Next Sail:

Next Race:
2018 Solo Tasman Challenge 01 Apr 2018

Start: 1300h Port Taranaki New Plymouth NZ

Finish: circa 11 April 2018 - Mooloolaba QLD

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Part 3 - Roaring Forty

The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That's the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all your facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead. (General G.S. Patton) 

When a once in a lifetime opportunity presents itself the time for procrastination ceases. I have made my decision and have now purchased Roaring Forty.

I have just returned from a couple of days with the wonderful team at Raising Anchors Yacht Brokers
and Roompot Yacht Service surveying Roaring Forty so I can prepare a project budget and schedule. The fun now begins as we embark on a refit program of around 18-24 months to bring her seaworthiness back to CAT 1 Offshore standard, ready for the initial shakedown cruise to Portsmouth in the UK, followed by the adventure sail home to Australia via Cape Town. She is a stiff and fast boat that was designed and setup for solo and shorthanded offshore global racing. Rest assured the safety factor of this boat is very high.

I look forward to keeping you posted on our progress and the race plan for Roaring Forty.

Roaring Forty (pictured), a 1997 Lutra Design Open 40. She is currently located in The Netherlands inside Roompot Yacht Services fantastic winter storage facility having seen little use by her current owner. Her previous owner Michel Kleinjans, successfully raced her solo in many high profile races in Europe, UK and the US; including the 2008/09 Portimao Global Ocean Race where she won the Solo division.

2007 Rolex Middle Sea Race

The two pictures above are of Roaring Forty in her original deck and shorter carbon mast configuration. She held several World Sailing Speed Records in her day and many other stunning performances, one that stands out in my mind was the 2007 Rolex Middle Sea race when Roaring Forty came in third line honours behind Rambler (90ft) and Rubino (66ft), and pulled off a stunning second overall on IRC handicap, and of course a Div 2 IRC win. Out of 55 starters, 40 recorded Did Not Finish due to the gale force weather, but Michel and his four man crew on Roaring Forty pulled it all together to record an outstanding result for a 40 footer in extreme conditions.

Roaring Forty pictured above during the 2008/09 Portimao Global Ocean Race with modified deck, new Southern Spars carbon mast and boom skippered by Belgian sailing legend Michel Kleinjans

Roaring Forty at Roompot Marina Kamperland The Netherlands just prior to removal into winter storage Sep 2016

 Roaring Forty at Roompot Yacht Services, Kamperland in 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

Part 2 - The Contenders

During 2015 and 2016, I trolled the Annapolis boat shows hunting for boat bling for Rogue Wave whilst cruising my favourite nautical Broker web sites looking for racing stablemates with no luck.

To ensure my brain did not default to a copy of Rogue Wave which it did several times as I drifted down rabbit holes, I drafted a list of Essential (E) and Desirable (D) criteria that included:
Not to exceed Budget - USD$50K (E)
Age - post 1983 but irrelevant if refitted (D)
Not Handicap or Class restricted (D)
Hull Material - GRP/Kevlar (E)
Water Ballast (D)
No canting keel (E)
Watertight compartments/Crash bulkheads (D)
Length - around 40-43 ft, (E)
Beam - fine entry for windward work, moderate-wide beam with flat aft sections to promote surfing while reaching and running, (E)
Draft - not to exceed 3 metres (E)
single elliptical spade rudder (E)
dual rudder (D)
emergency rudder system (D)
tiller steer in preference to wheel for simplicity and weight (E)
Integrated electronics package (E)
Solar/wind/hydro generators (D)
Extensive sail wardrobe as this shares the wear across many sails so even if old could be in new condition (E)
Mast - Alloy (E) or carbon mast/boom (D)
Standing Rigging - Rod (E), PBO if less than 2 years old (D), no wire.
Solent or cutter rig (E)
Furlers for Code and Spinnakers - (D)
Headsail furler (D)
Bowsprit (E)
Carbon Spinnaker pole (D)
Demonstrated performance hull design, lightweight but strength through design and material use (E)
Crew protection - Small dodger (D)
Stripped out racing interior (E)
Engine - 20-30hp but not original equipment (E)
Galley - gimbaled Single/dual Alcohol cooker (E)
Performance - must be capable of maintaining 170-200NM days (E)

