In a nimble bit of seamanship from Down Under — with perhaps a dash of chutzpah — Aussie skipper Ian Sloan and two crew aboard his 46-foot catamaran Saltonay waited overnight to time their crossing of the bar at Southport Seaway on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Five-foot breaking waves on the bar caused whale-watching tours to be canceled for the day, but Sloan proved himself a deft skipper with impeccable timing, as a report from Australia’s 7 News explains.
It’s easy to understand his remarks to the reporter once he was safely in port. “It’s just 9 o’clock in the morning, and I just had a beer. And I never do that. I just need one this morning.”
Sloan later wrote a full account of his transit for Australia’s Multihull World magazine.
“This wild and incredible ride lasted only for 20 to 30 seconds. Spray and water exploded all around the boat as the bows firstly bit into the face of the wave and then lifted as the buoyancy raised them. The rudders were doing their job as her bum tucked down, and she tracked like a rocket on rails, responding instantly to the corrections given by the helm. The noise inside the boat was like [that of] half a dozen bowling balls being bowled down a corrugated bowling lane,” he wrote.
“Conditions in the cockpit were euphoric; we screamed and yelled like banshees with excitement. This was way over the top in terms of thrill rides on the Gold Coast. At no stage of the ride did any of us feel fear, concern or anything approaching a worry that we were in jeopardy. It was the experience of a sailing lifetime, an adrenalin rush like none of us ever experienced.”