In the last edition of this story, the story turned to the water where the Team Vic lads got onto Boston Bay to participate in their first Frostbite Regatta… And it didn’t stop from there.

From the perspective of Victorian Sharpie sailor Jake Nichols…

After the Down Under Sail magazine launch on the Saturday we continued the night much the same as the previous one however the Grand Tasman Hotel had a band on, so with Rob leading the way, we had a strong contingent there to lit up the dance floor. After finally convincing the band to play Eagle Rock in a style that would make (SA Sharpie President) Snoady proud, we dropped our dacks and got a lot of confused stares from around the pub. After this, we made the trip to our beautiful temporary home with Matt (Luke’s dad) also there taking a pit stop. Then we went to the top of Port Lincoln’s Old Mill that looks over the bay to ‘take in the serenity’ as the sun came up. Off to bed and this time I think we skipped the midnight ‘egg yolk’ snack.

The crowd of sharpie yachties having a beer on the foreshore during the race postponement.

The crowd of sharpie yachties having a beer on the foreshore during the race postponement.

I awoke the next morning dazed and confused to realise it was 11.30am already, the house was empty, and the race was scheduled to start at 11am. Fortunately from Luke’s house we could see the yacht club and with the bay completely glassed over and the start boat still anchored we were content we hadn’t missed it. So we made our way slowly down to the club to find firstly and surprisingly our boat to be the only one fully rigged, and secondly a puddle of people looking sorry for themselves. A few of us became indignant that we wouldn’t be started in these conditions so made a spontaneous trip to K-mart and bought some ping pong balls, red cups. Tom ‘Bear’ Alder and I also decided it was necessary to purchase some pink glitter hats.

Much to our dismay (but a good thing all the same) the AP flag came down and the club predicted that they would start the first race at 2 o’clock. We took one look and even Dale, the more serious of us, wasn’t keen to go out and flounder around as shark bait. However local knowledge prevailed and wind started appearing out of God-knows-where and people started mobilising. A ‘better-late-than-never Team Vic decided it wasn’t missing out on the fun and went out for the start. We missed the first one (of course) but almost made it around the course before we were told to head back. Most people were baffled with why we bothered but we were happy as this meant we placed and got points over those who didn’t go out (Bear). It also gave us an opportunity to take in the serenity of what such a beautiful place Port Lincoln is.

Jake Nichols handstanding on the wire during Sunday's racing.

Jake Nichols handstanding on the wire during Sunday’s racing.

The next few races were pretty good fun with the breeze coming in a bit stronger and more consistent than the previous day, which resulted in an enjoyable day out on the water and some better results for Team Vic. I became a bit concerned at one point, much to Rob’s amusement, when I saw a fin broach the water and to this day I don’t know if it was a shark or dolphin – but for the sake of this story let’s just say a dolphin.

Rob being the gentlemen he is let me go up front for most of the races so I could stretch out while he was cramped in the bottom of the boat. I used this to my full advantage on one of the finishes where as we crossed the line I was fully in the handstand position on the trapeze (upside down for those of you playing at home) with my pink glittery hat on. Big congratulations go out to our host Luke, and the boys on Beer Nuts, who won the regatta overall. We finished 14th out of 17 boats but somehow managed to scrape in with second on handicap (I theorise there may have been some tampering by the Port Lincoln guys to encourage us to get back next year) but we were happy all the same.

Jake Nichols donned the sparkly pink hat while racing on the Sunday.

Jake Nichols donned the sparkly pink hat while racing on the Sunday.

Presentation night was good fun with the club putting on another great meal (even catering specially for us annoying vegetarians) but it also sadly marked the end of the regatta for us. It was decided that Team Vic would make for Port Augusta that night after the presentation in order to save a bit of driving the following day. Gloomily we bid our adieus to all the people I get to see so infrequently however fortunately I know it is not too far between encounters this time.

The beautiful thing about Sharpies is that everyone is accepted and once you’re in, be it one month or five years, you’ll be able to go back and pick up a relationship with anyone in the class right where you left off. For me, other than for the downhill rides, this is a major reason why I sail. Once people see this side of sailing they can’t keep away. That is why we made the effort to drive 15 hours each way for two days sailing and innumerable good times.

The fleet has a lot of potential nationally at the moment with smaller states working on building their fleets. That is why I implore anyone, be they new to the sport or if they’ve done it for 50 years, to come and have a go. We are hoping this year to get boats going interstate to sail their neighbours state titles and I can tell you that the States at Mordialloc in Melbourne (late November) is not only going to be a good way to prepare for the nationals that will be hosted there later this year but it’ll be a great to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones over a few beers with any and everyone welcome.

Thanks to everyone that made this trip possible, Harry, Marc, Luke, Dale, Matt and Rob in particular as without them it wouldn’t have been the same. I am already moist with excitement for the next regatta and can’t wait to see you all out on the water and most importantly back in the bar.

Fly Sharpies!

For more information on the national championships at Mordialloc Sailing Club this year, check out the event website.