After many many months of searching and saving some more, I have finally made my decision; she is a beautiful be continued in part 3

Thursday, March 23, 2017

2017 - Shifting gears

2015 - Part 1 - The Search Begins

The good ole USA probably has the highest concentration of sailboats in the world predominantly positioned on the east coast. Safe waters, thousands of bays and inlets, rivers and lakes abound making sailing/boating a very popular pastime. With so many safe havens and with the Caribbean and Bermuda so close, the regatta circuit attracts the big guns on J Class Yachts, Super yachts, Open 60/50/40s, Class 40, One Designs, IRC cruiser racers right down to the dude in his tricked up surfing 30 footer.

So, we arrive in the US in 2015 and not one to let an opportunity pass....the search begins. Friends already on posting here have landed a nice Stevens world  cruising yacht so there are some great bargains to be had if in the right place at the right time. There are boats everywhere for sale.....some at ridiculous prices and others at bargain basement prices.....even give away! So many were neglected and way past their prime. When you see 40-50 footers for sale stating 'fresh water use only' its hard to imagine when coming from Australia.

I love watching the old and new Vendee globe racers, especially now with their foiling monos (not so much a cat fan). So it was only natural Class 40 boats caught my eye - solid, safe and fast and whilst promoted as 'affordable' I am not one who consider EUR300,000.00 as 'affordable' and don't know too many folk other than marketing peeps who do. However, without an active Class 40 scene in Australia it did not make sense to buy a Class restricted boat. The other problem was there was only one for sale in the US (and waaaay over my budget) and all the rest were in the UK or Europe.

Don't get me wrong, Rogue Wave is a cracker of a yacht for a displacement hull; sweet lines, seaworthy, comfortable, fast and performs well under handicap..... a certain and proven winning combination in the right conditions. I have done a ton of work with a lot more to go as I love working to improve her and share experiences and lessons learned with other Sigma owners. What I am looking for is more of a 'racing' orientated stablemate for the old Rogue.....not a replacement.

As you can see from my goals and aspirations on my Blog title page, my sailing leading up to and throughout retirement is busy....much to do and in many parts of the world. I certainly cannot afford to freight Rogue Wave around the world to compete so the only way is to sail to the start lines. I also need to factor in my age (56 this year) so I am fit and able to achieve my goals with no regrets.

Rogue Wave is perfect boat to see me to my end of sailing days. I have no desire to own a plastic production yacht with apartment like interior and three heads. I am happy to visit these boats at anchor or in a marina to share a beer....but not to own one.

So I went web hunting with a set of requirements to find a 'race' orientated boat of around 40ft that met all my my needs (and budget) and without compromise or design limitations related to handicap ratings.
To be cont......

Monday, April 11, 2016

Raymarine Quantum Chirp Radar Package

Another cracking 4 day deal from West Marine; the new Raymarine Quantum Chirp Radar plus eS78 Multifunction display with Chirp Sounder will be a great safety addition to the old Rogue. Now to figure out what mount system I will use.

Ideally I would like a self leveling mount as the Quantum Radar has an option of either wired or wireless data comms so the cabling is small and flexible compared to classic style radar scanners. I like the manually adjustable mounts but also have my eye on a secondhand Waltz system; more research to be done yet.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Stay the course - bring on the boat bling.

I guess the old Rogue will be around for quite some time now the US spring commissioning season is in full swing and the deals are there for the taking.

West Marine just had a 4 day sale and all Lewmar winches were 2 for 1 prices. How could I resist.......nah, I couldn't so I upgraded the two remaining standard Lewmar 24/2 speed winches with a pair of Lewmar Ocean series ST30. That was day day 4 with two hours to go on the sale I thought what the hell, lets get a couple of new primaries. So it will be on to ebay with the old ST44 and in with the new Lewmar EVO ST45. With a 7 year warranty its a great deal.

