Episode 22: Hamilton Island Race Week Show Notes

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Hi folks and welcome to episode 22 of the Ocean Sailing Podcast. A little bit of a gap between episode 21 and 22, I apologise for the unexpected break there. I spent the best part of six weeks covering about 2,000 nautical miles, heading down to Sydney up to Hamilton Island and then home and that ended up being a larger, more demanding exercise than I expected having to do all of the delivery trips to and from the various races as well.

Not only that, I had great intentions at Hamilton Island of capturing podcast footage while I was there and publishing it while I was there but unfortunately between dropping my iPhone on the ground and smashing it, which rendered it kind of useless and then spilling bear onto my MacBook Pro keyboard, I ended up with all sorts of technology issues and unable to do anything at all while I was away at the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Regatta for the first time.

So this week’s episode is a bit of a debrief we did just yesterday with some of the crew that did race week. It was a really challenging week for us. I’ve got a number of interviews lined up this week and next week as well, which will get me back into weekly publishing cycle. So you can be assured, despite having a two and a half week break there, we’re back into a weekly cycle and I’m back now, back on board, back on deck and up to date, business and family wise as well, along with a bit of a list of repairs I had to work through after a bit of damage with some of the racing we did. 

So enjoy this week’s episode with the Ocean Gem racing crew, doing a debrief on Hamilton Island Race Week, what went well and what didn’t? And what we’d look to do differently next time around. See you next week.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So folks, this week we’re going to join some of the crew members of the Ocean Gem racing team. We competed in Hamilton Island Race Week for the very first time at the end of August. So a couple of weeks ago now and a bit of a background, we’ve done the Sydney to Gold Coast Race previous to that. We had a long, frustrating race due to lack of wind and then we had to sort of high tail it after a short break here from Gold Coast up to Hamilton Island, which I did with a couple of delivery crew. 

We sailed 570 nautical miles and three days and four hours and fortunately on the way up, against current, we had 20 to 30 knots southerlies or south easterlies, three to five meter swells and we were able to average over six knots and hit 16 knots with two reefs in the main, and a jib. So it was fun sailing up there. 

Got to Hamilton Island the day before the regatta started. We spent a day we didn’t plan to spend taking about 12 golf buggy loads of gear off the boat and from all of our offshore racing and transferring to our hotel unit to line of the boat. Then what unfolded over the next six days was a reasonably challenging week. We had the first race we finished, we had a couple of races, and we didn’t finish within the time limit. We had to race where we went around clearing back the wrong way and were protested by the race committee. We had a race abandoned and then we had our final race where we had to retire due to a bit of gear damage and heavy winds.

So we had a mixed bag for the week, first week competing in IIC Passage and we probably realised that in strong currents and against some pretty good race boats and some challenging weather conditions that maybe IIC isn’t best for us versus some of our colleagues from the Southport Yacht Club who competed in some of the cruising divisions and had a lot of luck and a lot of fun and lot of success and a great week. 

So part of our challenge for the week was our crew was a mixture of some that had done a lot of off shore racing with us, some that had done not us much and a couple of ring ins as well and it’s quite amazing where you change some of the people in the team, how then under pressures, we had 252 yachts competing across 14 divisions, we had some very busy times prior to starts in pretty narrow channels and you combine that with the pressure of racing and some of the personalities that can then really change the team culture and crew dynamic. 

And so this is an interesting episode to debrief even though three weeks ago I didn’t really feel like it. I guess by the end of this week, despite the expectations I personally felt quite dejected for a whole lot of reasons. Then unfortunately my delivery skipper had fallen through a month prior, so then I had a 517 nautical mile trip home to do with two, again, reasonably inexperienced delivery crew and that turned into sort of closer to 700 miles with a couple of days of upwind sailing to get home. 

So I thought it was quite a good episode to do a bit of a debrief on the highs and lows and talk about what we can do differently. There were certainly lots of positives but there were some challenges as well. So four of our team members are here. We’ve got Rod, Alex, Alan and Steve, a couple of those people you remember from the earlier Sydney to Gold Coast debrief and we’re just going to have a conversation about what we liked, what we didn’t like and what we could do differently next time. So we’ll just kick it off guys and just say hello to the listeners out there.

Alex: Hey everyone.

Rod: Hello.

Alan: Hello.

Steve: Hi everybody.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So let’s just open up the conversation with I guess. Given we spent months talking about it, months paying for it. Well, what were you most looking forward to before race week? What were you most looking forward to about race week itself?

Steve: Probably for me, Steve here, it’s not my first time I’ve done it but probably my favorite event on the whole calendar just an awesome location in the Whitsundays there which is probably the best area in the world to sail around and then on top of that, there’s 250 odd boats all doing the same thing and quite often they coverage at the same time and we’ll started at similar times so you get heaps of boats and a small amount of area and it’s just great racing.

Rod: And Steve, I think to add to that, this is Rod, my expectation was my first time and my expectation was probably pretty high because there’s lots of stories during the course of the year, when you’re outside and you hear a lot of stories about Hamo and the week and the restaurants and the food and the sailing and not being away for nine days with a group of people, it’s pretty challenging around with the currents and the wind and also spectacular. I was really looking forward to it for probably six months, couldn’t wait for it to come. I was really expecting the most from the week.

Steve: I’d very much have to agree because the Whitsundays is that premier sailing area and knowing that they were going to be a record fleet of 250 boats, whatever it was there, just to be in that location with that number of boats and it was the Australian sailing championships after all. So it was just like yeah, if you’re going to be sailing or anything to do with sailing that was the place to be.

Alan: This is Alan, I’ve done a couple of Hamo’s previously, I was aboard on the sailing, just love the sailing and I love the big fleets and the spinnaker runs and probably downwind starts, a bit special but you’re not getting around the Cairns and that sort of thing. You’re out there with the big boats as well. Really was looking forward to it for a long time.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So in terms of what I was most looking forward to before race week, the amazing backdrop, the photos and the scenery, the videos from previous years, really does a quite spectacular and we’ve had some great regattas on Morton Bay. I just imagined that on a bigger, more interesting scale. That was really what I was looking forward to, just the sheer scale and spectacle and the islands and all the wildlife and then also just the ability to hang out at shore for a week with the team because mostly we race wherever we are and go home at night and got to bed and you don’t really get to hang out for a few days and a few nights. So that’s what I was most looking forward to.

Okay, so given we had all these expectations, what was different about race week in terms of the way it unfolded to what you expected?

