Monday, November 03, 2014

It was the last hurrah

Cheshire Cat has a new home, not far away down near the Iron Cove Bridge. It was a quick sale and relatively painless as, after the big clean up, there wasn't too much needed doing.
The new owners have joined the Balmain Sailing Club and I hope we see her racing soon. They are planning to change her name though which is a shame. But they are very happy with her which is nice. And so they should be. She is a lovely boat. I was sad to pass her on but am now sailing with other people and enjoying the new learning curve that brings.
So that is the end of this blog. I will keep sailing and maybe even do another blog if I am planning a big adventure. But for now, thank you if you are still reading. I'm looking at you Michael.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A (maybe) Last Hurrah

Although the decision to sell has been made that didn't mean no more sailing.
We entered the Balmain Sailing Club's 3 Islands Race. This takes the fleet past Goat Island, under the Harbour bridge,  down the harbour, around a buoy near Sow and Pigs, around Shark and Clark Islands, back past Fort Denison, around the windless side of Goat Island and home to the club. I have no idea why they call it 3 Islands. there are 5 islands with some of them twice on the course. It was a race of mixed winds, with almost nothing under the bridge, some hefty gusts in the main harbour and a very patchy run home. Once again we fell foul of the temptation to cut a tad close to Yuralbin Point but eventually escaped and crossed the line with much relief. And we won!! A very happy result for what may be our last race. We sailed the 3 Bridges Race in Hughie 11 and did OK as well. Skipper Karen was a very happy bunny at the end of that race as her first one as the captain. So the adventure continue. These are a couple of my favourite Cheshire Cat pictures.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Highs and Lows

Since Christmas we have had some adventures on Cheshire Cat.

We did a couple of twilights but work kept us off the water many Friday evenings. We collected some new crew who seem to be enjoying themselves. And we did some Sunday races coming 5th overall. It was a different style of race as the starts were handicapped so first over the line was the winner. One unfortunate misreading of the course instructions lost a few places but it was a lesson well learned and didn't happen again.

And we reprised our participation in the Manly Women's  Regatta but came third this year and no wardrobe win either. C'et la vie.

But the decision has been made to sell. We have had 12 very good years aboard Cheshire Cat but it is now time for a new adventure. Jenni unsure what her boating future holds and I am thinking of looking for something more for racing and less for cruising since that is not what I am doing just now.

So it is a sad time but also it is time. Here are just a few of the memorable moments.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

And Now it is Christmas

Happy Crew
We have had some more adventures on Cheshire Cat. We entered the Balmain Regatta resplendent in our laser cat outfits and came 7th out of 26 boats and had a really nice time. The party afterwards on the lawns and forecourt of the Balmain Sailing Club was extremely pleasant. We had some good results in the Spring Sunday series with 2 thirds, a non-race, a 5th, and a bullet (1st for you land lubbers) for the final race. Overall we came third for the series which is pretty pleasing.

Michael winched so hard he split his shorts!

Michael doing his gay pole imitation
The mascot that helped us win the Christmas race

We have also done 4 twilights and enjoyed the great way to finish a week. We scored a 6th, a 1st, a 5th and a 4th.

The crew have worked really hard and together we have had some great starts and some really enjoyable racing. We've had no wind, loads of wind and a races where we had it all at once. Jenni, Julie, Laine, Celine, Karen, Michael, Terina, John, Sam, Ruth,  and more. And fortified by Chalkers Crossing wines. Awesome. Go the Cat!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Still sailing

The Cheshire Cat crew have been having some adventures. 6 of us went to Hamilton Island for race week. But in the lead up we had a couple of races in Balmain. For the first one Dee the additional Hamilton team member joined us from Melbourne and we flew our little blue and white spinnaker with great success. Then the second race we had the big spinnaker we were taking to Hammo and put that up. It's a bit big for Cheshire Cat but helped us fly in the light winds. Even the beak breaking on the pole didn't slow us down for long with John calling for VB cord and tying it on.
And then after returning we went out again last weekend and without the pole fixed we relied on the lovely big headsail. After a good start Jenni took the helm and steered us to third place which was pretty awesome without a spinnaker.
So onwards and upwards for the Cat!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The wind is definitely beneath our wings

After our triumph at the Manly Women's Yacht Challenge Cheshire Cat's mighty crew have kept up the   pace.

