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Mooloolaba, QLD to Sydney, NSW to meet Jessica & Ella's Pink Lady.

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New Plymouth to Mooloolaba, Solo Trans-Tasman Challenge 2010

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Over the Line

The Solo Race Aftermath ...

After talking to all of the solo sailors it seems that this race was one of the toughest with everybody breaking something or other. It was great to see the last and smallest boat in, Trish Lewis in Wishbone, a day before the prize giving. I would have to say by the look of the sailors a week after they finished, the after race celebrations is just about harder than the race itself they all had a great time in Mooloolaba. The prize-giving was held in the yacht club at the Mooloolaba marina hosted by the SCYC. It was a great evening with a nice dinner, a great crowd nearly 200 people, they all had a great time. A highlight at the end of the evening was that Jessica Watson rang in for a sked with me and it was a good line so we used the pa system to get the crowd to ask her questions and she could answer them with every one hearing them. With all the solo sailors there they could relate to what she was going through, a very special moment.

With all the sailors starting to go their own way it is time for BWR to get ready for the next trip which I will talk about in the next blog. A very big thank you to all my supporters and all the organizing committees on both sides of the Tasman. They make it all possible and the sponsors as well, and of course the sailors, it takes a special kind of person to do a solo race (or maybe just crazy), any way it is a great race and should be kept going for another 40 years.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Finish

Well what a last day….with the wind up then down and changing direction all the time, I thought I could head straight to the finish. But no, it was very frustrating as I approached Cape Moreton, the wind started to bend me towards the finish. I was sailing along doing 10-12 knots, then I spotted a big storm near the finish line. BUGGER, Mooloolaba just disappeared and I started to get lots of rain from it as it passed in front of me, then it stuffed up the wind completely. I had a real struggle to get over the line, there were lots the people waiting in the rain to welcome me in as I drifted over the line doing about 1 knot, not very spectacular. But what a reception with everyone lining the river wall shouting and cheering me in. Then it was up the river to clear Customs and Quarantine in front of the Sunshine Coast Yacht Club. It was another big crowd containing my wife Suzanne along with family and friends to welcome me in. Champagne and cold beer were first on the list along with a BBQ feed after many hugs and lots of shaking hands.

Overall it was a great welcome and a nice feeling to be finally home. It was a very tough race with lots of changing weather patterns that included both windy and calm conditions. I pushed the boat and myself to the limit in this race and it has showed with a overall lead of 350 nm’s plus and some 52.5 hours before the next boat arrived. It is the first time in forty years since someone has won the race twice in the history of the race, let alone back to back wins. It’s also the second oldest race in the world and the only single handed offshore race in the Southern Hemisphere.
Race Time = 7days 6hours and 34mins.
Nm’s Sailed = 1,444

Sunday, April 11, 2010

No wind

Friday night saw the wind slowly dropping off and Saturday morning there wasn’t much of anything except some current against me,not going to make it in today I thought.

Saturday night the wind slowly started picking up, just enough to stop me going crazy. By early Sunday morning a nice NE wind had picked up and we are off heading for the finish line. BWR is really going for it hard and fast and I am just along for the ride. Looking forward to a hot shower and a cold beer (sorry Jess about the shower) and to see all the family and friends and Suzanne waiting at the finish line. It hasn’t been as easy as it looks to win this race again as I have pushed the boat hard in all conditions to get the best out of it and you don’t get much sleep doing that.

Well I had better get back to getting this boat to the finish.


