With the expectations of a bitterly cold night on anchor in Slippers Bay on Saturday, 18th July 2021, nine boats made a leisurely start at a reasonable hour and headed off down river passing all our fancy new channel markers and headed out into the bay to start our Frost Bite Cruise.

It was great seeing such a good turnout of boats out in the bay and with a decent light breeze blowing it was all sails up, cut engine, and off we went with Prost even flying a bag at one stage. The wind started picking up nicely and Point Blank was getting a little overpowered, so we stuck a reef in the main, took in a little genny, and continued on with a more sedate heeling angle which at one stage according to our clinometer was hovering around thirty degrees. What followed was a really enjoyable day of sailing around in the bay with the fleet headed in all directions.

By mid-afternoon most of the fleet were either already anchored or were headed towards Slippers Bay which for those of you who have never heard of Slippers, is a very nice anchorage in the head of the bay opposite the Alegria Restaurant.

We fired up the engine and prepared to drop our sails to head up to the anchorage and immediately noticed that we had a dry exhaust and for some reason, there was no cooling water coming through. We cut the engine and ran off towards Shelley Point to buy some time to find and sort out our cooling problem. Gunnar with John Scudder in close pursuit disappeared down below and were soon hunting for the problem under the bunk in the port aft cabin. By the time we had reached Stompneus, the problem had been sorted and we went about and tacked back to Slippers. We entered the anchorage and dropped our shiny new anchor at the back of the fleet for the night. We lit the braai and poured a round of Captain Morgans and settled down to a very pleasant evening of sailing stories, politics, and so on. Our choir practice finally ended at 1.30 the following morning and we hit the sack and slept like babies.

With our draft of 1,95m and being close to neap tides, we decided to set off early to navigate the shallows in the river on a rising tide. The breeze filled in nicely and we had a glorious sail back to the harbour entrance. Apart from passing a large state-of-the-art catamaran tied to our holding jetty we had an uneventful trip upriver back to our berth.

A special mention must be made to Pieter and Rika onboard Andante who persevered and found a dog sitter and made the effort to join the fleet for our weekend cruise. They are both very new to the world of sailing but l have no doubt that they learnt a lot over the weekend.

On behalf of the fleet, a big thank you to Derek for putting this event together. We have arguably the finest sailing waters our country has to offer and this weekend proved that winter cruising can be very enjoyable.

Gunnar Heiberg – Point Blank