Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Soft Toy Watch

And now for something completely different. The following arrived in my email this week. I have every reason to believe that it came from an actual participant in the recent Sydney-Hobart Race.

Hi, I'm Orlando Fitz, a Charitable Pirate Bear and I've Been To Hobart.

Tillerman suggested that a guest post about the Sydney to Hobart Race might be welcome, and I'm delighted to step up. I mean, if a mechanical fish can blog, an ocean racing piratical bear can do it easy.

When Tony Kirby, the incredibly generous owner asked me to come along as Chief Stuffed Toy on Patrice SiX, I jumped at the chance. I had already done Hobart on another boat the previous year so I knew this was going to be a great opportunity to extend my piratical ocean racing skills.

Christmas week passed in a whirl, with the crew party, Safety and Weather Briefings, Skippers and Stuffed Toys Cocktail Party, and last minute checking of piratical stores and equipment, and before I knew it, it was Boxing Day morning, the day of the race start.

What a nasty surprise: the owner, attempting to stiffen up the soft toy presence has dragged in a soft toy heavy, Willy the Whale: Willy has done more Hobarts that he can count on his flippers and is a past winner, so best get focused and set myself up to learn from one of the greats.

Willie the Whale with his Damn Crew Pass

Off down the harbour to the start. Reasonable start: life is hard for a 41 footer with Maxis, 52 footers and all, but we make the best of it, bear away round South Head and head South in a moderate Nor-Wester, waiting for the forecast Southerly.

Hardly are we out of Sydney Heads, when out of a sea-bag, comes this tiny Stowaway Bear. Stowaway Bear, it turns out has quite a few ocean miles under his dungaree belt, having started from Europe two years ago, crossed the Atlantic, Panama Canal and down the Pacific, to there's another Soft Toy hand.

Well that's three of us Soft Toys now, so that's enough to form into a regular Watch.

About 5 o'clock there she is: absolutely textbook roll-cloud, precursor to the famous Southerly Buster.

Now, as everybody knows, there's nothing soggier than a Soft Toy in a Southerly, so this is about the time for the whole Soft Toy Watch to go below and get stowed. Willie gets ticked away behind the saloon curtains, I'm stuffed into the locker, and Stowaway Bear gets packed back into his gear bag.

And that, your honour, is the last thing I remember until the party started in Hobart. Must have been the beer and champagne that did the real damage.

Here's how we ended up in the morning:

Wooooo. Great party.

Just can't wait to do it all again next year.

Don't forget the Oncology Kids

No comments:

Post a Comment