Friday, April 9, 2010

The moods of the Tasman

Wednesday afternoon - the wind lightens and through the night as well, not conditions for fast sailing but very pleasant. Thursday morning saw the wind pick up and some fast reaching, BWR was flying along till about lunch time when the tack (where the sail attaches to the bowsprit) of the big reaching sail blew apart. Bugger, I thought, I now have a huge sail I couldn’t roll away to get down. So 30 minutes later after a big wrestling match on the front nets I got it down. By then the wind angle had changed so it was up with the jib and off again on a tight reach just smokin’ along.
Then another change of wind in the evening to 30 knots NW just where I want to go so I had that for a few hours. Then a big rain squall that had been chasing me finely got to me. Thunder, lightning, pouring rain, the works and that really stuffed up the wind. Daylight saw a change to the WNW, about 10 -15 knots, still not great but sort of making some progress towards the finish line. The wind is meant to be SW by now, it would help a lot. But at least the sun is out today and things are drying out.
So you see the Tasman is for ever changing its mood and is always out to challenge you, so you just have to put up with it and get on with the job.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sailing fast

Last night the seas and wind started to ease a bit so I could start pulling out the reefs as the night went on, and put the power on for some very fast sailing. This morning I got full main and jib up, boat speed is sitting on 10 knots and surfing up to 18-21 knots.

I was asked yesterday by a NZ radio station "do you sleep on a multihull", well when I am sailing very fast I don’t sleep much and when it is rough not at all. I am just cat-napping when I can with the seas a bit flatter as they are today, and as it is smooth sailing I can get a bit more sleep. I am treating this race as a sprint as it is only 6-7 days long, not like Jessica who is sailing for over 6 months. She asked me how I was sleeping too. Otherwise I will sleep when I get there so don’t expect me to stay awake for long. There is a bit of sun out today and things are starting to dry out, a very nice day in the middle of the Tasman. I hope it keeps up.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Solo Tasman Skippers Dinner - Last Good Meal Till ....

The Tasman

Tuesday brought head winds in the afternoon a NW just were we wanted to head, must have been in the middle of the low. Later that night it started coming around to the SW then got very windy up to 40 kn. A bit of an exciting night reefing the main and the jib, getting thrown around on the foredeck and blasted by those waves, later dropping the jib, and then putting it back up this afternoon. The winds are down to 20-30 kn now, and we are making good time towards Mooloolaba. I have been just been taking catnaps when I can and otherwise just hanging on for the ride.


Wet and Wild


Early morning Tue 6/4/2010:

Pos 35 57 s 169 08 e Wind 30-40 kn BS 10-15 COG 330
4 reefs no jib Sea 3-4 m Wet and wild out here rain and waves.
I think I am through the centre of the low now


Solo on Water - Looking Good

Solo on Air

Radio Interviews for Bruce
Tuesday 6th April 2010 Coast FM (ABC Radio) John Stokes 0620 AEST (0820 NZST)
Radio Live (Radio NZ) Marcus Lush 0740 NZST (0540 AEST)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Start Day

Sunday morning. First off was a race briefing then clearing customs and a last good luck to all the sailors. You can tell that this is no ordinary yacht race with all the sailors shaking hands and hugging each other (with the lady sailors that is) and wishing each other the best of luck, we all know that if we needed help one of us would not hesitate to come to another sailors aid. Every one seemed a little bit nervous even me, I just wanted to get on with it. Start time loomed and there was only a 5 knot NE wind which soon died off to 2 knots so it was a bit of a drifter for the first 4 hours or so. BWR managed to wriggle her way around the first turning mark in first place and slip away slowly. Cousin Steve’s NITRO was the only boat to get close to me in the lighter winds of the early evening but as the SE wind and swell built BWR came into her own, got back onto those rails and blasted away into the night. The wind reached 28 knots but mostly sat on 24-26 knots. Early morning the wind started changing to the east then northeast at 15-22 knots. We are still making good progress towards Mooloolaba. BWR has already equaled the top speed that we reached on the way across the Tasman to the start - 21.3 knots this morning with 3reefs and the jib up on a great surf.
I would just like to thank all the solo committee and especially Lindsay who couldn’t make the start for health reasons, without these people this race would not happen. And to all the solo skippers as well, you need the sailors to have a race too. You make lifelong friends out of this race and have past competitors turning up to see you and watch the start, its just one big family. That’s all for now.
Bruce .

