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

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

Sunday, August 11, 2019

75th Anniversary Sydney to Hobart Race

The old Rogue is being made ready for an assault on IRC and ORCi Div 4 in the Sydney Hobart race.
Being one of the smallest and slowest means we will be at the back end of the fleet, but that is no matter.....its the adventure and opportunity to share this experience that counts. Follow along on the Rogue Ravings Facebook page.

'Rogue Wave' at Soldiers Point Marina
My crew of old Rogues L-R: Kev Le Poidevin; Asia Pajkowska; Roger Yeo; Neil Pilz; David Simm and Darrell Greig

'Rogue Wave' berthed in the CYCA duckpond
Crossing the Finish Line!!