Sunday, 30 December 2012


Mark, our reporter from ABC television, showed up in the morning at the marina telling us that he didn’t feel well and could not join us on our race which means no ABC coverage. What a pity. But on the other hand it also means we have more food to share. Always positive.

That also means no Wi-Fi connection and I could not report life.

We where recommended to take seasickness pills. I never got seasick and want to find out my limitations.


The conditions on the start sounded exciting. 15 to 20 kt breeze.

As usual in this kind of races everyone had to show his storm sails to the start boat. For us meanwhile an easy exercise.

The start was done on a beam reach course with our nr. 3 headsail up giving us more maneuver margin. Chris was on the helm. Asymmetric spinnaker was ready to go but we decided not to hoist it. We did not bad on the start but we missed like 20 sec. on the line. Still about in the middle of the fleet.

 About half of the other boats flew their spi’s and most of them struggled to keep the spi filled.  And the start course out of the Sydney bay was only about 2 NM before we passed the buoy on port side to open waters when the Spinnaker had to be dropped anyway.

A few boats with us on the mark but no real battle unfolded. One boat was starboard astern and it was questionable if he was overlapped or not. We did not squeeze him out.

We put 1 reef in the main. Big swell of up to 5 m and a fresh wind around 20 kt made a pleasant sail. But for us it was a close hauled course and Arctos is not  good at pointing high on the wind nor is she fast on that course. We steered about 110 degree. 160 was the course to clear the heads of the shoreline on the go to Hobart. We could see many of the other boats passing by or pointing higher. We finally tacked and with our Nr 3 headsail could somehow manage to keep up to the fleet on a direct course along Australia’s coastline.

And we are hoping for a wind shift to use the potential from Arctos. Later the wind is weakening, reef taken out and Nr 2 headsail hoisted. Nice and smooth ride. A little change in wind direction in our favour and we are picking up on the fleet. The wind slows down even more and nr. 1 is hoisted.  
We are probably not doing so good with our position in the race . The wind comes down to 3 to 6 kt. We tried Asymmetric  Spinnaker and Nr. 1 head sail. The sails have a hard time to fill.  Frustrating. Luckily we have a little current pushing us the right direction.

We are fighting light winds all night. But moral is good.

Next morning, blue sky, still very light wind and a boat speed of about 1 to 2 kt!!!!

We know that the wind will pick up. Peter is doing the Tactics and the Navigation. He gets the newest weather updates.We have to sit it out and we are not alone. The maxis could escape the light wind and are already in the middle of bass strait with good winds. Amazing.

Finally the wind picks up as we expected. Initially with 7 to 10 kt building up to 15 to 17kt. We fly the spinnaker and make a good 10 kt speed on a beam to broad reach. Almost the condition Arctos and we love to see. We are catching up on our competitors. This wind is forecasted to stay with us for another 5 to 7 hours. We are making good progress.

 We enjoy a smooth and fast downwind ride. There are a few boats around and we are clearly faster. There is 1boat of our class about 7 NM ahead. The leader. The rest of the group is around us in a 20 min window. 

We are going for the leader. 

We have “tracker’ on board and this gives the race committee and via Internet or telephone everyone else the positions of the boats.

Wind increases to 20 kt to 25kt Spinnaker down and Nr. 1 headsail up. Speed goes up to 13 to 15 kt. Peak is 17.5 kt!!!!!!!

What a ride. We can keep going for hours with this speed. We are leading now the fleet.

We are coming to the bass strait. Wind is changing as forecast. We are on a beating course. Wind picks up to 30 to 35 kt. Peak’s 40kt. Sailing with 2nd reef and staysail only. Waves around 3 meters and chaotic.

Welcome in the bass strait.  It really lives up to its reputation.


Arctos is violently rocking through the waves. She crashes into the waves every 20 to 30 seconds. HOLD ON OR YOU ARE THROWN AROUND. Now I understand why we have safety belts on our bunks. I’m in one of the front bunks just  behind the sail compartment and I feel how I’m pushed out of my bunk into the safety belt when Aractos is falling down of a wave. Without that belt I would have fallen couple of times out of the bunk. Moving inside the boat is very difficult.
And writing on this blog is a pain in the …….

    Welcome in the bass strait.  It really lives up to its reputation.

Spray is washing constantly over the deck. WET  WET  WET

This are the challenging moments for the bowman.

I'm preparing a sail change together with Pete

This is what I expected from this waters. This is what makes bass strait so famous. And we have below 40 kt of wind. I can imagine what it would be like in 60 or 70 kt.

Strong heeling. We make around 7 kt of speed. Not our favorite course and wind. We have to go another 15 to 20 hours thorough the strait.

A school of dolphins is crossing our way. Beautiful. And an hour later we see for a few seconds some sharks passing by as well. 

The wind keeps changing and is weakening. Many Sail changes to adapt to the wind. One of our battens on the main gets loose. It takes us time to fix it. Later another batten starts to slip too. And this on a new sail. Annoying.  We start thinking of killing the sail maker.
But with team effort we fix the problem.

I don’t remember any offshore race where we had no problems. I guess it just belongs to it.

Meanwhile we are on sail nr2 and  full main doing 7n kt.
This was a very work intensive shift.

We need wind for a reach  course to get the full advantage of Arctos.
Oh please, lord of the bass strait, let the wind change in our favor.

Night again. We keep going with an average of 7 kt but in the early morning the wind dies completely for about 2 hours. Luckily not in my shift. It is frustrating on a sailing boat without wind. Our shift starts and the wind starts to build up. Enough to come back to again around 7 kt average boat speed on a beating course direct to Hobart. 

This wind picks up again and keeps blowing for the rest of the race. Beating all the time. We don’t like it. Another storm hits us in the Tasmanian sea . 25 to 30 kt with wild sea. I never get dry. My pant’s is not waterproof anymore. I have a constantly wet ass. I run out of dry underwear. When I go for my sleep I try to find something dry to put on. When I go to fight the elements again I have to use my wet underwear. What a feeling. Stepping already wet into my foul weather. How pleasant.

On the horizon some competitors. The current between ½ and 1 kt in our favor.


Arriving at Hobart Harbor. The crowed is cheering. What a feeling

Final result on the race:

It was clear that we could not keep up with the racing machines like the open 60’s or some of the boats build for this race.  Even with the handicap system it would be difficult to beat these boats.

But in our class we made it as 2nd in our division (out of 9 boats) and 3rd in our class (out of 16 boats).

Thought that we had the odds on our side with a crew who just met and only a few days of preparation and training and a boat which is great on a downwind course but has a hard time while beating (most of the race was on a close hauled or beating course) we did extremely well and we are proud of your result.

After we “parked” Arctos in the harbor and after having some “real” drinks our brave Duncan and Peter the young could not resist to jump in the water ( 17degrees and, well, muddy harbor water) for a little refreshment.

Duncan had a hotel suit booked and invited us to his place to take a shower and get fresh. A SHOWER!!!!!!!!! After 4 days of racing without washing I (we) had the smell of 4 hard days of sweating and fighting the ocean.
You might imagine how good that felt.

Price giving this morning. It took 1 hour!!!! To long for my taste. Too many officials holding speeches. Boring. We got our trophy for our 2nd place and we start splitting up.  

I had such a great time with this crew. Thank you very much

Since Arctos stays in Hobart for another 2 weeks I'm sailing back on "break through", a first 40.1.  We will be 4 on board and we might do a stop in Eden. We'll see.

I'll take some pics and let you know how it goes as soon as I have again internet connection. We depart in 1 hour. I have to hurry.

Cheers, Matthias

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