NEXT EVENT: 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Double Handed Division

Thursday, March 10, 2022

2021 RSHYR Recap - not quite the way it was meant to go for our grand old Sigma 36

Our Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR) double handed campaign didn’t quite go as planned in Dec 2021, so Rogue Wave will be back again in 2022.

Daz and I are community minded blokes who understand and appreciate the commitment of time and knowledge that volunteers unselfishly offer to enable the support services provided by Brain Tumour Alliance Australia (BTAA) and Soldier On. Hence we were extremely proud to be supporting partners to raise community awareness...... and with any luck, a few dollars along the way.

When I suggested to Nathan ‘Bullet’ Draper I was happy to offer up my 1983 Sigma 36 ft yacht Rogue Wave as a promotional platform for a charity/charities of his choosing, Bullet did not hesitate in suggesting BTAA and Soldier On. Both organisations played key roles in Bullets‘Tumour Trip’ as he calls it.

Next step was to organise the branding to get the message out there. Tristan and Brian Pattinson from Melbourne based sign company AUSIGNkindly donated all our hull decals. I had just purchased new Roly Tasker Sails from Sam and Greg Newton in Sydney and they put me in touch with Scott Archer from Imagine Signage who created the logos. Then it was off to the Soldiers Point Community Hall, spread out the sails and apply the logos.

Logistically it takes months of preparation and significant investment in time and money to get to the start line of the RSHYR (not to mention the return leg). There is boat preparation, safety items to be inspected, training and a qualification passage to be undertaken; and of course crew preparation (physically and mentally) and race strategy planning. As one of the slower boats we know we will always be at the back of the fleet, but hey that’s cool with us. Anyone that watches the RSHYR on TV will know they focus on the front and the back of the fleet with little coverage for the vast majority of boats. That’s great news for us when seeking exposure for BTAA! In the end we did get some great video coverage from the helicopters and commentary team.


As I said earlier, the race did not go as planned. It started to unravel in Oct when the mast on Rogue Wave decided to do an uncommanded horizontal manoeuvre, breaking several key components. I had spares coming in from the UK, Sweden and the US. A couple of mates helped me out with extra hands and the team at The Boatyard and Nelson Bay marina provided the facilities to complete the mast stepping.


All this time Daz was in Adelaide waiting for border openings. By the time he arrived it still took a couple of days work to get ready for our sail to Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club for the haul out, keel and rudder inspection and CAT 1 Safety audit. Several jobs were raised on that passage so we delayed our departure for Sydney until all were addressed. We do 95% of work ourselves where possible to keep costs down...... even managing to squeeze in a late night rebuild of the steering pedestal when the bearings failed!

 Finally we departed on the qualification passage that needed to be greater than 150 nautical miles and over 24 hours. That meant we headed east from Newcastle, out to the Continental Shelf and down south east of Sydney then working our way back up to arrive at the RSHYR race centre at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) marina. Work continued on arrival with more jobs ticked off. Weather forecasts were the topic of conversation as we approached race day as this is where the strategy and tactics come into we stay inshore for better wind or offshore for better current ......... how much wind and what direction....where will that wind be in 3 hours, one day or three days....who are my divisional threats.... and the list goes on.

Race day is here and it’s off to do an early morning live interview with FOX Sports, race briefing then another interview with CH9. The Army yacht Gunrunner was berthed next to us so we attended their indigenous smoking ceremony and then it was time to depart the docks. We motored out to parade past the committee vessel with our fluro orange storm sails hoisted and hailed the committee boat on VHF radio confirming our crew details.

The cannon fires and we are on our way. We started on the western start line with the other 17 double handed competitors. A clean and conservative start was in order given the effort expended just to get here. We had a great run to the heads and turned east heading offshore in a building breeze. We had reduced sail area early knowing it was going to blow hard, so we made good progress. The breeze steadily built all evening and we saw 40 knots in gusts. The sea state was very short and sharp 3-4 metres as the south south-east wind pushed against the southerly flowing current. Waves crashed on deck and over the side relentlessly for about 20-25 hours. Sail area was reduced and then our problems started.

Daz and I ran a 2 hours on 2 hours off roster to ensure we minimised the effects of fatigue. Seasickness lurked in the shadows waiting to strike in these very uncomfortable conditions. This meant only one of us on deck at a time unless doing a manoeuvre such as reefing to reduce sail.

 Around midnight the autopilot started to disengage at random meaning the course would change placing the boat in a dangerous position. The result could be a knock-down where the mast goes horizontal to the sea or worse crash gybing and losing our mast. The intermittent autopilot gradually degraded requiring hand steering which is extremely fatiguing in these conditions. By midnight on day two just south of Batemans Bay the autopilot failed completely. Our race was over.

