The Meltemi mob went north again this year. For the third year running, we decided to pit our wits against the fickle tides and fast modern hulls at the Airlie Beach Regatta and then travel across the passage for the Hamilton Island Race Week. Meltemi is a 34 year old S&S 34. She has belonged to Jim Shannon for many years and lately has two new partners, Robert Gun and Fergus Keegan. Jim sailed her from her original home in Perth to Brisbane in 2000. Since then she has had many adventures along the Queensland coast with a crew of friends from throughout Australia, the UK and Ireland!! The Whitsunday odyssey began three years ago when her Brisbane crew was joined by old Western Australian friends to take her north for the regattas. They have come back for more each subsequent year.
Expectations. The weather in north Queensland, he said, is warm, with smooth seas light breezes and sunny. Just look at the brochures. You will need a light spray jacket, a hat and plenty of sunscreen lotion. Don’t worry about foul weather pants, they are too hot. Just wear shorts and your legs will dry quickly and you wont feel cold.
The annual southern migration of yachties (akin to the west coast movement of the great whales) to Busselton, Port Geographe and or Quindalup has been and gone. Among the flock of yachts and other more odorous craft were numerous S&S 34s, each of which has an owner and crew with a manifest of tales to tell. But true to the human spirit no one is prepared to say anything. Hence it has fallen upon this scribe to set forth the trials, tribulations and joys that precede and follow one element of that migration.
Mariner Jon, a distinguished member of the S&S 34 Association (ie my brother Jon Sanders) as most would know has circumnavigated the globe 7 times in a yacht, rounded Cape Horn solo 5 times, crossed the Great Australian Bight 31 times, transited the Panama Canal twice and the Suez Canal 4 times in yachts etc etc, and has the intrepid occupation of “Professional yachtsman” delivering small boats for clients. [This is a story not an ad although he is always looking for more clients]
A hot day postponed our departure from SoPYC by a day for the Pt. Kennedy Sailing in Company to the extent that we approached them only briefly late on Sunday the 4th March but we sailed on, to arrive at the Dawesville cut by 8.45 that evening.