Next Sail: 03 Mar Port Stephens to New Plymouth NZ

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Next Race:
2018 Solo Tasman Challenge 01 Apr 2018
Start: 1300h Port Taranaki New Plymouth NZ
Finish: circa 11 April 2018 - Mooloolaba QLD

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

NCYC Inner Spring Regatta results

 The Newcastle weather was excellent despite the lack of breeze and made for a great weekend of sailing.  It was always going to be a hard task for RW in this offshore regatta without a regular crew and against very fast and fully crewed fleet of IRC rated yachts.
IRC was split into two divisions due to the spread between the ratings......a Volvo 70 (1.591) to a Sigma 36 (0.931)......yep that's what I call a big delta in ratings! Div 2 comprised a Beneteau First 40.7 and First 36.7, Archambault A40, a Sydney 36 and my Sigma 36.
RW once again laid claim to being the oldest yacht in the regatta and the slowest over all courses. My crew on Saturday was my regular crew Ruth, and three standby crew whom had not sailed on RW previously. So it was a big ask of Andrew, Neil and Ross who had a crash course in spinnaker handling! Thanks crew for sharing the workload and doing a fantastic job.
Sundays crew was down to only three of us and to compound the problem, both Col and David were new to the boat.
Whilst there were five yachts in IRC Div 2, RW also raced with PHS Div 2 with nine yachts competing. Courses were laid Windward/Leeward and run extremely well by the CEO and his band of volunteers - thanks guys n girls from NCYC.
So how did we go? Well check the results out here NCYC Inner Spring Regatta Results. Below is a summary of the IRC races.
Race 1 (3rd) we had a cracker start and had a little breeze up to 12 knots and the old Rogue pulled out an astonishing IRC 3rd place and PHS 4th.  I asked Richard the CEO if there had been a typo as we pipped the A40 and First 36.7 and the Sydney 36 only beat us by a mere 2 secs to claim 2nd place!
Race 2 (5th) was a failure for us when the breeze dropped and our race was over before we eve left the start line.
Race 3 (5th) another cracker of a start and increasing breeze made for better racing that required the fleet to relocate south of the exclusion zone required for such a busy commercial coal port. We held steady in performance to be about 3 mins off podium pace.
Race 4 (DNF) on Sunday was sailed in a light shifting breeze. We set up for a mid line start only to be slam dunked by the Volvo 70 to windward that stopped us dead in our tracks. By the time we had any speed the fleet had bolted. After rounding the windward mark and in a show of good sportsmanship we elected to radio in a DNF and motor back to the start so the 18 Mile passage race could start on time.
Race 5 (5th) course shifted significantly with the breeze slowly building to about 10-14 knots during the race and backing to S/SE. We had a floating start in clear air (what there was of it!) and actually rounded the mark before a Cookson 12.......okay, they were tangled in the pin end buoy and the foredecky went overboard to untangle the keel. It was a great sail and on a positive note, we actually beat the Volvo 70 on IRC handicap!
There was also a little drama on the water with a port/starboard protest, a collision, pin buoy tango and port/starboard rounding dyslexia! All good fun to watch and listen and learn.
So did we meet our objective not to finish last.....not quite on a series basis, but the highlights for me were a 3rd on IRC and beating a Volvo 70 on Handicap all with a crew new to the boat and that had not sailed together.
Overall a great regatta that offers 10 days free berthing, free Sat evening meal and snacks on Sun at the presentation all for a massive $60 per boat...unheard of value! the sail back to the bay was slow until halfway up Stockton Beach when a nice 12 knot ENE kicked in and I turned off the engine and sailed all the way to my mooring with beer in hand.
Thanks to my crew over the weekend and the NCYC for their generous hospitality and first class regatta - the old Rogues will return.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club Inner Spring Regatta 31 Aug-01 Sep 13

Rogue Wave and a new crew will tackle Div 2 in IRC of the NCYC Inner Spring Regatta. Ruth is back on task and will be joined by a few guys from our local Port Stephens Yacht Club. I had hoped to keep the Sail Port Stephens crew together for this event but as we all work, the planets did not align. Hopefully I can coerce them back for some more offshore races next year.

The Inner Spring Regatta is our only IRC event and I use it as a stepping stone to gauge our performance against boats of similar or better rating. We were only off the pace by a few minutes last year however we were self-handicapped in that we broke the spinnaker pole on race one of three windward - leeward races! Not ideal for the lowest handicapped boat in a 20 yacht fleet. Still we did manage a 3rd on PHS in Race 4 so our passage race with reaches allowed us to fly the 1.5oz asymmetrical spinnaker effectively.

Follow the link to the web page and download the Notice to Race and Sailing Instructions and check out our competitors.

NCYC Enviro Pacific Services Inner Spring Regatta

Floating Footpath 1 vs Rogue Wave 0

Rogue Wave is finally back in the water following damage control repairs caused by the runaway floating footpath. Whilst on the hard I managed to smash through a lot of other jobs in the great weather however failed to make a dent on many others! Here are some pics to fill you in on progress.
Some of the chunked damage. Lifelines, bow roller assy and stanchion bases were also damaged.
The bilge was cleaned and keel bolts replaced and resealed; cabin sole bearer tops renewed, epoxied and ready for installation of the quarter turn SS316 Zud fasteners to secure the sole panels to the boat in the event of capsize. The topsides were polished and bottom antifouled and Prop Speed coating applied to the prop so hopefully no fouling = no hull diving until ready for NZ in Dec. Some new anti-skid tape to keep the crew on deck, anchor hatch lock, new steering compass, and beefed up the upper rudder bearing.
Noakes Ship and Boatyard Nelson Bay
JOTUN Seaguardian applied Dec 11. Lanolin on the SS folding prop lasts about 6 months. Note the before and after waterline where the antifoul was taken up to a new bootstripe.....a reminder of her past when she was loaded to the hilt and cruised the world for 13 years.