After reporting our retirement we headed for Jervis Bay as it was too dangerous to enter Batemans Bay in the dark in gale conditions. We picked up a mooring in Jervis Bay, had a big sleep before unsuccessfully attempting a repair. Even tried putting the autopilot controller in the oven after our Pizza! 

We hand steered back to the CYCA and tracked down a spare controller that we installed in 5 mins! Problem fixed.

So as disappointing as it was given the effort expended just to make the start, there are positives as I didn’t have to do the return delivery from Hobart!

Thank you to our families, businesses, friends and you the public for all the support and best wishes. We look forward to racing for BTAA again this year.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Help Us To Help Others - please give generously

Not long to go, but plenty to do as we prepare Rogue Wave for the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Entered in the Double Handed Division, our plan is to reach Hobart in under 5 days beating our 2019 time. We are proud supporters of these two wonderful organisations so please, dig deep and help us help others.

Click on the links to donate

Saturday, July 24, 2021

2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Preparations

One thing I failed to mention reaching back to my earlier posts, Rogue Wave is off the market. After what seemed an eternity of showing punters over the boat, it was apparent many just wanted to check out a Sigma because she is the only Sigma 36 in Australia. Since COVID has dragged on and my Open 40 Roaring Forty is still in The Netherlands and not accessible until our borders open and I have my 2nd jab, I will keep the old Rogue until I stop sailing. 

As discussed in my previous post, sail damage and fatigue were my primary concerns for this years Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR) after my old #2 furling working headsail exploded coming home from Hobart in 2020, and the mainsail had started to delaminate in areas of the luff and leech. Repairs were done after the 2018 Solo Tasman race, but the 2019 RSHYR pushed the #2 over the edge, and the mainsail needed more attention. So whilst ok for cruising, it would continue to be a case of chase the next failure which is not very cost effective. Sail repair is a bit like welding repairs where you have a crack and weld it up, the weak point then becomes the area adjacent to the weld. I purchased the Doyle Cruise Laminate sails new in 2011/12. They have seen a lot of use in some pretty nasty weather, crossed the Tasman 5 times and have sailed thousands of miles, but they also held shape.

So what to buy......Cruise Laminate again or the ye old trusted Dacron? Laminates retain their shape  longer than Dacron, so that is a plus and puts laminates over Dacron. However, the crux is failure of the resin glue used to laminate the sail together. At the top-end price range sails are made using technology that fuses the sail without resin so it cannot fail and the hi-tech yarns are individually arranged as per the expected loading of the sail. Moulded sails are when the fibres are laid over a mould that mirrors the sails designed shape. High tech and expensive and way out of my budget and need. I own a displacement boat, not a high speed planing boat.

But there is also high tech in the world of Dacron sails, so that's where I placed my bet for the next 10 years. Jon Sanders has circumnavigated the globe 11 times solo.....yep 11 times. Jon uses Rolly Tasker Sails exclusively as he was mates with the late Rolly Tasker himself. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston had Rolly Tasker Dacron sails on his Open 60 Grey Power for the Trans-Atlantic race, so there was definitely credibility to these high tech Dacron sails. The sails are made in their massive loft in Thailand where skilled workers turn out great sails with fantastic attention to detail. 

So, enter Greg and Sam Newton at Rolly Tasker Sails in Sydney who have me sorted for a new Warp Drive 10.11 triradial mainsail with three reefs instead of the two reefs I had in my old mainsail. The third reef is at 40% of the luff so a little deeper than my old sail. The #2 tri-radial roller furling headsail will also be a touch smaller at around 27sqm vice 30sqm, as I found single handed offshore I mostly had to take a wrap of the sail to balance the boat. This should fix that issue so I have a better sail shape without the need to furl quite so early. The tradeoff is when fully crewed the extra sail area is really needed. I hope to be able to run my #4 double headed with the smaller #2 but will need to do some trials to see if the slot between the sails is wide enough. Likely yes for reaching but not so for windward work.

Sam is a professional sailor currently competing on the F50 foiling catamaran on Australia's entry in SailGP. Australia is currently on top of the points table.

Powered by Nature™, SailGP is adrenaline-fueled racing as eight teams go head-to-head in iconic venues across the globe for a winner-takes-all $1 million prize.

As you may have gathered I am a community focused individual here to serve our community and it is for that reason I must sail for not only my own pleasure and challenges, but also for charity.  I support the Soldier On and I will continue to do so. But I have also taken onboard another charity Brain Tumour Alliance Australia (BTAA) and I will go into more detail as to why in a separate post.

             So to ensure their message is broadcast I have decided to brand my new sails with their corporate logo at my cost and with the help and generosity of Scott Archer at Imagine Signage in Sydney. There are only a couple of signmakers with the equipment to print on sticky back insignia cloth so finding Scott was thanks to Sam and his professional network connections.

