A fun weekend had by all, and a "must do" event on the RMYS Calendar.
Mrs Overnewton is a 38 foot Bavaria Match racer/cruiser. Currently fitted with cruising rig as purchased in 2005
Accommodation is in two separate lock up cabins, one in a vee berth and the other on port quarter. Centre bunk sleeping provides two extra permanent berths. A separate shower /head is provided on starboard quarter. An outside shower also provides a quick washdown. Auxiliary engine is a Volvo Penta. The yacht is recognised by our sailmaker, Col Anderson Doyles, as being one of the most regularly sailed yachts on Port Philip Bay. We have 26 available crew on our mailing list qhich sounds rather formidable yet we are never under crewed though sometimes a little squeezy. She is most comfortable racing with 8 crew. When cruising we normally assign a skipper and co skipper, assigned navigator, cook and other permanent positions. For the Flinders Cruise, we started off with 4 on Friday evening and were joined by two others at Queenscliff on Saturday morning.
The six crew have spent much time sailing together on Club races and also ORCV ocean events. Several have radio licences, navigation skills and excellent culinary skills. Crew was: Phil Grossi, Geoff Chambers, Nadine Huels, Graham Dicker, Marc Tracy, Tim Wood. This proved to be a good crew dynamic as usual.
Flinders Yacht Club
Flinders is Located in the Southern parts of Mornington Peninsula in Westernport bay, just a few miles from Port Philip Heads. Fishing is popular from the pier with calamari and scale fish being a regular catch. An aquaculture industry is also present with fresh mussels available from the fishing vessel only after the days catch. Scuba diving clubs use the pier as a safe training ground in adverse weather conditions. The Flinders wine fair also has an event during this weekend and was well attended. Flinders town ship is located around a ten minute walk from the harbour. A pilot boat also operates from Flinders harbour servicing Hastings harbour. Flinders Yacht club is protected from prevailing Southerly winds and is nestled away in the Lee of Mornington Peninsula, an ideal weekend cruise location. Overnight moorings were made available at no charge to visiting vessels. Access to the pier may be available for short term although you may be interfering with divers and fishermen and is not recommended. Whilst Flinders has been a regular on cruising calendars for many years, interest has been reawakened due to a collaboration between past and present RMYS and Flinders yacht club management and members.
Attendees on this cruise were:-
Mrs Overnewton (radio coordinating vessel minus her trusting Owner Les Norton, he left the crew to enjoy the trip whilst he recovered from an illness…..Thanks Les), Deliverance, Allira, Shadow Dancer, Abatao, Affascinante, Mandela, White Swan, Femme Fatale, Seaya, Tubasa, Quest and the crew of Astarte via road waves.
The smallest yacht in the fleet was the 30 foot Defiance “Deliverance” and the largest over 50 foot. “White Swan”. All efforts are made for the group to cruise together. Shadow dancer was the designated tail end of the fleet.
Much effort goes into preparing this club approved aquatic event. This becomes evident both before the cruise, commencing with a comprehensive cruise briefing, on this occasion by, Pat Milwright, Yacht master instructor, although he did not attend the event. During the cruise, the co ordinating vessel is required to maintain contact with port Authorities and other yachts.
Leg 1 to Queenscliff
Victualling for 6 on board Mrs Overnewton is an interesting affair as we try to outdo each other with various cooked on board meals. We opted for a Friday 3pm departure which saw us driving uncomfortably into head seas making for a very wet noisy ride towards West Channel pile at an attempted 6 knots, we quickly reduced speed to a little over 3 knots for more comfort on board. Dinner this evening was to be delayed by several hours.
Some yachts had opted for an earlier or later departure. Deliverance was our nearest vessel and just a few minutes behind us in the West channel, both bound for Queenscliff cruising yacht club, another excellent cruising destination. Very handy if you are a QCYC member yacht. However Deliverance decided to do some midnight sightseeing prior to entering the cut at Queenscliff and arrived much later. We were greeted by the crew of Biddy Hu on arrival at QCYC. They had retired from the King Island race due to adverse weather conditions, An excellent meal was prepared by our culinary chefs all enjoyed with the obligatory midnight glass of red or two.
Day 2 Queenscliff to Flinders
Strong wind warnings the day prior and wind howling through the rigging early morning had some a little concerned prior to commencing the voyage at the heads and one yacht opted for a quick dash back to Melbourne. They later joined us for festivities at a more leisurely pace via road waves (Astarte)
Our 11:30 am departure through the heads saw us in very pleasant conditions as the winds had unexpectedly subsided. We soon exited Port Philip Bay at the Rip via the Western leads and waited outside the heads for some of the tardy yachts in the event.
Sailing along the Coast was very relaxing with abundant bird and sea life a pleasure to watch. We were also reminded of the cruelty of the sea as two snorkeller’s were reported missing around the time we were passing Cape Schank just a Nautical mile North of where we passed the Cape. Their bodies have since been recovered. We continued our trip unaware of the disaster close at hand, only becoming aware of the tragedy upon arrival at our destination.
We were greeted on arrival at Flinders harbour by Peter Dawson, past manager and current Flinders yacht club member. Peter also provided an inflatable dinghy and aluminium boat for our ship/shore transfers.
Day 3 Royal Flinders Cup
The traditional Royal Flinders yacht club race on Sunday provided the usual false briefings, false buoy locations and descriptions and confusing start times in an effort to throw off the competitive yachts. I remember an old saying, believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see. We checked the sailing instructions handed to us by the crew of an opposing team only to discover they were last years’ sailing instructions sending us to non-existent buoys.
Results for the very exciting race were
1st..… Femme Fatale, 2nd… Super Goof, 3rd… Mrs Overnewton, 4th…. Affascinante, 5th… Foxy Lady, 6th… Valkyrie, 7th… Seaya, 8th… Act of Faith, 9th… Allira, 10th… Flying Cloud, 11th… White Swan.
Another quiet night was spent at anchor with the usual indulgence of on board medication (G & T containing Quinine), some over indulgence was experienced by one of our younger new crew with predictable affects for the return voyage.
Day 4 return to Melbourne
The early 7am return cruise home saw us rounding Flinders rock in moderate head winds with a Southerly swell and Mal De Mer affected one yes, you guessed who. Dolphins and numerous swarms of sea birds were spotted and the wind eventually faded to a light breeze as we approached the heads at slack water ebb. Passage through the heads was very busy with 5 ships departing the heads and one entering. Needless to say communications with port authorities was very busy and our radio operators earned their keep. The Port Authority vessel also encouraged us to keep clear of shipping with a friendly greeting. Soon we sent our crew Tim home feeling a little better and yet another uneventful cruise home in freshening winds, total return trip was up to around 12 hours
This event is an excellent cruise destination on the RMYS calendar. Overall sailing time is typically total 12 hours each way with an overnight at Queenscliff Cruising Yacht Club (if a member) or at the marina desirable. Good reports have been received from most participants and both clubs are keen to keep the event going.