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, 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