Also found on ebay 10ft roll of Milspec RG213 VHF coax cable and a highly reported Metz Manta Stainless Steel masthead antenna. To complete the mast makeover I also found a 100ft coil of 5 core x 2mm tinned mast cable and Aquasignal LED Series 34 Tricolour with anchor light all at great prices. Look hard enough and the deals are out there.

I think my best buy on ebay so far is the Katadyn PUR 35 Survivor Emergency Watermaker. Ex Military surplus and brand spanking new for $200 bucks (retail $2200.00) and she will produce about 4.5 litres per hour of clean fresh water from seawater.  More than enough to keep the crew kicking. Its never been used and even the plastic hoses are clear and supple. I expect the membrane will require replacement but I will give it a test against spec to see how it goes before I replace.

One good thing about the US boating world is there are tons of boats therefore lots of competition, whereas in Australia there is one or two. Also picked up a heap of Robship gear cheap including winch covers, lifeline cushions, foredeck and cockpit rain/sunshades, cabin bags, winch pockets and a solent stay bridle.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2014 Solo Tasman - The Competitors

The list of starters included Aussies, Kiwis and one Austrian, Reini Gelder.  Based solely on a couple of missing letters, Reini home country was closer to Australia than New Zealand so happy to call him one of ours to keep the rivalry going! Reini is the owner skipper of the very slick 1980's Lock Crowther trimaran 'Ave Gitana' (Shark Angels),  the sole sister ship to Bullfrog Sunblock, the 1986 and current Solo Tasman record holder. Reini has done a remarkable job refitting Ave Gitana to a balance between race spec and world cruising comfort. Together they have completed several circumnavigations.....quickly!  I recall Reini saying he lived in a van under the tri whilst trying to work and pay for the refit.

Dabulamanzi' skippered by Oli Oborn  is an old beautiful Nicholson 55 world cruiser that he is fortunate to skipper for her international owner. Surprisingly she had an IRC rating (1.046) and the owner needed to get the boat to Mooloolaba, so Oli suggested why not race her....and he agreed! Oli's family flew to QLD and met him on arrival. So we now had our second IRC competitor. She may be old, but she is a very powerful boat with a ton of sail area.....its going to be tough for old 'Rogue' as the smallest IRC entry and lowest handicap of 0.931.

Road Runner and Outside Edge pre-start
Then we have two Young 11's; 'Outside Edge' skippered by Peter Gaddes (AUS) and 'Road Runner' skippered by Alan Ward (NZ). I reckon these guys likely had a little wager on this 1320nm match race! Young 11's are quick; very quick racer/cruisers and both were adorned with extended bowsprits and race sails. Pete was taking around 20 minutes to complete a tack as he stacked sails from the lowside to the highside......I may have been cooking bread while that action was on!  Weighing in at a lightweight circa 4000kg displacement, my Sigma 36 carries an additional 2250kg when empty and more like 3000kg wet.  'Outside Edge' (1.063) makes up the third and final boat in IRC, so I figure if I can keep I keep close to the pace of these two, then there is hope!

Shillong and Rio Sun
Next is Bob Wise in his 11.2m Alan Wright designed 'Shillong', an accomplished offshore and racing sailor with an outstanding sailing background and a gentleman.  Watch out for the ole 'wise' one!

Rio Sun
Ian Thorne skippers "Rio Sun', a 11.75m Bavaria 39   with roller cruiser racer complete with furling mainsail. Ian said the beauty of his system was he could adjust sail trim and balance by taking in just a small amount of sail whereas we would need to commit to a full reef, de-powering the sail.

The Healer
Mark Hipgrave is another Australian who ventured across to challenge the Kiwis. His Beneteau 36  "The Healer'  is another of the smaller yachts and a quick Cruiser/Racer to be watched.

Cator of Margaret River
Lisa Blair sailing a borrowed 'Cator of Margaret River', a Van de Stadt 37 and the only alloy boat in the fleet. The large volume, light displacement, deep draft and large sail area including bowsprit gave her an edge and she would also be up on the pace. Lisa has had a fast track career sailing in the Clipper Race completing the entire circumnavigation with the assistance of supporters. She recently acquired an Open 50, raced to Hobart and is now prepping for an Antarctic circumnavigation record attempt.

