Sunday 26 Feb was the day of our club sailing day at Rye.

For me, I prepared Mars in the week before, running my engine and changing my trailer light board, trying to fix my trailer winch pawl and greasing my wheel bearings. After a couple of fine days on the lead up, Sunday's weather report was for heavy weather abating during the day.

On arrival to Rye 9:30 the wind was blowing with whitecaps on the water, not very suitable for us in small boats. Geoff and Jimmie had sailed Rufus to Rye from St Kilda on Saturday and had spent an uncomfortable night at anchor. David O’Dempsey had launched his boat so his grand kids could go fishing while the rest of us waited for the weather to improve. David returned to make the offer of supplying the fish for the afternoon fish and chips.

By 11:30 the weather had improved and the remainder of us launched and were off in all directions. I took off to the South Channel Pile Light with passengers Chris and Brian. With the blistering pace of Mars at 4 knots it took forever to get there. Realising Chris had taken food, drink and chairs we returned so that Sue could have a comfortable lunch without Chris getting in trouble.

Most returned for a late lunch under a tree near the carpark and away from the jet ski crowd. By this time the wind had dropped to nothing to the disgust of Penny and Jim and new member Simon. 

By mid-afternoon most cast off again, I decided to get to South Channel Island during slack water.  On the way back to Rye while crossing the shipping channel the Spirit of Tasmania emerged in the distance through the Rip. Its transit at 27 knots had it advance quickly while I crossed at my ‘blistering’ speed. Remembering David and Jan were returning from Tasmania on the day, I ran a parallel course just in case David was looking out the window. Sure enough I got a text from him when he saw me.

When I returned to the boat ramp at Rye, I was welcomed by two sting rays under my boat nearly bigger than Mars!

The Water Police had just towed back a boat with an underperforming engine so I adjusted my lifejacket and recovered my boat. I was a bit late back and thought all other WBA had packed up and gone so I missed the fish and chip dinner.

I think all those present had a good day even though the weather was so variable.  [Andrew Campbell]

Editor’s notes. 

Geoff and Jimmie report that it will be a long time before they want to see the inside of Rufus again.

 “We are safely back at St Kilda after a 5 ½ hour run from Macrae.    Thought there would be shelter from the easterlies but not from the north easterlies!   Enter a night at anchor to remember!  At one stage four large breakers dumped a couple of inches of water into the cockpit…. Quite scary at 11pm in the dark with a howling wind screaming the rigging.   It was a night to remember, but with a better outcome than the Titanic!”

The O’Dempsey’s fishing was successful – 14 keepers.   It was a bit choppy in the morning – as we drifted, our sounder reported  wave heights of up to 1.9 metres, and after an hour and a half a break was called at the request of an anklebiter with a funny tummy (he went out again later ‘though!).    The fish?   Apparently they were delicious!