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Andy Lamont

Episode 11: Andy Lamont Show Notes

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Hi folks, welcome along to this week’s episode of the Ocean Sailing Podcast. We’re back on Impulse catching up with Andy Lamont so hey, thanks for coming back Andy. 

Andy Lamont: Oh, it’s a pleasure mate. It’s great to be back.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So I thought it would be great to check in with you, your first interview which was a couple of episodes, has been really, really popular and we’d had lots and lots of interest in your story and with all the images that you supplied. There has been lots of visits in the page and so I thought given a couple of months have gone by now and your trip’s now a whole lot closer than it was, that it would be good to check back with you on the progress you have made in terms of the further changes and upgrades and the extra bits and pieces with the boat. 

Then also, what else has been happening? I know you’ve done some stuff sponsorship wise, I know you’ve been doing some stuff world record wise that you’re looking at doing and some other ideas you’ve got around collecting sea samples. So tell us what you’ve been up to? 

Andy Lamont on board Impulse at the Southport Yacht Club

Andy Lamont: Well, I guess that the biggest news is that just after I spoke to you and we recorded the first episode, I found out about a guy called Bill Hatfield who was going for the world record in the 40 foot class doing a west bound circumnavigation and I thought that record had been broken a long time ago. I knew that Chay Blyth had done it back in the late 60’s. 

He did a west bound circumnavigation just after the Golden Globe Race and that was in a 59 foot boat called British Steel and I just assumed that that record had been broken a long, long time ago. When I found out that it hadn’t been broken, and Bill had been going for the record it was an incredible story. 

He got around Cape Horn and got hit by a big storm and it was apparently blowing like 60 knots plus for quite a few days. He put out a drag and run before the storm, which basically took him back into Cape Horn again. When the storm abided he was below Diego Ramirez Islands and he was starting to pull his drag back in. For some reason, he wasn’t clipped on and he got knocked flat by a big wave and a breaking wave, thrown out of his boat. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Wow, into the water?

Andy Lamont: Into the water, this was below Cape Horn, and he was in the water and looking at his boat 10 or 15 meters away, picked up by another wave and sort of washed back onto his boat so he was a very lucky man. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Unbelievable. That’s not going to happen twice, is it?

Andy Lamont: His boat was a bit damaged and broken windows and a bit of damage to one of his shrouds and he decided that digression was a better part of him and headed back to the Falkland Islands and sold his boat, which that was around March. Around that time I was listening to his story just after I spoke to you. I went, “Well, that record is still there for the taking.”  

So I sort of told my wife and she said, “Absolutely not,” because it was going to take longer but eventually she acquiesced and so I said, “Look, we can go. We can go for this record if we go in October, which was the same time. It’s a good time to go because we get through the southern ocean in the summer time.” Going towards Cape of Good Hope, which was always going to be the worst part of the journey going east bound. So we’ll do that which will be good but then we’re just going to have a really good weather window to get around Cape Horn because that’s going to be around March. 

Andy Lamont's offical documents for his world record attempt

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Right and then you’d be coming across the Pacific. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah and then once we get around Cape Horn, not that anything is ever going to be plain sailing but hopefully, it will be a pretty plain sailing. We’ll be able to get back home, so I guess that’s the biggest news and the biggest change, whereas before I was just going for my own personal achievement and something of an achievement of a dream that I always had and wanted to do. That’s now changed into, “Well I’m going for a world record attempt,” which brought with it a few extra issues because you have to register with the World Sailing Speed Records Council. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well and it’s quite costly too. I saw the bill and it’s in pound too, right? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, it was in pounds. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: What was the cost of that? 

Andy Lamont: Well that was 1,600 pounds. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: To register to make it legitimate.

Andy Lamont: Yeah, which seems like a lot of money. If you’re running a Mocha 60, it’s probably…

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, or if you live in the UK right? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, exactly.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It’s just your local currency. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah but when I looked into it, they do provide a fair bit for that. So they have a local commissioner here in Australia who is going to basically look after all the technical aspects of the record. So he has to be paid and they send down a black box and the black box records the journey. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Oh right, so they actually measure that you don’t just go out there and sail around in circles in nine months. You actually go around the world. 

Andy Lamont: I mean ever since Donald Crowhurst has tried that, they’ve done it that way after that one. So yeah, no I can’t go to the Whitsundays anymore and just sort of hang around there. Yeah, so all of that, I mean obviously all that costs money so you don’t begrudge paying it but it was an unexpected cost. But you know I’m quite happy to do it because I think well, it definitely will be the first and the fastest westbound circumnavigation. I don’t think the record that’s the fastest will stand for very long because it is an S&S 34. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well it stood this long, right? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, that’s right. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It hasn’t been established. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah and interesting. Westbound circumnavigations are interesting. The record for a westbound circumnavigation is held by a boat called Adrian and the guy’s name is Jean-Luc or something. I can’t pronounce the French name but he set that in an 85-foot mono hull, single-handed. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Wow, that’s a big boat single handed. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, although a lot of them are. It’s the same as Dee Caffari the first woman to do it with a 75 footer because the bigger boats are much better going to… 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah and the French are very good in those single handed big and multi’s as well as the mono hulls. They’re very good at that. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah but that record, his record was set now it’s probably, I think, 2004 from memory but that’s the record for a still stand. It’s a record for crewed or un-crewed so yeah. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Wow and how many days was it? 

Andy Lamont: Ah, now you’ve put me on the spot. If you go to my website, it’s there. I think it was 135. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Right. Oh yeah, so that’s a pretty good average. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, I think it was so don’t quote me on that. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Okay and so tell me about your website you’ve built. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah that was pretty amazing too because I hadn’t really done anything in the way of promoting this trip for sponsors or anything like that because I was pretty low key and then I thought about two weeks ago, I sat down and people keep asking me, “Can you send me this? Can you send me that?” And every time that someone asks me to send them a letter, I’ve got to sit down and write a letter. 

It takes me an hour and a half and then I forget everything or another one, so I thought I’ll just to see if I can build a website and I was just amazed because it’s just so easy now and so I sat down and just a few days, I had the barebones of the website there. I had all the photographs of when I was doing the boat up. So I just put those into a blog and when the blog is all done and the photographs were all there.

I was doing this website with my wife and I got really excited. I was doing it late at night and I keep waking up my wife and going, “Hey, look what I did! I put this photo here and I put a caption underneath it,” and as I was really excited to do that. So search the website. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So 

Andy Lamont: That’s it, yeah,, I thought at least it would be pretty easy to remember. I thought I wouldn’t forget it. You can go in there, and then with the website, then came the funding to Go Fund Me campaign where someone said, “Look why don’t you do this Go Fund Me campaign?”

So that was really easy to set up. So I set that up and I already had enough and it really, really humbles me. I’m really appreciative of the people that had made some donations to that, which basically there’s enough donations in there already for me to buy me a Delmore Reach Me tracking device. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Great!

Andy Lamont: So those little things like five or 10 bucks or whatever, it doesn’t sound like a lot but it still adds up.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It all adds up, yeah because there’s so many cost there that just run away with you as you’re preparing to sail the trip. It’s great if you can fund the things that help you keep in touch with people, because they are interested in your story and in your journey and to be able to keep them updated of your location and how you’re tracking with stories and photos from the trip and along the way. If you can afford those extra communication devices and tools and stuff, that’s really, really cool. 

Andy Lamont: Yes, I’m really grateful for people for the interest. The money that they donate is really helpful but I guess even more than that, it’s the psychological boost that it gives you that… 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Like you’ve got a team? 

Andy Lamont: “Ah, wow there’s people interested in me doing this thing,” and it gives you a good boost.  I am really happy to see that happen. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah that’s great and then you had some sponsorship come along as well which is promising. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah Southport Yacht Club has been really generous and that’s been fantastic. Ray McMahon is the guy who has proven that here at the club and they’ve got quite a few meetings. In my opinion as well, I’ll just see what happens but they’ve been really, really generous in being able to give me a great sponsorship package, which means that a lot of the things I was worried about, like getting the boat out in the water and keeping it out for a month is a big cost because you’ve got to pay your marina fees and you also have to pay your hardstand fees, so having all of that taken care off is just such a load off. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Are they going to the anti-fails for you as well? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, they would. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well make sure you put about five coats on because you’re going to need it right? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, so they give me a figure, which I can use on club fees, half stand fees, and anti-foul so that would be great. Hopefully we get that, there’s a new anti-foul product out that I might be able to use at that point in time. So hopefully that will happen. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, well that’s good. That’s good, okay and what about the work that you’ve have been doing on board here and as I look around, I can see your wheel’s gone and you’ve got a really, really nice looking utility out there. What else have you been doing? 

Andy Lamont: Well, I guess that is the next big job that had to be done. The cockpit floor is made from balsa sandwich and the trouble with the balsa is once it gets damp, it does rot and so we had to replace the side decks and the foredeck and the cockpit floor. I’ve already replaced one third of it and the plan was to replace the rest of it when we pulled out the wheels steering, the wheel and pedestal. 

So pulled out the wheel and pedestal, cut out all the floor and I had a bit of fun doing that and made a new floor out of just 20 mil marine ply, fibre glassed on top of that and coved it all in and got the new tiller. I was very lucky with the tiller. I don’t know if I have told you that story before, did I? I will tell you again, it’s a good story. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Is it from WA or something? 

Andy Lamont: Oh yes, that’s right. The fitting that goes onto the rudder post, a guy from WA went into the small works yard and picked it up for me out of a bin from when they used to make S&S 34’s and they had a whole lot left so luckily there was one in there and I wanted to make the tiller here out of mahogany and silver ash. Silver ash is an Australian hardwood, which is a very blonde timber and really contrasts with the deep mahogany. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, it kind of matches the Gold Coast theme as well, blonde.

Andy Lamont: Yeah and I was doing some termite work because I’ve got a pest control company, for a guy out in the Ormeau area, which is an area out in sort of the sticks a little bit around here and I noticed that he had a few boats being build. He turned out to be quite a famous boat builder and I said, “Oh, have you got any mahogany and silver ash around which I can make a tiller from?” He said, “Yeah. How are you going to make it?” And I told him how I was going to make it and he said, “Oh that’s silly, I’ve got a jig here for making tillers, you can just use that.” 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Oh, what are the chances? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah and so anyway, so I did his termite work and I had all the drawings of how I was going to make the tiller. I rang him up about a week before I was going to come out and make the tiller and I said, “Tony, I am just going to come up and make this tiller at your workshop next week, is that all right?” And he went, “Oh no, I already made it.” 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Really, so he made you a tiller? How cool is that?