Next was hull branding. During a telecon with fellow 2023 Global Solo Challenge competitor Brian Pattinson from Melbourne, he and his son Tristan kindly and generously sponsored the manufacture supply of my hull decals through their business AUSIGN.

A big thankyou to all my supporters. Whilst I am driven to be self sufficient in my campaigns with no major sponsors, the generous support offered by industry and members of the public is always welcome as it helps offset my personal and significant investment as we race to raise awareness and funds for Soldier On and Brain Tumour Alliance Australia.

Next big tasks on the list will be annual haul-out for antifoul and rigging maintenance and the RSHYR qualifying passage with Daz so plenty happening to Rogue Wave, so stay tuned.

PLAN C - is that C for COVID??

Unfortunately the resurgence a new COVID strain continues to impact our lives and sailing, but thankfully not impacting healthwise.

The Solo Trans-Tasman Race Committee has made a wise decision to postpone the 2022 race until 2023. The delays in rollout of vaccinations and quarantine related to border crossings and international travel escalate the risks and costs, so a wise call to delay.  The good news is that pictures of the old Rogue are now part of history as part of their main webpage. The sad part is, now the race will be in Apr 2023 I won't be available to compete, as I will be racing Roaring Forty in the Azores and Back (2023 AZAB) race from the UK in preparation for the big one.....2023 Global Solo Challenge

However, the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR) in Rogue Wave is still on the books and we have submitted our entry. Daz and I are getting excited about competing with the rest of the double handed fleet that will include some sailing rockstars keen to get some time together in preparation for the Paris Olympics where the chance of offshore racing may be realised....just to clarify.....not by the two of us lol!

We will be supporting two charities along the journey to Hobart and I will carry them through for the next 4-5 years as I take on the 2023 Global Solo Challenge in Roaring Forty, so keep a look out for that announcement.

Sail repairs were done after the 2018 Solo Tasman race, but the 2019 RSHYR pushed the #2 over the edge, and the mainsail had started to delaminate in areas. On my solo return passage, things took a turn for the worse.

An uncommanded unfurl at midnight as a 50+ knot southerly change slammed into a NE strong breeze created some interesting times. I was single handing back from Hobart having a great time and the plan was to close the coast on the nor'easter then just before the southerly front was forecast around 0200h, I would tack back offshore as the SW whipped up the coast and I would hopefully miss the full force of the front. Not so it appears.  I was on starboard tack tracking NW south of Batemans Bay from out wide when the front came early. It was pitch dark, barometer dropped so I rolled away the headsail  and had main fully reefed. My bad, I should have double checked I had a wrap of sheet around the forestay when I furled, but alas, it was quickly apparent when the front arrived with full fury. 

Track home from Hobart - things started going pear shaped around location 118

The old Rogue was laid over to about 60 degrees as the SW wind hit us beam on port side. I eased the main so I could run down wind and that's when the headsail caught a big gust, dragging the furling line through the spinlock rope clutch with such ease it made it appear as if it was open.....which it definitely wasn't. End result was a lot of sail exposed at a very bad time! I can confirm that a tired 29sqm cruise laminate headsail exposed to 50+ knot wind takes 60 seconds before it flogs itself into complete destruction. 

Gone in 60 seconds!

I had both the running backstay and inner forestay cranked on, so even though the boat was bucking like a bronco, I needed to action my recovery plan. I now had a triangle of spectra leech and foot lines attached to the luff tape, the mid section of the sail had failed so in essence I had three flags flying from luff, leech and foot and a very angry clew that was quickly sheeted in hard to prevent injury. 

Next step was to get her back on her feet and stabilise the boat, so I dropped the main, lashed and centered the boom and then steered downwind, which by now blowing more from the south. I was about 5 miles off the coast and heading north so the immediate issue was that I needed to clear Batemans Bay, and my current heading did not provide enough safety clearance so I needed alter course quickly.

I steered her onto starboard and hoisted the main as by now the fury had abated to 35 knots and we took off doing 10+ knots. My best mate Eric Le Autopilot took over whilst I secured the boom preventer before grabbing a breather to get some water and food onboard the old skipper. Then I just sat in the cockpit and watched, torch checking every part of the rigging for signs of damage. I was drenched in sweat and the adrenalin was pumping. I checked my navigation and the course provided plenty of clearance room as we headed parallel to the coast.

I  donned my trusty Gath Helmet with faceshield, gloves and knife and tripped the main halyard as I moved forward to drop what remained of the headsail. Tethered with my safety line it was a duck and crawl as the metal ring clew of the sail could still cause a lot of damage. I secured the clew and then started to cut away tangled lines and old sail and throw it down the hatch. To give you a visual of what it was like, imagine you are seated on the deck wedged into the bow pulpit, its pitch black except for your head torch (and spare in pocket) and every minute or so the boat would surf down a wave and hit the bottom of the trough cascading water all over you. I hacked away, dropped some sail and bit by bit the luff tape was finally clear of the foil. I tidied up the deck dropping the remains down the hatch and ran under main alone for the next couple of hours to get some rest. 

