Ten go mad in Sydney!   Leave a comment

Sunday, 14 December, 2014

A few weeks ago, Glenn contacted me to see if I fancied driving up to Sydney for the day to watch some competitive sailing in the harbour near the Opera House. Always one to have a day out, I naturally said yes and so it was I pitched up at Glenn and Ja’s house this morning at 7am with my camera and camp car in tow!

The plan was for all of us to pile into their new family car (Glenn, Ja, Bang, Beam, Hannah (Beam’s friend) and myself) and drive up to one of the outer suburbs of Sydney, park up near to a train station on the east Hill line, jump on a train into the centre of city ($2.50 for all day travel on any mode of public transport in Sydney on a Sunday, bargain!) and then for us to spilt, with Glenn and myself heading off to the Opera House to catch the racing and the rest of the bang hitting the shops for the day.

Made it to Sydney without any dramas and managed to find a decent place to park up the car at one of the train stations on the East Hills line, just off the M5 on the outskirts of Sydney. From there we took the train right into the middle of Sydney, with Ja and the gang of three jumping off at Central to start the shopping trip and Glenn and I exiting at Circular Quay in order to take the short trip across to the Opera House. Now, Sydney has just recently joined the modern world with the introduction of the Opal card (simular to the Oyster Card in London) and as part of its roll-out, Sydneysiders (not sure if that’s a real word!) get to travel on any Train, Bus or Ferry all day on a Sunday for $2.50, that’s a bargain in anyone’s money! Realising that we had not eaten since around nine this morning, we took the opportunity to stop off at the always excellent Opera bar just below the sails of the Opera House itself for something to eat and a quick beer.

The actual racing itself was scheduled to start at 2pm in the cove between the Opera Hose and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair (farm Cove), so we took up a position at the top of the step leading up to the Opera House which gave us an excellent birds eye view of the course laid out below. To start with we watched some small sailing boats race around the cove, but our attention was soon drawn to the beautiful 40 foot catamarans coming towards us out of the bay across the harbour. Wow! these things could move and by the time of the first race in a series of eight (or was it nine?) was about to start, we counted ten of these beauties.

Then we were off, it was amazing to see these big boats with a crew of five on board, pick-up speed and ‘fly’ across the water towards the first ‘mark’. OMG how are they all going to get around that buoy at the same time without smashing into one another, I thought to myself. Well incredibly they did and over two laps of the course they managed not to make contact with each other, despite the fact that they were in such a confined space. In the first four races I think there were three different winners with every boat looking competitive in the melee. At around the halfway mark, we decided to change positions and headed over to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair on the other side of the cove. This is where the main spectator base was located and as it was near the first turning point (Mark), it certainly made for a fantastic vantage point to see the boats coming in from the start and around the buoy.

Throughout each race I was amazed that there were no collisions between any of the boats, even though they were crossing in front/behind each other at high speed. However, mid-way through one of the latter races, all this changed. I was down at the water’s edge getting some low level shots of the boats as they came around the corner when there was a almighty crash out in the bay between two of the boats. By the time I had located the crash site, one of the boats was on its side and the crew were disparately trying to right it before the mast head started to sink into the water. After several minutes, all this effort proved fruitless as the boat completely turned turtle and they were left sitting on the upturned hull waiting to be rescued.

All too soon it was the last race and as a testament to the closeness of the racing, everything hinged on this to reveal the overall winner of the series. All we had to do after this was to pack up, meet up with the shoppers, have something to eat and drive home.

Posted December 14, 2014 by yermandownunder in Observations, Out and about, Travels

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