SHAG ISLAND CRUISING YACHT CLUB RENDEZVOUS 2013
“The SICYC Rendezvous have been running annually in August for a number of years now starting in 2009 but this was to be my first one. So, having packed enough clothes for a month including jumpers, tracksuit pants, socks and the like, I headed off to Tullamarine Airport to leave a cold, blustery winter’s day in Melbourne for Hamilton Island.
On arriving at Hamilton Island I had to quickly divest myself of a jumper and undo shirt buttons to try and get comfortable, yes sweat was already running in that wonderful tropical sunshine. Onto the ferry and half an hour later I was at Abel Point Marina. It had been eleven years since I had last sailed into Abel Point and the changes were already obvious.
Off the ferry, purchase a few essential supplies and I was soon walking down A Finger to my friends and Mystique. A kiss and a hug and some abuse from their cockatiel and we had cast off lines and were leaving Abel Point and headed north for Gloucester Passage.
At Montes all of the accommodation had been booked out months ago and folk had settled in. Hugs and kisses all round with a real sense of excitement in the air. Already it was clear to me that this was something special, there was a feeling of community with genuine warmth in the greetings and multiple conversations erupting constantly. Like the movie says, “Build it and they will come!” Already there were people from all over Australia there as well as from overseas but the locals clearly shared ownership and they were busy erecting marquees, building stages and dance floors and bringing in seating.
There were trailer-sailers, wood, steel and fibre glass yachts, catamarans, tri-marans, sloops, ketches and motor yachts, but all were there with one purpose in mind – to celebrate the brotherhood of cruising.
I guess part of the attraction is this is a mutual support group with members all over Australia as well as fourteen other countries in the world. Already the club burgee is well known throughout Australia and is an instant invitation to say “Hello Sailor”. Sail into any port where there is a resident member and there is friendship and support if needed – all for a small one off payment that includes the club polo shirt.
Join and instantly you are a life time Vice Commodore of SICYC.
During the four days some fourteen hundred people participated in the event, all for the cost of a $15.00 wristband which provided Tai Chi on the beach in the mornings, live music at many of the events which participants danced the night away to, fireworks, valet dingy parking on Shag Island for the BBQ there, Polynesian Dance displays, on separate days a Polynesian dress-up and Pirate dress-up with prizes for the best costumes and Best Dressed Boat prizes for night and day. There was crab racing, kite flying, port and starboard toe nail painting, hair cutting by a bikini clad beauty, auctions of donated prizes such as a week’s bareboat charter in Tahiti and the Whitsundays, a month’s free marina rental for both a catamaran and a mono hull at Airlie Beach.
The event has become so notable there were representatives of the local press, a film crew making a documentary for Travel TV, the editor of Cruising Helmsman and a representative of the Queensland Tourism office.
The sadness of leaving was tempered by the sight of a whale close to us. Then it was back on the plane and back to wintery Melbourne. Ah well! My first action on going back to work was to apply for leave for August next year. Like so many others bitten by the SICYC bug, I will be returning for the fun. See you there, don’t forget to say “Hello”.”