We set our jib, tightened our lines, lowered our keel and with the maxi band XLCR in our sights, tacked and luffed our way to a tight race for line honours at the 20th Maryborough Best Of Brass regatta incorporating the 2012 State Championships.
And we nearly took the contest, crossing the line a mere 2 points behind the champions.
Brisbane Brass took the first buoy, "Harmony Music", by a point but conceded a point with the Hymn to place the bands on even pegging on the first day of the regatta.
Sunday morning saw a break in the weather when the Street March was able to proceed for the good brass band followers of Maryborough and the master Drum Major Steve Lawrence led his national champion but sometimes somewhat uncommitted marching band to another win, albeit by only 2 points.
Back to the Brolga Theatre, where good friend and casual member of Brisbane Brass, Peter Luff skippered the A Grade Band to the culmination of a six week wild ride of rehearsals that delivered a phenomenal performance of "Music Of The Spheres" that had developed so much more character since the Easter meet in sunny Melbourne.
The eventual champions tacked and tarried behind the starting line while the race announcer provided a thorough description of the "Lawry Sketchbook" course they intended to sail. Their one point edge here and another point in the tightly fought Stage March earned them the flag.
It is a tough gig under any conditions to get an A Grade crew of 30 odd players to all pull together to the best of their ability at the same time and go the full course with a complex and demanding test so the one point difference in this event really does tell the story.
So close on the day, but in another way just so far, so far to come to reach this sort of level and so far to go to maintain it and apply the same sort of effort another time.
Newly appointed commander Bill Barker has known the good ship Brisbane Brass inside out for nearly 30 years and the admiration and respect earned by virtue of his ability will see that his grip upon the tiller is strong and unquestioned.
It was a different story in the eighteen footers, better known as the boisterous B Grade where rough conditions over the two days saw a large field of more highly trained and prepared bands from out of town share some of the spoils but none could quite get in front of former Brisbane Brass captain Jon Christo with Cairns Brass.
Josh McKechie has strengths in his Brisbane Brass 2 crew and will know that he can apply them in readiness for the next meet in Maroochydore, where his band claimed triumph in the combined A and B Grade class at last year's outing.
Noel Kingston did this band proud with his naming as Champion Drum Major of the contest.
It was a small field in laser class with Tim Opstelton taking Brisbane Brass 3 on to the water against perennial foes Sunnybank & District Brass 2 who edged ahead on the first day and then claimed a broad margin in the Own Choice to earn back the D Grade trophy.
Our band of young and old did have their day in the sun despite the heavy cloud cover with a win in the Stage March and a tight presentation in the Street March to secure a win for new Drum Major Trish Allan.
The Best Disciplined Band shield was again awarded to the 3rd Band and it has been suggested that it was resolution in the face of difficult conditions such as marching practice in the rain that brought this observation about on the part of the judges.
Sascha Kelly took over the helm of Brisbane Brass Juniors from Bill Barker last year and despite being the only crew to take to the water in sabot class, never settled for a leisurely sail. The points show that this band took the contest very seriously indeed and completely deserved the Ross Family Memorial Shield and the armful of trophies donated by the Jabs family.
The contest is not yet over as the solo events are being held on Saturday 23rd June at Brisbane Girls Grammar School and there are seventeen Brisbane Brass entrants.
Watch this space !
And take a bow first placegetters Elizabeth Bell, Emily Matthews, Jack Cuthbertson, Liam Thomas along with Paul Black & James Blackford plus Bill Barker & Josh McKechie and with Emi Miyoshi and Greg Aitken.
For a full list of results find the PDF download on the QBA web site with this link.