The rudder bearing had seized to the shaft due to insufficient shaft clearance.
The bearings 'grow' slightly as they can absorb water.

 Down below the electrics were tweaked, new bilge pump wiring and outlet and finally the new gas system with Gas Detector and solenoid shutoff is ready for its compliance check. I have been looking for plastic containers that can take a knock and not go brittle after 6 months. Gave up and resorted to small tool boxes to stow gear in the lockers. To be CAT 1 compliant everything must be held securely so a single style toolbox fits the bill and they are reasonably robust.
Same bearing machined for clearance and fitted, waxed and then installed in a wet epoxy mix. Additional marine ply rings make up the bearing carrier and the bearing secured by two set screws to prevent any rotation.
Bow repairs look good. I did not expect a perfect match for 30 year old gelcoat so it will do until I get the urge to paint her during retirement.
The final task was to put the new laminex on the galley, fit the new trim and then give it a coat of varnish. Only applied the one coat because some bozzo forgot to take his glasses!!
Step 1 remove all the bits. Old laminex was in good condition so a few repairs and a good sand was all that was required
Laminex is very brittle so I had the cabinet maker cut to my templates and around the raised fridge lip. The greaseproof paper rests on top of the contact adhesive, the laminex positioned and then very carefully slide out one piece of paper at a time ....there are no second chances here. Once glued, out with the veneer trimmer and cutout the required holes and trim edges.
Burmese teak fiddles and Tasmanian Oak trim. New bi-fold cooker cover works a treat and just need to make a heat cover to protect it when raised.
One coat of gloss varnish to make cleaning a tad easier. A second coat will go one when I do the rest of the day!
Just about done and ready to fire up the cooker for a christening dinner with Relle.
.........and rest!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Just when you think its safe to .............

It has been quite a spell for the old Rogue and her keen crew.......quite a spell. Unfortunately work has taken a strangle hold for a while. Several trips to Adelaide and Canberra, a couple of weeks Stateside then back to Canberra and Adelaide all with a healthy side servings of meetings and visits certainly knocks the wind out of the old sails (excuse the pun).
When it looked like I could finally go sailing, the damn 12 ton floating footpath.....the only yacht to windward of my position in Winter westerlies......breaks free of its mooring in 32 knots and smashes into Rogue Waves bow and starboard hull. Approximately $5K damage and we are out of action.
Fortunately I was below at the time and I leapt into action like a startled Gazelle and with superhuman middle-aged strength pushed off the footpath after she smacked the bow. We collided several times as she slid down the side of my hull until I was able to insert a roving fender, averting further damage. I then watched as she narrowly missed a couple of yachts before she T-Boned a Spacesailer 24 owned by a fellow club member. I called maritime, VMR and the owner of the other yacht, but I called them off as the floating footpath had sailed her course and had now settled where concrete belongs......on land. Repairs in  couple of weeks.
So in the meantime the galley has been the focus. To increase benchtop space in the galley, I knocked up a nice new bi-fold cooker cover from expoxied ply that I top and tailed with new cream laminex offcuts from the local kitchen guy and trimmed with Tassie Oak finished off with a Burmese Teak fiddle rail. The remainder of the galley also gets the facelift so looking forward to the weekend to finish it off.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Quiet times

Taking a few weeks off the race circuit whilst the crew is away. I need to take care of some much overdue work. With the westerlies blowing, getting to the mooring can be a bit of an adventure, so this weekend I was confined to the shed sorting out templates for the laminex that needs to be installed on the benches following the cooker replacement. Also finished off the gas bottle holder and restraint straps so they will be ready to install next weekend. Then I can finally get the inspection done, get the Gas Certificate and put the jug on! .........I'd rather be sailing!

Sail Port Stephens 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Marathon Race

The marathon race is the signal that summer is done and dusted.
It was a beautiful day for golf as 13 yachts flopped around in 2-3 knots of breeze and 2 knots of tide. The first start was a general recall as the majority drifted over the start without steerage....including us! The restart saw the old Rogue blast across the start line sideways at 0.5 knots at the head of the fleet......if they had a starters prize then today that bottle of red should have been ours!

As predicted, the lighter yachts drifted faster than our old war horse and after about one hour the leaders had put on a good 500m on RW. We hoisted the lighter assy and it still wouldn't fill so we headed up and opted left with Nelson J, whilst the rest of the fleet opted right. About this time a couple of boats retired through boredom. We had some breeze, however they didn't........until the breeze finally filled in one knot at a time from the SE. This put the 'go rightys' in the favoured position and they shot ahead. Rogue gave chase with Ruth doing a great job on the helm as old Kev shuffled around the foredeck.....where is Daz when you need him!

Soon we were humming along at 5-6 knots and gaining on the leaders. Ruth laid the Wedding Cake mark perfectly and we were hot on the heels of Kindred Spirit. By now the breeze had filled in nicely so we hoisted the big blue and black assy and powered past the fast Halvorsen 25. With only two onboard, an early drop at the Salamander was required allowing Kindred, using their slick crew work, to come alongside as we protected the inside route. We hardened up for the beat to Shoal Bay with tidal assistance and held good speed through most tacks, enabling us to pull away from the rest of the fleet.

