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  • Bill Manning

It is a 3 pie breeze!

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

3 Aussie meat pies, three for each crew member

Firstly a little background of the Norske and her skipper and crew. The boat is an 8 metre yacht, that is it is designed to a formula with the final answer being 8 metres. The boats do differ from one another in the design and sail configuration but they are supposed to be equal in speed. They are approximately 55 feet long.

The boat has no safety lines around the deck, nor does it have a motor. The cockpit is divided in two with the helmsman at the rear and the sailing crew working in the forward section. There are 8 in the crew including the helmsman. The Dickson family owned this boat for 25 years prior to selling it in 1982.

Now lunch in those days consisted of meat pies. On a quiet day it was 2 pies per crew member, a total of 16 were taken aboard. On a normal day say a 20 knot breeze it was deemed to be a 3 pie breeze, a total of 24 pies and so on. On this Saturday it was a 3 pie breeze. Now if the crew are to have 3 meat pies each there is a question regarding the tomato sauce. It was a bit expensive to purchase ordinary tomato sauce so the sailing club would provide us with a pint of sauce from the kitchen, in a large CocaCola bottle with a wine cork plugging the top.

It should also be noted the drinks involved 4 dozen cans of beer, 5 bottles of gin and some tonic water. On occasions the gin and tonic was replaced with red rum and coke.

Now the skipper (Helmsman) known as Dicko was a director and chairman of several public companies. He was a big man, the commodore of our sailing club (Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron) and weighed in at about 140 kilos. He liked gin and meat pies. That is him in the photo eating the last of a meat pie on the Norske. The bridge deck which divides the cockpit is at the fall of the mainsheet, and the tiller is above Dick’s right shoulder.

Dicko sitting  in the aft cockpit after sailing, finishing an Aussie pie
Dicko sitting in the aft cockpit after sailing, finishing an Aussie pie

Now the week prior to this incident Dicko said to the crew

‘Now boys I want you to be on your best behaviour next week, I have an American banker coming with us and there is a bit of money involved’.

Well the Saturday came and turned on a bright sunny day with a 20 knot north easter forecast. Dicko announced in accordance with the weather forecast it was to be a 3 pie breeze. The American banker turned up in an all white uniform. white cap, white top, white shorts white socks and white shoes. The crew turned up in their normal sailing gear as in the photo. We took the tender out to the boat and rigged it for racing. We cast off the mooring and commenced a 30 minute sail to the starting line with only the main up. The skipper sat in the rear of the cockpit with the steering tiller under his left arm.

‘How about a gin, Bruce’

the skipper shouted. Bruce, the son of Dicko, poured the gin, about 4 fingers of gin and 1 finger of tonic , in the main cabin. Now the crew in the main cockpit were all standing, so the glass of gin and a little tonic had to be passed back to Dicko above their heads until it reached the American Banker who was positioned just forward of the bridge deck and nearest to Dicko. In two swallows Dicko disposed of the drink.

‘How about another Bruce’

and the process was repeated again for the skipper. Once again the American Banker passed the glass of gin and not much tonic across the bridge deck to Dicko.

‘How about a pie Bruce’.

Bruce ducked below and produced a cardboard box full of warm pies. He took one pie out and like the glass of gin it was passed back over the heads of the crew standing in the forward cockpit until it was given to the American Banker, who then handed it to the skipper. Now the skipper had the tiller (to steer the boat) under his right arm, the pie in his right hand and the glass of gin in his left hand.

‘Hey Bruce what about the horse’

(rhyming slang for the tomato sauce). Bruce went below and retrieved the Coca-cola bottle of tomato sauce, removed the wine cork and passed it to the crew in the forward cockpit. Like the glass and the pie before it was then passed back over the heads of the crew until it reached the American Banker. He was in a quandary as to what he should do next.

Dicko sensed his discomfort, looking him in the eye said

‘Put your finger in that son’.

The American Banker was now totally confused and placed his finger in the top of the Coca-Cola bottle.

‘No, not there’

said Dicko

‘in the pie, make room for the sauce.’

Fortunately the American Banker saw the funny side of the situation and Dicko got the money at a Board Meeting the following week.

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