Alex: For me it was quite interesting, just to see the actual number of classes that they had setup for the race week. Anything from those maxis down to little small bay cruisers and trail sailors almost. Just to have that many classes of boats out there and then that first day that I arrived, I was able to sort of see what races were going on and literally, one end of Hamilton Island, you’ve got the passage race starting at the other end you’ve got the cruising division starting and there was just boats and races happening everywhere. It was just unbelievable.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Okay. 

Alan: I think from my perspective, it was the beginning of the week was really, I was really impressed with the setup with how well organised it was, everything was done really professional. There were a few things during the week, which perhaps we’ll come to later; that I didn’t think necessarily was great. But at the beginning of the week I thought it was absolutely fantastic and being amongst all of those boats, certainly, my expectations were met in those first couple of days except for the 12 loads of taking stuff off the boat on the first day was, I suppose I hadn’t thought too much about that and that maybe wasn’t part of what I thought about.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Some kind of social plan?

Alan: Yeah.

Steve: For me, it was probably expected us to be a bit more competitive in the IRC stakes, we are a cruising boat but thought we had the right sort of goods to at least be mid fleet. But as you probably hear, actually coming up, we did struggle a lot and even on a good day, we were still down the back of the fleet, which was a bit painful but we sort of didn’t have the high winds that we needed to actually perform with a heavier boat. So that was a bit of a letdown but that’s sailing I suppose.

Alex: To Steve, I think our expectation was we probably were going to be towards the back of the fleet based on our handicap, right? It’s just when we got the handicap results…

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Our corrected time?

Alex: Our corrected time, yeah. We didn’t come up, but those first couple of days we had a lighter wind so we thought, “Oh well, maybe it’s just not right conditions for us.” So I was still in there, “We’re going to do okay.”

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yup. I thought we’d spare our drop on the first day, then from there turn it around and get results.

Alex: First race, sail to drop.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So yeah, in terms of what was different to me, I was completely in awe of the facility and the backdrop and the way that it was run. They exceeded my expectations, the yacht club, you know, all the social activity ashore, that was fantastic. The results, IRC passage, I thought, “Yup, we’ll get a mixture of wind, we’ll get a mixture of results, we’ll end up, if we can have mid fleet, division of 12, 13, if we end up fifth or six that would be a good result and we couldn’t, we had a couple of light days at the back end of the fleet, second to the last from corrected time.

Then we had a great race where I thought, “This is awesome,” and we still ended up second to the last on corrected time by 20 minutes. 20 minutes off the pace on a three hour race, we couldn’t find another 20 minutes a day and then that happened to be the race where I think we were probably going the wrong way around the clear marking. So one of our better results become a bad result with the point’s adjustment.

So that was different, it’s a different caliber of boats that go out there to what we see locally. There are some really good sailors, some really good boats and it was just a whole different level. However, in the cruising division, where we probably should have been, one, two, three or four, there are some great basic boats who sailed well, didn’t have the same challenges, had a great week and some great sails from the club here who had a great time. So I think the challenge you guys have got expectations around, the reality is the results when you don’t do so well, sometimes you can almost take too seriously and cloud your week but that was definitely different. 

And then the other thing that was probably a big difference for me was we had a couple of people that were just riggins’ that hadn’t sailed much at all that we had on board and then we had some of then that did a lot of sailing on board and just some of the differences in terms of the culture and communication side of things.

I think that had been a quite a big impact on us and to the point where you started question, what was the balance between taking racing seriously but not taking life too seriously? I think we had a bit of a wake when we took a racing quite seriously but we started taking life too seriously as well and for me, the enjoyment starts to go out of it if everyone on board’s not having a having a good time and gas of our challenges. That was unlike any other, we’ve obviously had. Okay, which leads to the next sort of question. What aspects of the week did you find the most challenging?

Alex: So I supposed to lay on from what you’ve just said David was from my perspective, the only thing that stayed constant was that every day, something changed and the biggest thing for me was we had a lot of crew changes. When we had our best crew, our most experienced crew, which included Alex coming up for those four or five days, which we weren’t sure whether you were going to come up or not. But when you’re around and we had that extra bit of experience and Steve was there obviously and we were sailing pretty seriously, it was okay. It was when some of that dropped off and Raja dropped off and then Alex went, we still have enough crew but we lost a lot of the experience but we’re still sailing pretty seriously.

I think with the amount of change that we had, I think that that was quite hard because we were taking it so seriously. Normally we probably would have eased things back a little bit but we didn’t and that was hard especially, we changed the setup of the boat, we changed them whether we were trimming, we changed a lot of things including the crew. And that’s really where the challenges came because of the seriousness, the way that we were sailing.

Alan: This is Alan, I thought we really sailed the boat hard, we really sailed it very seriously, we had to run very experienced set on board who was sort of pushing us along and yeah, we had a mixed crew but we got a lot of experience out of that but we really did push the boat pretty hard and there were long days because we had light winds so we were out there for a long time. That was pretty challenging but quite rewarding, yeah.

Steve: Yeah, I think the last I was probably the biggest anticlimax because we had, we were down to seven people, we had some robust experience wise. We hear a strong breeze and we just pushed the boat unnecessary hard till we broke stuff and stuff was going to break and it could have been avoided, we just broke stuff.

Alan: You could see no one was enjoying it at the time either.

Steve: At that point it was just silly and then our race was over and we talked about, you shouldn’t do this because this is going to happen and we did do that and that happened to them, we snapped a tubing lift, we rip the tubing lift, we rip the spinnaker, how you block of the base of the mast, we just sailed stupidly in the end in terms of the risk we took and we’re just lucky that nobody else got hurt actually.

That could have ended in tears with the spinnaker with the way that that unfolded, we could have ended up with the spinnaker going on the front of the boat and the pole coming down on someone’s head and putting the mast down and ultimately by the time we got it under control, we went there far off the rocks really. That was silly sailing.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: You get to the last out of the regatta and you’re sitting second to the last, you’re not sailing for six stations here. Just breaking stuff that I know a lot of the other boats actually went out there to have a bit of fun that day, some of the other guys who weren’t in the race, let’s just go and have a bit of fun because the wind was up and the rest of it, we weren’t having any fun.

Steve: No.

Rod: I guess it was sort of like a frustration like you’ve had a frustrating week and you’re really looking forward to getting it resulted a race.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, you want to finish on a high note, right?

Alex: Of course. It would have been better if you guys, you two had more experienced guys were both there because we would have coped probably better but because we had an inexperienced crew at that time…

Rod: It was worst case scenario, it was wind and not the crew that we had. 

