Monday, 30 August 2010

17 knots in 10 knots of breeze

Hi all,

We’ve now all finished up on Hamilton Island and we ended on a really high note; coming third and fourth on our last day of racing which we were all really chuffed about. It was really excellent to be able to race an SB3 against some other highly competitive teams who had been doing it a lot longer than the rest of us.

On Saturday, as there was no racing for the SB3’s the team had a day off. Sean, Jess and I were lucky enough to go out racing on Wild Oats XI which was such an amazing experience. She is such an advanced boat that it’s sometimes a little hard to comprehend how it all comes together. The loads are just huge!

We were sailing through the islands at up to 17knots under kite in only 10knots or so of breeze. An amazing experience. The crew were a really great bunch and they got us involved with a lot of the boat work which was super.

I’m now over at Airlie Beach to race in a multihull regatta over here with Bruce on Big Wave Rider. We’ve had some superb conditions gusting up to 30knots and we’ve still had the kite up! Top speed so far has been 19.5knots which was pretty good fun!

This is my last week here in Australia and I’m going to ensure that’s it a good one. I’m looking forward to returning to England and cracking on with some more flying and also getting stuck into Uni which should be a whole new adventure in itself.


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Hamilton Island Race Week

Hi all,

I’m now up at Hamilton Island race week and wow what a crazily fun week this is turning into! I’m up here racing with the Panasonic Lumix team on an SB3. The crew is Jess, Matt and Sean and we’re all really enjoying being out on the water.

I’ve never raced an SB3 before but I have sailed very similar boats so it is a small learning curve figuring out the little things on the boat which will improve our performance with the trim but I’m quite happy with the way it’s coming together.

Yesterday seeing as there was very little wind, Bruce took us all over to Whitehaven beach which is recognized as one of the nicest beaches in Australia! It was pretty amazing that’s for sure.

Today was our first days racing and it was really great fun to get out on the water and compare ourselves to the other teams. We aren’t too happy with our results and a couple of starts were messed up badly but the main thing is that we had a lot of fun, so I’m going to leave it at that!

I’ll keep you guys updated on the racing ahead.


Thursday, 19 August 2010

17.9 Knots

Hi all,

This last week has been so much fun, I’ve been grinning continually that’s for sure! We’ve continued sailing up the coast doing on average around 50 miles a day which is quite a happy distance for the boats that we’re sailing on as they’re fairly quick! Usually we set off mid morning around 10ish and are usually in by sunset.

It’s got a lot hotter now and I’m so pleased to be back up in the tropics. True shorts and t-shirt sailing conditions! Today’s sail was such an awesome one too. We set off this morning, and as we headed out of the bay I was a little uncertain of what the conditions would be, but as we found the offshore breeze it was just perfect! 15 knots on the quarter. The spinnaker was already up and we took off averaging 12 knots or so.

After putting in a few gybes to dodge a few little islands and navigate around some rocks in the area, the wind picked up a few more knots to 18 or so and wow were we rocketing along then. One hull skimming along the surface and the guy on the helm just playing with all the troughs to find the best boat speed. We hit a top speed of 16 knots but to Steve and I that just wasn’t enough. So we tried and tried for 17 knots which we got after a further hour of playing the waves.  We hit 17.1 which awesome as it was just this little barrier which of course meant nothing to anyone else but meant a lot to us!

But that wasn’t enough of course, I wanted to go faster! I later set the top speed of 17.9 knots under spinnaker which I was pretty chuffed with. In fact, its probably the fasted I’ve ever been under spinnaker! Sure I’ve been faster in a lot more wind but I’ve never sailed that fast in only 17 or so knots of wind on a flat sea!

We arrived into our anchorage early this afternoon (unsurprisingly) on Middle Percy Island and went ashore to put a sign up in the shack on the beach. The bay is called West Bay and there’s some history behind it. People have put mementos of theirs up in this shack for over 50years so it’s a pretty famous cruising place to visit in Aus which is pretty cool.

Currently sitting down to a well deserved rum and coke with Bruce, Steve and Suzanne after a great days sail up the Aussie coast.


Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Spray flying everywhere

Hi all,

Wow yesterday I had some fun!

I slept on Bruce’s boat overnight but bright and early (around 6ish!) jumped out of the bunk and headed over to Steve’s catamaran. Steve’s is kind of an extreme 40, just with two hulls and designed to go offshore! He raced it across the Tasman earlier this year. Bruce, Suzanne, Steve and I are taking the two catamarans up the coast to Hamilton Island so we’re hopping up there in little stages.

Steve and I were the first to get out of the marina and so headed off with the aim to get to Fraser Island first. It’s not a race but when you pit two cousins against each other in similar fast boats, it kind of just turns into one anyway!

We headed off into a very horrible lumpy sea which slammed the girl all over the place as we had the wind behind us but as we rounded a headland after a few hours we sailed into a very squally area. As we did so, the wind swung around to being right on the nose and increased a fair bit which was very very welcome as it meant that all the slamming was over! We tacked off shore for around two miles and then tacked over to head north.

It was great fun sailing now pretty powered up and we were making a happy 8knots which I was very happy to see! After a couple more hours of this we rounded another headland and we were able to bear away and head for the bar off Fraser Island around 15miles away but that wasn’t going to take long as we were now totally trucking along at 13-14knots steadily! I haven’t been that fast sailing a big boat since I had my open 50!

Spray was flying everywhere and it was fantastic to constantly have water everywhere! I was glad that it was warm water! Very very exciting sailing that’s for sure and to top it off we saw some whales!

We passed over the bar with a nice smooth crossing and then ghosted into the straits waiting for Bruce to catch up, as we had no idea where we were going to anchor.

A great dinner and then a great night's sleep followed!

Today it looks as if we’re going to head north just a little more to find a better anchorage.


Sunday, 8 August 2010

Laughter and Laughing

Hi all,

It been a fun week since the Sydney Boat Show. I spent the first couple of days in Sydney. Initially, I was due to move Jess’s boat around to another marina but as it was blowing pretty seriously, I decided to do it on Wednesday instead. As my day was freed up, I was able to spend a good chunk of time with Chris Wilde from the Talisker Bounty Boat crew.  It was awesome to get to know him quite a bit better and hear lots more about the trip in detail from his point of view, which was really interesting.

On Wednesday morning as the wind was quite a bit lighter, Don and I moved Jess’s boat around to a marina in the harbour as it can’t stay at the boat show permanently! It was good fun having just me and Don onboard and brought back funny memories of when Jess, Don and I went for a sail off Mooloolaba in the boat before any of Jess's preparations really kicked off.

I hopped on a plane later in the evening and flew to Melbourne where I am now. I’m here joining Jess on just a small part of her book tour. Jess’s sister is here too and we’re all continuously having a great laugh. In fact on some of the long car journeys, we talk such ridiculous stuff, I think the driver just wants to build a wall between us three and him!

Yesterday evening we caught up with Jesse Martin and his family which was really great and we all couldn’t stop laughing at some points. They’re a really great and friendly bunch! Later on, some of his mates came round and then we had even more fun!

Today I’m flying up to Brisbane via a quick stop in Sydney. Then tomorrow morning, I’m jumping on Bruce’s catamaran and then sailing up the coast for 10 days!  We are going to take part in Hamilton Island race week.

I’ll send some pictures and updates whilst at sea.


Sunday, 1 August 2010

Having a good laugh!!

Having a good laugh with James Castrission, Justin Jones ( and Jess Watson at the Sydney Boat Show!