Andy Lamont: So he made it for me so I was really, really appreciative of that. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well I hope you got rid of all his termites then. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, well so do I. So yeah, so that’s great. So the tiller is there, which is great for single handed. Of course when we’re doing the crewed twilight races, the crew will be upset now because I am walking the line. I used to be behind the wheel and as anyone knows, an S&S 34. The cockpit is really about the same size as a bathtub really, isn’t it? 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, that’s right. It’s not very big and once you are behind the wheel you’re stuck there right, in the whole race?

Andy Lamont: Yeah and the tiller takes up most of the room. So now all the crew are sort of telling me I’m in the way. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So you’re bashing people’s knees now if you suddenly decide to turn suddenly. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, falling on them, sitting on their laps and all that kind of stuff. Yeah but it’s fun so that’s good. So that was a big thing. That was a big thing for me. That was probably the last major structural job that we had to do was to remove the cockpit floor, remove the pedestal, take the wheel out and replace it with the tiller. The only other thing that’s really major that we’re going to do when we take it out of the heart is we’re going to lift the boat off the keel and check all the keel bolts and take the rudder out. There’s some kind of a bit of a leak in the rudder and so we’ll just dry it out and put a new one. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well the leak will only get big not smaller, right, If you don’t do anything? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, so that’s right. It’s not a big job, we’ll just cut it out, cut out half the rudder and dig out all the foam and re-core it and put fibre glass around the outside of it. That will be pretty much all the structural jobs on the boat would have been done by then and then when the boat comes out in August, we’ll take the mast out as well and we’ll just going to go right over the mast with a fine toothed comb. Anything that needs fixing, we’ll fix and that’s pretty much it. 

Now the other great news, the other thing too is that I know last time we’re talking, I was talking about these Turtle-Pac buoyancy bags. So two weeks ago, I have made the decision to actually install the Turtle-Pac system in the boat. It’s not cheap but to me, it’s something that’s just worth the peace of mind that it gives me, my family, my wife and everyone else. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It’s a pretty major plan B. To refresh everybody’s memory, to be able to inflate a really robust inflatable bag inside the boat that means if it gets compromised to some degree it’s going to continue to partially float at least so you can continue to live aboard while you find a solution or catch fish, or catch rain water or what have you. As opposed to having to just have a life raft as your plan B. So it’s a pretty good plan B. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah. So the system itself is six 1000 litre bags. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Right, so they’re still compartmentalised as well. So if you damaged one, you still got five that are intact. Is that how that works? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It’s all just one big chamber? 

Andy Lamont: No, it’s not one big chamber. So there are six, basically cylindrical bags and they fold up quite small. So there will be one each in either of the quarter bunks, which folds up against the hull so they don’t hardly take up any room. There will be another one that folds up just in front of the chart table there. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So you can choose where you locate them within the boat as well. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah and there will be another one in the forepeak and two with the quarter burst used to be just folded against the hull and so they will be all controlled by two dive cylinders. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So you’ve got a back up cylinder as well. You’ve got two rather than just one as well. 

Andy Lamont: No there’s two we’ll take. So two will just fill all six. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: You need all two to fill the six, all right. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah and so what happens is if I need to, yeah and this is one of the things that I’m planning on not to use. If I had to use it I’d just open both those cylinders and those bags will fill up in 45 seconds. But, they only fill up to four pounds pressure. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Okay, so there’s no chance of popping them. 

Andy Lamont: No, they won’t pop or they will conform if there’s something on the floor or in the way. They will just go around it. But he did say that when you fill them up make sure that you stand out of the way because if you got your whole leg by one, it can pin you.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Oh right? Pin yourself inside a sinking boat. 

Andy Lamont: Pin yourself, yeah. So there is quite a fair bit of reserve in those 6,000 litres as well and the boat will float quite high. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Wow, because the 6,000 litres of water so six tons. So how much weight can it support? Does it literally transfer that weight? 

Andy Lamont: No, it doesn’t. Your transfer is much more than that because this is what the… 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Oh because the boat has got partial floatation built into it anyway. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah and even, so for instance you just go also you’ve got the lead. I think it’s in the S&S 34, don’t quote me, but I think there is something like about two and a half thousand kilos of lead but that doesn’t worth two and a half thousand kilos in the water. It doesn’t displace two and a half thousand. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So if it all turns to custard, you just undo your keel bolts, let your keel bolts go. The keel then goes so your boat sits even higher on the water? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, no it that might be upside down in that case. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, good point. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, so the 6,000 litres is much more than this six-ton boat. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: That’s great. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Especially if you’ve got a hull that’s just above the water line or just below the water line literally up enough for it to stay out of the water potentially. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, exactly. So I really did a lot of soul searching about it and of course with every project like this, if something gets spent on one thing it doesn’t get spent on another thing and I thought, “Look, you know to me, that’s probably the best,” about five grand it costs. “That’s about the best five grand that you can spend,” because it just means that, failing fire, we’re pretty indestructible, which is a funny story because the inventor Laszlo (not a funny story), invented this but it was a bit of a tragedy. It was a bad story really, but he had it on his boats and he invented it because he was caught in a cyclone with the boat filling up with water and he was out of the Gold Coast and his boat caught on fire of course. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: They’re not going to help you then are they? 

Andy Lamont: They’re not going to help you then. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Then irony! You’ve got a solution for sinking and then you catch fire. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, so you know? I’m taking the metho stove and that’s it so pretty much the chances of us having a fire of course… 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, which is good because that’s ugly if you do have a fire. 

Andy Lamont: Oh, you know there’s not much that you can do is it there? 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: No, that right and it happens very quickly. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah so that was really great. That was a real sort of point of importance for me anyway to get that. It was one of those things that I have been playing with, equivocating about for about a year and a half. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Has that helped your wife and your family get their heads around the risks a little bit more knowing that that’s part of your plan? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, absolutely. Because they know, they’re not silly. They know that while it’s not risky in the same sense as a lot of other activities are, there's still a certain element of risk. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, the isolation is the biggest risk, right? It’s not what goes wrong; it’s the fact that you’re so isolated that no one can help you. 

Andy Lamont: No one can help you. So it just this does give you that level of self-reliance that if something does happen, the boat is not going to sink. You’ve got days to solve it, not minutes and so that’s the… 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well and with what you’re planning on carrying. Whatever happens you might be able to repair it anyway by then if you’ve got enough time, right? 

Andy Lamont: You would be surprised if you couldn’t. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: A little bit of epoxy and a bit of wood and a few tools. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah that’s right. Eventually you would be able to go, “Okay, here’s the problem and how to fix it.” It won’t be a big issue because the problem is going to be water is getting into the boat and somehow stop it, you know? 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, absolutely that’s interesting. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah so I am excited about that. What else am I excited about? Yeah and the wind vane is finished so the vane’s not on there at the moment. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: The accessory that it goes on, is it ready to go?

Andy Lamont: Yeah and it’s all there but because my stern sits out into the marina channel a little bit, I’m very nervous about someone coming behind and wiping it out. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah even in twilight racing, right? When somebody crosses the stand, on port starboard.

Andy Lamont: So it’s all there but I’ve just got it basically all the flimsy bits are, well they’re not flimsy but the fit’s a bit… 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: They’re not designed to be collision proof. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, not with a 40 foot cruiser or something like that. So yeah, they’re all off it but it’s there. So that’s great. It’s ready to go and that’s another big thing, another big expense but that ability then to carry on the journey without power is just of paramount importance to it. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, that’s a big tick of the box there in term of not forcing you to end your trip early. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, exactly. So that’s good. I’ve been looking more into the Jordan Series Drogue. I’m going to put some chain plates when the boat’s out of the water down by the stern so that I will be able to attach a harness onto those chain plates. So basically if I do put out a drogue, they will just pull straight off the chain plates rather than off a winch or some kind of other thing, which is just bolted onto the deck. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, that’s good because when you’re reading about the engineering kind of rules and the loading that goes onto your boat. You try to slow it to 1 to 2 knots in it and 70 knots of breeze, and a sea that’s trying to drive along at 12 knots, the loading is quite amazing that you’ve got to work at those points where you attach it. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, so I was doing that research and I thought and they’re saying don’t attach it. I was going to basically say, “Well I’ve got this nice winches,” but the load on the winch is no good. It’s the wrong way and all that so I will run them off some chain plates of about 300 mil’s long or 250 mil’s long with about six bolts along the side of the hull just before the transom and they’re just poking out in the transom a bit and they will distribute the load into the hull. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah but that good and like all things, you hope you don’t have to use it but if you do, it’s good to know that they won’t rub the back off your boat. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, or tear a winch out or something like that. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well because technically if you’re in the line of fire as it got torn out, it will go with a bang. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah it would, yeah exactly and also then, it is actually pulling from it directly off the stern. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Okay and in terms of your list of all of the must haves and nice to haves, how are you getting along with deciding what’s really a must have and what you are going to be able to do and what you probably can’t do. Where are the trade offs or compromises sort of coming in now? 

Andy Lamont: Well Musto has come on as a sponsor, which was fantastic because Musto is the gear I wanted. It’s basically every piece of sailing equipment I’ve got is Musto. So the only company I approached for sailing here and luckily they were quite good about it and so they’ve come along. So all the, you know, I am getting basically all the HPX gear, the dry suit and all the mid layer stuff and everything from Musto basically. So that’s a lot of the must have stuff that as you know is really…

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It’s a big chunk of cost but value for money; it’s priceless, right? But you can’t not have it, but it’s not… 

Andy Lamont: Yeah you can’t not have it. Yeah and so I’m just really grateful to Musto that they’re willing to support me on that and like truly if they said, “Look, we’ll give you a 10% discount,” I would been happy with that of course, but they are really generous and so that was great. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It’s good. It’s good the support.

Andy Lamont: I shouldn’t say that, they might… 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It’s too late now it’s in the bank, right? The bank is dry. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah. So I am really happy with Musto and that’s great. So that’s one big ticket that is out of the way. I am talking with someone else about supplying radar and a radar screen so hopefully they will come through. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: That’s good.

