Sunday, December 30, 2007


Well, we have not yet rounded Tasman Island and we have been becalmed before entering the dreaded Derwent river.

For the second time this race we have the lightweight "Drifter" head sail up. This sail was made at the Kavanagh Balloons factory from balloon cloth and is a very light weight number 1 head sail for use in under 4 knots of true breeze.

It is slowly pulling us along at about 1 knot of boat speed when we get the occasional zephyr or breeze.

With some luck we will get a sea breeze start to fill in but we will be working against the out going tide once into Storm Bay and the Derwent. The tide is due to turn in the next 1.5 hours and the few boats in out division ahead of us will cop it on the nose helping to park them for longer as we catch up....well that is the plan if you can call it that.

Yesterday afternoons predicted front arrived and turned the nice calm and rolling sea under the 15 knot Northerly to white maelstrom of wind swept waves and over 30 knots of wind from the south east. We were ready but were expecting a slightly more moderate change and as such were caught with the wrong head sail on deck. As the change came in we dropped the spinnaker and hoisted the number 1 head sail for all of 10 minutes before it became obvious we were in for more wind.

As the wind built we changed down to the number 2 with a clockwork head sail peel. Unfortunately this was still not enough and with a rushed change into full wet weather gear and safety harnesses it was back onto the foredeck to peel to the number 3.

By now it was really blowing a gale and we were in large sea and getting pounded. While three of us worked on the foredeck, the rest of the crew were working to get two reefs into the main.
A solid 14 hours of hard on the nose sailing ensued with a change back to the number 2 and then number 1 earlier this morning before it glassed out on us.

Meanwhile the tension is high as we wait for this to all unfold. Cold beer, a steak and a hot shower await us in Hobart but it is painfully far away right now.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mid Race

This may be my only mid race post so this is what is happening so far...

We are currently about 3 days into the race and are now screaming down the east coast of Tasmania. We have had every sort of condition so far from a fast afternoon of spinnaker runs after leaving Sydney Harbour to hard on the nose during and back to a fast 24 hours of spinnaker work.

A calm period before entering Bass Strait was followed by the most fantastic crossing of the Strait. We have switched spinnakers a few times now but have held a good 8 to 12 knots of boat speed for some 200 miles.

Currently we are well placed to win our division but it is still early days.

As I type this we are awaiting a change from the south east to head us. This will put an end to the fast trip south but the angle will work well for the final run to Tasman Island then into Storm Bay.

Yee Haaaa!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sydney to Hobart race

Wow, this has really snuck up on me. It is Christmas day and I am about to walk out the door to head down to the CYC for the 2007 Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

By this time tomorrow we will be two and a half hours into the race. the start is at 1pm on Boxing Day so tonight we are having dinner as a team and staying on the yacht.

Dad and I will be part of the same team that sailed Namadgi, a 44 foot Bavaria to a PHS division win in the Sydney to Gold Coast race.

The weather is looking good for us at this time so fingers crossed for a good race this year.

Anyone interested can track the yachts on the website linked above.

Have a great Christmas and happy New Year - with some luck mine will be spent celebrating down at Constitution dock in Hobart!