Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sydney to Hobart

I am continually looking for crew that I consider have the attributes and determination to undertake the S2H 2011. I think I may have found to coerce him into the fold!

In 2007 I was on course and fortunate enough to meet a group of young wannabe pilots. These young men were full of determination and focus......and all were young enough to be my daughters younger brothers! One of the young guns called Mark impressed with his mature attitude and common sense despite being the youngest on course. He has now progreesed through his training and about to embark on the most exciting part of his career to date.......transitioning to a F/A-18 Hornet.

Having a chat with Mark the other day I discovered he has been sailing most of his life.....and even better....competitively in dinghies. I broached the subject of the S2H 2011 and I think we may have a new crewmember! I will know for sure early in the new year when I return from Penang.

I plan to start racing regularly every Saturday rain hail or shine in Jul 11 at the Port Stephens Yacht Club. I will then post a list of races I want to do in the leadup to the 2012 Lord Howe qualifier. How we do in that race will determine if entry in the S2H 2012 is full steam ahead.

June Malaysia Visit

Only 13 days until I fly into Penang to for some well deserved rest and get acquainted with Rogue Wave. My bags are packed full of gear to improve the old girls electronics.....think the excess baggage may be a little hefty!

Seventy three days to go until I depart for Penang to sail home.......but who's counting

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Oggin Cup

Today I received confirmation from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) of the requirements to compete for the Defence Force Oggin Cup that is contested during the Sydney to Hobart race: To be eligible to contest for the Oggin Cup the crew composition must have over 50 % of the crew being currently serving or reserves.

In 2009 no Australian or New Zealand Defence Force entry competed so the Oggin Cup has gone offshore to the UK RAF. I would like to lead the crew who will return the Cup to Australia.

Details of 2009 winner:
Oggin Cup - 1st Armed Services Yacht: Discoverer of Hornet, UK Ministry Of Defence
The Oggin Cup is awarded to the first yacht across the line sailed by an armed forces crew. Discoverer of Hornet is one of three yachts crewed by members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. Representing the Royal Air Force Discoverer of Hornet is skippered by a woman member of the RAF, Rebecca Walford.

David Thomas designed Discoverer of Hornet and the other two identical 20 metre LOA 1992 'Challenge' Yachts used by the UK Defence Force to race in the S2H and around the world this year. Interestingly the same David Thomas designed my Sigma 36.........Hornet and Thomas…………not sure.......maybe this a sign!

I am in the midst of upgrading the standing rigging, fitting a Slipstream SS folding prop, replacing the rudder bearing, fitting an Offshore Flare Kit, upgrading my First Aid kit to CAT 1 and antifouling prior to my sail back from Penang in September. On my return I will then look at seeking sponsorship for a cruising laminate sail wardrobe and spinnakers.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sea Safety and Survival

I completed the Yachting Australia Sea Safety and Survival Course in Jan. Small course of six was good. One guy spent years building a wooden yacht and on his maiden cruise north parked her on a reef at night and had to Mayday everyone off just south of New Guinea......he was a bit vocal and had a few strange ideas. Got to let some flares off and fire off a liferaft which was good as Rogue Wave has one. Overall I must say I have retained most of my previous Air Sea Rescue knowledge when it comes to safety.

If time and funds permit I will try to fit in my combined RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Theory qualification.....although over 10 days it will be difficult to fit in with work given my Long Service Leave has been approved for Aug-Dec.

Malaysian solo

Plans are progressing well for the solo sail back from Penang. Formulating how to get gear over cheaply and ahead of time is a challenge when balanced up with a crazy workload that pays the bills.
Rogue Wave is now officially an Australian Registered Ship so I can legally bring her home........ or take her around the world.....don't tempt me, I had a crap day at work!! Insurance was another challenge that has now been sorted through Fastnet Insurance UK. They specialise in solo racers and will cover me during the voyage and up to 250M off the Australian Coast at a very competitive rate. Excellent to deal with and very prompt service.

Standing rigging will most likely be manufactured in Brisbane and I will freight over to Penang - jury still out on this until I measure and get a quote from the rigger in Langkawi. He buys all his gear from Allyachtspars however Langkawi is duty/gst exempt so should work out cheaper, depending on freight again.

I have been entering my voyage plan into my new SeaPro 3000 Navigation software and I am reasonably impressed as I stumble my way through. Not top shelf software but up there, and a little clunky in some areas but pretty damn good overall. It takes ENC and Navionics charts so I have more backups than you can poke a stick at......In the cockpit I use an RC400 Raymarine Portable Chartplotter (12v + lith battery backup) with Aust East, Aust Wide and SE Asia Navionics Compact Flash Chart Cards and at the Nav Station a Lowrance Globalmap 5200 with Nauticpath SD Aust Wide Chart, 15" Laptop with Raymarine Route Planner and Seapro 3000 Performance Sailing weather routing software and a 10" Netbook with the same software. The bloody Netbook has an amazing 11 hour battery life and uses very little recharge power. The Seapro software has a Performance Sailing option installed whereby I can insert my yacht performance polar diagram and it computes best VMG and target speeds. I can even specify sail combo. For weather routing it will be very useful to avoid trouble spots. Reports from the software give distance, estimated time and fuel used plus a million other features that will occupy me at sea.

The rudder bearing will be replace this month and then in May I plan to head over and slip her, step the mast, Service the engine and impeller and prepare the hull for antifoul in August. Then I return in Aug it will be mast and new rigging in, new 2 Blade folding prop on, chartplotters wired in, HF Radio in, Autopilot fitted and antifoul on. Victual and head off for a few days test sailing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 how will 'Rogue Wave' perform?