Alan: For single strength of the bow and we jammed and the track and couldn’t get it up or down.

Steve: I think obviously I wasn’t there for the last day. My take on the whole week is probably different because I ended on a high. So I had to catch an earlier flight which meant I couldn’t do the IRC race because it was too long so I went with a self-built boat that was doing the cruising division and we had a very short race, I still had to run to my plane but we had a pretty short race and we were just second over the line here, we were only a half minute off first so it was all like a highlight.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, what a great finish.

Steve: I finished on a high, which is probably where we should have been as a boat but I think it’s safe to say that our division we’re in versus where we’re at or where the boat was at, just didn’t align. So we were in a racing division, we had our racing faces on and trying to actually hit that level but with different crew on different days and all of that sort of stuff, we were just not there.

We’re up against IRC optimised or IRC built boats that are just built to be optimised and we’re an old cruising boat with some nice sails and a whole lot less weight on it thanks to the first day. But it just showed the difference between being an IRC division and being an IRC optimised boat.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, it’s a real reality check, right? But you would expect then the last 25 years, since the boat was built, they’ve made strides in terms of development, they clearly have right? Because look at the gap. Even with the IRC adjustment, there’s a big gap with those optimised boats.

Steve: Yeah, absolutely.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: The currents just exacerbated it further if you turn out slower and then you’ve got to current factor and percentage.

Steve: And I’m sure like on the IRC boats, they didn’t have crew coming on and off every day and different stuff like that. That’s just the difference between a racing program that’s a lot more professional and casual sailors going for a sail in a regatta. So it was just a good chance to see where we’re at, compared with others, which is what I always thought from day one. Well it’s a good chance to rate. You can’t rate yourself at Southport against eight other boats on PHS. You really have to rate yourself against the best and then see where you sit and then from that point on, then you can choose to go into the cruising division, a PHS, an IRC because you know where you’re at.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah.

Steve: We probably had worst case scenario because we had all of that plus we didn’t have a lot of wind, which the boat doesn’t like under five knots. So that made it even harder, but it was just good to find out where we’re at.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yup. Yeah, and I think it was positive; the lesson definitely was you can optimise a cruising boat so far but, what do they say? You put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.” So you’ve got to pick the races, PHS versus IRC, and you’ve got to pick the conditions and even when you think you might go IRC, if the conditions look really light then don’t go IRC if it just doesn’t make sense. At least you don’t care about the result but it’s hard to race and not seriously care about the result.

Steve: If you don’t have the same crew on the boat every week, then go, “Well this probably not going to happen so let’s do a quieter style of racing and enjoy it a bit more. So you’re not so serious, you’re not taking all the chances 

Alex: Steve, or you can say, it’s something that I’ve thought about is if you’re going out to Hamilton Island, do you get the crew to commit for the six days of racing? Because one of the things that I think we also suffered was because we had that extra sailor on board, you know, we were changing some of the ways that we’re doing things because we had some people stand down or not be available certain days. Some of those changes took place and then when they came back on, we were doing some things differently. 

That just adds an extra dimension to making it difficult and if you’ve got experienced sailors on there, you can cope with that, but if you haven’t got experienced sailors on there or if the sailors are changing, the crew is changing, it makes it even that much harder or better reason to just take it easy. So one of the things that you probably get to later is that concept of do you do something on Hamilton Island that’s a bit different where you try and get a constant crew or the same crew for the whole week? Which is a big commitment because you know, I was away for nine days, two weekends and the week of sailing. It’s hard to do but maybe that’s one way to look at that.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah I mean that’s definitely a couple of things there. Definitely when you think about it, sailing is about reducing a number of variables and we have a different course every day, you start changing how you do things. You have a different mix of people, we have a different mix of wind strength then when you got too many variables too often, and not everything’s going to work. In three, three and a half hours you can find 20 minutes if you don’t give up. A minute here and 20 seconds there and two minutes there but you can easily give all that stuff up. 

Then the other thing is, going south to Sydney then going north to Hamilton Island and then coming home is a 2,000 nautical round trip. Unless you’ve got people who do the deliveries who don’t race, at least you can set it up so that you have your core team doing one thing really well, spreading people across three or four events is just nuts when you are having to be fair to other people, bringing in people with limited experience who haven’t raced with you at all and then you try that kind of environment. It kind of doesn’t make sense. 

So part of it is you know, maybe a change that even how the week is in. The cruising guys, all those guys are smart. They spent three or four weeks getting there and took your time. Well they spent three or four week getting home, while all their crew when up and their families went up the whole day beforehand or Saturday the week afterwards so they had a much better balance. Just going up there, racing, coming all the way home.

Rod: I think also because it’s the first time that the boat has raced at Hamilton and it’s the first time most of the crew have been up there in that race week that it was a bit of an eye opener and you know, this discussion now is very quickly highlighting what we should do differently to number one, be competitive next year if it’s going to happen and number two, make sure that we’re all setup as a crew and that we know. I’m sure that doing this again, it will be a completely, completely different result.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, definitely. There’s lots of things we’ve done twice, where the first time we’ve had a lot of lessons to learn and next time, if anything, this had second time you go so many reasons and challenges but yeah.

Rod: And Dave, would you put it into context the other week when you actually just mentioned now that the distance covered like going down to Sydney then back up to Hamo, and then back down to here was literally a double crossing of the Tasman.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah.

Rod: So, you know, crossing the Tasman one way is a big deal but to do it that distance, that’s a lot of water. That’s a lot of water, so it’s a lot of sailing.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah. People doing the deliveries, not actually racing is definitely going to be part of the solution ideally. Or at least not doing all three deliveries. Okay, anything else about what you found most challenging?

Rod: Look, I thought the current, because everybody talks about the current up around Hamilton Island and in that, down the passage and all the rest of it and until you come across it yourself and look, you know, you got your sails trimmed, everything’s happening and then you realise you’ve got four knots or five knots of current under you, it’s a real eye opener. It’s like you’re doing it all right but you’re in the wrong part of the channel at the wrong time and there’s nothing you can do.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Just to add to that, it’s a rocky area as well and one of the little discoveries on the way back when we ran aground coming down the side of Frazer Island, is we ran aground with 1.4 meters showing on the depth sounder because when the BNG gear was upgraded at the start of year, they didn’t recalibrate at the bottom of the keel. They re-calibrated to sea level. So here’s us sailing around Hamilton Island saying, “Ah, it’s all right. We’ve got a lot, we’ve got another meter and a half more than we thought,” and we didn’t. So we’re just lucky we didn’t push it to below two meters because we wouldn’t have been far off touching the rocks, just to add to the trouble for the week.

