Thursday, September 23, 2010

Exciting Days in Panapompom

The Louisiades Rally boats all anchored together near Panapompom Island in PNG:,152.386050(Time:07%3A50+GMT%2C+Sep+23%2C+2010%20Latitude:-10.788717%20Longitude:152.386050)
Over the past two days Guy Chester arranged a sailing canoe regatta with 3 divisions of boat sizes and swimming and running races for both the islanders and cruisers ("dimdims" in the local language). We dimdims earned our dim reputation as we clumsily piloted the outrigger canoes (or "salau") and jibing the unusual gaff rigged sails in demonstration sails. Fortunately the locals took back control of their canoes for the race. The next day we all hosted the locals and their families aboard our yachts for a fun race out to the lagoon entrance and back. Australis came in last as usual, shredding our token spinnaker (a sarong from Tahiti). But by the end of the race our 11 "crew" for the day were able to sail her faster and truer than we could.
Today's excitement for the one "off day" of the rally began as L was peering out a porthole at our neighbors that seemed to be underway to leave the anchorage. But as she brushed her teeth the catamaran turned towards our bow and barreled into us as we raced on deck. We cranked our engine, fending off, and yelling to the ghostly quiet catamaran to go into reverse. I leaped aboard and ran towards the cockpit to see where the crew were. Fortunately, crew appeared from below, startled by the collision and quickly put the cat in reverse before our rigs and anchors became tangled. They'd inadvertently left their engine in gear as they reved the engine to charge their batteries while testing a new watermaker deep down in one of the hulls. As usual, Australis bullied her way through the incident, snapping a stanchion off the wayward catamaran with her beefy bowsprit. A bent lifeline turnbuckle was our only damage. An afternoon visit aboard the catamaran to get to know our neighbors some more, and plans were in place to repair the damage to the cat and revive their watermaker. Peace has returned to this corner of paradise.

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