Next Sail: 03 Mar Port Stephens to New Plymouth NZ

Follow on FACEBOOK here

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

Saturday, December 2, 2017

2018 Solo Tasman

121 days to the 2018 Solo Tasman Yacht Challenge :)

Counting down to late Dec 17 when we head back west to Australia after our posting to the US. Whilst we leave behind our special new found US friends, we are both looking forward to reuniting with family, friends......and of course Rogue Wave!

Planning is well underway to re-commission the old Rogue in prep for the Solo Tasman race in April. After a few additions the Rogue will receive a good shakedown in the March delivery sail to NZ.

To ensure my weather routing is on track every day, I now have an Iridium 9555 satphone with XGate compression software that enables access to Predict Wind data downloads for GRIB files and ocean currents. This is a significant step up from 2014 in route planning and I an looking forward to getting the best out of my SeaPro nav software.

Another addition is a top down Harken Reflex Furler for the Assy spinnaker that will enable me to quickly deploy and furl the bulletproof 1.5oz Doyle APS to maximise performance. I originally planned to add a Code Zero to the inventory, however that budget was redirected into our purchase of Roaring Forty - fortunately RF came racked and stacked with 18 sails!

Whilst I race to fulfill personal goals and to challenge myself, I also race to raise awareness of physical and mental challenges faced by our military and security personnel. Unlike other campaigns you may support, public funds raised through donations go in direct support of Soldier On.

If you are a Company/Corporation aligned with my principles and objectives on a global stage, then please reach out to me and I would be happy to discuss opportunities that are beneficial to all. I pride myself in that public donations have not (and never will be) used in the preparation of either Rogue Wave or Roaring Forty. 

Don't forget to spread the word that we need to stop the grief and self harm so please support our Military and Security Service personnel and kindly donate what you can by clicking this link to my official fundraising page for Soldier On

Monday, June 26, 2017

2018 Solo Tasman Yacht Challenge - SOLDIER ON

Once again as I did in 2014, I have elected to raise awareness of the work being done by Soldier On to underpin my second Solo Tasman Yacht Challenge in April 2018. In 2014 we successfully raised over $3600.00 so in 2018 I would like to shoot for $5000.00. Together we can make a difference.

2018 will be a very busy year....which is not  bad thing! Between family catch-ups, I will be head down bum up settling back into the Aussie lifestyle, a new job and re-commissioning Rogue Wave from storage to make her ready for our delivery to New Zealand in March 2018.

So thought it prudent to start the fundraising now to lessen the impact. Below is the link to my fundraising page on the Soldier On website and in advance, I thank you kindly for your support in helping those that keep this country safe.

An event such as the Solo Tasman take years of planning and preparation prior to actual execution and getting to the start line is an achievement in its own right. However I am proud to say that I am completely self funded and supported by my family as I spend their inheritance!

All donations raised go to Soldier On.

2018 Solo Tasman Yacht Challenge Fundraiser Website

Rogue Wave - 2014 Solo Tasman Yacht Challenge arrival at Mooloolaba

OSTAR 2020

Just back from Newport RI where I was fortunate to greet Mark Hipgrave as he skippered his Sunfast 3600  Mister Lucky to a 3rd in Gypsy Moth class, 3rd in OSTAR and 4th Line Honours. Outstanding effort by Mark considering the toll the weather took on the fleet.......enough drama to make a Perfect Storm 2!

Met Uwe and Asia off the Class 40 Rote 66 and they kindly showed me through their boat. Had a chat with Jaap who raced on the yacht Happy who unfortunately lost their yacht after being pitch-poled, dismasted and taking on lots of water. They were successfully rescued by an ocean going sea tug so had a ride to Bermuda before flying into Newport. Check out the site as the slower Corinthian Jester Class are still out their racing - this is the class Rogue Wave would compete - Roaring Forty would be in the Gypsy Moth Class.
OSTAR 2017
Facebook - OSTAR and TWO STAR

The OSTAR is usually run every four years which timed nicely with my proposed year of retirement being (2021) ....however, the committee has moved the next OSTAR to 2020 to align with the Mayflower 400th anniversary celebrations. So if I am to take part a major re-plan is required to compete Roaring Forty in the 2020 OSTAR.

On my recent flight to Australia and up to Newport I have been reading Eric Tabarly Memoirs of the Sea, which is an excellent read. He does not bore the non-sailor with the day by day details of a long solo or crewed passage for these he quickly summarises the main repetitive events. His story is about inspiration, passion for racing and yacht design and his love of the sea. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Part 3 - Roaring Forty

The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That's the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all your facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead. (General G.S. Patton) 

When a once in a lifetime opportunity presents itself the time for procrastination ceases. I have made my decision and have now purchased Roaring Forty.

I have just returned from a couple of days with the wonderful team at Raising Anchors Yacht Brokers
and Roompot Yacht Service surveying Roaring Forty so I can prepare a project budget and schedule. The fun now begins as we embark on a refit program of around 18-24 months to bring her seaworthiness back to CAT 1 Offshore standard, ready for the initial shakedown cruise to Portsmouth in the UK, followed by the adventure sail home to Australia via Cape Town. She is a stiff and fast boat that was designed and setup for solo and shorthanded offshore global racing. Rest assured the safety factor of this boat is very high.

I look forward to keeping you posted on our progress and the race plan for Roaring Forty.

Roaring Forty (pictured), a 1997 Lutra Design Open 40. She is currently located in The Netherlands inside Roompot Yacht Services fantastic winter storage facility having seen little use by her current owner. Her previous owner Michel Kleinjans, successfully raced her solo in many high profile races in Europe, UK and the US; including the 2008/09 Portimao Global Ocean Race where she won the Solo division.

