Monday, August 10, 2009

The invitation...........

A journey of a thousand miles
begins with one

My daughter gifted to me the words above, encouraging me to achieve my dream of sailing a yacht solo around the world. What follows below is one step toward realising that dream.

Today I write to five friends inviting each one of you to join me in an adventure that is the
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race – 2011

Whilst some of you have known each other for many years, others have never met.
What I do know is that, individual skills aside, each of you possess the personal qualities I believe will make up the core of a great team.

Each of you possess individual skills that when melded together would present a formidable force whilst bearing the hallmark of a competitive, winning team.

I will attempt to coerce you with offerings of wet, cold and windy nights at sea, accompanied by bouts of sea sickness and sheer terror whilst rewarding you with adventure, exhilaration and accomplishment.

I could think of no better way to celebrate three 50th birthdays in 2011.

Just Jo
Before you decide to delete the email, call medical and have me undergo psychiatric evaluation, please hold that thought and allow me to briefly introduce this outstanding group of gentlemen.

If after reading you want a piece of the action….fire back your preferred contact details and let me know either way.

1. Mel (47ish)– racing/cruising sailor, serving Air Commodore RAAF, IRAQ Veteran F/A-18 Hornet Commanding Officer, light aircraft owner and social flier, can run a half marathon - Keeper of the Bagpipes, consumer of quality reds – lives in Canberra, ACT.
2. Mike (35ish)– Professional /racing/cruising sailor, ex LCDR RAN Seaman Officer, Patrol Boat XO, happy to watch a half marathon from the Bridge Deck and clap loudly - happy to sample quality reds….or any red for that matter – lives in Atherton, QLD.
3. Glenn (47ish)– racing/cruising sailor, ex decorated QLD Ambulance and Helicopter Paramedic, ex Southport Air Sea Rescue Skipper, can run a half marathon if chased - built to work a foredeck! – lives in Townsville, QLD.
4. Garth (33ish)– racing/cruising sailor, NQLD Helicopter Rescue Crewman, ex 4RAR Special Forces (SF) Section Leader, SF Instructor, East Timor Veteran, will run until told to stop - fearless and unbreakable, mast work in 6 metre seas won’t require us to draw straws……can save bowman if required ! – lives in Townsville, QLD.
5. Darryl (42ish)– social sailor, ex IRAQ Veteran F/A-18 Hornet Pilot, 4th year of Doctor study – well qualified to advise on the seasickness meds you should have taken whilst you are throwing up over the rail. Lead Protest Negotiator – can smooth talk our way out of any Protest!
6. Kev (47ish….rumoured to be 35 at the pub)- racing/cruising/solo sailor, broke yacht owner, serving Flight Lieutenant F/A-18 Hornet Aerospace Engineer, IRAQ Veteran F/A-18 Hornet Avionics Technician, Automotive Technician, ex Southport Air Sea Rescue Skipper, probably have a crack at a half marathon …….if only I had the time - can fix, plug, mend a lot with very little to get you home safely.

The Division we would race in requires 6 crew. I have not identified any reserve crew at this stage.
In preparation for the race there are mandatory safety and equipment requirements for the yacht and crew eligibility rules also apply - see the end of email and .

2010 - I intend taking Long Service Leave (Jul-Sep 2010) and circumnavigate Australia (anticlockwise). I am in the planning phase at the moment and if you are interested, I will be offering an opportunity for each of you to join me on various legs in preparation for Sydney to Hobart 2011. This is an excellent opportunity to gain sea miles, although this won’t be a concern for Mike! If you choose to sail with me, I would encourage you to sail on local boats within your area to assist in honing your skills and growing back those sea legs.
Follow the link to: for more information on the yacht and my waffling.

So you want a piece of the action……
We would meet and greet as a team in Brisbane for compulsory Yachting Australia Safety Training (valid 5 years) one weekend in Jan 10 (or other suitable time) and then discuss the plan of attack. We would hook up when available for the qualifying races and the odd regatta throughout 2010 and 2011. (eg Sail Port Stephens, Sydney to Gold Coast, Sydney to Coffs Harbour, Newcastle to Lord Howe, Brisbane to Gladstone). I believe early planning will make the experience more enjoyable for all and give me time to seek out sponsorship to offset costs. (I have already been asked about sailing the Three Peaks Race in Tasmania…..hence the Marathon comments.)

If we race Just Jo in 2011, we will attract media attention due to our 30 ft size and the crew composition……fortunately Media coverage means sponsorship opportunities! Media historically focus on the front and back of the race……….oh, and of course the dramas!

Just Jo is 33 years young and now is a good time to mention we would be at the back of the fleet due to her 1976 IOR racing design, however I believe she will still pack a surprise and be competitive on handicap….which is what it is all about. For example, Love and War (S&S 47) was built in 1973 and won the race in 1974 and 1976. She won again in 2006 due to upwind conditions that suited IOR design! There is no way we can keep pace with the downwind yacht/skiff designs of today. The hull design of Just Jo reportedly won the Australian Half Ton Championships in the 1980’s and she proudly wears a couple of second place plaques on board. She is a strong yacht built of ¾” thick solid fibreglass. My best solo speed over ground to date is 11.4 knots surfing 2-3 metre seas, wind gusting 38 knots on the quarter!
Usually there are only one or two other 30-32 foot yachts in the race, with the min limit being 30 ft, so there are always races within the race.
- Weather advice - Mel may be able to entice Roger (ex Tindal Met Man) to assist us in this very important area.
- Foul weather gear and additional personal safety equipment - will seek RAN support through temporary issue (RANSA).
- Cost – I will seek sponsorship and/or we share expenses.
- Open to suggestions if Charity fund raising is on your mind.

