Summer sailing has been certainly active with all the ocean racing and particularly our SS Rendezvous group cruising events. The annual mystery tour left Port Phillip and headed off to Refuge Cove on the 5th January after an overnight stay at QCYC into north westerlies and a temperature heading for 44 degrees Celsius that lasted for 8 hours before switching to west at 30 knots.
All boats managed to stop over at Waratah Bay Bird Rock for a comfortable night stay at anchor, then set off to Refuge Cove the next day most boats arriving prior to Midday on the 6th January.
The anchorage was almost empty with only one other boat anchored in the North East corner, meaning our cruise group could use the main anchorage near the camp ground beach. Weather was ideal and the temperature was around 24 degrees for a few days, and swimming was the order of the next few days and some boats took off outside Refuge to fish with good results.
Level C Howard Bertram caught a king fish which he cut up and shared with a few boats as due to its physical size it could not fit in his oven.
Mal Parsons arrived around lunch time as she and her crew stayed over at QCYC an extra night and had an ideal sail to refuge.
Boats who took place in this year’s Refuge trip were:
- Next Moment 11 as mother ship,
- Level C
- Whim Away
- Blue Chip
Unfortunately Surala dropped out but we had new crew members come from different clubs on a few boats.
Swimming and fishing was the order of the day on a number of boats and lots of maintenance jobs as well. Our usual beach picnic took place and lots of great photos were taken of the group for the enews correspondence at RYCV and Ebb Tidings. One morning a drone circled overhead and we all wondered if we were being checked on by fisheries as they had visited the cove a day before to check on fishing licences ashore among the campers.
The arrival of a huge recreational vessel entered the cove called “EUROPA”, size at least 350 feet long with a brilliant white paint job and looks to be registered in the Cayman Islands according to the flag they were flying. During the day they anchored over at the east side beach and a large tender appeared to slide out the side tender door and proceeded to the beach. The crew raked out the beach and set up tables and chairs and large umbrellas for their guests. And a grand lunch was served whilst a musical group played to the group.
We decided to call the vessel and ask if they had a current weather forecast, and the master said yes he would download one for us and asked if we would like a bag or two of ice to go with that, our response was thanks.
Some time later the shore crew motored over with the big tender and handed over a brown envelope with the 4 page weather report printed in full colour and a huge bag of ice. We responded with a RYCV burgee and took a picture of them with it. We asked who owned the vessel and they stated they were not able to tell us the details – only it was on its way from Brisbane to Melbourne for the Australian Open tennis program and that the boat was registered in the Caymans.
All boats met over the next day and discussed the weather conditions for the return trip and worked out timing to leave for Port Phillip with a planned stopover at Waratah Bay again to break up the trip. The night before leaving we had a visitor from Sandringham X yacht owned by Ben Solly and his partner Catherine, Doug Jenkins daughter. We had just baked Meltemi Beer Bread recipe and a chocolate brownie cake, which was well received, and a meal of pasta and pesto and some chilled white wine, lots of discussion of their trip through Bass Strait and Deal island.
All boats departed at different times to return to Port Phillip and an overnight stop over at Waratah Bay. During the night the wind and tide turned and Next moment 11 touched bottom and we needed Sky to take our masthead halyard to assist lay us over and we motored off to re anchor in deeper water . Many thanks to Lino and Boba on Sky for their assistance.
During our layover to get off the sandbank we extended our mast head halyard by two 80′ foot lines. We were now in deeper water and a restful night before leaving at 08.00 am next day.
Weather conditions to the heads next day, light south westerly and sunny conditions. We entered Port Phillip at 8.45pm Thursday evening and stayed at QCYC overnight for a huge boat clean up and multi showers and motored home to Royals on Friday.
Many thanks to Sandy Doull and Liz Meyer for having me aboard Next Moment11 to be used as mother ship for this Rendezvous trip to Refuge Cove.
A great trip for all boats and my thanks to all vessels for cooperating with communications during the trip and will supply a full range of images for all those who would like them.
Look forward to seeing you at our next meeting
Ian Reichelt, SS Rendez-Vous Group Coordinator (Cruising Group)