2007 Rolex Middle Sea Race

The two pictures above are of Roaring Forty in her original deck and shorter carbon mast configuration. She held several World Sailing Speed Records in her day and many other stunning performances, one that stands out in my mind was the 2007 Rolex Middle Sea race when Roaring Forty came in third line honours behind Rambler (90ft) and Rubino (66ft), and pulled off a stunning second overall on IRC handicap, and of course a Div 2 IRC win. Out of 55 starters, 40 recorded Did Not Finish due to the gale force weather, but Michel and his four man crew on Roaring Forty pulled it all together to record an outstanding result for a 40 footer in extreme conditions.

Roaring Forty pictured above during the 2008/09 Portimao Global Ocean Race with modified deck, new Southern Spars carbon mast and boom skippered by Belgian sailing legend Michel Kleinjans

Roaring Forty at Roompot Marina Kamperland The Netherlands just prior to removal into winter storage Sep 2016

 Roaring Forty at Roompot Yacht Services, Kamperland in 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

Part 2 - The Contenders

During 2015 and 2016, I trolled the Annapolis boat shows hunting for boat bling for Rogue Wave whilst cruising my favourite nautical Broker web sites looking for racing stablemates with no luck.

To ensure my brain did not default to a copy of Rogue Wave which it did several times as I drifted down rabbit holes, I drafted a list of Essential (E) and Desirable (D) criteria that included:
Not to exceed Budget - USD$50K (E)
Age - post 1983 but irrelevant if refitted (D)
Not Handicap or Class restricted (D)
Hull Material - GRP/Kevlar (E)
Water Ballast (D)
No canting keel (E)
Watertight compartments/Crash bulkheads (D)
Length - around 40-43 ft, (E)
Beam - fine entry for windward work, moderate-wide beam with flat aft sections to promote surfing while reaching and running, (E)
Draft - not to exceed 3 metres (E)
single elliptical spade rudder (E)
dual rudder (D)
emergency rudder system (D)
tiller steer in preference to wheel for simplicity and weight (E)
Integrated electronics package (E)
Solar/wind/hydro generators (D)
Extensive sail wardrobe as this shares the wear across many sails so even if old could be in new condition (E)
Mast - Alloy (E) or carbon mast/boom (D)
Standing Rigging - Rod (E), PBO if less than 2 years old (D), no wire.
Solent or cutter rig (E)
Furlers for Code and Spinnakers - (D)
Headsail furler (D)
Bowsprit (E)
Carbon Spinnaker pole (D)
Demonstrated performance hull design, lightweight but strength through design and material use (E)
Crew protection - Small dodger (D)
Stripped out racing interior (E)
Engine - 20-30hp but not original equipment (E)
Galley - gimbaled Single/dual Alcohol cooker (E)
Performance - must be capable of maintaining 170-200NM days (E)

After many many months of searching and saving some more, I have finally made my decision; she has beautiful lines, is strong and be continued in part 3.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

2017 - Shifting gears

2015 - Part 1 - The Search Begins

The good ole USA probably has the highest concentration of sailboats in the world predominantly positioned on the east coast. Safe waters, thousands of bays and inlets, rivers and lakes abound making sailing/boating a very popular pastime. With so many safe havens and with the Caribbean and Bermuda so close, the regatta circuit attracts the big guns on J Class Yachts, Super yachts, Open 60/50/40s, Class 40, One Designs, IRC cruiser racers right down to the dude in his tricked up surfing 30 footer.

So, we arrive in the US in 2015 and not one to let an opportunity pass....the search begins. Friends already on posting here have landed a nice Stevens world  cruising yacht so there are some great bargains to be had if in the right place at the right time. There are boats everywhere for sale.....some at ridiculous prices and others at bargain basement prices.....even give away! So many were neglected and way past their prime. When you see 40-50 footers for sale stating 'fresh water use only' its hard to imagine when coming from Australia.

I love watching the old and new Vendee globe racers, especially now with their foiling monos (not so much a cat fan). So it was only natural Class 40 boats caught my eye - solid, safe and fast and whilst promoted as 'affordable' I am not one who consider EUR300,000.00 as 'affordable' and don't know too many folk other than marketing peeps who do. However, without an active Class 40 scene in Australia it did not make sense to buy a Class restricted boat. The other problem was there was only one for sale in the US (and waaaay over my budget) and all the rest were in the UK or Europe.

Don't get me wrong, Rogue Wave is a cracker of a yacht for a displacement hull; sweet lines, seaworthy, comfortable, fast and performs well under handicap..... a certain and proven winning combination in the right conditions. I have done a ton of work with a lot more to go as I love working to improve her and share experiences and lessons learned with other Sigma owners. What I am looking for is more of a 'racing' orientated stablemate for the old Rogue.....not a replacement.

As you can see from my goals and aspirations on my Blog title page, my sailing leading up to and throughout retirement is busy....much to do and in many parts of the world. I certainly cannot afford to freight Rogue Wave around the world to compete so the only way is to sail to the start lines. I also need to factor in my age (56 this year) so I am fit and able to achieve my goals with no regrets.

Rogue Wave is perfect boat to see me to my end of sailing days. I have no desire to own a plastic production yacht with apartment like interior and three heads. I am happy to visit these boats at anchor or in a marina to share a beer....but not to own one.

So I went web hunting with a set of requirements to find a 'race' orientated boat of around 40ft that met all my my needs (and budget) and without compromise or design limitations related to handicap ratings.
To be cont......