Rogue's Yarn with 'Arry Driftwood'Arry Driftwood

The Tuesday Twilights

A closed mouth catches no foot! They say. But that don’t apply to me as I have a natural talent for foot in the mouth and accept my prejudices with comfort as mine. There are no flies on me shipmates. No, ’Arry, but we can see where they have been!
The Tuesday evening club sail and 30 knot nor’easter coincided as I was about to put some veggies into the steamer. The frantic chiming of my mobile bells, and shouts and frapping sails a few metres from my scuttle, as the sailing-cowboys manoeuvred prior to the start-siren lost me bottle and I postponed the veggies. For I am prejudiced against being impaled on the bows of out-of-control racing bipeds. But, oh, what fun!
So, propped in the companionway with binoculars and a Riedel shiraz-glass of very chilled Mateus Rosé. For I have rediscovered the old Mateus of my youth and quaffed, not sipped, from a suitable container it restored my equilibrium and I could enjoy the fun.
For fun it is to watch 50-odd sailing craft of many sizes and shapes dashing about and falling over as they wait for the starter’s gun, which is now a siren, but once WAS a shottie. Must have run out of ammo?
As I watched a couple of wee Bluebirds ably swishing about, I recalled my view that the pleasure in boats is often inversely proportional to the size of your craft.
Yairs, I owned a wee Savage tinnie and light trailer for years and the Queen o’ the North and I had many hours of quiet pleasure and tonnes of fish from Lakes Entrance to Cooktown in The North, at minimal expense. We did.
As you know I am fussy about drink receptacles and you wanna try that Riedel shiraz-glass with a cold Boag’s Premium. It easily takes a whole stubbie and raises your beer-joy a couple of notches. Trust me!
So here we are, the Tuesday evening club race and 30 knots, but very few prudent skippers with a reef in and motor turning over … just in case. Which means that big 12m or more boats with full main are only marginally in charge and that raises one’s adrenalin to saturation and usually causes a few dings.
Many, many types of craft from wee Bluebirds to biggish Beneteaus. An oldish Diamond class, Rough Diamond, still giving speed and delight. I recall a coterie of Diamonds in Cairns that were kept immaculate and raced heartily. I wonder what it would cost today to build and equip a new Diamond?
Nothing wrong with properly done plywood hulls shipmates? I know fibre reinforced resin is a miraculous medium for boats but I wonder what the comparative cost of plywood/glass would be today?
Some plonkers ask what Driftwood is made of, and I reply with a smile, she is laminated timber.
“Oh, I thought she was steel or plywood?.” Ahem, ullo! Is not ply¬≠wood laminated timber? I thought so.
Other nice movers are those 10m Joe Adams day-sailers. A toot toot from a green ferry approaching the pick-up wharf but no bastard seems to take any notice as the start looms and panic reigns. What wild joy it all is but I would rather be watching than chancing aboard them crazy craft as I quaff my chilled Mateus Rosé and smile contentedly.
As I write now, a cold sou’easter and rain has come in, and a low overcast hiding the kerosene canaries as they rumble down their invisible flight-path to Kingsford Smith Aerodrome. I love weather. We know ’Arry!
Yairs, Joe Adams 10s and many cruising come racers so popular these days and what about the older designs like the Endeavour 8 metres. Great performers still. Juganew moored near me delights as I watch the skilled skipper sail her off and onto the mooring, sans motor.
I love to watch. Light airs or boisterous, the bloke bonds with his craft in natural rhythm and control. She used to carry a dead outboard astern but eventually discarded it as a parasite.
The start siren blows and they are all away like a miniature Sinny-Hobart  start and I am left in peace with my steamed veggies and images of flying hulls and swirling wakes and windblown hair. I listen for the winning siren blast and pop up to see who is first around the course.
There used to be a wee red-hulled boat of six or seven metres that would fly around the course and often outpace the bigger boats. A planing hull? With a deep fin keel and lead bulb called Redback? I wonder what happened to Redback as I havna seen her for years.
Gino and I sometimes feel a bit nervous of the menacing speed and nearness of the starting boats and I thought ’twas unlawful to sail among moorings, but Gino says this is not so? What would I know as I am only an olde mug. And being so ’umble it makes me sick, and sometimes weighed in the balance by friends and found wanting. Yair, up ’em … wanting more of cash … and everything. I deserve more.