On Friday night 14 Calliope Scouts and 6 parents/leaders set up camp at Whangaparoa’s Shakespear Park in readiness for the weekend’s Auckland Regatta, sailed annually amongst the region’s 30+ Sea Scout troops. Of the 20+ troops attending, one had come from Katikati and another from Whangarei. (In all over 250 Scouts attended and over 80 parents/leaders.)
Calliope’s camp was finally established in worsening wind and rain and everyone bedded down for a very wet night. The morning revealed a growing lake across our campsite –by now one sleeping tent had 5cm of water and both the cooking and eating tents were awash with 2cm. Smaller tents had their inbuilt floors floating on water. However there were hungry mouths to feed so breakfast went on, people wading through the water.
The winds forced postponement of sailing but the seamanship, ironman, rafting and kayaking competitions went ahead. Big grins and shrieks of laughter from the children everywhere –great reward for the adult organisers, dreaming of dry beds and clothes back home.
By the end of the Saturday the rain had eased to showers and the wind had dropped, so hopes were high for sailing the next day.
Sunday morning revealed even more water in Calliope’s campsite, but the rain had lifted! Again a big breakfast and then onto rigging Calliope’s two Sunbursts (2 crew) and a borrowed 17 foot cutter (7 crew). The Sunbursts are fairly modern but the borrowed cutter was a beautiful, living remnant of shipwright’s art –also very heavy and presumably slow.
The first race was for juniors (aged up to 13½) racing cutters and our intermediates (aged up to 15½) racing sunbursts. The start area was very crowded with 30+ Sunbursts and 20+ cutters trying to find wind in the near-calm while avoiding collision. A sunburst crew endlessly repeating “The Never-ending Song” only added to the tension….
Calliope’s juniors had never raced before and one had never been sailing. They managed (with some advice from their onboard adult safety person) to ghost their beautiful old boat between the whispers of wind, sail around the opposition (and various stalled Sunbursts), and win the race. Very big grins all round. Calliope’s “intermediates” performed creditably in the sunbursts –they were actually juniors sailing up a division.
The second race was for seniors (15½ – 19½) racing cutters and juniors racing Sunbursts. Again creditable performances were turned in by Calliope despite being relatively young and up against seasoned crews.
The final race was for intermediates racing cutters and seniors racing sunbursts. This time Calliope’s intermediates (and the onboard adult safety person) had more of a battle in the gentle breeze that had filled in. After receiving a lot of attention at the start Calliope managed to pick through the patches of breeze, other cutters and sunbursts to be second at the turning mark. Calliope’s crew worked well together (as had the juniors), gentling the boat and sails through patches of breeze to haul in the leading cutter and cross the line first again. More big grins all round.
Then back into shore to pack up the boats and the sodden camp in readiness for the afternoon’s prizegiving and return home.
At the prizegiving Calliope was amazed to find their underwater camp had met the Camping Standards –during the day the judges had been wading through the water to inspect food storage, First Aid facilities etc. Their comments on Calliope’s “Drying/Airing Facilities” are not known. Calliope also placed in the seamanship competitions –these being a mix of reefing/rigging instruction and then a questionnaire.
Representatives from Calliope’s cutter crews went up to be presented their certificates for the junior and intermediate wins, including the June Bascombe Cup for the intermediate win. A lot of pride as our Scouts were congratulated in front of their peers. However a massive surprise came when it was announced Calliope had won the Sailing section of Auckland Regatta -due to the fine sailing by the whole team across Sunbursts and Cutters, and across all age categories. Biggest grins of the whole weekend.
– David Claridge
So a great result by Calliope in trying conditions and great promise for the future.