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Sailing Older Highlights
  • Ferrets at Manatee
  • Date Published: September 10, 2012

It can sound repetitive... But what a great weekend at Manatee!

Blissful sail down, untold pleasures while there, a vivid and vibrant debate about ferrets, and a tight race back.

All the right ingredients. Wonderful trip...

But it got me thinking....

Some say, "Look - you don't need to sail all the way down to Manatee to drink some rum and have a chat about ferrets".

It really is the only place to do it.

At least, it is now. The ferret pilgrimage!

 A ferret??

Of course, you can have some rum any time, any place.


And should you feel the urge, you can chat about ferret still the cows come home.

Also true.

But, it's only at places like Manatee, after a fabulous day's sailing, after a few beers, after plenty rum, some of (a whole heap of) Gordon's wine at the Ocean Bar while hanging on for dear life to Stella (and your wine) - that you start contemplating ferrets. It's just the whole dynamics, isn't it?

But why? Where did all this ferret stuff come from? After all, I've been down there a number of times, with roughly the same group of suspects, and not one of them has ever before revealed any interest in ferrets. Suddenly the boat is groaning with apparent ferret specialists.

The conversation is lively and agitated. We all have something to say...



 The first four boats in the Raft... two more to arrive.

Some even want to move on to badgers. Lawd above! Why would any of this group know anything about badgers, for Chrissake? There was amoment - didn't last long - when I thought we would get waylaid by Anacondas,and an even more unlikely detour about Henri, the existential cat. Are we just going to move one by one through the animal kingdom until the rum's finished? Or the sun comes up? Or we run out of animals?

Actually, I think all that stuff is made up.

It's fear - fear of being found out, that without Wikipedia it's just a big empty pit up there beneath your hair (those without hair are OK).

And of course, fear of being beaten on race day... By...Picante. Oh yes - that day is coming, and we're all scared as ^%!$@!

So, people start banging on about stuff like ferrets.

"They've got big, sharp teeth, yu know!"

"Bredren - don't ever pick up a ferret by the tail!"



 The beautiful end to a great day...

"You should never, EVER, cross a ferret with a badger..."

It's got to be made up, hasn't it?

Otherwise, why wouldn't these people just say,"Dunno about ferrets".

So, yes... We had a great evening, six boats rafted up,six boats cooking and drinking, six boats snoring and blaspheming - Mystique, Aurora, Stephanie J, Getweh, Picante, Puella Mea. 30-footers one and all. Noneof that 40-foot stuff!

Race day dawned fresh an' breezy, 12-15 knots out of the east on Aurora's much-appreciated hand-crafted start line, with Mystique blowing the 'orn and getting the fleet away at 10am.



 Roger (at Helm) and Max on Aurora - Go fast Guys...


Getweh and Puella had opted for the more leisurely rum route home while the four of us - Aurora, Steffi, Mystique and Picante - hurtled to South Farewell and home, with the wind now a breezy 31 knots apparent in the harbour. Not a good time to lose your outboard motor and have it wrap itself around your rudder - but that's what happened to Getweh who limped in at the end of Steffi's tow rope.


 Steffie - full speed ahead after the start

So, what did we learn?

  1. Aurora is still fast - came in 1st a minute ahead of Steffi on handicap.
  2. Mystique, third on handicap two and a half minutes behind Steffi, has a lovely new sail and a backwards-facing jib halyard.
  3. Steffi's 135% isn't much good in 31 knots of breeze.
  4. And Picante's 150% jib is even worse.
  5. And I now know a bit more about ferrets than I did before Manatee.

Ferrets like poncing about on beds:

And I know something about existential cats:

Oh yes, almost forgot - Stella has been hiding something under her bushel.

Now that is something I didn't know before!

And no - I can't find the link either!

As aye