Andy Lamont: Yeah. But we’re just talking at the moment and some of the other big must have tickets, so pretty much pulling the mast down and doing the mast is something I’ve arranged for anyway. A satellite phone is, that’s one thing that hasn’t been bought yet, HF radio is a sort of thing that, again, really expensive. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah especially with the limitations it has. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah but then it does things that only an HF radio can do. So it’s not really a must have for me personally but then a lot of people I speak say, “Oh no, an HF radio is a must have because you can broadcast.” A satellite phone is great but you can’t broadcast with a satellite phone.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah of course.

Andy Lamont: so it would be really good to get an HF radio. Some of the other things, one of the musts was to just lift the boat off the keel and check the keel bolts and Southport Yacht Club obviously will come to the party with the hard stand and the travel lift, which means that it’s going to be nice and easy to just lift the boat up and check the keel box. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Which is great, Another big chunk of cost that you don’t have to incur. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah exactly. So most of my must haves now are, like they’re getting close to being covered. There’s a lot of things in the list that they sort of, they are must have but the boat is a good boat and if I had to go tomorrow, I’ve got it basically but will probably want a HF radio and a satellite phone but apart from that it’s a good little boat. So we’re pretty ready in that sense. I’ve got some Go Pros to take some footage so hopefully there will be some interesting footage of it. Yeah, we’ll see how that goes. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Have you thought about finding a media sponsor who would pay data for you so that you can access data for uploading content and videos and updating your blog so that they could benefit from the published story updates, but you benefit from not having to pay for the big thing, they put on the back of your boat and the cost of the data itself?

Andy Lamont: Yeah, so yeah I’ve looked at just basically having a satellite hub and the data is still pretty expensive. So yeah I haven’t really looked. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Because Jessica Watson had that data sponsor, which is what allowed her to do the blog updates and the video uploads. She had a media sponsor because of course, they can get her to write stories every so often and you know of news limited only to the Gold Coast Bulletin and you kind of wonder if that would be a possibility, right? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, well I got to speak to Jess the other day through you actually, which was great and then I sent her another e-mail and so that might be something that I’ll talk to her about. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah because you could get steered into the right direction. I don’t want to cost it out now but I’m sure it runs into the tens of thousands for data still. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, I mean the funning thing is voice is cheap. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, well it is that’s right. As soon as you start uploading gigabytes of bloody video, or hundreds of megabytes, that’s where it chews through it, right? And probably photos to some degree as well. But you probably could publish content quite cheaply. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, that’s probably one of the next things I’ll look at is if I can get someone, a supplier of data. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, well now that it’s a world record attempt. 

Andy Lamont: Yes, that’s right. It’s gathering it’s own momentum. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: That’s right and then you can put that kind of stake in the ground, that might make that a little bit different. 

Andy Lamont: Well that’s right. I mean it wasn’t my original intention but I’m quite excited about it now because there are people that have sailed around the world and you can’t take anything away from them because what they’ve done is amazing by itself but to go down as the first person to do the official world record around the world west bound circumnavigation, there is only ever one first.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: That’s right. That exactly right so you should leverage it for all you can. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah so, we’ll we will try. We are doing it right now. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, that’s right. Exactly right. So if anybody knows of anybody or has an interest in sponsorship, then don’t hesitate to contact Andy directly. And your contact details will be at your website, at 

Andy Lamont: That’s right. That’s it,

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So don’t hesitate to pass any suggestions onto Andy or anybody you might know that would be interested in sponsorship wise or support wise, contact Andy directly because he’d certainly love to hear from you. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, that’s right and I really would because the thing has really changed in the last three months or two months from our little personal sort of goal for me and thinking, “Well I’m not going to be the first of anything or anything,” so I didn’t think there’d that much interest to be in the first west bound. So it hasn’t changed it a lot. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, that’s great and now so you got the chance to have a little bit of a chat to Jessica Watson a couple of weeks ago? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, she is great. It was really interesting to talk to her. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: What sort of takeaways did you have out of that in terms of some of the questions? Some of the technical questions you had that around your preparations. 

Andy Lamont: Well I guess probably one of the things that I immediately got out of that was that while I was thinking about getting one brand of wind generator, which was the most expensive and then talking to her realising that even she had that and that didn’t even last the whole distance anyway. So a couple of days later, I went to the boat shop here and I picked up two really good wind generators, but for the same price as one over the other ones.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Oh, so you’ve got a plan A and a plan B. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah so knowing that look, if one makes it half way around the world and dies, then that’s to be expected and I’ve got the other one and even if you get the most expensive one, you’re not going to expect to make it all the way with that. So yeah, that saved me to get two of those. That’s three and a half grand each, that’s seven grand and I’ve got two of the other brand which I could say is Rutland, so I got a Rutland 1200 and Rutland 914 and they did me a deal to get two together so that was three grand so that saved me like four grand. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, right. So would you run two at the same time? 

Andy Lamont: No, I’ll run one and then I’ll just keep one boxed up and if something happens to the Rutland 1200, I have another pole. So I’m getting Phil George from Fleming Marine who made Jessica’s targa and mast for the wind generators and I’m getting him to make those for me as well because he’s actually got an S&S 34 down there that he’s doing up at the moment. 

So he can actually build the whole thing on his boat and then just post it up to me or send it up to me and that’ll have two masts so they’ll both be wired up but one will be just in a box and if the first one ends up dying for some reason, I will just leave it up there if I have to and put the next one of the spare mast. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: On the opposite side or something? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah right. That’s good and are you going to take your extra blades as well? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, I’ll take extra blades. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Because they can snap. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah so there’re only plastic boats, they’re not carbon blades these ones so the blade is not a big expense. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, what do you pay for a set of blades, do you know? 

Andy Lamont: I don’t know, I do know the guy told, “Oh yeah, you’ve got to get your blades.”

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, because the reason I ask is because I’ve got an Aerogen 6 I think it is and I chipped some blades and I found the Australian distributor and it was going to be like $630 for six plastic blades and then so I thought, “They’re only plastic.” So I Googled it and I found this UK website, they were selling them for 118 pounds for a set and so I could land them in Australia where the currency conversion and with freight for I don’t know? $240 or something. 

Which is still going to be less than half so just the reason that I ask is it’s amazing the loading that goes into some of the spare parts if they’re offshore, northern hemisphere type products. Don’t be afraid to use Google. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, I know. That’s right but Rutland is a nice well-known brand. They’ve got plenty of parts in there. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well, that’s good. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, so that’s right. So we’ll take spare blades for that, takes spare vanes for the self-steering gear, all of that is taken care of. But yeah, so that is one thing that was really good to get from Jessica. It saved me $4,000. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Oh that’s great.

Andy Lamont: In a five minute conversation and she said she’s welcome to talk to me, or willing to talk to me about some other things as well, food and things like that which we will be setting up soon. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Oh that’s great and all that advice from somebody who has done it already, just it probably simplifies a whole bunch of stuff too that sometimes you overcomplicate in your planning that for whatever reason they don’t use or didn’t need. 

Andy Lamont: It’s amazing how sometimes you can just talk to someone. For instance with wind vanes, I’ve been thinking about wind vanes for more than 18 months but I had that conversation with her and just went, “Right. Okay, that’s what I’m going to do.” So it crystallised my thoughts so it was great. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah because there is lots of contradictory advice out there and everyone has different experiences but yeah, being able to get advice with somebody who’s done a similar trip with a similar boat that doesn’t get any more crystal clear than that.

Andy Lamont: Yeah exactly so that was good. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well that’s good and I’m glad that you could hook up and that she’s happy to provide ongoing feedback and advice because it all helps especially if it’s money that you don’t have to spend that you would have spent just in case and then you find out that you just don’t need to spend it at all. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, exactly and that’s a lot of money you know and it is. It’s $4,000 I saved there that really basically I went $4,000 saved on that, $5,000 for the buoyancy bags, done. That’s how it all worked so yeah. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well that’s good. Well that’s right even if the advice doesn’t raise sponsorship, if it cuts your costs down, it’s the same outcome right? Because a dollar you don’t have to speed, is a dollar you don’t have to raise somewhere. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah exactly, that’s so true. Yeah, that’s good.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: And have you settle on sail configuration or sail plans? 

Andy Lamont: Yes. I haven’t actually ordered a code zero yet and that’s not a must have, that’s a “would love to have”. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: That’s a “I’ll get home sooner” type item. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah and that’s one of the things Jessica said. She said that if she were doing it again, she would have used the code zero more. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well, you are more likely to fend your world record for longer too if you used the code zero right? You could just get it a few days earlier. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, that’s right. I haven’t ordered it yet but it is just sort of one of those things that I’d love to have. I’d love to have that more than an HF radio.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well maybe you might be able to find a sail sponsor. That would be good. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, that would be good too and Neil Pryde was really good to me, he helped me out with the sails that I’ve got now but of course, the Australian dollar’s tanked since then.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, that’s right and substantially. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, so it’s sort of getting sails out of Hong Kong is not as good as it used to be. So Mike Sabin from Gold Coast Sails may be a nice little 100% jib. So I am looking now and we’ll see. Like I said, I’d much rather have a code zero than an HF radio but I think I have to buy the HF radio before the code zero. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, right. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, so anyway that’s about it and what else has been happening? I’m just about drawing a blank here now. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: And so you’re still settled on October? That’s all fairing out? You’ve got a specific date yet? 

Andy Lamont: October the 2nd. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: October 2nd, great. 

Andy Lamont: Which hopefully, my daughter, Sophie, is due on the 14th of September. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Okay, well she won’t run more than two weeks overdue. 

Andy Lamont: But they said she can run two weeks early or two weeks overdue.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: But at two weeks, she’ll be induce, right? So two and a half weeks you should be good to go right? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, exactly. So that’s right. I would say, “Look, you know, 15th of October, come on let’s do it.” So yeah, that will be great. So as soon as, you know, I can’t leave before the baby is born but you’re right, they will induce it if it’s more than two weeks overdue, I think. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah. 

Andy Lamont: So the second of October, which will be a Sunday, I’ll head out of here on a Sunday about 1 o’clock. I got a little widget on my website. I think there’s 115 days to go. That will be on a Sunday so that’d be good. I can’t wait really. It’s getting really close now. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well, it’s like less than three months now, right? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah. Well it’s 115 days. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: You’ll be pleased to know that you haven’t chosen a weekend where there’s offshore sailing so we’ll be able to see you off because we won’t be out there offshore. And it’s actually the revised Queen’s birthday weekend this year. 

Andy Lamont: Oh is it? 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Perfect for people visiting you because there’s an extra day off. 

