Magoo’s Brisbane to Gladstone personal experiences with Attitude
By Dave Maguire
When I suggested to the rest of the crew that it always takes around forty hours for me to sail to Gladstone, I was howled down as a pessimist. It turns out that I was actually being optimistic (we took just a tad longer if you subtract the delayed start). Highlights included the usual great food and humour aboard Al & Michele’s fantastic new Scionning G-Force.
Our drift up to the first turning mark left us optimistic that we were in with a chance and when we tacked away from the fleet on the beat up to M9 our chances improved even further. Unfortunately we then joined the aquatic yacht park up by Tangalooma for a little too long. We had fair warning of the hole up there when we watched the monohull Brindabella come to a grinding halt just before us. Claims that we passed over one of the marks of the course are malicious gossip, but we certainly reverse parked beside one of the buoys for a while as we waited for Big Wave Rider to move out of our way.
When we finally got going with our asymetric spinnaker we bought back a lot of ground over boats like Renaissance and Rythmic, but once again fell into the hole leading up to the Fairway Beacon. The land breeze that lifted us round that mark was heralded by the tang of eucalyptus and wood-smoke. Again I was berated by at least one crew-member for even suggesting that we would get such a land breeze at dusk.
From Caloundra up to Noosa and beyond we trimmed, fed and trimmed the spinnaker endlessly, which might explain why we got ahead of the multi fleet by the 0300 sched, apparently. Our later performance was not quite so stellar as we alternated between fullon ‘go for speed’ mind-set and the more conservative ‘stay on the rhumb-line’ one.
Interesting comparisons when abeam of Waddy Point and later a starboard call on Renaissance left us buoyed with possibilities. Unfortunately those moments of elation ebbed as we reached across the paddock. By Bustard Head we were still behind the red line of previous races on Al & Michele’s old boat Beats Working but managed to catch it again by the finish line. At least this time we didn’t drift across the line in a fading zephyr and pushing a knot of tide.
We indulged in all the fun of the presentation ceremony, so ably managed by Richard and Briony and finally got to sleep some time after midnight (after the last of our visitors had been evicted).
Our initial intentions were to head out to Lady Musgrave for some scuba diving but in the light of the BOM’s weather outlook chose to join five other multis at Yellow Patch for a couple of nights of raucous celebration instead. There had been enough wind to make us put in a double reef on our way up to Yellow Patch outside of Curtis Island, so were well and truly ready to party. We hosted the first night for crews from Rythmic and Renaissance while the latter hosted an even bigger party the next night. Crews from Wilparrina, Free Spirit and Fantasia managed to find a space between the litter of empty Bundy & Cola, Champagne and some fantastic reds (courtesy of Rob Remilton). Michele’s plate of fresh sweet corn added to the gustatory excellence.
While the rest of Attitude’s crew had walked up to Cape Cap’s lighthouse on Monday, I caught up on some sleep. Mike Hodges organized a chair-lift ride up there the next day but we set off to sail back to Gladstone via the Narrows early and screamed along under 7
heady and main. As we turned to windward toward the entrance to the Narrows, Al decided that instead of mooring in mud that night we would head north to Great Keppel and a blue water berth. Great diversion and fantastic calm anchorage but it meant a long hard slog back to windward the next day, and more than a little bit of gear breakage.
Mooring a few miles north of the Cattle Crossing we sat back to enjoy the sunset and some more red wine and chat to a few passing fishermen. They arrived back from checking their crab pots just as we were sitting down to another roast dinner and offered us a fresh mud crab. Al responded by offering them the rest of our fourex carton, for which they threw in another muddie, perfect for lunch on the winding trail through the Narrows the next day.
Michele, Chris and Dan opted to leave Attitude in Gladstone and fly home so we were left with just the skipper and four crew to sail home with stops at Pancake Creek (another muddie), Blackfellow Creek, Inskip Point and Double Island Point. The winds that had evaded us in the race came in to taunt us for a couple of days but faded on the final slog home across Moreton Bay on Monday. Indeed it was so light near Gilligan’s Island that we stopped the boat and went for a dip off the aft step. Al’s rendering of the Skip-Jack Tuna we had caught off Mooloolaba provide a fantastic feast for lunch. Considering how short a time we have had to prepare Attitude, we were more than happy with her performance. She promises to be a force to reckon with in future races.