Rounding Shoal Bay mark up went the pole and we hoisted the bigger black and blue symmetrical kite. Ruth was multi-tasking on helm and going strong as we picked up speed. We gybed our way along the sandbank back down to Salamander Bay mark, slowly stretching our lead over Nelson J, Kindred Spirit and Tanami. Ahead were Kiska, Chilli and Exalte, .......two Trimarans and an X-332 so we were doing ok.

A slick kite drop had us back under whites for the beat  to Wedding Cake. A quick spinnaker repack by Ruth gave me a little rest before we rounded the mark and headed for the finish. The pole went up and we again hoisted the full symmetrical and gybed our way home to the finish in the fading breeze. A great day of training for Ruth who helmed 95% of the day with a great result; 4th over the line and 4th on handicap and only 16 seconds off 3rd place.
As we sailed back to the mooring, beer in hand and the sun dipping into the distant horizon, we watched as Kindred Spirit crept along in very light winds trying to finish before the sunset deadline. They made it with 2 mins to spare! Well done G&K, another podium finish.

1st: Exalte
2nd: Kindred Spirit
3rd: Nelson J
4th: Rogue Wave

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sail Port Stephens

Summary of the week of racing on Port Stephens.
Crew for the week comprised Kev, Daz, Geoff, Kerry, Max, Ruth, Ken, Tim and Pudz so most of the time we had 5-7 crew for any one race.
In the 3 race Commodores Cup we raced in Div 2 with 20 boats starting 5 mins behind Div 1 with 20 boats. Races were held Mon through Wed, with Thurs a lay day.
Fri through Sun we had another 3 races in the Performance Cruising Div 2 with 17 yachts competing.

Rogue Wave is 36ft, was built in 1983, is heavy and the oldest boat in the fleet and we were 'blessed' with a handicap of 0.963 (higher than my IRC!!!). What this means is we had to give time to 8 of the 20 yachts in our division. We were handicapped like a house brick, even giving time to a 2010 Beneteau 46 (0.932), a 2010 Jeaneau 39 (0.818), a 2012 Bavaria 40S and even a Jeanneau 37 Two 1989 Northshore 38s...the closest design to RW, pulled 0.974 and 0.979 placing our boats around the middle of the fleet.
It may sound like sour grapes, but when 9 people give up work for a week, I would at least like to offer a competitive boat to sail on and not be hamstrung by a poorly assigned handicap from the outset. It usually takes at least 3 races to normalise a fleet......but hey, there was only 3 races in the series so we were screwed! That's my only bleat for the week.

The crew seemed to enjoy the challenging weather and courses which kept them busy some days and cold and wet on others. As the week pressed on the crew worked together well.....OK a couple of times not so jolly.....but for the most part they gelled and enjoyed each others company. I think our highlight was definitely the 3rd place that could have been the 'one' but for a slight rigging issue. That said, the recovery was excellent and we still held 3rd place.
 Image by Saltwater Images
Social functions were the welcome cocktail night where the entertainment was the 'girl in white'. All bodies that attended the Presentation night on the Wed were more than adequately lubricated with Oatley Wines; Fri night was a blur of free Coronas and 150 Lashes at Vues; Sat the Mexican night was Coronas and Chilli and Sun more 150 lashes that flowed well into the evening. Thanks crew for supporting Rogue Wave and Sail Port Stephens, I had a blast!
 Image by Saltwater Images
So how did we go? For full results go to Sail Port Stephens Race Results
Commodores Cup - placed 17 from 20
Race 1 - 13th
Race 2 - 17th
Race 3 - 7th
Performance Cruising - placed 8th from 16
Race 1 - 8th
Race 2 - 3rd
Race 3 - 13th

Newcastle to Port Stephens Race

Immediately following Race 8 of the Summer Series Ruth and Max sailed with me to Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club arriving around 2200h. Daz flew in from Adelaide and arrived on the train just as we arrived. A couple of beers and into the bunk ready for the race back Sun morning.
Geoff and Kerry from Kindred Spirit joined Daz, Ruth and Max as RW crew as we headed out for the race. The forecast was light and variable so the start was moved from the harbour out to sea in Stockton Bight. The breeze favoured an Assy start so we set up the kite in a light 5-10 knot westerly.
Forty yachts jostled for position with most heading inshore behind the surf line. A few of the heavier yachts like us, stayed wide hoping to catch the forecast NE change. Unfortunately ....well for us anyway...the land breeze stayed around for a long time but our breeze died in the arse! We floundered around for about 2 hours....going backwards in the current at times. Sorry crew tactical error. We plugged away and when the breeze finally filled in we thought we were back in the race making up good ground. I swapped around crew roles and helm so I had a feel of where I could best position crew for Sail Port Stephens .....but the breeze faded away again as we watched the shore dwellers stretch their lead.
Finally the afternoon sea breeze arrived and we rock hopped in close to Birubi, Anna Bay, Fishermans, Boat Harbour and One Mile to stay out of the current. The crew worked on their tacks and maintained good speed through each tack.......however with just 4 miles to go we reached the race time limit and our race was toast! DNF for 5 yachts.... so at least we were not alone and the sunset was great!

No 1 Supporter for Soldier On and Rogue Wave!

A huge thank you to my first Solo Trans Tasman Challenge campaign supporter!
Thanks Di for your generous donation toward my quest to raise $10,000.00 for Soldier On so we can help our wounded soldiers, sailors and airmen.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sat 27 Apr - Marathon Race

Saturday (April 27th) is a Marathon, start time is 1200 hrs (noon).

Course to be set on the day but currently forecast light 10-15 NW going to NE in the afternoon. Likely course at the moment is M2 but stay tuned.