Andy Lamont: Oh okay, well that’s fantastic. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Because, you know, they moved it from June to October. 

Andy Lamont: Right. Just in Queensland, or? 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Just in Queensland, just to do something crazy they just moved the Queen’s birthday back to confuse everybody for three months back. I always jot it down and I’ve got the sailing calendar in there for the next 12 months. So that day is clear. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, it’s good. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Oh, it’s good. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah so that will be good. So hopefully we will have good breezes then around October, have a nice northerly and we’ll just head down and have a nice summer time breezes all through Bass Strait. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, well that’s right. It’s a much warmer time of the year right? The way you are planning it it’s actually a nice time of the year to go through there. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah. It’s much nicer at the start and really hopefully, the only part that’s really sort of playing on my nerves a bit is finding a window to get around Cape Horn because the big difference of west bound compared to east bound is that you can get to Cape Horn on the east bound circumnavigation and say it’s really bad. Well, you could just throw that Jordan Series Drogue out the back and just blow through really. Like I mean it wouldn’t be pleasant but eventually…

Ocean Sailing Podcast: You will get swept around there with the current kind of thing. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, you will get swept around there with the current and the wind and everything like that whereas if you have to turn around and float a drogue, which is what happened to Bill, you just go back into it. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Backwards really fast and then you’ve got to start all over again. 

Andy Lamont: Then you start all over again because sometimes systems come through one, two, three, four straight after each other; you might go back in and actually get hit by another system. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: So you could realistically have to have two or three or four goes at it in the worst case scenario, which is pretty daunting. 

Andy Lamont: Yes, so the thing is really is to pick a weather window and just go for it. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: And then gun it with that code zero. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It might come in handy. 

Andy Lamont: It might, and even if it does get like even if it does get a bit dirty, you just keep trying to punch through because…

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah because the alternative is going to mean you’ve just got to punch through all over again which there’s nothing worse.

Andy Lamont: Yeah so this is a good little boat to do it in, so it goes to wind well and it’s nice and soft and a light sail. That’s what I am saying anyway. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well that’s good Andy. And I see you’ve still got those lovely bolts coming through your cabin top there. You haven’t quite figured out all the final uses for those before your…

Andy Lamont: Yeah. No, I’m pretty sanguine about those; we’ll cut them off. It’ll take me like five minutes with the grinder but I haven’t made the netting yet. So when I get the netting made then I’ll know what the attachment points are for them. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah then it will become logical. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, I mean I could just leave every third one which would still probably be all right but I’ll just leave it for a little while longer. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well that’s where the world is going because I read some changes to Cat 1 Regulations for these alum boats. You’ve got to be able to roll the boat upside down and have nothing fall out, nothing come loose, no floor boards, no nothing. So I’m not sure if that’s the direction for Australian Cat 1, but that’s the regulations this year coming so you will be ahead of the curve if you have got netting that covers all the stuff. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It makes sense, right? 

Andy Lamont: You just don’t want anything…

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Hitting you on the head and cutting your eye open. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah. So that’s right. So that’s what we’re going to do before we go. It’s basically turning the boat upside down mentally. I mean what they do, turn them upside — they don’t do that.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: No. I don’t know, but I doubt it. But all your bed boards, all your floor boards like everything has to be able to stay intact and contained if you tilt the boat 180, which makes sense. It’s just if your boat’s not fitted that way, it’s quite a bit of work and costs in doing that but it makes sense. 

Andy Lamont: I know and I mean if you’ve got to pull up a floor board quickly, it is a bit of a pain if you… 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: That’s where you need the right sort of latches right because you don’t want to have to screw them down because you won’t be able to gather a screwdriver, knee deep in water trying to the boards up. 

Andy Lamont: No, that’s right, yeah. I mean it won’t be hard. This boat has only got one floor board so it’s nice and easy to put that down.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: That helps.

Andy Lamont: But that’s the whole, the exercise on what you're going to go through and have been going through and that’s why I haven’t cut those bolts is because I just want it to be basically everything bolted down and what’s not bolted down, contained. You do see pictures of boats that have been knocked down and stuff everywhere. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: And injuries to people.

Andy Lamont: And injuries to people.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: A can of something hits you in the head it’s going to hurt.

Andy Lamont: Knock you out.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, or a floor board will break your ribs. So that makes a lot of sense. 

Andy Lamont: And like I know it’s going to happen. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, it’s just a matter of if. 

Andy Lamont: It’s just I know and so I just want to make sure that if I get knocked down, there might be a little bit of water that come in but it’ll just a matter of like pumping it out and keeping on going. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well if you pad your ceiling it’d just be like a kid’s playground won’t it? You will just be rolling around inside and it will be soft. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, I know and I am thinking about doing it with that foam. It’s probably not a bad idea. That’s kind of like I’d like to have. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Then you’re bullet proof then really. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah and it will give a bit of insulation as well. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah which will help in winter if you don’t have to wear so much gear all the time. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, exactly. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Especially going to the toilet and stuff, to take that gear on and off all the time. So tell me how’s everything unfolding at home? How’s your wife feeling about the trip now that time’s marching on and she probably realises you are totally serious and committed? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, it’s kind of funny because we’re doing things now and they’re things in preparation for me not to actually get ready to leave but to actually leave, so it’s becoming a lot more real for all my family. So that’s a bit of a process we’re going through but in a lot of ways because we haven’t been spent more than two weeks apart in 25 years. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It’s quite staggering when you think about what lies ahead there. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, so I’m sure like I said before, I’ll probably miss her more than she misses me but in lead up to it, she’s the one that’s more vocal about missing me and so we’ve got a good satellite. The satellite plans are great so I will be able to talk to her on the phone nearly every day. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: They’re pretty cost effective aren’t they? 

Andy Lamont: Yeah I think it’s 40 cents a minute.

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well that’s good. Wow, that’s really good. 

Andy Lamont: You pay $100 plan and you get 40 cents a minute. 

OSP: Yeah, right with bulk. Because I pay a lower level plan just for the odd Cat 2 race which is I think we sit at 99 cents a minute but yeah, if you can go, especially if you’re going to buy a year’s worth or something. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, you go on $100 plan and it’s 40 cents a minute. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Cool. 

Andy Lamont: It seems if you can get voice that cheap it just seems amazing that data is so expensive but that might just change it. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, I think that’s just the lack of supply, it means prices can stay high, unlimited supply is a whole lot better. It will change right? It’s just a matter of time because that’s right, because once that changes, you could just live at sea, work at sea, couldn’t you? If your business is online and then you can do it online. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, you could. Anyways, so they’re going along. Each time it’s getting closer everyone is getting used to it. Doing that website was kind of a big “aha” wake up moment for all the family. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It’s like you’ve told the world now and they can all see it. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, exactly. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well if you are pregnant, you’d be the last trimester, right? The last three months but your baby is not arriving, it’s leaving? 

Andy Lamont: But I’ve got a big bump. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: That’s right, the bump in your wall is getting smaller. 

Andy Lamont: That’s right, yeah so that’s good. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Well that’s great. It was good to catch up, good to check on how things are tracking along. It sounds like you’re well advanced now in the final three months. 

Andy Lamont: Yep, that’s it and so as the boat comes down in August, it will be out of the water for a month and then it’ll be back in the water and basically we’ll be off after that. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Which is great. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: And today we’re down at the Southport Yacht Club and we’re onboard Impulse and we’re officially nine days into winter. It’s 28 degrees outside so for our American listeners, that’s 80 something degrees Fahrenheit, which is kind of crazy thinking it’s winter and then we’re about to go twilight sailing. 

Andy Lamont: In a sea breeze. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: In a sea breeze, yeah. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah which is a summer time breeze for over here. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Yeah, it’s bizarre but it’s good. 

Andy Lamont: So that should be good. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: It’s great. Well thanks Andy for getting together again for a catch up and we’ll try check in with you again maybe in six weeks’ time as you get to about six weeks out and see how you’re tracking with this along the home straight for departure. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, that would be great. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: And I’ll make sure in the show notes that we put the links to your website as well and any updated photos I’ll put as well, any updates and bits and pieces but you gave me heaps last time. So, we went to the original ones too for those that haven’t looked at them yet. In the show notes folks from the episode with Andy in episode two and three, there’s lots and lots of photos of impulse and all the work that he has done to date. So don’t hesitate to check out those show notes as well as the ones with this episode. 

Andy Lamont: Yeah, fantastic and anyone that wants to contact me and give me some advice or tell me an idiot, you’re welcome. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Any advice, any feedback, any support, any suggestions of people or companies that might want to support Andy go to and he will appreciate any bit of help, advice, or contact at all. 

Andy Lamont: Great. All right, well thanks a lot David. 

Ocean Sailing Podcast: Okay, thanks Andy. Let’s go racing. 

Andy Lamont: Let’s go sailing. 

Interviewer: David Hows

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Episodes 2 & 3: Andy Lamont Show Notes

OSP: Good morning folks. We are on board Impulse this morning down at Southport Yacht club with Andy Lamont. Good morning Andy!

Andy Lamont: Gidday, how are you going?

OSP: Good. So, today we are talking to Andy. Andy is heading to do a solo circumnavigation later on this year so we have got an opportunity to talk to Andy and find out about his plans, find out about his background, find out about his preparation and hopefully over a number of episodes share his story as he prepares to depart on a very long trip. So, Andy, when are you planning on leaving?

Andy Lamont in the saloon of Impulse with his HP Toughbook on top of the engine cover

Andy Lamont: Well, we plan to leave mid October. We are just going to talk to Bruce to get the exact date that is going to be more favourable to get under New Zealand because Bruce doesn’t want to go under New Zealand because it’s going to be over 30 knots there. But, I need to go under there because one of the things I want to do is go under the five caps on the journey. So, we want to get a favourable window under there so I don’t get some really big seas and wind right at the very start of the journey. So, that is what we are looking for at the moment, we are getting some long term forecast probably in August and then we will set a date in August, but it’s going to be Mid October.

OSP: Ok. Great. If you are going under the five capes there is some pretty wild weather down there several times a year. What’s your wind tolerance or what are looking to stay below in terms of wind and sea conditions?

Andy Lamont: So, we plan to stay below 30 knots most of the time, but of course that is pretty unrealistic in the real world and most of the time we will be in conditions about 40 knots and no doubt actually as we come towards the end of the journey, we will be coming through the southern ocean in winter, so we are going to get hit with some pretty strong winds there. It will be unrealistic to not get 50 60 knots plus, but the trip is planned so that most of the really heavy conditions come, mostly we will be around the bottom of Tasmania and that is going to probably be the worst or the highest risk of bad conditions.

