Saturday, 22 December 2012


Do you remember what I did write about the racing spirit on the start for an offshore race?

Duncan and the crew have exactly this spirit I would love to see.  We’ll fight for a good start and jump into the start battle to be on spot on the starting line  at the second the start gun goes off.

 Even if we should use our nr. 1 head sail (The huge one which makes it very difficult to do a smooth and quick tack). If the wind is favoring a spinnaker it is going to be even more exciting.  That means that the other boats would use spi too and we all would have very limited maneuver margin. Hailing and shouting and adrenalin on the limit is guarantied. The weather here in Sydney can change quickly and it is not sure yet which wind we’ll have for the start.

Playing on Arctos with the asymmetric spinnaker

Last night we had a first crew briefing on the race. 
For the moment it looks like we start into strong southwesterly winds. Thad means we are on 
  A WET BEATING COURSE IN ROUGH SEA   down the Australian coastline. This is a fun course but not the favorable wind for our Arctos. She really likes tailwinds and if we can use a spinnaker she shows her real potential.

On a beating course with 1 reef in the main

There is a strong current running down along the coast about 20 NM out. Depending on the wind it might pay off to sail a course of around 100 degree (to the east) until we meet this current and then sail south towards Hobart. The few hours we would lose we could easily get back within a day while riding out the current. And then we would gain a good lead on the boats doing different tactics. 

IF……the current will be there as expected and IF we find this current and IF the wind is listening to the forecast service. 

These tactical decisions will be made on short notice with the latest weather available. I thought the Sydney-Hobart is mainly a race for crushing seas and stormy winds with not so much tactics involved. I can see that tactic plays a crucial role here too. I love offshore racing.

The wind will chance to a northeasterly (the wind we want to see). The question is when that wind change is coming. In between these 2 wind systems the wind will be light to moderate. It could be that we have a relaxed sail through the Tasmanian sea or, if the wind chances early (this is what we want to see) we’ll be fighting the brutal bass strait with chaotic waves which are created when the waves from the west, the current from the north and the wind from the northeast are cooking a boiling sea. With our strong boat and her running (downwind) capabilities we could fight the sea faster then many competitors.  

I very much enjoyed the last few days of our training. For the limited time given we managed to go through all the necessary maneuvers and we are in an  optimistic mood. 

A relaxed downwind sail on the spinnaker

I’m impressed from Duncan. He has a similar leader style I could already see with Andy Hunt at the fastnet race. Duncan is calm and relaxed. You always can feel his competence which he shows when required. He is open to suggestions and ready for new ideas. And he is doing all this with a smile on his face.

Duncan explaining

Today is not much going on. Pete is coming down to the boat to prepare some Navigation equipment. I’ll be around to give him a hand. The rest of the crew is of the boat. Tomorrow we meet for the race briefing.

You can follow the race via the official race website and the tracker system. Check out  

On this site you also can find a lot of useful information on the race.

Since I'm able to upload videos again here a short one showing Pete explaining the sail compartment.


Chris our co-skipper is a real aussie and was as bowman on the winning boat “Polaris of Belmont” on the Sydney-Hobart race 2001. He also has plenty of racing and offshore experience which he mainly gained in Australia
He soon (in February) will go as skipper on the Clipper ocean race around the world. Chris, all the best and a lot of fun for your 1year adventure around the world.

Peter, our mate from England
With his 29 years he is the youngest of our 3 mates. He has already the yacht master ocean and instructor license. He did a lot of racing in Perth and he had a great time at the cowes racing week in South England. He is our playboy and a real party animal. He told me that he came here to win this race. I like his spirit. 

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