Whilst I acknowledge the commitment I am asking is significant and will impact upon your personal agendas, I am confident this team has the right blend to be competitive.

Standing by to accept boarders!

3.1.6 Qualifying Race or Ocean Passage
1. A boat shall substantially complete a qualifying race of not less than 150 nautical miles not more than six months before the start of the race.
2. The qualifying races are:
• Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, New South Wales
• Gosford - Lord Howe Race, New South Wales
• Cabbage Tree Island Race, New South Wales
• Maria Island Race, Tasmania
• Melbourne - Stanley Race, Victoria
• Haystack Race, South Australia
• Other races approved by the Organising Authority
3. Approval of an alternate qualifying race may be sought from the Organising Authority in writing.
4. A boat may, with the prior approval of the Organising Authority (to be sought in writing), obtain dispensation from the requirement to substantially complete a qualifying race by completing a non-stop ocean passage of not less than 24 hours not more than six months before the start of the race. A boat which is granted dispensation shall submit a detailed log of the passage on a form that can be obtained from the Organising Authority with the Pre-start Documentation under paragraph 4.3.
5. Dispensation from the requirements of this paragraph 3.1.6 may be requested in writing to the Organising Authority.

3.2 Eligibility of Crew
1. All crew shall meet the requirements of ISAF Regulation 19 (ISAF Eligibility Code). The minimum number of crew on a boat in the Cruising Division with a VHF radio (or an extension speaker) at a helming station is 4.
2. The minimum number of crew on all other boats is 6.
3. The minimum age of all crew on a boat is 18.
4. At least 50% of the crew on a boat shall have completed a Category 1 race or an equivalent passage. Particulars shall be supplied on the Declaration of Crew Experience to be provided under paragraph 4.1.
5. (Jan 2010) At least 50% of the crew on a boat shall have completed a Yachting Australia Safety and Sea Survival Course or an approved equivalent. Copies of the crew members’ current Certificates of Competence, or equivalent, shall be provided under paragraph 4.3 (refer Special Regulations Part 1, Section 6.01).
6. (Pudz / Garth / Glenn) At least two crew members on a boat shall hold a Senior First Aid Certificate or equivalent qualification, or be a practising medical practitioner. Copies of the crew members’ Certificate or other qualification shall be provided under paragraph 4.3 (refer Special Regulations Part 1, Section 4.07).
7. (Kev / Glenn) At least two crew members on a boat shall hold a Restricted Operators Certificate of Proficiency in Radio Telephony issued by a relevant authority, or higher qualification. Copies of the crew members’ Certificate or other qualification shall be provided under paragraph 4.3 (amends Special Regulations Part 1, Section 3.25.2).
8. It is recommended that the skipper or sailing master have a recognised Yachting Australia certificate (or equivalent) of at least an Offshore Skipper certification.

Monday, August 3, 2009


It has been quiet on this site for the past month as I piece together the logistics of next years trip Around the Edge. I also have a small dilemma, in that a yacht I have had my eye on for some time has become available. I will keep planning around sailing Just Jo, as I don't want to fall behind in my planning at this early stage. Will keep you posted on my progress.
The planning so far is basic - distance and approximate days I need to do the trip including sleep and stopover breaks. Obviously with any crew better time can be made. I have been intently studying the inner route through the Barrier Reef as this will be the most challenging if done solo. I will wait for responses to my expression of interest for crew before I offer up different legs of the voyage. I want to share the experience but at the same time strive for my own personal achievements of solo sailing.
Winds during Aug-Oct commonly prevail from the SE Trade Winds up the NSW and QLD coast. Reaches and runs would be the order of sail. As I round the top, the wind bends and follows the land, again offering excellent sailing conditions. Further west past Darwin the winds bend away from the coast as they meet the westerly systems moving east. These systems then stream down the WA coast toward Rottnest Island and Fremantle where the Fremantle Doctor kicks in. As I round the cape bound for Adelaide, the Southern Ocean yawns wide to cloak me in her roaring forties winds. From Adelaide, Hobart beckons around the wild west coast and into the Derwent for some well deserved rest at Constitution Dock. Departing Hobart, next landfall will be made at Jervis Bay where I will look at visiting HMAS Creswell for an overnight stay. Back up to Sydney for some drinks in the Sydney Hobart Bar at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA). The final sail to Port Stephens will be the hardest.....knowing the journey is almost over and work is just over the horizon. Should be a brilliant 3 months!!!
Fantastic preparation for the 2011 Sydney to Hobart where I celebrate my 50th birthday!

Quality Time

I digress......had a great day at the Sydney Boat Show on Saturday with dad. Took him along to act out as the 'rich' playboy just returned from his circumnavigation of Antarctica!! Pointed out all the 'Cougars' looking for the next husband, although he had no trouble finding all the long legged blonde yacht hostesses looking for the sugar daddy!!

What I did find was a distinct lack of nautical design of interiors of the modern production yachts. Sharp corners, laminates, protruding and dangerous handles and numerous other design faults that one would have thought would have been designed out of the marine industry after 1000 years. Very disappointing considering the price you pay for a production yacht. Some looked like a budget motel whilst others tried to mimic a trendy apartment....obviously aimed at the harbour cruising exec or charter operator wanting to make surroundings more 'familiar' to the charterer.

Bluewater Yachts built Charlies Dream which is a beautifully engineered yacht with a craftsman's finish. Seaworthiness, attention to detail, rounded corners and handles, teak interior, maximisation of space and most of all....conformity with nautical design made it a pleasure to be aboard. Pretty hard to get the old man out of that one..........maybe one day.........