There are many historical things to appreciate on Quail Island which has been farmed, a quarantine station for Scott and Shackleton Antarctic expeditions, a leprosy hospital and dumping ground for old ships. It also holds fond memories of the Optimist sailing camps held there, 60 plus boats and sailors from all over New Zealand. I also had several class camps there, taking over drinking water, food and fuel for the wood stove used for cooking. Everyone slept in the original barracks. The class was dropped off by launch at the start of the week and then returned home on Friday – parents often reeled back when they came to pick up their children, the only washing was by swimming and they were all a bit “high” !
After a satisfying lunch it was off around the south end of the island and through the tricky passage by King Billy Island. Once past the wind shadows of Walkers Beach it was out into a steady NE breeze which had filled in over the lunch period. Along lifting tack in to the chop saw us back to the launch ramp at naval Point.
The Shellback is a remarkable dinghy, buoyant, a low lug rig – you can sit across the bottom of the boat and sail in relative comfort when on the wind. Best in sheltered waters as it is an open boat, it rows well and light enough to get off and on a trailer by one person. The popularity of this Joel White design is not surprising as it is easily amateur built, rows and sails amazingly well over a range of conditions.
There are five Shellbacks in Canterbury, any more takers ?