Rob was happy to join in my lunacy, so we arranged to meet down at Vaucluse Bay & paddle across to South Head just before the race start. We weaved our way through the fleet until we reached Camp Cove, where a Waterways guy motored over to check our credentials.
The gun went off & the Maxi's started to charge, and the spectator fleet fairly raced out to the heads alongside the yachts. It was like a 16 lane freeway of churning whitewater with Sydney's flotilla of Gin Palaces tearing along at breakneck speed - think the running of the bulls on water.
Wakes rolling through the heads
The risks the motorboat skippers were willing to take with their own safety & ours on the shallow reef at South Head was something to behold – we very quickly had 40ft cruisers tearing past within a boat length of our spot on the 3m deep reef to get a gap on the rest of the spectator fleet.
Boat shoes, striped shirts, big boats, no brains
Obviously they’re wealthy enough to own one of these beasts, so they’re also wealthy enough to pay for the repairs. If we had stayed where I had wanted to go – note my preference, not Mr Mercer’s – we would have most likely found ourselves in game of dodgem with 10,000 charging half-pissed skippers in boat shoes & striped shirts.
The water surface went from a small chop being spun up by a 10 knot Nor' Easter, to an awesome frothing whitewater which presented us with some great technical paddling. This of course was the real reason I went out there......
The Gin Palace charge
Within about 10 minutes the combined boat wakes were pushing metre+ waves out of the harbour, so to our delight we caught a few waves out of Sydney Harbour, which was a first. Anyway, we caught wave after wave from the South head reef all the way around to the Gap & had a ball.
We followed it up with a six pack on the sand at Watson’s Bay & paddled back to our cars.