Hobart for the Holidays--Touchdown

December 15 Between flight time and time differences, Michelle and I lose Tuesday and arrive in Sydney on Wednesday morning. We flew over Sydney Harbour on our approach to the airport. From the air at least, it looked rather small. I am trying to imagine 123 boats racing from the start to the heads before reaching the open ocean. To add to the confusion, I know that there will be many spectator boats packed outside the exclusion zone. The harbor does not seem big enough. I can easily imagine how bumper-boat incidents could occur. It is going to require cool heads on the wheel and calling tactics to get through there in good order. The race this year will utilize two start lines with the faster boats in front. But, everyone still starts at the same time. The boats starting in front have to go farther into the Tasman Sea before reaching their turning mark and heading south. Two turning marks are used to compensate for the distance between the start lines. After clearing immigration, we run into half the crew in baggage claim. Most of the Chicago group also arrived today via a different route. A quick discussion of today's plan results in the understanding that I'm to meet them at the yacht club that afternoon. Michelle and I clear customs in reasonable time and grab a cab to our home for the next 10 days or so. We feel lucky to get into the country fairly easily. We had been advised to run, not walk to immigration to get as far in front of the line as possible. It seems that several jumbo jets arrive at about the same time. Anyway, our waits were not bad. Michelle now only wants to get her makeup off and clean up after the long trip. While she showers, I go out looking for Diet Coke, beer, and the route to the yacht club, not necessarily in that order. My first view of the yacht club with the mega yachts parked on its outside edges brings a wave of excitement. I was only allowed out of the flat without a shower due to the promise to bring back Diet Coke. So, I don't have a lot of time to gawk at the boats that will be racing for line honors. I am back to the flat. I clean up. And we are off to lunch. After lunch we head down to the host club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. The boat has been delivered there from its home at its owner's house. Most of the team is there before me and is busily going through checking out the boat. I sign in on the crew list and fill out my application to join the New South Wales Yachting Association. Membership in NSW Yachting Association is required for us to participate. Expedited processing will be done on behalf of those from outside Australia. Some say it's kind of a racket. I know that there has been controversy around this issue in the U.S. in the past. For me, it seems a reasonable requirement. After the boat check-out is complete, the crew goes up to the yacht club patio for a beer. Several jugs-Australian for pitcher-of beer later, most of the crew is eating at the yacht club. Michelle and I opt to head back towards the flat, to find somewhere to eat on the way, and to make it an early evening. As I write this she has fallen asleep on the sofa before 10 p.m. while watching some strange (at least in my mind) movie. Meanwhile, I'm trying to get to my work email and updating my journal. Tomorrow we have an 8:30 a.m. boat time and a 5 p.m. class that will begin our Safety at Sea and Survival class. For Roger's earlier journal entries, click here: http://sailingworld.com/article.jsp?ID=35078&typeID=419&catID=587