OSP: So, you will be on the home stretch at that stage?

Andy Lamont: Yes. I can sort of just close my eyes and just cry all the way home.

OSP: Okay, so, Andy, tell me what made you decide to do this? When was the point that you thought I am thinking about doing this and the point which you though I am really going to do this?

Andy Lamont: Well, it’s a bit embarrassing because some of these things you just set out to do in a couple of months and its has always been on my mind, as that was something I wanted to do one day right back to when I was a young kid. But, the moment came when I had a bit of cash due to the pending sale of a business and I thought, I am going to buy a yacht and sail around the world nonstop, that is the next thing I am going to do.

Andy's clearly articulated plan to circumnavigate alone in a yacht, written at age 6

That was in 2002 and its now 2016 so it’s been a long time coming, but I didn’t get that much money for the business that I sold, only about $20,000 so I looked around and really wanted to buy an S&S 34 at that time, but that was ridiculous trying to buy one at that price. John Dankenson is a really well known and well-respected designer and had designed a new kit boat and the kit was $20,000. So I went down and saw John in Melbourne and thought that was a great boat design, so I bought the kit and then I spent the next sort of 2 or 3 years building that boat which was about 2006-2007. I thought it was going to be finished in about a year, but it took a bit longer than that.

The boat was pretty much nearly finished when I started to develop a reaction to epoxy. So, I found it really difficult to work on the boat and then a few things led to my business needing me to be close to it, so I ended up putting my plans to sail around the world on hold. I also went and did a law degree and I don’t know why and then I was just looking at at boats for sale, as you do - not really thinking of buying anything, but thinking about how am I going to finish this boat and there was a lot of things I had done on the boat so far were quite easy.

Andy's backyard kit set project to build a John Dankenson yacht

But now the build was at the stage of some really technical difficult things, like putting a one ton lead bulb in the keel and that type of thing started playing on my mind and I saw this S&S 34 for sale and they wanted just under $50,000 for it and it was probably about 11:30pm and I just sort of sent off an email and said “look, I will give you $35,000 for it”. Well, they accepted.

OSP: Wow! Just like that. And was it was called Impulse when you bought it?

Andy Lamont: Yes, it was called Impulse, the same name it has now.

OSP: It’s kind of ironic really?

Andy Lamont: Yes. Because I had to have the conversation with my wife and I said “I know we have got a beautiful boat sitting in our backyard and we have spent a large amount of money on it, but now we have got this other boat, isn’t that great?”

OSP: So you are still happily married and you have got two boats?

Andy Lamont: Yes, I have got a very accommodating wife. She is very good to me but she has said “one of the things (and there are a few things) before I leave to sail around the world that I have to do is finish the skirting boards”, because I put a new floor in our house with no skirting boards. That was like a year ago, so I just did the skirting boards and then the other thing was I had got to get rid of the half built boat in the backyard. It’s out there now, anyone can have it for free and all I want to do is sell the mast and the other bits and pieces that I paid money for along with the hull. We’ve have a few people come and look at it but its quite interesting. It’s probably harder to give something away than it is to sell it sometimes.

OSP: The yacht is not quite finished so you need the right person?

Andy Lamont: Yes, you have got to have the right person and some people have wanted to take it and I have pretty much talked them out of it because you need either the money or the skills to finish it.

OSP: Otherwise it could have been a sort of play hut for kids to hide under in a backyard?

Andy Lamont: Yes. I know. A friend of mine said I will put it on my farm and all the goats will love it.

Andy's kit set project had to go once he purchase Impulse

OSP: I guess it’s not quite the vision of how you wanted it to turn out, when you started building it?

Andy Lamont: Yes. Exactly.

OSP: What does your family think about your plans to sail off around the world, when your daughter has just got married recently and you have a grandchild on the way?

Andy Lamont: Well, the interesting thing is when I first started talking about this in 2002, my oldest daughter was 13 and now she is 25 so it’s kind of its something they have grown up with, that they expect to happen. So, it’s not come as a surprise or a shock to them and they have had a lot of time to get used to, it so they are all sort of pretty excited about it.

OSP: It’s good they are probably relieved you are getting on with it at last and not just talking about it anymore. You are actually doing it.

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly, that’s right. They have told all their friends “my dad is sailing around the world”. So, it will be good to go.

OSP: That’s good, and how did you decide I guess on this particular design and model? What was the sort of decision points for you for choosing this versus something else?

Andy Lamont: Well, I guess John Sanders is a great hero and an amazing sailor and an amazing seaman. He sort of made this boat famous for circumnavigations and back when I wanted to do this trip, it was this boat that I wanted to do it in - the S&S 34. John Sanders sailed around the world twice in one of these and then David Dicks did his circumnavigation, then Jesse Martin did his circumnavigation and most recently Jessica Watson did hers.

They were all non-stop circumnavigations, so it is really comforting to know if something goes wrong, it’s not going to be due to the design of the boat and that is a really important thing. That is why, when I made that offer on an Impulse I wouldn’t have made an offer on another type of boat it was not the S&S 34 that I wanted. John Sanders did a triple circumnavigation on later occasion in a larger boat, but the budgetary factor with a 34-foot boat is that everything is so much cheaper with a 34 footer, when compared to a 44 or 48 footer. So, it is a great sea worthy little boat and it was cheap to buy and it’s cheap to get up to standard. So, all those things were factors.

The S&S 34 called Impulse was in need of new paint

OSP: And this size boat is physically easier to manage than another 10 foot in terms of physically managing bigger sails, bigger rigging and things like rig and sail loads become more challenging if you are on your own. So, it’s a nice size for physical management.

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly, that is the other thing. I can pretty much lift everything on the boat and carry it. I have tried to lift up some big Code 2 Genoas and stuff like that and moving them around the boat is just exhausting. Whereas with everything in this boat, I can pick it up and carry it and don’t have any problems with putting new sails up or getting them down or that type of thing, they are all manageable. So, that is a big factor as well.

OSP: Ok so why don’t you talk us through the work that you completed already on Impulse and the things you plan on doing. Talk us through the things you are working on, the upgrades you are installing, the things you are doing to make it more manageable, safe and secure and the things that will help you to stow and secure everything, to be able to manage your way around the world.

Andy Lamont: I will start at the outer section of the boat. We are taking the wheel off as it’s got wheel steering and its nice little system, but the boat really wasn’t designed for a wheel and pedestal steering. It is difficult to get behind the wheel; you have got to step over the seats in the cockpit to get behind it. Operating the boat with the wheel single-handed is much harder than operating with a tiller single-handed.

So, I have had a new tiller built that by a good guy I met on the sea breeze forum and he has made a laminated tiller for me over in Western Australia, so that’s been great. So, thanks to him for that. I will be taking the wheel out and that’s probably the next big. When I take the pedestal that the wheel is attached to out, I am going to replace the cockpit floor. I have already replaced a quarter of the cockpit floor and the only weakness with this boat really is the deck in the cockpit.

It gets wet in there where the pedestal goes through the cockpit floor and the whole floor is pretty much rotten. So, I will cut that out; replace it with glass over marine ply and then add the tiller. So, that’s the next job and I love my Thursday afternoon twilight racing so it’s a job I have got to start on a Friday morning and finish by the following Wednesday. So, I am sort of arranging that right now so that I can still compete in the following Thursday’s twilight race.

The rotten cockpit floor in the S&S 34 needed replacing

OSP: You are certainly sitting pretty much to the top of the twilight series table and you finished well in the last series, so pretty means you are leading the overall championship for the year. As well as sailing around the world, you are a pretty competitive local racer even though you don’t say much about that.

Andy Lamont: Yes. I am a very competitive person. I try not to be.

OSP: I haven’t noticed.

Andy Lamont: I just can’t help it, I just love racing, I think it’s great fun and the crew here at Southport Yacht Club are a lot of fun to race with. No one gets too serious and we all have a lot of fun and also over the past sort of year of racing with this boat, we have really been able to get a lot of performance out of her, that we probably wouldn’t have got if we didn’t do the racing.

We commenced racing at Southport Yacht Club with a starting handicap of about 3:30pm, but by the time we did some things like trimming the sails better, putting on adjustable jib and genoa tracks and most importantly; putting a folding prop on and keeping the bottom nice and clean, we are now starting at 3:49pm with the faster yachts.

OSP: So, the difference of starting about 20 minutes in a 1 to 2 hour yacht race is 15-30% plus improvement in speed, right?

Andy Lamont: It is.

OSP: And its interesting because people often assume you are a racer or a cruiser but I think you can be both and if you become good at racing, your boat goes faster, well cruising is more enjoyable. It you have a long passage ahead of you and you can get an extra 1-2 knots of speed out of your boat, you will get to your next destination an hour or two earlier, or the speed may help you out-run some bad weather a whole lot faster. If you tune your boat well, you are looking after better, rather than being a lazy cruiser and having sails poorly trimmed or flapping and sheets chafing. I think being a good racer can actually make you a better cruiser and make your cruising more enjoyable.

Andy Lamont: Yes, definitely I believe that and of course when you are cruising there is a lot of joy eking a quarter of a knot of speed out of your yacht and that is one of the reasons I want to use the expedition software for my navigation, because it’s really a great tool to help you tweak your boat and measure all the different variables, so I am really looking forward to spending 8 or 9 months just tweaking my boat.

New sails arrive for Impulse

OSP: The expedition software is pretty well respected. So what else have you have to do all day?

Andy Lamont: Yes. I know. Other than checking my planning software, that’s it really.

OSP: It’s interesting having a feathering prop. I put one of those on my boat and I am adamant is made the difference of about ¾ of a knot and sometimes as much as 1 knot compared a fixed prop, so the speed difference is quite substantial. And if you are doing 5 knots, ¾ of a knot is a big chunk of extra speed.

Andy Lamont: It might be an extra ¾ a knot when you are doing 5 or 6 knots which is good but I think it’s probably an extra ¾ a knot when you are only doing 3 knots, that is a bigger deal.

OSP: Actually as a percentage it’s a big difference.

Andy Lamont: Yes, it’s massive. The biggest difference I have noticed is racing against the boats originally with my fixed prop and against them now with a folding prop. I noticed that when the wind was fairly light, it was an incredible difference. Congratulations to Gori Folding Props, because I have fallen in love with my prop. Even when I first looked at it, I was like “this is just a beautiful thing”.

