• Pt Halloran to Wynnum Ck – The quick way

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    Date: Tuesday 28 January, 2014
    Launch: Pt Halloran
    Distance: 25Km
    Conditions: Wind 15-25Kn Southeast

    The buzz of surfing and sailing from St Helena into the mouth of the Brisbane River with a 20Kn SE up the clacker in May 2009 was the genesis. With the right tide and a dollop of pluck, a one way trip up Moreton Bay on a SE blow promises to be a lot of fun. The marine model was showing a steady 10-15Kn in close with 15-20Kn further out. A full tide of 2.4m was peaking around 0730. The boxes were ticked for what some people call the cannonball run.

    With one car at Wynnum we were on the water and leaving Point Halloran at 0930. The sails were taut and it was an easy 9Kph in conditions best described as domestic as we headed north of the lee of Coochie. The most excitement slapped wet fingers down the back of my spray deck as we lumped over the swell left by the ferries turning into Toondah Harbour. So much for cannon fire, more like a cap gun.

    By now I should know better. Last time I whinged about a boring paddle Mark was promptly T-boned by a desperate dugong. The last picture I took was of Mark adjusting the video camera. As we rounded Wellington Point suddenly it was game on.

    The sail snapped tight, so tight that gear failure, including a ruptured deck, was only a matter of time. Until such a moment the Raider took every piece of growing swell as a dance partner. I was not letting go my paddle. Not for anyone, not to adjust my sail, let alone fiddle with the damn camera. There was no paddling only braking. No way I wanted to slew down this surf as an unwanted jibe promised a facewash for starters. When I felt steady enough to have a peep, all I could see was Mark paddling and shrinking.

    I had inflated dry bags in the front and rear for additional buoyancy but it was weight which was needed to settle what had become a very twitchy Raider. The secondary brake was the back of the next swell. On one occasion all Mark said all he could see was spray flying from the front and rear as she planed down a swell.

    It was my boredom that got us into a pickle. I had suggested King Island for a coffee break. As we changed route, the wind sprang from nowhere. Next I was looking directly into the back of swell trailing white streaks. The chop stood up as we sailed along the edge of the reef. This was the cannonball run. For me there was no paddling required. It was simply hang on and hang in there as the Raider lunged for all offers and together we left the Marlin plodding.

    I need to improve my bracing rather than rely on the inherent capabilities of my dear old girl. This compressed version of the cannonball run was blowing around 25Kn close to the mid flow of a big volume tide along the edge of a reef. It was a buzz which left a few chicken feathers washed up on King Island. The rest of the paddle into Wynnum Creek was quick, but again the Raider deserted the Marlin.

    I would do it again. Mark might if he had a different boat. The logistics of a one way trip could be made easier by planning launches or arrivals to tie in with public transport. Sails essential. White water skills most welcome. Someone who can rescue me even better. Let us know if you want to play.