Areas of fog early in the morning. Sunny day. Overnight temperatures falling to between 5 and 10 with daytime temperatures reaching the low to high 20s.

I think the big spinnaker may come back aboard.

Race 8 Summer Series and Club Championship

Here are the results:
Race 8 was the final race for the Summer Series
1st Exalte
2nd Tanami
3rd Anneliese
6th Rogue Wave

Summer Series results:
1st Anneliese
2nd Rogue Wave
3rd Kindred Spirit

Club Championship
1st Tanami
2nd Chilli
3rd Kindred Spirit
5th Rogue Wave

Given our lack of attendance in the Spring Series, the odd shocker when we did race and occasional catastrophic equipment failure...... I think we had an absolutely great season.. A big thanks to my crew regulars, Daz, Ruth and Max for their commitment to the boat. Coupled with our excellent result in the Winter Series and Sternchaser Series I believe a few bottles will be on the table on 26 May 13!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Race 7 Summer Series

Kev and Ruth welcomed Dave onto Rogue Wave for his first taste of keelboat racing. After several months on our crew list we finally managed to align the stars and get him on board.....such is the life of us working folk. Experience around boats of any shape or size always makes the transition to yachting a lot easier, so Dave quickly found his way into the groove. But as usual, its the terminology that is the most new players find confusing. When all else fails its........pull the red one, no.......the other red one! Funny stuff.
The race was looking to be a light air/no air race, but in fact turned out to be 3 races in one! Tactically challenging planning our race route  and driving the boat around dead air is very demanding.  By using crew weight, minimal rudder movements and gentle sail trim adjustments we managed to extract enough boat speed to gain some great ground over rivals 'parked' in dead spots. Unfortunately my headsail was still off having a makeover before Sail Port Stephens, so I had to dust off the old Norths Sails dacron cruising sail........hmmm, its hard to revert back to dacron after using a laminated sail trust me, performance does suffer.
The course had to be altered to keep clear of the Dragon Boat regatta being held off Wanda Beach, so the Salamander Bay mark was out of play. We ended up doing a westerly course to Garden Island, Middle Island, Wedding Cake to finish, which made for a long beat in very shifty light air between Garden Is and Wedding Cake.
Our start was ok and we sat about mid fleet. Half way to Garden Is the breeze backed and we hoisted the APC Assy for a brief time which gained us some good ground. Spinnaker repacking now happens very quickly and...touch wood......we haven't had a wineglass yet! The beat back to Wedding Cake was rewarded with some excellent gains over rivals Tanami and good in fact that we passed them both. We crossed tacks several times; on some tacks the old Rogue would scrape ahead by the thickness of her gelcoat, only to cross behind on the next. By the time we hit the Wedding Cake mark for the run to the finish Tanami had 2 boat lengths on us and we had put a dozen over Aneliese.
Tanami hoisted their symmetrical spinnaker and made off directly downwind for the finish, whilst we gybed away to set the Assy. With another new crew on board....especially first timers...its less stressful and much safer using the Assy as I can always go forward and set the pole after the hoist. We held ground for a while until the breeze dropped away and Anneliese started to haul us in........fortunately we managed to hold them off until the finish.
In our competitive little group both Nelson J and Exalte both had great light air races,  however it was a cunning little Hood that came away with the win on handicap.
The good news is we didn't come away empty handed. During our long beat to Wedding Cake the breeze strengthened during the approach of a squall line to the West. With the breeze gusting to around 14 knots, life was good on the old Rogue..........until what will be forever remembered as Ruth's light air roundup! In the light air Ruth was doing a great job helming for most of the race, as I extracted as much speed from the old girl....Rogue not I could. Unfortunately for Ruth no-one picked the willy-willy that instantly backed the sails and rounded us up.......right in front of Tanami and Anneliese! So needless to say, word somehow filtered back through the club and by the time we arrived for a drink, Ruth was famous! In lieu of a starters prize this week, Ruths light air roundup earned her the starters prize and a nice bottle of red!
We managed to keep to our game plan and finish ahead of Aneliese and Chilli which means we still maintain 2nd in the Summer Series and 5th in the Club Championship.
Next week is the final race of the Summer Series and Club Championship, so a clean bottom, repaired genoa and lighter boat (ie maintenance gear off) will be the order of the day as we prepare the old Rogue for Sail Port Stephens week. Straight after the race, weather permitting, we sail straight to Newcastle overnighting before we compete in the feeder race back to Port the following day. With 30+ offshore yachts on the start line it should be a good opportunity to check out the opposition and see what boats will be similar in performance to the old Rogue........and speaking of old, at 1983, Rogue Wave is the oldest yacht competing. While we may not be fastest she sure has the best looks and lines!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Race 6 Summer Series

The day was warm, the water calm and the breeze all but a memory as Ruth and I drifted around the start area with the mainsheet in one hand and a beer in the other. An early tactical move saw Rogue Wave  strategically place herself  abeam of the boys on Chilli so they could gaze upon our refreshing cold ales!  Our generous (or maybe devious) nature saw a few beers passed over to rail to distract the crew with 15 min to the gun. 
It was looking like a spinnaker start so I opted for the light Assy and a start at the leeward end of the line, whilst the majority of the fleet crammed the windward......if you could call it windward.....end of the line. We hoisted and drove over Goodlife2 with the speed of a startled gazelle, to be up at the front of the fleet after only 200m ....and then disaster......the breeze backed 90 degrees in a heartbeat and stuffed us royally!! At one stage Ruth disappeared under the red/white/blue spinnaker as it blew through the fore-triangle; so a quick drop was called for as we drifted back into the fleet. We were not alone as several others had the same misfortune. Phopar #1.