The following daily sailing runs are from Marco Nannini's Blog (Blogstar) site updated during the 2009 OSTAR race. Should give you an idea of how we will travel if we sail as well as Marco! His average was 130.5M a day and only 2 days below 100M - not bad for a single hander in an old yacht. Should do Sydney to Hobart in about five (5) days in favourable winds and seas.

'Two True', a brand spanking new 2009 model Beneteau 40, was the Overall Tattersalls Cup S2H H/cap winner, was 41st across the line and winner of IRC Div 4!

To give you an idea of our performance potential, this years S2H race place getters that had hadicaps similiar to 'Rogue Wave' finished 7th, 14th, 19th and 25th out of 77 IRC yachts!

In IRC Div 4 where we would race the placings were 3rd (three hours behind 'Two True' on corrected time) 4th, 7th and 8th and finished between 5.6-5.9 days with an average speed between 5-6 knots!

Total Distance: 2860M
Distance to go: 250M

Day 1: 130M
Day 2: 123M
Day 3: 141M
Day 4: 166M
Day 5: 70M
Day 6: 150M
Day 7: 172M
Day 8: 162M
Day 9: 136M
Day 10: 110M
Day 11: 114M
Day 12: 126M*
Day 13: 115M
Day 14: 119M
Day 15: 89M
Day 16: 153M
Day 17: 139M
Day 18: 170M
Day 19: 125M
Day 20: 100M
Total: 2610M

UPDATE - Rogue Wave - Jan 10

A journey of a thousand miles

begins with one step

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 – 2012

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.

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.


The IRC Division 4 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 this email and .

  • 2010 - I am taking Long Service Leave 23 Aug-23 Dec 2010 to sail ‘Rogue Wave’ home from Malaysia – at this stage of planning the trip will be over the top from Penang, Danga Bay near Johor Baru, Bali, Dilli, Thursday Is and down the Inner Route through the GBR to Port Stephens. 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 and become familiar with the yacht. 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 my blog: for more information on the yacht and my waffling.

So you want a piece of the action……

  • I am completing the mandatory Yachting Australia Sea Safety and Survival Training (valid 5 years) 23-24 Jan 2010. Everyone will need to complete this course before any CAT 1/2 race however I will ask if Garth gets an exemption! We would hook up for the pre-qualifying race and when available, as either part or full crew, the odd regatta throughout 2011 and 2012. (eg Sail Port Stephens, Sydney to Gold Coast, Sydney to Coffs Harbour, Newcastle to Lord Howe, Brisbane to Gladstone) – again, not mandatory but more time on board makes us more cohesive and therefore more competitive. I believe early planning will make the experience safer and more enjoyable for all and give me time to seek out sponsorship to offset costs.


  • Rogue Wave’ is a 1983 Sigma 36 designed by David Thomas. She was built in Plymouth UK and from solid fibreglass and is a fractionally rigged sloop. Now is a good time to mention that in outright placings, if the wind is from abaft abeam we would be at the back of the fleet due to her 1983 IOR racing design, however I believe she will still pack a surprise and be competitive on handicap….which is what it is all about. There is no way we can keep pace with the downwind yacht/skiff designs of today. However, if the wind is on the nose then that’s another story! 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! A Sigma 36, the same as ‘Rogue Wave’, won the 2009 Jester Class of the OSTAR Trans-Atlantic race.


  • When we race ‘Rogue Wave’ in 2012, we will probably attract some media attention due to our smallish 36 ft size and of course 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!

  • There is usually less than a dozen sub-36ft 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. I will have weather routing software on board.

  • Foul weather gear and additional personal safety equipment - I will seek RAN support through temporary issue (RANSA).

  • Cost – I will seek sponsorship and/or we share expenses. Excess gear gets freighted to Tasmania in containers through the CYCA.


  • Oggin Cup - 1st Armed Services Yacht: The Oggin Cup is awarded to the first yacht across the line sailed by an armed forces crew.


  • Open to suggestions if Charity fund raising is on your mind – personally I would like to support the local Police and Community Youth Clubs (PCYC). Long term I would like to open up opportunities for these kids by offering crew opportunities and sail training.

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

......standing by to accept more boarders!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Overview - Penang to Bali

Christmas has come and gone so it's back to the task at hand....get the Sigma back home.
I have been working on my voyage schedule, cost and risks. Once identified I will assigning priorities, then breaking down into manageable chunks so my brain doesn't overload!

Overview - Penang to Bali
The voyage from Penang to Danga Bay Malaysia (located near the causeway seperating Johor Baru and Singapore) will be day sailing down the Straits of Malacca. Stops will be a mix of Marinas and anchoring a few times to ensure the gear is ok......there is no anchor winch so the exercise will be good! Day sailing will be safer until I am comfortable with all the systems onboard and besides the fisherman and the spiderweb of nets can be best avoided in daylight! After departing Danga Bay I will keep west avoiding the Singapore Straits altogether and head south down to the South China Sea, then across into the Java Sea and finally enter Bali Sea. I will check in at Benoa HarbourMarina (Bali) for a few days and reprovision.

There is considerable govt red tape involved with cruising Indonesian waters in a yacht and I am wading through the gizillion pieces of info to see what it is I actually need other than a cruising permit and visa. I look at it this way....its all practice for when we cast off indefinitely in retirement!
New Years update this blog a little more often!