Rod: Wow. Yeah, that’s exciting.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Samson was most perplexed when we ran aground doing 7 knots on the way back in the middle of the night going, “I still see1.4 meters on the depth founder.”

Rod: It would be.

Alan: I was too.

Steve: It didn’t make sense.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Okay, so was there anything that really started to get on your nerves? Have an open, candid conversation?

Alex: Oh I think, I can’t remember which day it was, the second day or third day? I was helming the boat and we all just gave it absolutely everything and like I know how I felt that night. I went straight to bed and I was exhausted and we actually ended up catching the fleet that day from behind because we’re the second slowest boat in the fleet. So we’re always behind, but we caught the whole fleet and I think it was a combined fleet then too. 

So we caught probably 40 plus boats, went past most of them and we were high fiving each other and then did well for the rest of the race or at least did okay down wind. We were underpowered with a small kite, but did okay. And, come back to a bar and have a beer or two and then there are the results, we’d come second last. I think that was the day that we got protested as well. So, was that the same day? That was the next day.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: That wasn’t that the day we finished 90 seconds past the cut off?

Alex: Past the cut off, yeah, that’s right.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So we raced for six hours and we were 90 seconds pas the cut off.

Alex: Yeah we were a minute and a half after the cut off.

Rod: We thought aw had actually made it because it was before sunset.

Alex: Yeah, sunset. And I don’t think the races were really designed for our speed of boat. So we shouldn’t have been after the cut off in that time because the cut off should have been further out because we did everything we could and still we didn’t get a score. Even if you allowed us to finish at that point, we were still not even mid-fleet

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Still going to be ninth or 10th out of 12.

Alex: Yeah.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: That’s right, on the time.

Alex: So, you know, probably what got on my nerves was effort versus reward.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah.

Alex: The result on board was actually quite good. We were doing real well. We were doing some great tacks, great jives, good tactics, ticking quite a few boxes and then you get home, you check the results and you’re down the bottom still. That was either because we didn’t finish or just handicap on all the rest of it. So effort versus reward was just painful.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yup. We’ve sailed worse in the past and won stuff.

Alex: Yeah.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: That’s right when you think, “We didn’t leave anything else on the table today.”

Alex: I don’t think whilst everyone was pushed or learned heaps. I actually think we probably sailed the best that we have on days there. There were some good skills shown there, particularly sort of mid-week and you know, results that like Dave just said, we’ve sailed a whole lot worse and won stuff and this time we sailed a lot better and right up the back of the fleet. So yeah, that was pretty painful.

Rod: I’ve got to mention that horrible W word, the wind. You know, up there this time of year, you’re expecting 20, 25 knots in those south easterly trade winds and you know, we had what was it? Tuesday ended up being a no race day because of lack of wind and like you correctly said David, where we strive was with the lighter winds and that boat needs to perform in slightly stronger winds. That’s what we were expecting and up there, you’re thinking, “Well, it’s going to happen,” and despite all the predictions the wind just didn’t come through.

Alex: It came a week early with the Airlie Beach Race.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It did indeed. Brisbane to Keppel, heaps of wind with Airlie Beach, heaps of wind. With the stuff that we did do.

 Alex: Yeah, but having said all of that, was there anything that got on my nerves? I mean it was fantastic. Some of those starts where the big guys were on the same start line as us, that was awesome, other than some that sailed back across the start line, which, coming back on one of the races, which I was a bit surprised at, we were all surprised at. But it was fantastic and great setting and there were frustrations around the sailing for six and a half hours, missing the cut off time by 90 seconds. 

It still was fantastic and that day when we caught the fleet and then sailed pretty well down wind. We got past a bit, so we should have. But we sailed well that day, you know we still had great fun and if you did have a chance to look up and have a bit of a look around, it’s absolutely spectacular. Everyone’s kite’s up and away you go and you know, just fantastic.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, I mean, that’s where I thought a few times, you think we’ve had a tough day, you mentioned talking to someone on the phone who is back at the office at work and you say, “Ah we had a very tough day sailing around the Whitsundays in the sun, because we didn’t quite finish but we saw whales and dolphins and there’s 250 boats here, it’s been a really hard day.”

Alex: I’m going out for dinner.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Like a bad day, it’s not really a bad day.

Alex: That’s right, in fact it’s exactly that, happened to be on a Monday. You know, you’re back to work on Monday and absolutely stuffed for the week. People say, “Oh, how was it, how’d it go?” Start showing them some photos and say, “Oh you know, it was a pretty tough week and god, we had to do this and this and this didn’t work and broke this and this happened,” and they just look at you and like, “Are you dreaming? That’s sounds fantastic. It sounds like you had an enormous week. That’s fantastic.”

Alan: I think sitting behind that start line on that day where we’re next race to start and we’re sitting behind all the big boats and there’s Wild Oats and the old hundred foot Raga Muffin and Ichiban and they’re all at it and you could hear the screaming and it’s almost, they had a false start in there but there was almost boats crashing into each other for the top IRC boat. A bit of mayhem and here we are, you’ve got a front row seat, you’re just cruising around behind and waiting for your start and then they had another go at it. So that was fabulous. You can’t go anywhere and see that, you know?

Ocean Sailing Podcast: No, that’s right, you can’t. And sitting 100 meters below their start line, just watching them, coming in with the start of that, it was just, that was stunning. I was the bugger taking heaps of photos and…

Alan: Yeah, we noticed.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Alex, you have anything else? What you found challenging?

Alex: That was pretty much it, just that W word that… everything else was like Rod said, it was an eye opener and it was just a lot of fun.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, I think the people part was, I found a bit challenging. I think the listeners, when you have a group of people that get on pretty well together, and one person comes to the mix, they just kind of like, you know, melt into the mix. When you have you know, two or three people come into the mix and some have got you know, different experiences, different personalities, different ways to do things, I think if you don’t take you’d always, you don’t know what you don’t know upfront but even when things start to unfold differently like you expect, if you don’t take the leadership view and sit down and say, “Here’s how we’re going to work together, here’s how I’m going to make decisions, here’s how we’re going to treat each other, here’s how we’re going to speak to each other, here’s what’s good, here’s what’s not good. If you don’t kind of do that stuff, I think you can kind of end up with like things just unfolding good, bad or otherwise. 

