We had it all - literally rain hail & shine, big and little southerlies and a finish with a beautiful nor-easter......
I watched Seabreeze all Thursday night prior to our departure, in fact, I hit this site all week watching the latest weather details wanting the encroaching southerly to suddenly disappear so we could start this Training Camp off with some sort of easy lead-in. But it doesn't always work like that, does it! When I left for a fly-by of the Basin Campgrounds in the RIB at 7am, the southerly was due in by mid-morning. The weather at the time was just serene with gentle ripples creasing the water and the sun booming through to give us a false sense of calm - before the storm! We assembled at Clareville Beach, with cradles and camping gear stacked up for collection by the tender boats supplied by Avalon Sailing Club and parents.
With the southerly approaching, we bolted across to the Basin in a hurry, leaving a little later than expected. By the time the southerly hit hard, most were around the corner and in the lea, with only one of the coaches boats having to be towed as it had engine problems which ruled this vessel out for the duration of the camp (no problem - ASC gave us another one). But after a brief sail around following the leader exercises, the rain and lightening appeared and everyone was ordered to the campground shore. A number of parents were on hand to move all the ferried gear to shelter. Meanwhile, most of the crews were able to get close to the shore before the tempest was upon us. Big squalls and the first batch of hail hit the fleet and it was difficult to see 50m in front and even locate the beach at moments. The kids were very impressive in the manner in which they handled the hard start, and I recall only seeing smiling faces of boat crews such as 1354 THE ARTFUL DODGER's crew Karina Curry-Hyde and Annick Cappuyns through the hail storm on the way to the beach. No one was fazed by it all - even I had to laugh although I knew that now we had to set-up tents etc in a campsite that was now sodden with puddles. The weather broke and we all found some high spots and we were set-up once the weather came back in with some more hail to keep the joke start alive. Again - none of the kids were fazed and they had lunch served to them by our wonderful "catering officers" and then went out to have an afternoon session in more southerly breezes around the corner in Pittwater. A couple of the crews hurt knees meant one boat retired from the camp at this stage (an old injury revisited by one crew), but everyone else was left standing and eager for more. Josh McKnight spent the whole day sailing single handed and by the afternoon, was putting in some very fancy gybes in the 20kt southerly, with Anna Kendall also managing extremely well sailing single handed during the afternoon too.
This was about the time I was voicing that we had our "stories for the weekend" episodes now out of the way, and the weather was looking a whole lot more endurable for our happy campers. I booked the campsites fire pit for the night and gathered the firewood from the stack they had told me was covered (it wasn't) and set-up a camp fire for after dinner so we could all warm-up together, given there are not hot showers at the grounds.
Dinner was a wonderful selection of home made kebabs which were gobbled up joyfully by the kids and a number of parents who had volunteered to assist. I was having a better time by now as it all looked good from here, but no sooner had thought this when it started to rain again and my camp fire programme looked in jeopardy. Being a firebug from way back, I managed to kick-start the fire without using accellerant (this was a back-up if it all went pear-shaped) and we all settled around the firepit giggling with chinese whispers and other campfire games and many funny stories. Coaches David O'Connor and Paul Mackenzie carried the fun and games on until many crews realised how tired they were and snuck off to their respective tents. Some crews seemed to have more energy than others and joined up together in various tents for sing-a-longs and much frivolity and laughing was heard around the campgrounds. Eventually, everyone settled into their own tents and went to sleep, but only after the ranger appeared to just remind us curfew was at 10 o'clock, it now being 11 something. The first night went peacefully excepting a short burst of sleep talking from a number of tents and one small group having a sing-a-long just before dawn, which was quickly and quietly extinguished without much ado. A pretty good result for first night syndrome!
We awoke to sparkling blue skies and good breeze albeit a little chillier than the week before, when the Rural Firefighters had fought off bushfires right down to the campsite itself. Big breaky of bacon and egg rolls and off for more training. Lunch of bbq'd sausages and back out for the afternoon session.
This is where the more sad than sore knee bit entered the otherwise wiz bang time each and everyone were having when an out-of-control lunatic from the RMYC's Trimaran Race collided over our starting line with 1339 WHITEWASH where Tom Koerner and Joshua Ponton were thrown from their vessel. These two champions were very lucky to escape with only some bruising and an incident report has been made by both the RMYC and Tom's parents. I was concerned they might have some residual problems over the incident, but I was informed they went into the Sunday afternoon Race at ASC in an old borrowed boat and almost won the first race, coming 2nd though and a tremendous 5th in the second race, leaving no doubt that there were no problems with these two crew whatsoever due to the drama experienced the day before. The news is that the hull is not damaged but will be tested for stress fractures etc, but the rigging has been zeroed.
As Manly crews had to leave a day early because of a re-scheduled championship race from the week before on Sunday, this left 11 boats in the programme for the last days training which culminated in the two afternoon races from Avalon. All in all a big three days and all stated they were keen to do it all again next year.
I just wonder how much influence our coaches had over some of our crew members in many wanting to come back and do it all again, as I could have sworn I saw some twinkling eyes and some beating hearts from some of the girl crews over the coaching staff, who excelled themselves once again with total professionalism and commitment during the three days we lived, worked and played together.
The F11 Association will be conducting another 3 day training camp (not live-in this time) just prior to the Nationals at Manly in mid-December. We expect a lot of crews will want to be in attendance as it is a perfect opportunity to become accustom to the waters of the up-coming Nationals. An on-line form will be forthcoming shortly so keep your eyes out for this opportunity.
David Price - National President
Last Modified on 16/10/2007 07:08