Thursday, 24 March 2011

Another Challenge Melbourne Training

It’s been far too long since I updated you guys about what’s been happening recently so I thought I’d get it all down in one. As the Rolex Sydney Hobart project has now been announced, we can all talk about it freely which is great as it was all a bit of hush hush leading up to the launch. The project has been a long time in the planning and it’s been fantastic to see it come together bit by bit, right from the outset back in the middle of last year.

The crew got together for a week long shake down prior to the launch which was great, as we wanted to see how the crew would gel, and what level we are at with our technical ability. Will, Pete and I arrived in Melbourne late Monday evening, with totally messed up body clocks and pretty starving too. We met up with Jess and Chris who very kindly drove us to our place and we immediately set out to hunt for some food. Our stomachs sure were very unhappy to see that everywhere was shut, and so, we raided the vending machine!! 20bucks later we were much happier!

Most unusually for Pete and I being typical students, we woke up at 6am bright and wide awake. Our body clocks were slowly adjusting... That day we took a trip around Melbourne to get our bearings and the rest of the crew arrived and it was fantastic to meet them all. A super bunch!

The next two days were straight into sailing, but with a very relaxed approach. Some of the crew hadn’t done much yacht sailing having come from small performance boats and so it was a great relaxed learning curve. I was sure pleased to see everyone gel naturally into some positions. These two days were all about just being together as a crew, going through some manoeuvres, and making those manoeuvres a little more smoother. Also, getting a bit of a tan!

The yacht we have for the Sydney Hobart is a very well looked after Sydney 38. The yacht, appropriately named another Challenge is pretty similar to a Farr 40 from the outset, but when you look at her closer, she’s nowhere near as stripped out. There’s cushions! It’s a brilliant yacht though despite the cushions, as it is a one design which means that we have to carry the same equipment everyone else does. For example, everyone has to carry their cushions so it is a very fair class.

Our third day of training was at Deloitte. We spent the whole day talking about teamwork and just how key it is. We’ve got to be able to rely and trust each other completely to reach our full potential as a team. I learnt a lot that day and I was really impressed with a lot of what Chris and Jonno had to say.

The next few days before we headed offshore, we had a really in-depth look at the yacht in detail to see what improvements we could make long term and also what we needed to do short term before we headed offshore for a night. We also continued sailing with our lovely and pretty determined coaches Chris and Jonno working on some finer points of boat speed and practicing loads of safety manoeuvres. Always a good idea!


Our last two days of training crept on us far too quickly in my opinion, but I was truly most excited for our night offshore where we were hopefully going to be able to get out of the heads and see a bit of action! For one of the crew Alex, who had never been offshore overnight this was going to be a total first for her. For some of the other crew who hadn’t done much night sailing, it was going to be interesting to see how everyone faired when sleep deprived and also sailing on a pretty dark night (there wasn’t much moon).

We set off just after lunch and sailed due south with a frustratingly diminishing wind. By the time we arrived at the heads, the wind was all but gone with a very glassy sea and so we slowly drifted out/ sailed out at around 1 to 2 knots as night started to arrive. We were working on 3 hour watches and so that gave a really nice amount of rest and also made sure that everyone got 6 hours sleep minimum! The night went without too many hitches and was a great success for the crew.

After a good afternoon chilling out we all packed up ready for the launch the next day. I made sure to get a good nights sleep as it was a super bright and early start to fly to Sydney. The launch went off superbly and we spent a great afternoon and evening in Sydney before Pete, Will and I flew off back home to the UK the day after.

To summarise mine and the crews training in Sydney, we all loved it! The crew bonded really well and towards the end of the week there was a good amount of banter being continually shared which was great to see. I’m already really looking forward to going back out to Aus at the end of the year to continue our training.

Since my time out in Australia, I’ve kept busy back here in the UK with university and also continually plugging away for sponsorship for my flight around the world next year. This week I’ve had some really key meetings which have gone well I’m pleased to say and hopefully soon enough I’ll be able to release some more good news about progressing on with my flying trip!


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Mike Perham - “Team Another Challenge”

Press Release

Mike Perham today confirmed he will race in the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, and will assist skipper Jessica Watson to become the youngest crew to ever compete in the iconic event.

Titled “Another Challenge” Jessica, Mike and the crew announced the exciting project at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in front of a large media contingent.

After conquering some of the most treacherous oceans to become the youngest teenagers to sail solo around the world, this next challenge will see Mike and Jessica with a crew, all of whom will be 21 or younger - making them the youngest crew ever to compete in the famous race, with an average age of just 19.

 “I am so excited to announce this project today. It has been a busy process selecting our crew, but I am absolutely delighted to be working with such a dynamic and motivated group of young sailors,” said Jessica.

“We have just spent a week training together in Melbourne and getting to know each other and everyone has bonded so well.”

Mike said. "I'm super looking forward to being a part of this team, and I truly think that with all the diverse skill sets that we have on board ranging from high performance dinghy sailing to knowledgeable weather routing, incorporating ten's of thousands of sea miles put together, this team will definitely be a winning team”

Mike and Jessica want to inspire other youth around the world, to strive to achieve. It is a unique opportunity for these 10 individuals.

Mike, who is studying at Southampton Solent University, likes to lead a busy life as he is also learning to fly to become the youngest person to fly solo around the world in 2012 if he can get enough sponsorship together.

Jessica has chosen the boat, aptly named ‘another Challenge’, a Sydney 38, which will again be painted in her trademark pink, which will be sure to stand out on the Harbour come race day.

The project is a massive undertaking that will provide many challenges. The crew will gather together again in Sydney in October to embark on an intensive 12 week campaign leading up to the event.

The team will be coached by Chris Lewin, who has skippered, another Challenge in 4 x Rolex Sydney Hobart’s.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Getting my head down

Today I was out sailing in some beautiful conditions: 27degrees and 15kts of wind. Sure a little more wind would have been nice, but they were definitely verging on champagne sailing conditions. Just beautiful!

Usually I start a blog saying that I’ve been super busy recently, but to be honest, these last few weeks I’ve been working pretty hard at university being a pretty normal student getting my head down and getting assignments in before the hand in date.

I’ve really been loving university, and recently I’ve been learning a huge amount about editing television programs. It’s not too technically difficult to slot the pieces of vision together, but it is difficult to work out how to fit everything together so that it flows immaculately. A skill I’m learning day by day.

I’m currently out in Australia having some fun and working on putting a few things in place here and there.

Excitingly, there will be a big announcement on Thursday the 10th regarding another project that I’ll be taking part in later this year. It’s something totally new and, totally separate to Flying Around the World which is still definitely going ahead, but now most likely to be during late summer 2012 due to me running out of time to fly this year!