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I'm off to Mooloolaba

Hi @17.45 NZST - Pos 38 58 S, 173 51 E, Wind SSE 10kn, BS 8kn, COG 280, Sea 1m, Cloud 70%. All is well, some wind at last .... Bruce

Saturday, April 3, 2010

New Plymouth, New Zealand

Well, what a great week before race start day. First the new sails arrived on Saturday and they look awesome. A quick test sail in 15-20 knots and BWR hit 13 knots upwind and 21 knots downwind. Great stuff, thanks to Kenny from Fyfe sails. On Monday night the sponsor Fitzroy Yachts hosted a BBQ followed by a tour of a nearly-completed 50m super yacht, with a 59m mast. It is huge! On Tuesday night we had a reception at the mayor’s office - very nice. Wednesday saw a day of briefings on sea safety etc. Friday included another test sail, with not much wind. On Friday night we had the Solo Trans-Tasman race dinner - a bit of relaxing time, and a chance to catch up with the other solo sailors. Saturday saw the final top-up with water and food and another test sail. We have also been doing lots of little jobs all week and checking over BWR to make sure that all was ready to go. And of course we had a great time catching up with friends and family all week. One night to go before race start, one last full night’s sleep for a week.

Friday, March 26, 2010

We Made It.

What a last 24 hours, the wind picked up to a strong 30 knots NW with 2 reefs in the main and jib, BWR was flying up to 20 knots boat speed. As the wind started to change to the SW and increase to 37 knots we put in the third reef, by then the sea was getting nasty with very short steep waves. BWR was handling it very well and all we had to do was hang on tight as we approached New Plymouth in the dark. We dropped the jib to slow down a bit and to get our bearings before entering the port. The Port Taranaki Harbour Control put on the main shipping lead lights for us to come in, then had a security car with a flashing light on the wharf to show us where to dock for Customs clearance. We spent the rest of the night tied up to a old fishing boat, then in the morning MAF cleared us. It was still cold and wet when Harley showed us to our mooring and said welcome to bastard harbor. Overall a great crossing of the ditch in what was mostly moderate winds.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Are We There Yet ..... You Betcha!

Arrived@ 2213 AEST Wednesday 24th March 2010. (NZDT 0113 Thursday 25thMarch 2010.)

We had a very wild ride into the Port for the last 24 hrs,it’s cold and bloody wet.

Cleared Customs @ 1330 this morning and we spent the morning rafted up to a fishing boat on Motoura Wharf.

MAF cleared us @ 0825 and we are now on our allocated mooring.

Nm’s Sailed 1,350 Ave= 210.93 nm’s/8.78 knots

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Are We There Yet? ....... Not Quite!

As at 2000 AEST Wed 24/03/2010:

Position: 38 55.6’S, 173 37.3’E COG: 70 SOG: 12.9 knots Wind: WSW 30kn
Barometer: 1025 Swell:3.5M Sea Temp:18.2 Cabin Temp:16.9

Day 6 Run:236nm Ave: 216.5 nm @ 9.02 knots DTG:20 nm to New Plymouth Sailing with Triple Reefed Main & Jib

Lots of Rain Squalls, 4 M Swells, Maximum Wind Gust 37 kn BLOODY Cold and Wet.

New Boat Speed Record = 21.3 knots under Double Reefed Main& Jib (SORRY JESS.)

Bruce is having a Radio Interview with John Stokes on CoastFM (ABC Radio) at 6.20 am AEST Thursday 25th March 2010.

Still running on those rails…SURFING.

As at 0821 Wed 24/03/2010:

Position: 38 17.6’S 171 22.7’E COG:94 SOG: 11.7 kn Wind: WNW 25-30 kn
Barometer: 1028 Sea Temp:19.0 Cabin Temp:21.5 DTG: 132 nm from New Plymouth
Sailing with Triple Reefed Main & Jib, Cloudy 45% with Sun Out, Rain Squalls overnight.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Getting There.