OSP: It’s an amazing piece of engineering and that’s the great thing with twilight racing, when you sail against the same 10 or 15 boats each week, you have a great barometer when you make adjustments, because you can measure your performance against a like-for-like comparison. It’s not just guesswork and that’s kind of satisfying.

The feathering prop that folds flat when sailing

Andy Lamont: Yes, it is.

OSP: Moving from a wheel to a tiller makes sense as this removes another point of failure by not having the wheel and steering chain system, with the extra fittings and weak points that can also break under load. What else have you got planned as we look through the boat?

Andy Lamont: I have put in a new switch panel, which you can see underneath the stairs. I have got to tidy that up, and then I have got to replace my battery tie down systems. There are existing battery tie down systems in place, but I wouldn’t like the boat to be upside down and have to trust these, as they are a little bit dodgy. I have got all new instruments, as when I bought the boat it came with some really old B&G instruments that were made in 1976.

The original 1976 B& instrument panel

OSP: Wow!

Andy Lamont: Some of them still work but most of them didn’t.

OSP: Before the days of GPS

Andy Lamont: I have got all new instruments installed and they are set up with all of the connections and software to make them talk to my expedition software so that’s good. I have got to install the AIS and that’s going to be nice and easy to install and then I will connect it all up to the computer.

I went with a HP Toughbook laptop, because I thought one of the biggest things that knock people out of circumnavigations these days is a loss of electrics. With that in mind my Fleming Wind Vain is coming next week so I will have self-steering that is not reliant on electrics.

I will have navigation systems that will be independent of the boats electrical systems and that is why I went with the HP Toughbook as it’s got its own integrated GPS and power supply so we can run it if the worst comes to worst, as I can keep this charged off a solar panel and I will still have my navigations software running, even with a total loss of electrical power on the boat, not that I plan on having a total loss, but if it does happen, it is not going to stop me. So, I installed the new instruments and I have a plethora of GPS’s with a GPS in the chartplotter, a GPS in the AIS, a portable GPS and a GPS in the HP computer itself so that is four GPS’s.

OSP: So you will always know where you are.

Andy Lamont: One of the things you did ask me is what am I going to do with my time. Well, I am going to learn how to navigate with a sextant and take a daily sight and hopefully by the end of 12 months I will be proficient even competent maybe.

OSP: I also think that learning the art of navigating by the sun and stars is a fantastic skill to learn. It helps connect you to your ancestors who also used the same stars to navigate centuries ago. So, Andy, tell me about your plans with power generation and how you are going to manage charging batteries. It’s always a tradeoff between the extra comforts you carry and the amps they draw. What’s your plan with managing consumption and replenishing your batteries from a charging point of view?

New Raymarine instruments for Impulse

Andy Lamont: Well, I guess the first thing I am going to do is pretty much turn everything off that I don’t need. Turn the displays off and just have the whole thing running on low power mode. I have a Ray Marine chart plotter and a course master self steering system, but that will be turned off most of the time and I will just be using the Fleming wind vane for my self-steering. I will have the radar in sleep mode so it wakes up every 20 minutes or goes to sleep every 10 minutes.

So, basically I am going to run on low power mode as much as I can. I have 4 x 100 amp batteries so they should be able to run that gear and they shouldn’t really use very much of my capacity in any 24 hour period.  I still haven’t how to go about arranging solar panels on the boat. Conventionally with the boats most people are putting up a solar panels at the stern on top of a stainless frame or Bimini cover, because they have uninterrupted sunlight. However I don’t like them there, I just think there is too much windage in strong wind and they always seems to get damaged.

So, pretty much everyone that has gone around the world has come back with damaged panels or so all of that effort gets wasted because you get knocked down and the whole thing gets bent. I am more inclined to have flexible solar panels on the deck and maybe some kind of hydro-generator. Unfortunately in my boat it’s very narrow in the stern so fitting a hydro-generator along with the self steering gear at the back is probably going to be too crowded.

I know it’s all happening in October but these are the areas I haven’t really made my final decision on what we are going to do there, but pretty much it’s going to be running the solar panels. I think flexible solar panels is my plan and if we are in situation where there is a not much sunlight or we are not generating much, we can always run the boat on a no power mode and that’s a really important thing to me. We have a lot of guys going around the world in nice 40-foot boats, but once they lose power they pull out and they say oh we can’t sail the boat without power.

Impulse's new distribution panel is fitted

I can sail this boat around the world without power and so it’s nice to have power, have a radar, have AIS and all those things, but it’s not going to be something that is critical to the voyage. I could leave tomorrow with no power and navigation-wise, although I still need to do a little practice, but I have enough to be able to navigate with a handheld GPS and a box of spare batteries if I have to.

OSP: Now, that’s a brave approach to take and if you have got your navigation and your wind-vane self-steering, then you are well on your way in terms of being completely independent of whatever else you add on top of that, luxury-wise and necessity-wise because it will be a shame to have to pull out of something because of batteries. You don’t want to have to start motor every so often, just to keep your batteries supporting a big instrument panel and all the extra electronics that you live without if you want to.

Andy Lamont: Having said that I will run the motor every week at least and I am still thinking that you have got to open that self-feathering prop, because if you leave it shut for 10 months and you finally decide you have got to use it and it might not open. So, that the other thing it’s a non-stop unassisted solo trip around the world, but in all truthfulness I will have 90 litres of fuel and I will start the engine and open the prop once a week for half an hour or something like that. If the prop doesn’t open, it’s worse than not having a motor at all, isn’t it?

OSP: Yes, that’s right, and then if you lost your rig at point and you need to be assisted in some way if you can’t manage the boat by motor in a rescue situation, then all sorts of things start to get harder, don’t they?

The prop is a piece of art when its feathered

Andy Lamont: Yes that is exactly right. One of the first things that happened to me on the delivery trip from Sydney to the Gold Coast, where we motor sailed, we dropped below 5 knots with motor sailing and the starter motor stopped working. And we were lucky there was a crank handle here, so I took the engine cover off and gave it a few turns with the crank handle and just started up straightway. I had the boat like 9 months before I got a new starter motor because it was just so easy to hand crank it. I really didn’t mind hand cranking it, so another great thing about the engine is doesn’t need to rely on any electrics either to start or run

OSP: Simplicity is good.

Andy Lamont: Yes.

OSP: What about you rig? Is there anything you have to do with your rig to get it to where you want it?

Andy Lamont: Yes, absolutely. So, what we are doing and its going to happen sometime around June is we are going to take the mast out, we are going to take it to Cookie, the local rigger at S&H Spars and he is going to go right over it and make sure that there is nothing that is worn or near the point of failure or that might not be up to scratch. We will have a look at the whole mast for corrosion and then we will run a new VHS Aerial through it and do that type of thing to get the mast set up properly. Even when I bought the boat the first thing that I did was change the standing rigging so its only 2 years old, but I will change all that again and go to probably one size or two sizes heavier than actually is needed for the standing rig and also Cooky is going to put in an inner forestay so we can hank on the storm jib as well.

OSP: Great and an inner forestay is kind of useful because if you did lose your forestay for some kind of reason you act quickly it can allow you to have a backup forestay.

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly.

OSP: So, it depends whether you have got it permanently attached or whether you have got it set up so you can just clip it on when you need it.

Andy Lamont: Yes, well the other thing too is I will probably put a little bowsprit on for a code zero sail. So, I will probably just run a spectra line to the bowsprit as well, just in case the forestay fails and the heavy spectre line will still hold up the mast.

OSP: Its good to have those kind of fall back plans.

Andy Lamont: Yes.

OSP: And with the length of your trip you have got a lot of provisions that you have got to take, you have got water that you need to take, you have got yourself to fit inside here and you have got sails and other bit and pieces. What are you doing with the layout, what sort plans do you have around storage and how are you going to handle all that?

Andy Lamont: Not completely 100% decided but I think I am just going to use the saloon berth as the bunk I sleep in. The engine is right at the centre of the boat and I have just started to make a new engine cover which will extend about 100mm behind where it extends now, which will then add a lot of storage space as it will be higher and longer.

Scraping the old paint off Impulse's hull

So, there won’t be much room to walk around the boat but that will provide me with a nice table in the middle of the boat and I will have a seat on the port bunk and also an area to get out of my wet weather gear on the port bunk as well. Then there is basically a whole lot of nooks and crannies in the boat, we have got all the whole area at the back of the boat that we can store stuff in and all the areas underneath the cockpit area that we can store stuff in as well. So, what we do with food is to put together one week packs, so all we really have to do is to take probably 50 one-week packs of food and I am pretty sure we will just be able to just stuff them into any nook and cranny…

OSP: Anywhere and everywhere.

Andy Lamont: And probably the harder to find the better because knowing me, I will go through all the one week packs and take all the chocolate bars out first. So, we will just basically fit them wherever they go. So when we are talking about all the provisions that you need, basically we need sails, food, water and some spare parts and tools. And some plywood, I love plywood. I love working with wood and I just think plywood is the most amazing stuff. So, I will take a fair bit of plywood underneath the bunks and just double up with plywood there. It weighs a little bit, but it’s just such a great material and you can easily cut it and do anything with it. It’s super strong, I will take a few large pieces and I will probably take 15 litres of epoxy, which is only 15 kilos plus hardener, so more like 20 kilos. But with 15 litres of epoxy you can just about do anything. Any sort of thing that is made up of steel or stone you can make an epoxy substitute for it.

I will take some fibreglass resin and matting, I have got plenty of glass at home from my other projects. So I will take a fair bit of glass which doesn’t weigh much and I have probably 6 or 7 meters of 600 gram glass and 20 litres of epoxy, which is going to mean I am pretty confident of fixing anything in the boat. So I will have my 50 one-week packs of food, 200 litres of bottled water and also 70 litres in tanks, so that’s 270 litres of water and I am going to make some water catching devices, so when it rains I will just spread those out and I will be able to catch a lot of water I will put that into the tanks so I am pretty confident I have enough water and I have an emergency hand water maker, although I have thought about an electric water maker, but at this point I haven’t gone with it, but I was really encouraged, actually amazed to see at the last boat show this little rain maker that runs on petrol , which I don’t really like on the boat, but he is saying on 1 litre of fuel it will make you 100 litres of water which is massive.

