Heavy weather came in on Thursday and lasted right through Saturday, winds of up to 43 knots. So obviously we had to cancel the Stingray sailing day on Saturday, a shame as 4 or 5 boats were going to take part and it would have been fun.
Fortunately the wind had moderated by Sunday and it was a glorious sunny day. So after our Sunday ocean swim and coffee we headed off to Ballina for a few hours sail.
This time my crew were Noela, who is becoming a regular, plus Gerry and my long time friend Rae.
It was still quite blowy when we set out so I decided to test out the new reefing system. I'm pleased to report it works well. After a couple of hours the wind dropped enough for us to shake out the reef and that also turned out to be a trouble free operation.
Gerry enjoyed being at the helm and the second photo shows Gerry concentrating on sailing on a dead run and Noela rather anxiously watching the wind indicator at the top of the mast.
The third photo shows us goose winging using the recently modified boat hook as a whisker pole shortly before we shook out the reef. It is the first time that I have had the chance to test out the new whisker pole and it passed the test with flying colours.
We had a few nervous moments when we met about 100 boats (maybe less but it felt like that) bearing down on us and I ended up weaving my way through the fleet trying to ensure that not only did I observe the rules, but that I didn't get in the way. It wasn't easy given a sandbank on one side and the RSL Club on the other side.
Rae spotted an osprey so we got out the flash binoculars (thanks Peter and Helen) for a closer look. It is good to see them up high in their special osprey nesting boxes.
PS It wasn't until I got home that I heard that while we were out sailing a shark had got tangled in a surfer's toe rope and towed him out to sea off Clark's Beach at Byron. This is exactly where we had been swimming earlier. The surfer was taken to the hospital and the news says that all the doctor prescribed was a beer - he was lucky.