Yesterday in the first instalment of ‘The Victorian View’ we heard about the eventful road trip, which left Melbourne on the Thursday night and arrived in Port Lincoln 1400 kilometres later on the Friday night.

Team Vic’s large and in-charge leader Jake “The Snake” Nichols continues the story of this year’s Port Lincoln Sharpie Frostbite Regatta…

We rolled into Lincoln and our gracious host and up-and-coming sailor Luke Stephens was already warming up the bar stools for us at the yacht club so we quickly dropped our gear off at his house and walked down to the club. Needless to say upon reuniting with everyone at the bar, both tears and beers were had (minus the tears). There are a few people in this class I would consider among my best friends and I generally only get to see them once a year, so anything on top of that is a bonus! When Marc Ablett finally stumbled into the boat shed a short while after we arrived, I ran and picked him up spilling his UDL can (even he’s smart enough not to drink the South Australian beer). We then decided we didn’t want to waste any grog so went on to suck it off the sandy floor.


The view of Boston Bay, Port Lincoln from the Stephens residence where Team Vic stayed during the regatta.

We carried on at the yacht club for a while ‘heave ho-ing’ (forcing to scull) every second person. Eventually we built up the momentum to go make our presence felt at the Grand Tasman Hotel, one of the local pubs which is right across the road from the yacht club. Admittedly I must have had one too many soft drinks by this point and my memory gets a bit fuzzy but I think the pub didn’t quite know what hit them. We partied and danced there for a while and all of a sudden there was a mad flurry to get to Sharky’s Bar (another pub) before their lockout time. We constituted the majority of the patronage however fortunately for us there are that many great people sailing Sharpies these days that we didn’t need any one else for fun.

Later on my batteries began to fail me so I dragged Matt Morris out of the pub and after a tactical pit stop we made it home. Having not really eaten properly but not quite in any state to cook we went for the next best thing. Matt bit a hole in a piece of toast and placed it over his mouth while I cracked a raw egg into it. Low and behold you have a toad in a hole! After a few of these we were satisfied and crawled into our swags on the living room floor.


The view from the Port Lincoln Yacht Club. The locals call this place “the centre of the universe” – you can see why.

Day three of the trip proved just as much, if not more fun due to more reunions and arguably more frothies. Fortunately we’d managed to scrape up a stay in the most hospitable house in Port Lincoln and were woken up to the smell of eggs – cooked this time none the less! Many thanks to Dawn, Luke’s mum, for the breakfasts and more importantly for putting up with us and our shenanigans.

As most of you will know a Sharpie is a three man boat and obviously we had four people but thanks again to our out-of-state team manager (Harry), a ride on an SA boat was organised. Now part of Rob’s bargaining with Dale was that he was allowed to drive the boat so the rest of us stood around saying how much we didn’t mind sailing on another boat until Matt stepped up and volunteered. Probably to his benefit because he got to experience what a boat that has been properly maintained feels like! So it was up to Dale, Rob and myself to represent Team Vic.


Jake Nichols strapped on the harness to go up front on V777 FIGJAM for the first day of racing.

It was a rather light and very shifty day but considering that we’d never sailed there, nor together, against a fleet of better boats, I think we had a good crack and most importantly we enjoyed ourselves out there. We ended up at back of the fleet for the three races on the Saturday but we held our own on the start line and had a few decent runs to the top mark so a bit more practice and picking the shifts a bit better and next year we’ll be showing the SA guys what’s what.

After the racing, tension was high around the boat yard as everyone was fizzing with excitement for the launch of the Down Under Sail magazine that Marc and Harry have been working so hard on all year with the help of Dan Buchan, better known as Bubbles, doing the graphic design work. A few refreshments at the club led us back to the house where Rob unravelled his secret plan. Unbeknownst to us he had made a sneaky trip to Big W and bought a set of t-shirts and a big black marker to create the now customary Team Vic Fkn Sik t-shirts – the Frostbite edition. However, Rob’s grand designs went beyond that of his own t-shirt and he managed to make us about an hour late to the launch filling the shirts with designs that he’d been up since 7am that morning thinking of so that Harry and Marc could wear them when they released their magazine.

Marc Ablett, Matt Morris, Harry Fisher, Jake Nichols, Rob Radnell and Dale Collings when the team presented Marc and Harry with their own Team Vic shirts.

Marc Ablett, Matt Morris, Harry Fisher, Jake Nichols, Rob Radnell and Dale Collings when the team presented Marc and Harry with their own Team Vic shirts.

Of course the magazine was launched with a resounding applause and what the boys have done really is a standout and a big step in the right direction for the sailing community. For those of you that don’t know, the boys are trying to promote the side of sailing that people don’t get to see, make it more accessible to the public and help people realise that it is something that anyone can do. It is not just a sport for the rich, elite or thrill seekers, there are many pathways for people to access sailing and Team Vic is generally a testament to how affordable it can be – along with the support we find in the sailing community.

Now with that plug out of the way, we continued the night much the same as the one earlier… But more on that tomorrow.

To be continued…

Stay tuned to Down Under Sail tomorrow for the final part of the story.