OSP: It’s a tradeoff with using fuel, otherwise you will probably use 100amps battery consumption to make 100 litres of water using a traditional water maker so that’s a pretty expensive tradeoff as an alternative.

Andy Lamont: One of the things of course is everything costs. My plan is look at people who have done it before; they just take their water and its fine. So, that is my plan to do that if I end up with sponsorship or some other form of unexpected wealth well, I would buy a water maker. But, apart from that I will just take bottle water. Bottled water is great because it’s really secure.

OSP: Can’t get contaminated.

Andy Lamont: Yes.

OSP: You are limited it to 600mils of contamination.

Andy Lamont: Yes. And the other thing that I haven’t decided to do yet, but am very keen to look into is to install the Turtle Pac self-inflatable bags inside the boat which basically turns the boat into an unsinkable unit, because these bags don’t take too much room and they attach to a diving cylinder and in the event the boat starts to fill with water, you just open your cylinder, the bags fill up with water and the boat still floats, even with a hole in it. A local here makes it on the Gold Coast. I have used the Turtle Pac fuel bladders on other boats, they are fantastic, durable and strong, you jump on them to get the fuel flowing out of the bladder into the tanks of the boat and they just seem to be indestructible. It seems to me to be a real great option and I am really surprised it’s not used more for this purpose.

OSP: Sounds like a great solution. I have read a lot of stories about people living in life rafts for 4-5 months and they are not really life preserving devices beyond 2 or 3 weeks, but if you can keep a hull from fully submerging and you stay attached to it you are more likely to be found as well and much more secure than getting off it.

Preparing the cabin top for repainting

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly, if this thing fills up with water for some reason and I have my Turtle Pac system, I will float around for 2 years.

OSP: As long as it rains regularly and you can catch fish you will be fine.

Andy Lamont: If I have 50 weeks of food onboard and I also have emergency rations, I can float around for a very long time. I am still trying to understand why it’s not used more.

OSP: Instead of building a waterproof bulkhead as lots of boats do, you have got an inflatable bulkhead instead essentially.

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly.

OSP:…that is waterproof that you can put in a pocket inside the boat.

Andy Lamont: Yes. And of course IRC racing boats and Volvo boats and even the class 40s they all have the space to do that to have full bulkhead watertight rear bulkhead. They have got enough space to do that whereas this boat, we could build a watertight bulkhead there but you are still using that space, the door is going to be open and for a cruising boat it seems to me to be a good solution. And the trouble with water tight bulkhead is they can fail If the breach in the hull goes both sides of the bulk head, then even it’s all over.

OSP: It’s just a function of time even with the smallest leaks they will fail eventually. So, what is the cost of something like that?

Andy Lamont: 5 grand. I spoke to the guy last year about it and he said look I have done this on an S&S before, it will cost you $5,000.

OSP: Its pretty good life insurance.

Andy Lamont: It’s pretty good. It’s the same price as a life raft really. Although I will have a life raft as well but it’s another 5 grand and every that old story with B-O-A-T standing for “Bring Out Another Thousand” and you want everything but as you were saying before it’s a factor of time and money. With a trip like this you are probably going to run out of money and not get everything you want, you are going to run out of time not enough have enough time to put everything you want into the boat.

OSP: And then there is space to add to that as well. You have to pull these stuff somewhere too.

OSP: Ok. So, what are the things about this trip that keep you awake at night at 4 am with your mind sort of overly processing and thinking about things you might have overlooked or things you certainly decide to make out a contingency plan for?

Andy Lamont: The biggest thing that keeps me awake at night is which is why I haven’t got in the recent offshore races is because I jumped in this boat and we just sailed back up till Sydney and I was getting in there and I was doing things. One of the things I did is I though “Oh I just better replace that exhaust hose that runs up under the companion way stairs”. And  I pulled the old exhaust house out and it was completely perished.

OSP: Wow! So you were one step away from carbon monoxide poisoning basically.

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly. We ran that motor coming from Sydney with guys down there sleeping, it looked fine at the exhaust elbow and all the way up to where it disappeared  under the companion way stairs and under the companion way stairs it’s that hard against the hull and under the battery compartment and you can’t really see into that space and it was totally perished. So that kind of thing.

The perished exhaust pipes of the engine the previous owner had attempted to repair. 

When I was under there actually replacing that and looking around, I was looking at the seal on the rudder stock and the little piece of rubber pipe that sort of clamps onto the fibreglass housing and thinking that piece of rubber there is nearly 40 years old and, if that starts to leak, what are you going to do? It’s a big question what are you going to do. So, obviously you are going to take the rudder out and replace that. So, it’s like realising the things that you don’t know that are the problem.

Wasn’t it Donald Rumsfeld who said “the unknown and unknowns are the things you have to worry about.” So, it’s the things that you don’t know you don’t know that are the worst and that was one that, really I just really give a moment though to. I thought it all looked nice and solid but when I had a really close look at it, I thought gee this is a bit of a worry.

So, what keeps me awake most of all is the boat sinking. If the boat doesn’t sink, I can just curl up in a ball and cry.

OSP: Yes and set your EPIRB off.

Andy Lamont:…or just sit there and just wait for things to change things gets better because with everything there is greater energy for life and every storm passes and if the boat doesn’t sink well you are out the other side. So, that is the main thing that keeps me awake at night. That is why I put all new 10 mm lexan windows throughout the boat and type of thing.

If I can keep the water out, that is the main thing. I put a new PSS seal in and now I lie awake thinking, what happens if the PSS seal fails? An old stuffing box you can just tighten that up but you can’t do that to a PSS seal do I get a Zip tie and tie it up , surely there is sort of a set procedure for a failed PSS seal. Its things like that keeps me awake at night, but really what keeps me awake most of all is about like sinking.

OSP: Keeping the boat the right way up.

Andy Lamont: Yes. So, the keel attaches over on these boats over a really long period. It is very solid but when we take out the water, we are just going to drop the keel off it, check the bolts, if the boats are a bit suspect we will replaced the bolts. But again, it’s a great system the bolts come up through the boat and they tighten down with nuts inside the boat.

OSP: You can see them easily and you can see the condition of the boat.

Andy Lamont: And I have never heard of an incident where S&S 34 has lost its keel but everyone that goes around the world takes the keel out and checks the bolts and so that is just one thing to do.

OSP: Ok, and have you thought about what you can do to minimise the risk of injury, minimise the risk of falling over, falling off when the boat rolls upside down? How do you avoid breaking bones and puncturing lungs and that things like that, can that really debilitate you despite the boat being perfectly fine to carry on.

The S&S 34 engine in need of TLC

Andy Lamont: Yes. It’s a really good point. So, I am going to buy just a racing car seat with a seat belt which I can sit in and belt myself in. I am going to put a seat belt in the bunk so if the boat turns upside down when I am asleep I won’t just fly across the boat. I’m replacing the engine cover with a nice big storage compartment which is going to mean there’s not very far to fall inside the boat. There is a central pole which obviously people can’t see, it’s not in the boat at the moment it goes basically from the centre of the boat up to cabin ceiling that is going back in. plus I am going to put two more poles by the sink and just in front of the hatch so that it’s going to be 3 poles, it’s going to be like a little forest in here. There is just not going to be far to fall. So, that is going to be the big thing.

So, it is a nice little boat, there is not far to fall anyway but when I am asleep or drowsy or resting I will be in this and the weather is rough I will be in a seat belt so that is what I will be doing. I will take of course ok I have got some protective body amour and head gear so I will take that as well with me. So, if I got to get up the mast I will just put that gear on so that will give me a bit of protection from slamming into the side of the mast.

OSP: Put a helmet and stuff on because that is quite a risk really knocking yourself out if you…

Andy Lamont: Yes, I have a Gath helmet which is very light and nice and strong

OSP: I am sitting on your bunk and I visualise you being thrown across the boat and punctured by one of those bolts thats sticking down below your cabin top and theres about 20 bolts there and I am looking at them and they are about an inch long, thinking about the risk of punching one of those through your skull. Have you thought about that?

Andy Lamont: Well, so I have just left them long because the just look so handy.

OSP: Handy for what?

Andy Lamont: Well you can see I have attached some eye bolts (nuts) on them.

OSP: That could work.

Andy Lamont: So, then what I am going to do is I am going to make some netting so it attaches to those eye bolts so that anything that’s inside this shelf here won’t get thrown out and then what I will do is for every bolt that doesn’t have an eye bolt, so all those bolts I knew from the jib track for every bolt that doesn’t have an eye nut on it I will cut it off with an angle driver. I am pretty vicious with the angle grinder cutting off bolts at the moment. Sometimes I leave bolts a bit long because I am thinking I will use that for something. This used to have that basically similar to the car hood lining and foam underneath it.

The menacing looking bolts the hold the new genoa track in place

OSP: Like a final foam or something.

Andy Lamont: Yes. And it was all starting to sort of deteriorate and it was just raining tiny particles of foam from the holes in the lining on the boat. So, that was a big job. We had to pull all that lining off and I got the sander out and sanded it because all the foam  that sort of open cell  foam was glued to the ceiling, sanded all that off and then just put a coat of paint for the time being but I might put some closed cell foam just like Jessica Watson did to her boat which is quite a good idea. So, she just lined the cabin and the cabin sides in closed cell foam from Clark Rubber and that does a couple of things because its good insulation and it’s also all soft. So, that is one of the things. Those bolts won’t be staying long for too much longer.

But I am just looking at the design of the netting I probably have to get a sail maker to make it up for me but I think it will be great. One of the things you have to do is imagine about upside down and look at everything that could actually fall out of a place and make sure you have a system to have it all locked down but most importantly have that system that is nice and easy to use. You don’t have to go around, oh, there is a storm coming I have got to make sure you got through this to lock everything down, just have it locked down as a matter of course. That is what I want to do and make sure it won’t happen for that.  That is where I think the netting is probably great because a lot of stuff you are using all the time is visible and you just have to unclip the net and grab what you want and the clip the netting back on.

OSP: Its light, you can see it, it feels behind it. So, what do you think it’s going to cost you to get to the start line with what you have spent so far and what you are still to spend and then all of your provisions and all the other things you have yet to think about?

Andy Lamont: Is my wife going to hear this?

OSP: Probably not.

Andy Lamont: Well, the boat only cost 35 grand.

OSP: So, you already saved 100k.

Andy Lamont: So, we are already 100k in front. Well, I have spent a fair bit. I am probably of spending another 40k on it since I have bought it and I have probably another 40k before we go. So, that probably a hundred and…

OSP: 15…

Andy Lamont: one hundred fifteen thousand dollars.