This little episode cost us time so we chased down the fleet under white sails as the breeze started to fill in. By the time we hit Wedding Cake we were about 3rd around the mark. In the light air I opted for the 0.75oz Symmetrical spinnaker as we needed to run downwind back to Middle Island. Ruth took the helm whilst skip did the foredecky pole dance to set the spinnaker.......two more crew would be extremely handy! Preparing for the gybe things went a tad squirrily as we started to run out of wet stuff. The gybe was called and the spinnaker promptly collapsed and blew through the fore-triangle.........and then reset itself and we powered along! So we gybed the main and reached out of the shallow water before running square and sorting out the mess. Phopar #2.
We managed to stay ahead of Goodlife2 such was the lead we had pulled out, but Anneliese and Nelson J slipped ahead. We gained ground on the beat and set our third spinnaker for the day (1.5oz Assy) for the two reaching legs. By now the breeze had reached a steady 12-15 gusting to 18 knots so we were keen to get the Assy up gain some ground. The set went well and we were away at over 7 knots......only to look behind and see the big 39ft Beneteau with masthead spinnaker bearing down on us. They drove over us just in time to drop in front and gybe the mark. We gybed the Salamander Mark for the reach to the finish.  We made ground on Anneliese and passed Nelson J (spinnaker problems) but could only hold ground with Goodlife2. Nelson J had a great race and it was unfortunate they had spinnaker problems on the final reaches.
Another great day on the water and a cold ale passed the lips on the motorsail back to the mooring. All was not as it seemed though......Ruth picked up a change in exhaust note that results from a dry exhaust. A quick check below revealed a bilge filling with clean seawater indicating a problem with the raw water side of the engine cooling system. We limped back to the mooring and tidied up the mess. The problem was easily fixed by making a better that I mean the retainer that held the coolant pipe in the heat exchanger had worn through vibration so I improved the design. Phopar #3.
The results were disappointing for the 9-11m boats. Goodlife 2 (who is still sporting a very generous handicap) scored 4th whilst Anneliese was 9th and Rogue Wave 10th. The good news is we still hold 2nd place in the Summer Series and have moved into 5th position on the Cub Championship ladder. Great effort by the crew of Rogue Wave!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Soldier On - my charity for the Solo Trans Tasman Yacht Race 2014

'Life is full of opportunities to break free from our safe environment
and to shape our own destiny'.
Alone, challenges can be daunting or even frightening to many....but for myself they are an essential ingredient for confidence and strength of character that enables me to assist others more effectively. The camaraderie I have experienced over the past 30 years in Air Sea Rescue, the Queensland Ambulance Service and eventually the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), has molded me into who I am, and what I represent today. Many have been as fortunate as I to have experienced similar journeys; some rewarding and others you may think are best forgotten!
My latest personal challenge is racing 1380 nautical miles single-handed from New Plymouth on the west coast of New Zealand's north island, to Mooloolaba on Queensland's Sunshine Coast in April 2014. Alone and completely self sufficient onboard my 36 foot yacht Rogue Wave, I will race 15 or more like minded souls from NZ and Australia across the wild Tasman Sea; not for the big prize money, because there isn't any....but for the personal satisfaction I derive from being in the fortunate position of achieving my goals.
Follow my adventure through my blog at
Soldier On.......helping our wounded soldiers. Follow the link to donate.
As a serving member of the Australian Defence Force, I am acutely aware of the service our members provide in the defence of Australia and her interests. In this, the 10th anniversary of my first operational deployment, I want to give something back to those returned servicemen and women who have retained the physical and mental scars of their service life. To that end I am proud to be associated with the charity Soldier On, helping our wounded warriors.
Soldier On is about Australians coming together to show their support for our physically and psychologically wounded; we will always have their backs. We work to enhance recovery, inspire communities and empower Australia’s wounded, giving those who have served our country the dignity they deserve and the chance to do and be whatever they choose.
All donations will be used to assist our wounded and provide them with opportunities to undertake sailing related challenges to aid in their recovery, and will not be used for the purpose of my challenge...that is my responsibility.
So why not follow me on this and other adventures and donate what you can afford and together we can help Soldier On help our wounded warriors.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Race 5 Summer Series

The cabin fever finally broke with the forecast 10-15 knot ENE breeze. A mixed fleet of 19 yachts started and a couple fell away with breakages. We have not raced for a couple of weeks so early Sat morning I went for a little swim to wipe down the hull. Barnacles tend to grow quickly around the prop and shaft preventing the folding prop from opening.

Ruth was my sole crew and she had been away from the boat for about 5-6 weeks, so expectations were not over ambitious. The course set was two laps of Wedding Cake, Salamander and Middle Island. My preferred summer course as windward leeward courses do no suit displacement yachts.
We positioned nicely for the start and were wary of the strong ebb tide that would carry us over early. Arriving 15 secs early we reached down the line at speed and blasted away for a clean start.........problem was so did everyone else resulting in a general recall. The next start we duplicated our starboard track but had a couple of tacking hangups that saw us arrive late after 90% of the fleet had crossed the line. This is not necessarily not a bad thing, because we immediately tacked onto port and ducked under the fleet knowing we do well to windward. Back on starboard we took off with the strongest part of the current and quickly rounded up the fleet. By the time we hit the first mark Chilli (Corsair 24 Tri), Watch Me (Melges 24) and Knot Working (Etchells) were only just ahead.
The breeze was now a consistent 20 knots apparent so I opted for a white sail reach on the next two legs. The majority of the fleet did the same ......except for Anneliese (Northshore 33) who like clockwork hoisted the orange spinnaker and started recovering ground. They were hot on our heels by the end of leg three but we still managed to keep ahead such was the windward lead we had made. Rounding Middle Island mark and back on the beat, we had another tacking hookup that cost us time and allowed Goodlife 2 (Beneteau 39) to slip past......but only briefly. Anneliese were still sorting themselves out from the spinnaker drop. We also managed to pass Knot Working!

