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    A navigational jest
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2006 Jan 21, 11:02 +1100

    It is fairly well known – as it gets lots of publicity – that there is a yacht race that begins in Sydney, Australia, on Boxing Day and heads south to Hobart in the island state of Tasmania. What is rather less well known is that another yacht race begins a day later in Pittwater, just to the north of Sydney, and heads north to Mooloolabah in Queensland. It can be the first leg in a series of races that eventually takes the fleet further north to the Whitsundays – a sailing paradise –  for the culmination of that series: the Hamilton Island Regatta.

     

    So one sailing boat, a few days out from Pittwater, was making its way to the north, just ghosting along in light air, all alone on the shimmering wide blue sea except for a fishing boat in its path. As the yacht drew closer to this squat workhorse a couple of deck hands could be seen leaning against the rail, watching the racing yacht approach. Even going slowly such boats built for speed are impressive machines; low slung with a flush deck dominated by huge winches, and numerous crew.

     

    “Leave the talking to me” said one of the yacht’s crew, an Englishman,  and called out in an exaggerated English accent to the fishermen:

     

    “I SAY, OH I SAY, CAN YOU HEARR ME?”

    They heard.

     

    “CAN YOU TELL ME PLEASE, I SAY, DO YOU KNOW BY ANY CHANCE; THAT IS, THE THING IS, YOU SEE …

    IS TASMANIA VERY FARR?”

     

    Apparently their jaws dropped, but no word was heard. As the two boats drew apart the Englishman was left forlornly imploring:

    “OH I SAY: CAN’T YOU TELL ME PUH-LEASE !”

     

       
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