I think that that’s my responsibility but I think it just shows you just letting things kind of happen by osmosis isn’t always the best approach. Because people don’t know what they don’t know, they come from different crews, different boats, and different backgrounds. Sometimes you can end up with people starting to feel a bit indignant or a bit frustrated and it’s just through a lack of clouding and lack of communication. If you don’t sort of agree on what the sort of the rules of the road are then starting [inaudible] if they guest differently. 

So I think you know, in hind sight, I would have approached it differently given the impact of some people in the first part of the week, some people in the second part of the week, had never sailed with us before. They’re a local person with a ton of technical experience, again who is thrown in the deep end and maybe didn’t have the role sort of fully clarified. So I think that was really challenging in hindsight because I think, if we’re not having fun doing it then you know, there’s no point in doing it. And if you want to be a hard core racer and not care about having fun and just want to be hard core racer, that’s fine. 

But we have to find the balance because it’s a bit like listening to Clouds talking about meteorology, say “Well how can you learn to be an expert at meteorology?” He’s like, “You can’t, you’re a cruising sailor, you do it occasionally, you’re never going to be an expert.” So we have to also say, “Okay, what’s the ideal for us? And let’s have fun doing the ideal. Let’s not, not have fun trying to do something that’s not the ideal, well not realistic.” Otherwise we can take you know, we took a lot of positives out of it I think, but there’s some negatives as well that if you balance it all out, you might…

Steve: I think if you look back for the Keppel race, which was about three weeks before this, you were going to have five new people on board and you know, that call was made, which I think was the right call, for that exact reason of it’s just not going to work. And I think it’s nothing like business or whatever, if you have a whole new team, you can lay all the ground work, they’re still going to be new and it’s still not going to gel together. So, my take on it is, easy for me to say that flew out on the last day which was actually a mistake, so I plan to be there. But it is, you commit for the week, unless there’s something like big that you can’t be there for it, it’s just so much easier to have the same team. 

So it might start off a bit rough, but at the end of the week, you’re well oiled, you’re enjoying it you know? And I think that’s something to take out of it that you choose to do Airlie, you choose to do Hamo, make sure you're there the whole week and even if there’s a couple of new people then you can lay all the ground rules down on day one, it’s not going to be perfect for a couple of days but then we’ll all gel after that

Alex: Steve, we learned a lot on those first couple of days and I really, you know, I loved that. That was great because we started doing things quite differently and you started to get good at them, which was fantastic. I think one of the differences, which you just eluded to was, when there were the three senior guys on the boat together, you sort of fell into your leadership roles and that worked pretty well. But when that reduced to two, I don’t know if you had any discussions about how that was going to work, but that’s when it didn’t work as well.

Steve: No, and we were down to seven overall so…

Alex: That’s right. And we changed the crew and we were doing things differently and we’re trimming to 25 knots. I think it was all of those things compacted. It’s like anything that happens, you’re get a compounding factor, really affects you. But if you had the constant crew as Steve was just saying and you know what those senior roles are.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah.

Alex: It doesn’t matter how much you actually change and do the rest of this stuff, yes it should be rough at the beginning because you’ve changed some things. But by the end of it, you’d be you know, be doing a great job. I still enjoyed all of that anyway. I learned heaps. I learned heaps those first couple of days from the Sydney guys when we did things differently. It was great.

Steve: I think too with the experienced crew, that’s where you got either a float or everyone floats. So I know if I’m doing [inaudible] or something like that and I can see the bowman’s having trouble or something happened, you’ve got a couple of people that can actually pull from to jump up there and help out. As soon as you get down to less experience then there’s always someone on the helm that’s generally experienced so he can’t jump up the front and then, you know, once you get to handle one other person, they’re probably going to be doing a role that they can’t leave. 

When, if you have three that are experience, you can actually float in that. So you can look after each other’s role and then someone else can go help out on bow or trim or something like that if there’s a weak point. So it makes that weak point not so weak and it’s easy to float but the less and less experience on board, it just becomes and it just so happened that the least amount of experience on board was on the last day with the most amount of wind and that’s when it all goes foul. 

So, it’s unfortunate that it happened that way, it’d been nice if it happened midweek and then you had a chance to enjoy the last day because I think you’re soured by the last result or the last day compared with, just like what I said, I was having a ball. I had to run for my plane but I still had a great day because at the front of the fleet, you know, it was a spectacle, it was great racing and it was in Cruising Division 4, yeah. It was a great race. So probably where we should have been but it was a good chance to pair ourselves again to the big boys anyway.

Alan: I think also what it highlighted was that a lot of our racing that we do is every second, you know, Sunday for the offshore stuff. One twilight a week where the crew doesn’t come together very often. But in something like Hamo where you’re day after day after day, doing the race and everybody’s in their roles and there is repetition happening that the crew starts to gel very quickly which is what like you had highlighted Rod that by the middle of the week, we’re pretty good.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Like Sydney to Gold Coast, right? Four days together nonstop, same people.

Alan: Yeah, exactly.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Can’t get off, even if you want to. 

Alan: Yeah, and everything was starting to flow really well and that really did make a difference and I think that’s something that we could maybe utilise for the future of that, if there’s a regatta or something like that coming up, that a couple of days of that crew being in close quarters, sailing consistently over a couple of days just to refine their skills really does make a difference.

Alex: Yeah, I think it come out on the last day, just for the background its blowing 25 knots, we had a down wind start, which is just sensational. Pulling the spinnaker over, you load the spinnaker ready to go and some of the boats actually you fly your spinnaker before the start so you’re over the line with the spinnaker up. So we fly down, I think we did the spinnaker jive and then we’re heading down about a 12, 13 mile run was it down to South Molle Island?

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah. A fair odd run.

Alex: So we had the spinnaker up and then, pretty exciting, we had the big IRC, the game Wild Oats with code zeros, I think they had up.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, they’re all storming through.

Alex: They’re on a broad reach and they’re doing like 20, 25 knots and they’re surfing past us within four or five moves of us. Which is just, you know, just amazing. But then we found that we have a bit of a problem with the pole, we couldn’t get the pole down. The thing had jammed and we messed around and there was a call from the helm that we’re 16 minutes before this land and we’re sort of asking to land to move and then it’s 12 minutes and then eight minutes and I’m thinking, “Well it takes us three minutes to get the spinnaker down.” 