By the time we had rounded Wedding Cake we had opened up a big lead however the nimble Knot Working slipped ahead with a quick spinnaker hoist. This second lap strategy was to hoist the 1.5oz Assy and scream home on a beam to broad reach. Ruth on the helm did a great job steering a fast and steady course. As we neared Salamander we setup for the make or break gybe. Gybing smoothly through 120 degrees at the mark we pulled it off to perfection, maintaining hull speed throughout the gybe. Great effort for a crew of two.
                                                                                                          Rogue Wave
On the final run to the line we hauled in Knot Working but ran out of course to pass her. Anneliese was not a threat, however Goodlife 2 with their big masthead kite was sailing very fast and slowly closing the gap. We managed to hold her off and crossed the line 4th outright and 3rd on handicap.

Knot Working leading Rogue Wave to the finish

Fantastic day on the water with a steady breeze and course that suits RW to a tee. Just one or two more crew and we could fly the spinnaker on all downwind legs. To finish off a great summers day on the Bay, we settled back with a couple of Stone and Wood Pacific Ales on the sail back to the mooring. The pics were taken by Relle from shore with her Galaxy pad ....thanks Relle, nice surprise and great to see RW under spinnaker......from the otherside.
Rogue Wave is now equal second with Chilli in the Summer Series whilst Anneliese is still holding onto the lead with 3 three races to go. In the Club Championship (Spring/Summer series only), we are sitting on 6th position from 29 competitors......well done crew.

Results - Race 5 Summer Series
1st - Chilli
2nd - Goodlife 2
3rd - Rogue Wave

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sail Port Stephens 15-21 Apr 13

I have just entered Rogue Wave in the 2013 Sail Port Stephens Regatta to be held 15-21 Apr 13.
Leave is booked and RW will be raring to go.

Newcastle to Port Stephens Race 14 Apr 13

I have just entered Rogue Wave in the Newcastle to Port Stephens Race 14 Apr 13.

Sailing/motoring down Sat 13th and overnighting at the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC) and racing back Sun 14 Apr as a feeder race to Sail Port Stephens. This passage and race will be good traing for the regatta. I hope to have crew T-Shirts printed up in time.

No more hangups!

Rogue Wave did not race in the PSYC 42nd Anniversary Regatta this weekend as the crew were spread around the countryside (and globe) so RW had a little more maintenance done.

I spent a solid three hours up the mast on Friday arvo drilling out rivets on the 20+ mast steps that were fitted below the forestay. These steps were a real pain in the butt as they continually fouled halyards, grabbed the spinnaker threatening to shred it to pieces and trashing the genoa on every tack. They are now history and life will be less stressful for old skip! The only downfall is the 60 Stainless rivet carcasses that fall inside the mast and eventually find their way out the sheave box and under a bare foot!! A good pressure wash should help blow them out......but be warned, wear shoes! Now all I need to do is perfect my solo mast climbing with ascenders!
The HF radio also burst into life last week. I listened to both the NZ and Australia weather channels and they came through loud and strong..... and I was only using the emergency HF antenna.
A squillion settings to ponder and the backstay antenna to hook up tomorrow followed by a voice/range check. 
Whilst I was running my new gas pipes I had to access the fuel tank filler pipe area so I thought I may as well replace the hose clamps. Well, they were stuffed and so was the hose....a split at the top of the hose would pass fuel when heeled. So a new 2" filler hose (ouch) goes on tomorrow.
At this rate I am glad I entered the Tasman race 3 years out.....I needed that long to do the task list!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Race 4/8 Summer Series

Race #3 was a write off due to weather.

Race #4 - The forecast had the fleet setup for a windy race only to be fooled at race start by a lazy 5-10 knot breeze. I say fooled because about 10 mins after the start the 25 knot NE blew in with gusto!
Max joined me for a double-hander so we settled in for a conservative start at the back of the line and toward the windward end of the line. We had some good air and made Wedding Cake mark looking in good shape as we pulled down the first reef. Poling the genoa in 25knts we had a good 7+ knot run against the tide back to Middle Island for the starboard rounding. That's when things went from great to not-so! Shorthanded in a strong breeze, I prefer to furl away the genoa, gybe the pole, gybe the main and unfurl the genoa on the new side. Whilst slow, its safe and effective without the need to wrestle with sheets and the pole.
Well the genoa decided to unfurl from the belly of the sail in lieu of the clew resulting in a complete wrap of two genoa sheets around the forestay! The only way to fix the problem was to luff up, take the genoa leads completely out of their cars and back around the forestay. Those sheets can do some damage if let fly, so we took our time. Our race went from sitting pretty at around 3rd back to last in the 10 mins it took to get back on course and up to speed.
So with the race beyond recovery I turned the race into a training day, putting in a second reef, furling the genoa to #3 size and tweaking adjustments to demonstrate the change of sail shape and performance. With the reduced sail area Rogue Wave was nicely balanced with a hint of weather helm......the downside is reduced sail area downwind = slow.
Enjoyable day on the water with Max picking up some good training all washed down with a couple of ales from the 50 Lashes cellar.
Despite our poor result we are still holding second place in the Summer Series (by a point over 3rd), and we are running 7th in the Club Championship (only Spring/Summer series combined - excludes Winter for some reason).
Race 4/8 results:
1st - Hanini Bay
2nd - Rainbow
3rd - Kindred Spirit
13th - Rogue Wave