About 0400h I hanked on the #4 heavy weather jib and we took off comfortably making 9-11 knots with Eric Le Autopilot doing a great job on the helm. The picture below was taken during the 2014 Solo Trans Tasman race in about 35-40knts with storm jib and fully reefed to give you a visual of what its like. Water comes over the top all the way into the cockpit.

Lesson learned: always cleat the furling line in high winds!

2014 Solo Tarans-Tasman Yacht Race from New Plymouth NZ to Mooloolaba QLD

Thursday, February 25, 2021


 Been a while since I have updated my blog and thankyou to those still able to sail and giving me something to watch on You Tube. Between the Vendee midnight updates and the AC75s in NZ there has been just enough to keep me from going nuts.

Rogue Wave has been on the market so I had her stripped back to presentable condition so I could show her without much prep. Now since COVID has dragged on I have taken her off the market and will prep for some local and offshore sailing in preparation for later in the year and next.

I will enter RW in the Two-Handed category of the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race with Darrell 'Daz' Greig answering the call and stepping into the co-skipper role. We will try and squeeze in the mandatory qualifier passage from Sydney back to Port Stephens so he can step off the plane and start sailing to maximise sailing time and minimise impact on Leave from duty. 

In 2020, the CYCA made a very disappointing decision by excluding IRC Two-Handed boats from competing for the Tattersalls Cup - something that all IRC crewed boats could compete. So now I may just enter the Performance Handicap System (PHS) category to save on paying IRC and ORCi Certificate costs and entry fees.

Following the Sydney Hobart race RW will remain in Tasmania until around March when I will sail her to New Zealand for the 2022 Solo Trans-Tasman Challenge from New Plymouth on 17 Apr 22 and finishing at Southport QLD between 27-28 Apr if all goes to plan. From there its back down to Port Stephens arriving early May where she will lay up over winter on her mooring.

Here are some pics from the 2018 Solo Trans-Tasman Challenge.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Year of COVID-19

Being a socially responsible person, I have withdrawn Rogue Wave's entry into the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race. Whilst disappointing, its the correct decision. Apart from getting Daz to travel twice from Adelaide coupled with the isolation requirements and impact on Leave plus the challenge that 2* approval is required for military travel, fate sort of took over my decision making power.

On top of COVID challenges and border closures, the CYCA has initiated a push to exclude two handed (2H) sailors from competing for the Tattersall Cup, the holy grail of Australian yacht racing open to amateur and professionally crewed yachts up to 100ft in length. Its been a few weeks now and it is still unclear on which side of the argument the CYCA will support. If they exclude us from the Cup then I do not see any International competitors even bothering. Its like saying bring your boat to the UK for the Fastnet or Malta for the Middle Sea Race and oh, by the way you cant win the trophy but thanks for the entry fee and personal expense, the Club thanks you for your contribution.

We are 117 days out from the start and the CYCA cannot identify a Go/Nogo date in which they will draw a line in the sand and make a decision, other than to say about 6 weeks out they will may make a call. The Sydeny Gold Coast race has been postponed once and now is cancelled. There's talk of a replacement 'out-and-back' race to Flinders Island but really, they should just cancel and free up families to spend this COVID Christmas together. Life will return to normal.

Sunday, June 7, 2020


After successfully competing in the 75th Anniversary Rolex Sydney to Hobart (RSHYR), I eagerly awaited release of the Notice of Race for the 2020 RSHYR Race as this is the first year a 2-Handed Division will be raced against the fully crewed boats. In 2018 I attended a CYCA workshop and supported the introduction of a 2-Handed Division.

Kev Le Poidevin
I am excited to announce Darrell Greig will co-skipper Rogue Wave in the 2020 Rolex RSHYR race competing in IRC, IRC 2H, Corinthian and ORCi and ORCi 2-Handed divisions.

The preparation begins.

Darrell Greig
Darrell Greig
Cape Raoul 'Organ Pipes

Iron Pot entrance to the Derwent River, Tasmania

Heading home with Tasman Island shrouded in cloud

Rogue Wave rounding Tasman Island early on New Years eve morning
Credit: Richard Bennett Photography

Rogue Wave rounding Tasman Island early on New Years eve morning
Credit: Richard Bennett Photography

Rogue Wave rounding Tasman Island early on New Years eve morning
Credit: Richard Bennett Photography

Rogue Wave rounding Tasman Island early on New Years eve morning
Credit: Richard Bennett Photography

Rogue Wave rounding Tasman Island early on New Years eve morning
Credit: Richard Bennett Photography