Op Drake Anniversary
The Eye of the Wind
This marvellous square-rigged ship has given so much pleasure to so many people since she was rescued by Tiger and friends from her graveyard in Sweden in 1974.
She was built in Brake near Hamburg in 1911.
Her many Australian friends have celebrated her Centenary in style. In February we had a great party at the Old Custom House Hotel on the historic waterfront in Hobart.
Now for the Sydney celebrations.
Friday evening found a hundred or more of us in a huge corrugated iron factory building - or rather an ex lolly factory building in Newtown - a now gentrified part of Sydney. Rodney uses the enormous space for his ongoing artistic projects - so the venue sported a large fairground carousel of unicorns and other fairground animals - his work-in-progress for The Phantom of the Opera. A fine old black Jaguar was under a dust cover in another corner.
The walls were lined with photographs of the Eye and many who sailed in her, together with route charts. There was an ongoing slide presentation on a huge screen with comfortable sofas to sit, watch and gossip. The huge birthday cake held pride of place surrounded by vast amounts of fine food. There was a free flowing bar for us all to enjoy.
And who was there? - Too many for me to know or recount.
Lesley was up from Melbourne and Jo the other owner was there to greet us.
Recruits to the Eye from Operation Drake were represented by the Young Explorers, maybe middle aged explorers is a more apt current description! Several attended from NSW and Queensland and Erwin van Asbeck (phase 1) came from NZ with his wife and son.
So it was chat, chat and more chat and great delight in meeting friends from so many years ago. A short moving speech from Tiger and a grand time was had by all.
Saturday morning dawned in a damp overcast spirit. But no matter, by 10 am there were at least one hundred persons waiting to board Southern Swan for a three hour sail around the harbour, those who know Sydney will know that rain or shine this is the finest harbour in the world and those that do not know Sydney must be told that this is indeed so. Southern Swan is a timber square rigged vessel built in 1928. She sailed to Australia with the First Fleet Re-enactment in 1988, at that time she was the Our Svanen. The weather cleared and Marty the owner hoisted some square s'ls--but did we really notice? Probably not, as we talked our way through more delicious food and more birthday cake, and so back to Circular Quay and the aroma of coffee to remove the chill.
The third part of this celebratory weekend was on Sunday at mid day, a Picnic in the Park at Balmoral Beach on Middle Harbour, a beautiful place where we set up our chairs and picnic hampers beneath the huge Moreton Bay fig trees - but not for long as the rain tipped down. Luckily this had been considered and we wet footed up the hill to Liz and Phil's house where we ate more food, enjoyed the wine and fine view. Many photo slides later we eventually went home. The birthday cake was finished and a grand weekend was over.
Now for the celebrations in Brake in Germany and Weymouth and Hooke in the UK.