One of the highlights of the BPYC year is the “Don Deller”. Named after one of the late
founders of Blues Point Yacht Club, it involves a Saturday cruise in company from Sydney
Harbour to Barrenjoey at the entrance to Broken Bay, a race from Barrenjoey to Scotland
Island, berthing overnight at RMYC Newport, then on Sunday morning a race from Scotland
Island to Barrenjoey followed by a cruise back to Sydney Harbour. Saturday night is
reserved for drinks and BPYC dinner at RMYC, with informal drinks, often on competitors’
yachts, before and after dinner. In other words, a typical BPYC social event mixed in with
some semi-serious racing.
This year, five yachts (Blue Sky, Enterprise, Martela, Megisti Blue and One Mo’ Time) set off
at around 1045hrs from Clark Island, arriving just after 1500 for a race start at 1530. They
were joined there by Questing, a beautifully restored, 35 foot, wooden racing yacht designed
by Alan Payne and built in Seaforth in 1949. Questing lives just off Scotland Island, in the
family of Cap’n Hugh who chose to compete her instead of his usual charge, Megisti. While
waiting for the BPYC fleet’s arrival from the Harbour, Questing’s crew spent the latter part of
the morning and early afternoon in some very enjoyable sailing on Pittwater, soaking in the
admiring glances of passing yachts (and getting soaked by a solitary rain squall with thunder
and lightning that passed almost overhead).
When Martela arrived at Barrenjoey, there was some surprise when, after finally finding their
radio, they announced they wouldn’t race to Scotland Island. A competitive yacht not
racing? This was the first introduction to BPYC for one of the crew members on Questing,
and his response to the news was “What kind of yacht club is this??”. It turned out that the
reason was not to refurbish Martela’s alcohol supply more quickly at RMYC, as was
scurrilously suggested by another crew member on Questing, but rather because Martela
was not planning to race on Sunday due to pre-arranged repairs that day, and therefore
racing on Saturday was unnecessary (when time could be better spent on other social
Meanwhile, the more serious among the now augmented fleet got down to serious racing.
Winds were light and fluky, with holes for the unwary. At one point it looked as if Blue Sky
would repeat its performance from last year and just streak down Pittwater. However,
Questing, some 60 years older, kept it in check for about half the race. Meanwhile, Megisti
Blue and One Mo’ Time went chasing wind, and each other, tucking into bays here and
there. Ultimately, Megisti Blue was more successful in finding and keeping the wind, and
won the first race on scratch, and by a great enough margin to win also on handicap. It was
followed on handicap by One Mo’ Time, Questing, and Blue Sky. Unfortunately, Enterprise
had no luck in finding the wind and maintaining momentum, and so decided to withdraw for
the more attractive option of relaxing at their RMYC berth.
The dinner on Saturday night was a very enjoyable occasion, with the usual tall tales
replacing the tell tails, and the renowned BPYC camaraderie very much in evidence. Prize-
giving for Race 1 results was also enjoyed by almost everyone, though Cap’n Carl appeared
to be not overwhelmed with gratitude at receiving the traditional paddle for last place on
We woke on Sunday morning to a beautiful day, complete with a breeze promising to be
around 15 knots, and Pittwater and the sky apparently trying to out-blue each other.
However, the wind lightened and again became fluky at around the start time of Race 2
(Scotland Island to Barrenjoey).
The same five yachts lined up for the start of Race 2, though there seemed to be differing
opinions as to the actual location of the starting line (should’ve gone to SpecSavers??).
Ultimately this mattered little as, after the start, each yacht again tried to decide where the
wind was and what sails to set in the difficult conditions. Spinnakers went up, down and
sometimes around; yachts went everywhere. Seeking improvement from the previous day’s
third and fourth placings, Questing set a larger headsail and Blue Sky just went for it,
ultimately beating Questing to the finish line by about ten minutes on scratch and half that on
handicap, and by a sufficient margin on all other boats to win Race 2 on scratch and
It seemed One Mo’ Time and Megisti Blue, as well as Enterprise, had been left well behind
in Pittwater, but the first two found wind and appeared close in to Barrenjoey at the finish,
and thus shortened the line, finishing only a few minutes behind Questing which had taken a
longer leg to the finish. Enterprise finished the race in a creditable fourth place on corrected
time, 28 seconds ahead of One Mo’ Time.
All yachts that headed back to the Harbour reported a lovely return sail. Questing also had
an enjoyable return to its mooring in the strengthening wind, with water streaming off and
around the winches as she leant gracefully to windward. Almost a perfect end to a great
week-end, at least until, on its mooring, the headsail halyard wrapped around the top of the
forestay during furling and a couple of good drinking-time hours had to be spent instead with
a bosun’s chair (thanks, Glen!). All’s well that ends well, as they say, and in this case,
ended in the bar at RMYC (again), so not even Murphy’s Law could diminish the enjoyment
of another great Don Deller event.