At the Balmain Sailing Club's presentation night dinner we won two firsts, three seconds and a third. We had our hands on a lovely trophy for a minute but it ended up staying at the club.

 But we got a tasteful and space-saving trophy to take home.

Then the Winter Series began. I was away but the team sailed under skipper John and came 4th. Very clever. The winter series includes Balmain, Drummoyne and Greenwich clubs so there are lots of boats out there. 

Our well set spinnaker
When I got home my ebay spinnaker arrived in the post so there were no excuses. Dee came up from Melbourne for a training race with the Hammo crew. Jenni was struck down with gastro but the rest of us threw caution to the winds and up went the spinnaker. And it worked. It fits and we didn't get a twist or a tangle. Celine and Karen were faultless on foredeck, Julie trimmed like she had been doing it all her life, Laine managed the main and the stings as if he had three hands and Dee kept us all focussed like the winners we plan to be. We hoisted twice in the race, with a thrilling spinnaker finish as we managed to stay ahead of two boats in the division above us, and then just for the hell of it gybed a few times for practise because it turns out we can. We were fortunate that the wind was light. We probably would not be so cocky if there had been more breeze.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Women Rule!

On March 24th the Cheshire Cat crew, resplendent in our laser eyed cat t-shirts with matching red pants and caps, set off for the Helly Hensen Manly Women's Yacht Challenge. We were still in high spirits from our win at the Friday twilight. It was cloudy but fine, just like Coopers Ale, and although there was no wind the Nor'Easterly was predicted for around midday.

Manly Yacht Club it is just to the east of the Manly ferry wharf and has a small jetty and some hold off buoys for visitors. But we decided to pick up a spare mooring and the club tender brought out the Helly Hensen burgee and some advice, wrong as it turned out, as to the likely course.

The regatta was divided into 2 divisions which were further divided into all female crew (us) and female helm. The committee boat was anchored off Reef Beach and the course chosen for us had a short leg into Manly and then three big loops, from the West and East Manly marks to Obelisk, Balmoral and Grotto Point. The promised breeze had arrived and was around 10 knots, perfect for Cheshire Cat. There were 20 boats in our division which made for a hectic start but we timed it well and crossed in clear air right near the committee boat as we planned. 

After the Manly ferries caused some interest we crept round the Obelisk YA mark and with skillful sailing and a very clean, slippery hull thanks to Dave Stenhouse, we managed to escape the parking lot and leave many of our competitors in our wake. Nearing the Balmoral mark on our next loop we were shocked to hear a man screaming at the crew as they struggled to drop the spinnaker. We later discovered he was their sailing coach. They may be scarred for life! While we have the occasional raised voice in a crisis we try to keep it clean and civil. 

On our last rounding of the Manly marks as we were nicely fetching the second buoy, unlike the previous time when we squeaked round luffing by the skin of our teeth, one of the big division 1 boats called starboard on their way to the finish line and we had to tack away so we did a fast 360 to get back on track. Lucky we have had some practice doing a penalty turn on the Balmain course! It did prove costly though. 

We had out paced a Northshore 34 by this time and later had an unsolicited compliment from the owner about our sailing skill which was nice. After the finish we joined the other crews at the very jolly MYC club house where canap├ęs were being served. And we hit the bar for a well deserved beverage. All together there were 32 boats entered, 12 in division 1 and 20 in division 2. One of the teams had come all the way from Cronulla. It was a very well organised regatta by the friendly people at the MYC including a shopping opportunity provided by Helly Hensen with a very discounted range of clothes while we waited for the prize giving. 

Cheshire Cat won the All Female Crew division 2 and came third by only 30 seconds in the combined division 2 score. Without that 360 we may have come 2nd! And then we also won the best dressed crew. Go the laser cats! And finally Terina won one of the raffle prizes, a very nice sailing bag like the Gemmel ones only bigger. 

It was a very happy team that made the long but lovely sunset cruise back to Balmain. 

Good start
What ferry?
Oh, that ferry!

Tight rounding

Best Dressed Team minus Jenni who went home on "that" ferry to be in time for dinner