And finally David yells, “Four minutes, four minutes,” and so I was up trimming spinnakers, so I gave a bit of a yell and a more excited yell than I would normally, saying, “Look, we’ve got four minutes.” We smoked the spinnaker, we managed to get it down without it doing any damage and so it was quite, I don’t know if it was an exciting day, but it was certainly with an inexperienced crew. We weren’t selling for cheap stations. So I think that was, by the time…

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, I mean 20 knots plus, sailing in sort of 80, 90 to a hundred degrees with this big spinnaker really loads the boat up and then that’s right, the islands provide so much excitement. However, the big downside is the islands provide obstacles that if you’re heading toward them, they’re not going to move and so it does change things a lot. As much as it creates excitement, it creates a lot of pressure as well, navigationally. So yeah, that’s right, there were some real challenges. 

Okay, is there any other highlights form the week? We’ve covered a few, but any other different highlights?

Alex: For me, the biggest highlight and I’ll just quickly set the scene, I forget it was either the Tuesday or the Thursday but we were on the downwind run and we could see this fleet slowly sailing away from us and then they had to, I think it was tack away, and they all disappeared behind an island and I think we were next to last at this stage. Then all of a sudden I remember looking up and I’m seeing all these sails coming opposite to where the fleet had just gone. I’ve had a closer look thinking, “Hang on, their sails are set for them to be going the other way,” and it was actually the current that had collected that 40 odd boats that was ahead of us and it was literally dragging them backwards behind that point. So we’d gone from a position where we were like maybe what? Mile and a half, two miles behind?

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah.

Alex: Within 20 minutes, half an hour, we are in amongst the fleet. To me, that was just so much fun and just watching while everything was going on and we’re on the inside and we actually got to the head of the fleet in no time at all. That was just so much fun.

Steve: I think what Alex meant to say was we held back because we saw the conditions were improving from behind and we took the fleet on the inside and unfortunately, they were going to shorten the race, we heard it over the radio and one boat snuck through. So that was the race that we were two minutes after the cut off. They were going to shorten the race and we were going real well at that point. Our tactic, as Alex was saying, of hanging back to ensure that we weren’t first to the current worked very well.

Alex: It was, it was nice. 

Steve: We did all right in light winds in there to take probably two thirds of the fleet. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: There are very few times in your life you get to re-join the fleet from behind and sail around them. It doesn’t happen very often.

Alan: It’s usually the opposite. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: I’ve only done it once before, it was a very long time ago. 

Alan: Yeah. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Okay. Any other highlights? 

Steve: Highlights wise probably a low light that was losing the tug of war, which was on island, at team event. We thought we were up for a cart and a beer every time we won. We won one and then lost the rest. So that was a low light that we didn’t get our beer. 

Alex: It was, but it was a good highlight because we won convincingly that first tug of war. 

Steve: That’s what I tell my car. 

Rod: And we came very close to winning the semi-final. 

Steve: And we paid for it for the next four days. 

Alex: Well you know the trouble was, that first, the first tug of war we won without the gloves and when we put those stupid gloves on, then we were starting to slide. But had we not had the gloves I’m sure we would have won that so. We would have been in the final.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: I don’t think that there would be any bestselling books after Rio Olympics saying, “How I almost got bronze”. 

Rod: And no one remembers the name of the silver medallist either. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Correct, no disrespect to our local sailors. 

Rod: Exactly. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, I mean I thought the time ashore was great, when we did have a social life after about 10 hours on the water, or packing up from being on the water, the evening stuff I think was fantastic. Just being able to hang out together and everything’s so close, our comrades were close. It was close, we were down the straight. 

Alan: [Inaudible] was close, the food was good. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah. 

Alex: I think where you managed to get a spot on the marina was fantastic because it ended up literally being, you know, on that arm that was right in the middle of all the action. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah. 

Alex: So if you wanted to go to the bar you turned left, if you wanted to get food, you turned right. We were right in the middle of it. It was fantastic. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, yeah and in terms of professional regatta management, that’s certainly some of the best I have experienced. 

Alan: Yeah, yeah. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It was fantastic, you know really fantastic. 

Alex: That yacht club on the point. 

Steve: Yeah, champagne. 

Alex: How swish was that? 

Steve: Champagne at the yacht club. 

Alex: Yeah champagne on the deck with that sunset. 

Steve: On the deck, yeah with sunset going down. 

Alex: That is actually nice. That was a beautiful afternoon that. 

Steve: Yeah. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah. Whales, dolphins and like for me, I had the other highlights for me, I had a three day four hour trip up and got to do it with my 19 year old daughter who’s now just gone overseas for two years. That was really cool. We haven’t spent three days together, not just the two us, ever. So that was pretty cool and doing 15 to 16 knots, surfing with the two reefs in the main and the jib was pretty cool going out there certainly. Actually going straight lining and fast. 

And then the highlight on the way back, oh I’ve got to mention this, there’s quite a lot of shipping activity as you know inside the Whitsundays and I was downstairs on that saloon kind of just sleeping lightly, there’s lots of shipping activity and we were literally sailing down the channel, that was angled wrong. We’re doing down the channel, whether against ships, and Samson came running downstairs and woke me up and say, “We’re on a collision course for the HMAS Adelaide. 

I couldn’t think what he was talking about and he’s like, “Can you come upstairs?” And sure enough, it was an aircraft carrier and we’d be fine AIS wise but what had happened was they were, we were 50 miles still inside the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef, so it’s inside the Whitsundays. They are honking along doing 17 knots directly towards us, we’re doing 7 knots towards them. They flicked their AIS on when we’re five minutes away. 

So it’s a military ship, they must just put AIS on when they need to be seen. So where we went from everything being fine, we were five minutes off collision course. So then I checked the AIS and see that we’re going to cross within half a mile and we were sailing across their bow at about 30 degrees, so the AIS doesn’t tell you are you going to be half a mile that side of the bow or half mile this side of the bow? 

So I thought I will slow down and change direction and then it still said half a mile and now I’m thinking, “Right.” So we were going to go pass, and meanwhile we’re down in two minutes and this thing is looming up and so I just luffed the boat and watched them slide past and they were like 0.7 of a mile away but they looked like they were right there and no, you could not tell. 

I swear they were coming directly towards us and it was only because the AIS showed that they were going past us, you know, parallel to us. But if I didn’t have the AIS, I would’ve been taking other actions. I swore they were coming straight towards us. That’s just three lights on this massive ship. They had them beaming alone, so I couldn’t tell. So that was a highlight but that was, you know, it was a highlight that Samson decided to come and grab you and I was thinking, “I can fix this,” because you know, crossing the bow of an aircraft carrier doing 17 knots is not very smart. So that was a highlight. Okay, any other low parts we haven’t mentioned? 

