Friday, July 1, 2011

end of financial year sail

Well actually it was the start of the new financial year, not the end, and I was pretty happy to be on the water in the middle of Winter. The weather reports for weeks had been teasing, but yesterday turned out as predicted to be from 6-17 degrees C, with a light Northerly. When I arrived it hadn't reached 10 degrees, but it looked warm and that seemed enough.

I'm aware that my little trips in Annie must seem pedestrian by the standards of more experienced cruising types, but for me at the moment it is just beautiful to find some time and space on the water, with company or without. And to gain some varied weather experiences,  learning to trust myself as a sailor.

It was interesting sailing because even when the breeze died there was a bit of a swell and it was harder to pick the shifts visually by looking at the surface texture of the water. When the breeze came up the swell came with it, and there was no trouble picking the direction then. So I headed from St Helens, straight over towards Limeburner's point, into increasing waves and a firm breeze, then swung around towards Eastern Beach on a run. I was able to reach back past St. Helens, with the intention of going all the way to Limeburner's Lagoon, but the wind died when I passed North Shore, and feeling that I had already had the best of it, I pottered back in.
These grain stores are one of several export docks that form the Port of Geelong. Since 1850 this port supplied much of the wool that fed the textile industries in the north of England, and if you are British and over 50 you most likely wore woolen clothes made from fleece that came from Victoria's Western District, to this Port and then on to the 'mother country'.

Many of Australia's agricultural crops were geared to feeding and clothing Britain- particularly during the wars, but this all fell apart when Britain joined the Common Market and pitched her future plans in with her old rivals. Like the rest of Australian industry and agriculture,  the farmers and orchardists and millers and weavers had to find new markets, and re-structure their enterprises.

There are a couple of very short clips of the sail on Flickr, here- the usual bits when things were calm enough to manage a camera at the helm, but I know some people just like to listen to the water noises in these.


  1. At the risk of sounding like an historical relic myself I can recall one of my first jobs was to run stored grain trials at the AWB terminal in your photo. I can vividly remember those days driving into these commercial facilities being dwarfed by the scale of the buildings. I can also remember scaling rope ladders into silos and trudging waist deep up mountains of grain to take samples.

  2. Well that's a nice bit of serendipity, to hear your experience of the silos. It's heartening to see them still disgorging seed into great ships.
    But I hope the new sample testers and quality-control folk have a safer way of getting samples now!