With an early start on a perfect Autumn day – warm weather and a light breeze – several of our volunteer team including Brian, John, Jim and others, under the watchful eye of the day’s Boat Operations Manager, Rob Southam, rigged 6 boats in preparation for an enjoyable day’s sailing.

Meanwhile, down on the pontoon, Col Gregan and his team including Sue, Jim, David G, Mark and Tony, ran a smooth operation, launching the boats, while the ever reliable Helen H multi-tasked as registrar, radio operator and morning tea provider, Sheila took on the role of time keeper and others set up awnings, tables chairs and life jacket bins.

With a record turn-out of 28 volunteers including 3 newcomers, namely Kelly Griffin, Lindsey Edgar and Warren Evans, who were all quickly engaged in boat preparations aided by Denis’s rigging and sailing instruction, we were well prepared when the Royal Far West team of 6 young people from country NSW and their 2 leaders arrived about 09.20 am.

Kathy and her able assistants soon had the “country kids”, from as far afield as Nowra, Griffith, and north western NSW fitted out with life jackets and onto the pontoon, where Col and his team had all boats quickly crewed and away, enabling the RFW minders Clare and Anthony a welcome and rare opportunity to relax in the warm sun. The only thing missing at this stage was a stiff breeze. However the smiles and comments on the faces of Braith, Bianca, Cody, Jacob, Reece and Tom on their return from sailing said it all. They had all enjoyed their sail despite the light breeze.Photo of David G in Woody with one of the Verne Barnett students

Soon after 10 o’clock, a contingent of 11 pupils and 5 teachers and carers arrived from Verne Barnett School. With the breeze picking up we quickly had 6 students out sailing while 3 more boarded (our safety boat) Charlie’s Chariot for a ride in the capable hands of skipper John Weaver and his observer Corey. So popular were both the sailing and power boat cruising that after ensuring everyone who wanted to sail had one, sailers and power boat passengers swapped roles.

Photo of ING with one of the Verne Barnett students and sailor JohnWith so many volunteers we had no shortage of skippers/sailors, with Denis, Rob, Jim, Michael, Mark, Warren, Tony, John G, John B, Terry and Caroline all managing to get out on the water along with our clients and carers. Peter and Phil relieved John and Corey on Charlie’s Chariot in the latter part of the morning taking more passengers for a fun ride while watching over the fleet.Photo of Black Swan taken from the Manly Ferry on the way in at 10.30 a.m.

Sue and Kathy seemed to be everywhere, Rowell helped with awnings, chairs and tables while Kandy managed to turn up to promote the Manly Fun Run and seek more sponsors.

Photo of Dolly Wallis taken from the Manly Ferry on the way in at 10.30 a.m.When we discovered that our regular Amaroo cleints would not be attending, the staff and helpers from Verne Barnett took advantage of our invitation to enjoy a sail along with some of our newer volunteers. Meanwhile our “official” photographer, Caroline along with Eli, who had just returned from visiting her daughter and family were out-and-about on Charlie’s Chariot obtaining a pictorial record of the day’s sailing.

After another great day sailing, we finally packed the boats away around 12.30 pm.

Thanks to so many of you for turning up on Wednesday and “making it happen” so smoothly.