Atom Ant
Next we have Cory McClennan in his red and racy Colson 9m 'Atom Ant' and the smallest boat in the fleet. Cory received an age waiver to compete and has secured some great sponsorship deals. Cory probably had the hell trip of all entrants, with his autopilot constantly failing. Despite the setbacks he persevered and completed the race. Cory is a great guy with ambition and is now preparing for a Mini Transat campaign his recently acquired Mini 650 sponsored by B&G.  Working in Doyles NZ loft with some of the worlds finest sailors should bode well for Cory and we hope to see him back again in 2018.

Next comes the remainder of the speed machines; Rhys Boulton in his proven Pogo 40 'Krakatoa II',
Hupane and Krakatoa II (K2)
 Graham Dalton in his super slick Class 40 'Hupane' and Steven Arms in his super quick catamaran 'Nitro'.

The race within the race was always going to be 'Ave' Gitana' versus these guys. For the win, it came down to who could pick the best weather.

The results below demonstrate how competitive my old 'Rogue' is on handicap after 11d10h days of racing, only to be pipped by 1h38m for second and 3h56m for first place. I learned a lot during the race and will push harder when I return in 2018 as I intend to break the 10 day elapsed time barrier.
2014 Solo Tasman Results

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2014 Solo Tasman - Damage Report

Whilst I had a great sail, the old Rogue did sustain some damage. About a 100NM out from arrival at Port Taranaki we were motoring during a quiet spell of minimal breeze when the engine coughed and cut out. Filters were clear since I knew the exact fuel that had gone in that tank since its repair in 2010. My fuel gauge is down below and it indicated I had about 20 litres remaining.....well maybe the gauge was broken so I added a jerry can and she started up quickly. Along we motored for another 2-3 mins and repeat. Starts up, runs for a minute shuts down.....what the??

The tank is located under the aft berth, so up with the base covers and ear to the tank........yep, I could hear the baffle sliding across inside the tank with every wave movement. Fuel pickups are normally off the bottom of the tank so in my case the rocking of the boat was allowing the baffle to float and get sucked up against the pickup starving the engine and shutting it down.

A quick jury rig of a jerry can was enough to get me to port. Fortunately the main tank was near empty as the jerry tanks emptied quicker than expected since I had not jury rigged the fuel return line. 

Arrival Port Taranaki
After clearing Customs, Quarantine and Immigration Harley and his daughter had me secured on a commercial mooring big enough for the Queen Mary! No dragging here my friends! Time to open the old Rogue up for a dryout session.

Time was precious as I had to fly back to Australia for work. I knuckled in and ripped the tank out with the intention of a new build. I had already had this tank out in Southport after it cracked on my way back from Malaysia. 

Harley kindly ran me around New Plymouth and after a few recommendations found a Engineering firm capable of duplicating the tank out of stainless, but thicker and with a better baffle system and 12v fuel gauge. Expensive? bet.......worth bet! When I stripped the components off the tank and pulled the fuel pickup, I found it had been cut parallel with the tank base. If it had been built correctly, the pickup tube would have been angle cut and the fuel starvation problem would not have happened.

The new tank
Harley completed the CAT1 safety inspection and required paperwork and then I flew out to Australia, tired but happy the tank construction was sorted.

Upon my return to NZ in April, Harley again came to my aide and picked up the tank so it was ready to go when I arrived. We gathered a few locals, commandeered a larger fishing tinny and we manhandled this odd shaped tank into the belly of 'Rogue Wave'. Only two people can fit for the final drop in and thankfully it slipped in exactly as planned. From there on in it was all go and we were back in action.

The remaining jobs were minor and included the placement of all my Soldier On, media tags and race number. It was several days before the weather gods smiled enough for me to stay in the dinghy whilst I attached the decals........crooked adds character they said ! She drew many compliments and support for Soldier On.

'Rogue Wave' a 1983 Sigma 36 FR designed by the late David Thomas (UK)