Steve: Well another highlight sorry it was actually Samson who’s probably the least experienced on board on our normal crew and he was set the challenge and he really stepped up during the week, which was great and even exactly what you just said there, it was a massive step up that anyone else may or may not have actually come in to grab you and all of that. So hats off to him. The whole week he stepped up and he was going real well by the end of it so hat’s off. 

Alan: Yeah, I agree with that. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah he was great and after the week of stress and pressure and focus and exactness, I had to detune him for the delivery trip home and say, “We’re not going to push it. Take your time. There’s no urgency, any injuries. That’s all right. Have lots of sleep.” But yes, so I think he learned a lot because the delivery trip home was close to four days and he was literally adjusting the helm to the wind angle. 

He was managing traffic, he sailed down most of the way inside Frazer Island on the helm navigating the hand steering down the channels in the dark and stuff. So great crash course for him and so I think it’s great when you get something like that that comes out of that because it just gives somebody just a whole lot more experience than they plan to get. Okay so any other low points? 

Rod: It was a great week. Excellent week. Food street and tavern and the whole island, just all in close proximity with all of the boats and the atmosphere of the rest of the crews and yeah, it was just a good week. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So the Wallabies on the big screen wasn’t a low point at all? 

Rod: Yeah, it was probably a low point there. I wasn’t going to mention that.

Alan: Who are they again, who were they? 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Okay, cool. I think, yeah I think since we’ve talked about it now, I feel much better about the week than I did. There were lots of high points. So guys, what amazes you most about the week if there was one thing that amazed you the most? 

Alex: I got one. I think it was on the last night I was there, we went up to your guys unit for pizza and a beer and I walked into that unit and I couldn’t swing a cat in there. There was crap everywhere. There were anchors and chains and ropes, how do you get all that stuff into the boat? Because the unit was absolutely full. It was amazing how much stuff is actually on that boat when it’s cruising mode? 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: But that’s not even cruising mode, that’s just ocean racing mode.

Alex: Yeah, that’s… 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Or a delivery trip mode, because I’ve got another two and a half meter high, six meter long shelving system at home and 90% of that gear was also on the boat when I bought it. So it’s amazing how you can… 

Alex: Yeah, it’s just amazing too like the last time I’ve been on the boat, you know, in the galley there was cups and silverware and all the rest of it, and I walk on and there’s three plastic cups and two plastic spoons and that was it. 

Steve: Yeah, we didn’t take everything off. There was everything off.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It was a lot. 

Steve: I think we took six chopping boards off of it. That’s serious cruising mode. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, no there were slices and everything. Okay, what else amazed you about the week? Anything else? 

Alan: I would say, as far as the area goes, it just never let you down. Like we didn’t have the best weather. It was pretty gloomy most of the time, rained some days and all of that sort of stuff, but it was just spectacular. You know there were whales jumping over the boat. You literally, they were calling over the radio that, “There are whales in the area, watch out.” You need to watch that don’t hit them. They were everywhere. They were like the plague of the sea. They were absolutely everywhere and then there’s dolphins and turtles and the beautiful green water and the landmarks, the current, the everything. Just every year you go out there and it’s just amazing. It’s an amazing place. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It seems a shame to go all the way there and actually not spend some time cruising or enjoying it. It almost seems a waste doesn’t it? Because it is spectacular. 

Alex: And Hamilton Island is an amazing place as well. I mean just that whole marina precinct, the way it’s set up. The way they set it up for race week, you know, they had that big stage in front of the bar. They had live music every night. You know, there was a band, they had the Heineken were doing their promotion, someone else was doing their promotion. Everything was just laid on for all the competitors and it was so welcoming, you know? You could go anywhere and it was just set up for sailors and for sailing. It was just brilliant. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: They absorb thousands of extra people in the space of the week and everything works. You know, the queues aren’t 50 people long, everything works, you know, it’s really well done. Okay, anything else for you Alan?

Alan: No, I’m good.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: I don’t know if it’ just the sheer spectacle of the size of the fleet, besides it’s 250 boats in a dense passage and then just seeing those big boats, the division AIIC boats the hundred footers. The TP52’s starting behind us and sailing through us in some of those races, just the noise in the backdrop and the spectacle. 

That last day, I mean when they’re doing 25 knots coming up behind you and deciding whether to go above you or below you, a couple [inaudible] went below us, one went above us and started luffing their code zero. But just the noise and you are never going to get to see that any other way. You’re not going to get to see that unless you’re in a helicopter, unless you’re in a big power boat. Most other part of the country, you’re going to be unable to get to them. So it’s pretty unique. 

Alan: We had the helicopter above us and one of the boats went above us and ran it up. You could hear the winches, hear that sound of those winches. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Groaning noise. 

Alan: Groaning noises of the winches on the big boats, those electric winches. It was amazing. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Okay. Is there anything else you want to share or comment on? 

Steve: I’d say it was a great week of training and up-skilling really because we’ve still got heaps moving forward and bigger adventures too with the Hobart. So it was just a good learning week, even though it wasn’t as enjoyable as if we were in a cruising division. I think it’s probably what we needed and it was also what we needed to gauge the boat, just to see where it was at. So I think it was actually the right thing to do, whilst it’s not as much fun, we had to know.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Learning and training often isn’t fun, is it? 

Steve: No, no, no. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It was valuable though. 

Steve: But it’s not a bad place to do it, all the same. So I don’t think there was a lot done wrong. There are always things you can improve on but a real good up-skilling event really. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah and we have to acknowledge Clay. I mean he sailed with us for that week. He’s a volunteer who lives locally. He came and raced with us. He worked from sun up to sun down, past when I was ready to carry on. 

Alex: Yeah.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Fine-tuning stuff, fixing stuff, training people.

Alex: Taught us a lot. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: He’s very patient, very diligent, very persistent. But his technical expertise is second to none. So he, in terms of things that we learned while being under pressure, racing isn’t always easiest learning environment. Really, that’s when you learn, when you are actually under pressure. He gave a 120%, he didn’t come for, you know, a free cruise. 

Steve: And David, added to that, I mean the basics that he went right back to the basics and taught us all on the same way of doing things and went over it and over it and over it again on those first two or three days, that was great. That was really, really valuable I think. In some ways I regretted that we didn’t have all of the crew there that we could all learn it the same way. Hopefully we can pass on a lot of that stuff, especially around trimming and the way that we did that and some of those things, that was fantastic. We’re very lucky to have that. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah and he was like a drill sergeant, you know? In helping you to change subconscious habits until they became new habits and that’s never easy. And Steve just says he would be like that. He was not like he didn’t say upfront, “He’s going to be anal about stuff.”