Friday, February 8, 2013

Oceantalk AIS 700

The Oceantalk AIS-700  system has now been installed on Rogue Wave. So what does that mean you ask? Well now I have visibility on my chart plotter and PC Nav system of commercial ships and pleasure boats also fitted with an Automated Identification System (AIS). What I get is the ships name, heading, speed and description. The system came with its own GPS antenna and stubby VHS antenna and interfaces via NMEA 0183 with the Raymarine e7 Multifunction Display and/or laptop based Nav my case OPEN CPN and SEA PRO 3000 (my weather routing software).

The setup was straightforward and required the software CD to be loaded onto my laptop, then connected to the AIS system via the RS232 cable. My unique MMSI identification number and Rogue Wave's details were uploaded and the system burst into life.

So how sensitive is the Oceantalk AIS-700?......well sitting in Salamander Bay on my mooring in Port Stephens, just  to the north of Newcastle NSW, and hooked up to the laptop OPEN CPN navigation program (great user friendly user interface) I picked up ships at 260NM south of my location! Plenty of time for a course change one thinks!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Summer Series Race 2

Pudz and Ruth worked the deck of RW for race 2 of the Summer Series. The breeze was forecast to be a 25 knot stiff southerly, so we reefed the main from the get go and ran with the full #2 genoa (135%). Our start was reasonable and we were quickly amongst the leaders on the way to Salamander Mark. It was great racing as 5 or 6 boats all converged and rounded the mark within just a couple of boat lengths. Hasn't been any racing like that for a long while. We gained a few places upwind keeping ahead of Tanami only to lose ground to them on the broad reach/run back to Middle Island when they launched their spinnaker.

I opted not to use the 0.75 oz symmetrical spinnaker as the breeze was gusting above its limit of around 22-25 knots and my preference was for my crew to spectate broaches and round-ups instead of be participants!! The 1.5oz Assy spinnaker limit is 15 knots on the tack without a pole and the upper limit is scary pants stuff when used with the spinnaker pole, so next race in a breeze the Assy will fly and we 'manage' the broaches. Apart from being a stronger material, it is also a tad smaller in size with a wider wind angle range. The tactics combined with use of the correct sails can be the difference between 1st and 6th. For the trip behind the island we kept wide and on the breeze whilst others floundered in the wind shadow. Fortunately we picked up some of our lost ground.

Back on the beat to Salamander Mark we pegged back Anneliese, Tangier and Young Pretender.  Meanwhile, Chilli and Watch Me were having their own high speed duel way out ahead and were most likely already at the bar!!  Rounding the mark to port we eased sail for the run down to Wedding Cake with the headsail poled to starboard. Good speed of 7.2 knots kept us in the game although once again, those with spinnakers gained good dramatic style! A wide rounding by Tanami, with spinnaker still flapping, left RW with a nice inside line close to the mark to execute a slam dunk and regain the advantage. On the reach to Middle island we edged back into the game.

Back on the breeze for the final beat back to Salamander and Ruth and Pudz had RW humming. We caught and overtook Anneliese and Tangier all the time stretching the lead over Tanami and gaining on Young Pretender. After rounding the mark the breeze looked good for a beam reach and a good race to the finish. Kites went up and we struggled to keep up with only our whites. On the final dash for the line we held off Anneliese and Tanami, but Tangier slipped across the line half a boat length and 4 secs ahead of RW!

Ist on handicap were Doug and Dim who sailed a great race in the Nolex 30 Tangier, followed by Ken on his Northshore 33 Anneliese and Gerard had a great day on the big Pacific 39 Distant Drums to come away with 3rd place. Rogue Wave slipped into 4th with only 2min 45 secs separating 1st and 4th on corrected time.
Follow the link to Race 2 Summer Series Results

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Summer opening Race 1

What a nice way to kick off the summer series with a win! 
Coerced by Ruth and bribed over several ales the previous day, Mort joined Ruth and Kev on Rogue Wave for his first ever yacht race. It was a clear and warm day with a light 5-10 knot breeze drifting in from the ENE, however the BOM had forecast a 30 knot northerly followed by a southerly change for later in the day. Fortunately the change came after the race was over.
Mort manned the pit and quickly picked up the role. A couple of stints on the helm and he was settling in nicely, although something did not quite look right without a beer in his hand! Light air racing is tactically challenging and makes for a very interesting day on the water, so it was a good day for Mort's first sail.....mind you, it would have been a different story if the 30 knots had eventuated!!
The start was one of our better ones and we headed off to the northern side of the course in a strong ebbing tide. The eddy east of Middle Island gave us some short term grief as the rest of the fleet, bar one Hood, tacked away and around. RW drifted through at a cracking 1.8 knots and then emerged in a nice breeze with favourable current.....and all alone. The Etchels were long gone in these conditions and Young Pretender being very light was also making good speed.
By the first mark at Wedding Cake we were in a very good position as Ruth set to work preparing for her first spinnaker launch without Decky Daz. In hindsight I should have flown the 0.75 oz Symmetrical or at least the lighter Assy in lieu of the heavy 1.5 oz Assy for that first downwind run. The result was a sail that had so much weight in its build that it collapsed below 5-7 knots of breeze. We gybed downwind at 125 degrees and were swamped at Middle Island by several boats carrying symmetrical spinnakers as we all sailed in and out of wind holes and back eddy's.....even Distant Drums who had a great downwind leg took us on the inside, which did not sit well with the RW crew!
Rounding the island and back to Wedding Cake we set our sights on Aneleise who had also managed to also creep past on the downwind leg. The gap was quickly closed as RW slipped into the groove at speed. We passed both boats and opened up a large gap by Wedding Cake and also on the white sail reach to Salamander. A gybe at the mark for the final reach to the finish was a good tussle with Aneliese as they had by now got their orange spinnaker set and pulling hard. Fortunately the race was shortened due to the light conditions otherwise a lot of boats would not have made the time limit.
The gap closed and Ruth's pleas for a spinnaker set were ignored by the skipper. It looked as though Aneliese would overtake RW until a small windshift around Soldiers Point was just enough to collapse their spinnaker and stop them dead in their tracks. Now they needed to drop the spinnaker to make the finish as RW powered up and across the line to take the win on handicap!
Summer Series Race 1 results:
1st: Rogue Wave
2nd: Aneliese
3rd: Young Pretender