The last couple of days we have made great progress towards New Plymouth, the wind has been up and down a bit, but not too bad. It’s been between 10 and 30 knots and the right angle for BWR to sail fast.

We have had some great sailing, nice sunshine blue sky, full sail, down to two reefs and stay sail, speeds up to 19 knots and down to 6 knots. Sunday night we had some cloud and rain move in with a bit of lighting also. By Monday morning the SW change had come in at about 15 knots and wet. Monday night saw the wind drop right out and the great progress has slowed a lot, just hoping the wind gets up today.

SV Big Wave Rider @ Sea
As at 0800 Tue 23/03/2010:

Position: 37 20 S, 167 06 E Wind: 4-6 kn NW Barometer: 1032 Sea: 1.5m
Boat Speed: 6.2kn one motor on.

A nice sunny day, a very calm night.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Big Rail Rider?

As at 2010 Mon 22/03/2010:

Position 36 41.7’S 165 52.4’E COG 100 SOG 12 knots Wind SW 13.5 knots
Barometer 1028 Sea Temp 20 Cabin Temp 19.6

Day 4 Run 225 nm Average 9.29 knots DTG New Plymouth 412 nm
Sailing with Full Main & Jib Clear night ½ Moon and lots of stars

Still sailing on rails like a runaway freight train doing what BWR does best SURFING…….

Keeping on Keeping On

As at 1023 AEST Mon 22/03/2010:

Position 36 01.8'S 164 08.5'E Wind 17 kn WNW (overnight 25-30, 2 reefs in Main + Staysail)
Seas 2.5m COG 110 Speed 8 kn Wet 8/8 Cloud Cabin Temp 24.6 Sea Temp 21.7
500 nm to New Plymouth

Hi Guys,

As at 2000 AEST Sun 21/3/2010:

Position 35 16.7'S 161 45.7E Wind 22 Knots NW Course 108M Sea 1M
Barometer 1030 Cabin Temp 23.8 Sea Temp 23.9 Cloud 2/8 Moon Ist Quarter with Stars
Days Run 207 nm

Still running on rails, three sail reaching most of the day. Top speed just on dark of 18.9 kn in 24 kn of wind. Sailing now with full main and staysail, reacher rolled up at night.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eating Up The Miles .....

As at Sun 21 Mar 12:20 pm AEST:

Speed 9.7 knots
Heading 128
Latitude 34.654 S
Longitude 160.301 W

198.4 nm SSE of Lord Howe Island
706.0 nm from New Plymouth

BIG WAVE RIDER Back in the Deep Blue

Hi everyone BWR is back on the move after a hectic 2 weeks of prep to get ready for offshore. The weather wasn't kind to us at all but we managed to get the boat stripped out, antifouled and ready to go. A big thanks to Roger, Julie, Pat, Judy and Dave who gave us a hand and also to Bill for picking up the life raft.

We departed Mooloolaba on the 17th March to head for Southport to clear Customs and had a beat then a motor through the channels of Moreton Bay to anchor at Jacobs Well for the night. Then on the 18th motored the rest of the way to Southport, had another tidy up of the boat then Customs arrived and cleared us out. We decided to have a last shower and lunch with Bruce's sister Teresa at the Southport Yacht Club.

Departed through the Southport Seaway at 1700 it was very bumpy and only had one wave break in front of us. We had a beat all the way to the Danger Reefs then the wind backed to the east and gave us a very fast and bouncy ride two sail reaching down the coast with the East Australian Current giving us up to 2 knots more speed.

The next morning the wind went more North and the sea calmed down so we got the Code Zero out and had a great days sail in sunny conditions. Have kept the Code Zero up all night and today have put up the staysail as well and are still having a great three sail reach, it's like being on rails.