by Keith Glover and Dave Surmon sailing my old Chamberlain Gunning Dory “Grytviken”. (I had given her away but borrowed her back for the event) Keith’s “other boat” is the magnificently restored 60’ Alden Ketch “Wraith of Odin”. Good to see these old blokes can still handle a very lively “little” boat.
All in all, this was a wonderful, well organized event, with excellent support vessels, great catering, and good fellowship, that I’m sure many of our members would enjoy.