The rollup to GTR 21 started on the Thursday morning when Roger arrived at the Tinaroo Sailing Club Grounds, and all he had for company were birds & wallabies. But not for long!


Within hours people had arrived, and the noise increased as campsites were set up and boats were launched, assembled, tested, and modified.


Dinner was followed by campfire tales with much laughter and the inevitable tall stories, jokes, and plans for Friday, which included the naming & launching of the Pathfinder.


Friday morning started with more people, campers, and new members arriving keen to be involved with the club’s activities. Joy rides were given to those interested in the wide variety of craft on display and in use.


Official events began after lunch with the Pathfinder’s launch. Given her origin, it was fitting that her launching was preceded by a tribute to Bill Sammons by Chris, the President. Briefly Bill passed away soon after he started the boat and his wife Margaret gifted the boat, plans and materials to the club. For the full tribute see the July 2021 Ratlines.  


Tom and Sheila Sparks bought the boat about 3 years ago and Sheila did the honours by naming the boat, IONA, and pouring champagne over the bows. She thanked all the club members who had worked on the boat for the past 5 years. It was pleasing that when IONA took to the water she sat well with plenty of buoyancy, was very stable, and sailed easily, a great relief to one and all!


Friday ended with a cruise to the dam wall for those with putt-putts or willing to risk the intermittent breeze in a sailing boat.


Saturday had a misty start but it was race day, so action began early, with the Peculiar Propulsion Race!!


Four entries: Dr. Tom’s Kitty and her paddle wheels; Chris’s Gnu with pedalled propellers; Dermot’s whale tailed Migaloo and Roger’s canoe Heron with a dual-operation flipperdrive lined up behind the start line.


Looking like a huge floating woodchipper, Kitty struck terror into every person on the water but once started she was never headed and won easily. Gnu the canoe was pedalled furiously and came a very close second (close to 180 seconds later that is). Heron slowly crossed the start line, just before breaking down and Migaloo malfunctioned before the start. It ended as a two boat race, deservably won by Dr.Tom.


After coffee, recovery, dismantling and reconfiguring boats it was time for the Paddling & Rowing Race!


There were far too many entries to list, with what seemed like a whole flotilla milling around the start line.


Once the starting hooter sounded it was mayhem! Oars, blades, paddles and froth everywhere . The pandemonium around the first marker was such a frenzy it was described by one racer as trying to manoeuvre through a threshing machine without a flak jacket!


Rounding the second marker brought the flotilla of crazy people into the breeze & chop created by their own furious threshing, and at least one small canvas-on-frame kayak shipped a reported 25 litres of water.


The turn into the home stretch was a much calmer event, with Geoff – one of our brand-new members first across the line, followed by Guy (another new member) followed closely by our Vice-Pres Marc – who did really well given the competition.


Lunch and a rest was required by some, but The Great Tinaroo Seagull Race was scheduled for early afternoon.


Shortly after lunch, the quiet was broken by the staccato clatter of illegally doctored Seagull engines. Hydroplane UFO was a late scratching, and Sheila’s venture on her trimaran, Tippy, was short-lived (both due to engine failures), but the rest of the fleet milled behind the line in anticipation. Doctor Tom moved up just a tad too far and had to turn 360 degrees and recross the line after the hooter blared out the start.


This gaggle of craft at the start line were soon gobbled up by Glen in Silver Gull, and he stayed in front the whole race by at least 25 lengths – even with her wide turning circle.


The jockeying for position in the pack began with Heron, Migaloo and the JT Special keeping close quarters, and Dr Tom coming up from behind after his late start.

At the final turn Dr Tom & Heike employed their secret weapon – the papier-mache Seagull flapping it’s wings, but to no avail as Glen & Silver Gull came first by a wide margin, second was Dermot & David in Migaloo, followed by Roger in Heron, with Dr Tom & Heike,  and John Todd & Margaret following fast!!


Joyrides were again underway on the sailing, putt putts and steam launches while others prepared for the evening awards and cocktail party.  With a theme of ‘Christmas in July’ the costumes came out. Elves, Tropical Santa, jingle bells galore, and Sheila won the best costume as a huge, glossy red, flashing light adorned Christmas present. The mind boggled!


Other awards were to Tom and Sheila Sparks for IONA (Best Boat), Geoff Lipsett-Moore for winning the Paddling/Rowing race and Glen Chishom for the Seagull race in Silver Gull


Sunday is usually just a few last-minute cruises and packing up but we were very pleasantly surprised when Adrian rolled up with his absolutely stunning steamboat, S.L. Tenacity. Attracting significant attention, he launched Tenacity and, with steam up, he took her for a cruise across the lake.


Next year promises more action, more events and plenty of fun for all.