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christmas Series Race 3

The day started with a gentle breeze that soon developed into a strong wind gusting to 30 knots from the ENE. Thankfully Ruth ditched her usual gym session this morning as today's four hour sailing effort was worth at least 10 gym credits! Ideally a few more crew to share the workload would have made the day more enjoyable......sorry for breaking you Ruth!!

We had good position for a flying start until the genoa sheet hung-up during the final tack on the approach to the line. That mast cleat just has to go! We made good progress on the first beat to Wedding Cake regaining some of the ground lost at the start. It was to be a long race of the 17.4M so still plenty of time to steal back a few minutes. On the run back to Middle Island the headsail was poled-out in the building breeze. The next beat to Wedding Cake saw the wind building 20-22 knots so we reefed the main.

We played with the genoa sail area and lead to find the best balance between speed and control! The wind swell was about 1 metre in the centre channel as RW ploughed through at 7 knots; at times waves crashing over the deck and back past the mast saturating us both....thankfully it was a hot day. We crossed tacks with several boats and gradually pulled back ground on the leaders. What a great old boat she is!

The reach to Salamander Bay was quick at around 8 knots and gave us a rest from the smashing we took during the last two beats. After gybing at the mark we hit 9.0 knots on the beam reach back to Middle Island so we were two very happy crew. The breeze was building to 25-30 knots as we clawed our way back to Wedding Cake still making up ground. We were knackered by the time we turned the final mark and the run for home so no poled-out headsail this time, just a broad reach to the NW followed by a goosewinged main whilst we surfed the swell all the way to the line.

There were 20 starters and 6 DNFs due to the conditions; several boats sustaining damage to their equipment. RW only raced in 2/3 races and scored a 2nd in race 2 and 4th today so thanks Ruth and Max, a job done well.

Christmas Series Race 3 results:
1st: Chilli
2nd: Goodlife 2
3rd: Thief of Time
4th: Rogue Wave

Friday, January 4, 2013

Jobs, jobs and more jobs.....

The past few days I have been very busy in the bowels of RW...much of the work will never be seen but the results are well worth the effort. The first job was removal and installation of the new Lewmar Ocean 60 deck hatch. To be compliant with offshore racing regs the hatch must have a method of opening from the outside.

I have installed an Airmar  H2183 Heading Sensor (3 axis gyro) that will steer my Raymarine S1 autopilot on a steady course so I can worry about setting the spinnaker instead of worrying about accidental gybes!  I then networked the new Raymarine e7 Multi-Function Display (MFD) with my old Raymarine ST60 Wind/Depth/Speed/Temp instruments and my Raymarine S1 Autopilot. The integration required the installation of a network convertor to convert SEATALK 1 message formats to SEATALK NG.   I can happily report they are now all merrily chatting away between themselves. An Oceantalk AIS 700 Automatic Identification System (AIS) will be fitted next week and integrated with the MFD and my Seapro 3000 laptop navigation program.
I have mounted the ICOM 801 HF transceiver (read damn heavy) in the starboard locker amidships so it is easily accessible and has good ventilation. The remote head has already been mounted in the nav station so the remaining items are the handsets, antenna tuner, matching transformer, counterpoise and antenna deck fittings and then wire it all up. A new Comms switch panel will be installed and eventually the main switch panel will be replaced...but is not a priority at the moment.
 The final part of Rogue Wave's electronics package is the integration of SEATALK and NMEA 0183 devices; including both HF and VHF radios that will send my GPS coordinates in an emergency as part of the Digital Select Calling (DSC) functionality. The AIS will display collision related data and the heading sensor will detect movement in 3 axis and provide reliable heading date to steer a tight course. All of this data can then be WiFi connected to either my Sony Acros waterproof smartphone or an iPad for either viewing or control........and if it all goes pear shaped, then I always have my backup paper charts. Gotta love technology!!
The other job I have undertaken is gutting the 30 year old gas system. I stripped out all the old copper pipe and replaced with AGA approved PVC coated Annealed 3/8" copper pipe. Glad I did as the old pipe was corroded as I expected. A PEEL Gas Detector and solenoid shutoff suitable for survey will also be fitted along with a new dual stage regulator to feed the SMEV 7000 cooker. Still need to rework the bottle compartment to install a drain overboard and fit a restraining system. The entire installation is IAW AS/NZS 5601.2.2010 and will be terminated, tested and certified by an licenced gasfitter. Hopefully I can go sailing next week!!