Steve: I’ve been to his school before, which was probably a steeper learning curve for me because I’d never done bow before and ended up on a boat that had a tactician, a paid skipper, a paid tactician and ended up doing bow and mast for a wind with a little bit of head. So I went through his school and it was a tough one, and particularly because I weighed 90 kilos so I wasn’t allowed past the mast to do the bow. So that adds some extra fun on board but there’s one thing like he teaches you, you do not forget and it’s really good. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah. 

Alex: I think the thing that I found fascinating about what Clay was able to pass onto us was that yeah, all the basic stuff but then there’s so much of the finesse, the little stuff that we’re just not aware off that he is just like an encyclopaedia with and when you think about it, you know the difference between a race sometimes is 30 seconds, 20 seconds and if you can shave that extra 20 seconds off, he’s the sort of guy that is going to be able to teach you how to do that. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, that’s right. That’s exactly right. So I think, definitely, I’d love to do Race Week again. I think it’s doing all everything that was learned and approaching everything I think for me part of the lesson is next time around, let’s not try and d two ocean races and two regattas in five weeks, that are spread from Sydney to the Whitsundays. Let’s pick a couple of things I really want to do that fit together better, or one thing, if that’s what our team decide. 

Let’s just plan ahead, do it well, you get the right coverage across the entire, [inaudible]. Let’s not try and spread ourselves too thin because at the end of the day, we’ve got day jobs, we’ve got families, we’ve got other distractions and part of, like if you’ve got stuff that isn’t quite right, because you’re just so busy racing that you’re preoccupied with what’s happening outside of racing at home or work or whatever, then that distracts you from the enjoyment as well. 

So I think getting the balance right with our team upfront and saying, “What should we do? What do you think?” And working out a plan rather than just changing and hoping after we’re tuned up, I think that’s a list as well. 

Alex: I think the wonderful thing about the Hamilton Island Race Week is that it’s a very nice balance of intensive racing if that’s what you want to do, or a bit more social in the other classes but then there’s also the social aspect of it. So you get to mix with your own crew and other people that you know, that you may want to meet from other crews. You get to see some fantastic boats and also do some racing and it’s almost like emersion. Because you’re there for the week and you know that it’s in that tiny environment, around the marina or around the Whitsundays, it is a fantastic week. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, I think the same thing that’s why wherever level you’re at, you go try the boat, cruising boat, high sea tide boat, you can get away if you want to out of that week. Whatever you want you could get in terms of cruising or racing super serious just having fun. This is, there is definitely something for everybody if you go and do what you want. 

Steve: And yeah you to add to temperature and the climate up there is just sick and down isn’t it? 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, okay. Any last words about anything else we’d do definitely next time around? 

Steve: I made the point earlier about the crew. If you can get like a core crew for most of the days at least and if you didn’t have the rest of the sailing early maybe there’s even a chance to do some training around certain things that you’re then not going to change up there. Again, that constant change of all of everything was one of the hard things. So the less you have of that constant change. You’re still refining things up there but that’d probably make it a bit more enjoyable and then you can work out, “Okay, are we really going to go hard for the first couple of days and then see where we are and ease off a bit?” I think that would be really good.

Rod: Yeah, I think the same team for most of the week would be a big plus and then also probably just being in a PHS division so that we’re with like boats and probably doing races that are more setup for our speed of boat Then the other thing is, a delivery skipper for Dave so he’s not having to sail halfway around the world every time we do a race. I think that’s something we should be on the lookout for or someone step up, someone retire or someone lose their job so they can actually you know, help out with the deliveries because that’s a massive thing for Dave.

Alex: Yeah, and don’t spill the beer on to your laptop and smash your mobile phone as well.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: That’s right and part of, you know, I haven’t publishing, it’s still a couple of weeks but yeah, spilling beer into my Mac Book computer in Hamilton Island as I was working and then dropping my iPhone and smashing the screen and then having delivery chips to get stuff done. Or I couldn’t because the conditions and I wasn’t in range because we’re 50 miles off the coast. Yeah, technology installed I keep them apart, it’s just keeping the concrete and the beer away from my technology.

Alan: But the high point in that is the fact you were drinking beer. So it’s not water, it’s not coffee, you were drinking beer at the time so life wasn’t too bad when you’re doing that.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Sitting on the deck at a yacht club.

Alan: Yeah, that’s right.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So yeah, it’s good and yeah, I think it’s a good summer end. Like I was going to say, in hind sight you could probably actually have two more people that you needed because definitely across the course of six days some people get stretches and strains. Some people just get overloaded with work and they’re happy to take a day off, you have light weather you can afford to sit out

Having two more than you need, so your core team’s actually bigger than you need rather than suddenly you lose a couple of people for whatever reason and now you’ve suddenly gone from ideal to too thin. I think that that’s good planning. And then if people then are tired or something and they decide to take a day off because just because they do, then you can weight that stuff and a bit more flexibly as well. Especially if you’ve got some longer days, you’re not getting back to your loved ones until after seven or eight o’clock at night. Its hard for them if they’re waiting for you to come home from racing.

So okay, good stuff guys. Well, and then thank you to the Southport Yacht Club for making this room available to us again for recording at no cost. So, we appreciate their support in helping us by making it available. And thanks guys for getting together tonight and fitting this debrief in, it’s actually been really valuable, I’ve learned a lot out of it and it just reinforces that if you are keen in taking the learning’s out of these things and fine tuning then saying it’s a bit it gets better and better.

Alex: Yeah, and thank you to you David, you’ve done a lot of work over this last six weeks, I remember listening to a couple of podcasts where you were saying this is what’s going to happen over the next six weeks and now we’re at the title end of it, it has been a big commitment, it has been a lot of work and we’ve learned a few things and we’ve gotten through it. So look, thanks for you for all your efforts and for even organising it.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Pleasure, thanks guys. And yeah, certainly, hence there’s been a bit of a break in the podcast because I ran, everything got so far behind and is so but so be it. I ran out of steam so we’ve got three, maybe four interviews lined up this week, this is the first one so we’re back into the week cycle from now on so that will be good.

Rod: Good.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So, great stuff, thanks guys and new season kicks off this week and first race is the, well for us it does, and first race in the new season is tomorrow. Tomorrow racing.

Alex: Great, fantastic.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Through the Southport Yacht Club. Thank you, excellent. We’ll wrap up.

Interviewer: David Hows