OSP: And that is just getting essentials it’s not the sending it out fitting it out in terms of and this is really luxurious sort of items it’s just getting good solid safe see where the boat…

Andy Lamont: Something probably like this computer which is another one of those ridiculous things but it’s really it is kind of great in that way. Like let’s say the whole thing happens for less than $150,000 that is great for a trip like this which could cost millions and I know previous people that have been around the world nonstop, some items have cost more than that alone. The satellite phone for Jessie Martin back in those days cost him around $165,000 alone.

The new starter motor is fitted to the S&S 34's engine

OSP: Here is the thing. You can go out tomorrow buy $150,000 boat, it would not be great to sail around the world, you will still have to put another 40,50, $60,000 into preparing it to sail around the world. So the near end result because I have got an older boat and when you kind of build it from the ground up, you can of restart the life of every part of the boat that you then replace or upgrade like your engine, exhaust systems and like your steering and then you know that part of the boat is good to go for another 10 or 20 years. So, in some ways it’s a smarter approach than maybe to buy something that is 5 or 7 years old were due to its treatment or the lighter weight production these days and the way things are built you don’t need something that is robust anyway.

Andy Lamont: Yes. And I think every component has a life and if you buy a boat that is new you have got the maximum life for every component on the boat and then depending on what boat you buy all those components may or not be up for the serious challenge. So, some would be and that would be great but then if you bought a boat that was 7 years old, the every component needs to be replaced.

OSP: Yes. That’s right and manufacturers these days don’t actually spec things out for going around the world anyway they pick them out for coastal cruising. So, 2,5 or 7 years old may not be fit for purpose anyway despite paying three or four time the amount for the boat upfront.

Andy Lamont: Yes. And an interesting thing too, the difference in the newer designed boats and the older boats is really not that much, as far as cruising boats (I’m not talking about IRC boats)  there is not that much speed really it’s just space.

OSP: Yes some of the cleverness around the design…

Andy Lamont: They are not fast. They are probably more comfortable downwind , less comfortable upwind but they are not really an order of magnitude faster or more seaworthy probably less seaworthy some of them. It is an interesting thing. All the boats like this boat, now getting close to 40 years old, I can’t see why it is not going to be a viable beautiful boat in another 40 years.

The engine gets a complete makeover on Impulse

OSP: If you maintain the hull.

Andy Lamont: Yes. Very easy to maintain and that’s right if you maintain the hull and keep replacing the systems as they start to degrade…

OSP: Keep the water out, fix the leaks, stop rotting inside the boat. What things are not on track in your preparation from here October since like a long way to go away but it’s probably like having a baby you go from talking in months to talking in weeks, you are probably not far from talking in weeks soon rather than months so it will tart ticking down?

Andy Lamont: What is not on track? I have got my old Musto HPX sailing gear which is great stuff but I have already thought about getting a new set just probably a good idea you have to get some new off shore gear. The stuff I have got its great but I am sure it’s going to start to reach the end of its life pretty soon so that type of thing. So, the fitting out in the interior is – I am doing a fair of bit at the moment and it is  running to a pretty good schedule that is ok.

 The truth is the things I need to worry about are the things I haven’t thought about. So everything I have thought about I am going that’s ok. The mast is coming out and I am pretty sure if I am going to mount a radar on it even though probably it might be better on its own individual mast at the rear of the boat. It is just another mast getting knocked over isn’t it. 

OSP: Yes. And the higher up your mast or the higher the radar it does affect your range particularly with sails so that is something to consider versus a lower level. And when you like if you need things these days when I did a radar training course they talked about not standing in front of the radar because of radiation and when I had a technician recently say I should put my radar at the back of the boat I talked about that and he said the radiation was nothing, no more than a five flights to Perth or whatever the comparison is. But radiation I don’t think it’s good for you so there is a radiation effect if you consider standing in front of it and the height which gives you the range to consider as well.

Andy Lamont: Good point, so the mast is coming out so that radar going there, the new tricolour on the mast, all those things are pretty much covered. There’s a bit more work I will do glassing the inside of the boat but to be honest with you, the worrying thing is I think I have got it all under control which is … well that is the worrying thing.

What will happen is like everything else I have ever done in m life? It’s always like everything is under control until the week before and then it’s kind of pain stations. So, it’s probably what will happen. The thing for me is, really,  I can pretty much go next week onceI fit my wind vane on I could go next week, I would have everything I wanted, I won’t have my new storm sails but I could go, and  I would probably make it. So, I am not hung up really on having every last gidget and gadget that’s needed on the boat as long as everything is to a certain standard, one of the things I haven’t done yet is bought new stanchion for the boat. So, that will be nice to have new stanchion and stanchion bases. Again, if I didn’t do that, it’s not really the end of the world

OSP: Unless you are attached to them and they break and you don’t stand on the boat for some reason.

Andy Lamont: They are fine they are. Okay a bit bigger taller ones would be better but even tall stanchions are not going to stop you from falling off the boat, it’s really jack lines that is really their purpose.

Impulse's hatches are remove for refurbishing

OSP: Ok. So in terms of, what’s the safety equipment that you have got on your must have, must be bullet proof, must be triple strength, on your list

Andy Lamont: So for Christmas this year I got a set of jack lines, I also got a harness that doesn’t have life jacket attached to it just a harness which is really it’s a Bourke harness, it’s really light and I will just wear that all the time. I will just wear it all the time so it will just be like my undies. So, it’s nice and light and it’s never inconvenient to wear so and I think that the main piece of safety equipment.

OSP: And then be clipped on with that.

Andy Lamont: Yes. So, that is right. So, if I am wearing that and that I what I asked for, for Christmas was a harness, jack stays and a leash but I probably have 4 or 5 leashed. So, they are all over the boat and if run out and forget my leash there is a leash there. So I am pretty much probably going to sleep in this, in this harness and basically I won’t take it off.

OSP: And if you rush up in the middle of the night because you hear a sound and then you are not then racing out there in your undies with nothing else on and fall off in the back of the boat.

Andy Lamont: It is really I am not really fussed about a life jacket because it will be handy while I am close to Australia and when I am close to New Zealand. The last thing I want would to be sitting in an inflated life jacket halfway between here and South American watching the boat sail away. You probably feel like just getting a knife and because…

OSP: You would be pretty fortunate for somebody to just happen to be in the area.

Andy Lamont: So, really it’s the harness. Its making sure I just do not fall off the boat no matter what and luckily for me I am clumsy so I am not sort of going into this with a false sense of my own invincibility when it comes to having great balance.  I will trip over walking up stairs. So, I don’t have any illusions about that.  The main thing is to be hooked on all the time even when its dead calm because stuff happens.

OSP: That’s the time you trip and stumble when they do come and you are going twice the speed to do something.

Andy Lamont: Exactly.

OSP: So, prior to this trip what offshore sailing have you done? What is your experience been getting out of sight of land?

Andy Lamont: I haven’t really done a lot. I have always sailed. Sailing has been my sports and my passion since I was 11 years old but in sailed right through my teens and then when I was 17 I sort of met some people who were sailing to New Zealand so I sailed to New Zealand. When I got to New Zealand I just got bitten by the wind surfing bug and for me that was still my sport of sailing and I just had a passion for it, if there was an Olympics for enthusiasm I would have been gold medal player. I never really had a lot of talent but I just loved wind surfing and that was my sailing outlet.

The original Coursemaster 800 auto-pilot on Impulse

It was the first time I got in a boat and I just felt being on the water and being powered by wind that was to me I knew that was my thing and windsurfing satisfied that for me for all my adult life. I learnt to windsurf over in New Zealand then I came over back to Australia, stayed in Brisbane for a while, windsurfed in Brisbane and then moved to Western Australia purely for the wind. I just went out there I am going to Western Australia, I lived in Western Australia until my first kids were born then came back here and had a break from windsurfing for about 3 or 4 years than I was back into it again.

And then kite surfing came along in the 1990s 1999 and I kite surfed and then recently after more and more sailing but in-between – I have done south to Sydney quite a few times, South to Adelaide back to Port Macquarie with Tony Mowbray who sailed around the world nonstop in a Cole 43. So, I have done that. But I helped to deliver Wedgtail (RP55) with Cossie and John Gower they put up with me. I think it’s the funniest thing in the world and I am the butt of all their jokes,” you won’t get this one you are sailing around the world.” So, it’s been a lot of fun but I have learnt a lot with them and I probably have done more miles under Jury Rig than most people because we sailed back from Hobart to Brisbane twice under Jury Rig with a broken mast.

OSP: Wow! That’s a long trip.

Andy Lamont: Yes. two years in a row and so unfortunately they didn’t go to Hobart this year so we didn’t get to sail back because they are still trying to sort out their mast issues. And apart from that a few other little trips, but the main ocean trips that I have done are obviously New Zealand and from Adelaide to Port Macquarie which is not a bad trip quite a few miles. So, not a lot of offshore experience but enough to feel confident.

OSP: And the Tasman sea around Southern and Eastern side of Australia you can get all sorts of weather, you can get some big blows coming through, you can get stormy squalls, you get a fair taste of what is bad possible.

Andy in action kitesurfing

Andy Lamont: Yes. I don’t think the actual boat handling side of it I don’t think will be anywhere nears as challenging as the solitude side of it and that will probably be down to trying to maintain your capacity to make good decisions when you are tired. I guess this is really what happens to people. So, it doesn’t matter how much you know about seamanship and how many years you have been sailing around with a crew but when you are single handed, tiredness can be akin to drunkenness. The tireder you get the worse your decision making gets. Being able to sort of stay alone, you don’t have to make great decisions just have to  not to really make stupid decisions when you are super tired.

OSP: And just the fact you actually have to make decisions and not procrastinate and wait and wait and wait and things deteriorate.

Andy Lamont: Yes. There is plenty of cases like that and its pretty well documented. This is one of the things that happens to people who are solo sailors, they become paralysed and they just don’t make any decisions. So, they leave sails up and they are in all sorts of trouble.

OSP: Like the flight crash investigation one that indecision sets up a chain of events that snowball to the point of no return sometimes.

Andy Lamont: So, that’s the thing like act early act prudently and act early and all the other things and get enough rest like you just don’t know how I am going to feel after say 100 days by myself. So, that I what I am saying I guess they are more of the challenging things for me more than handling the boat pretty much this boat really to be honest with you. If you don’t have too much sail up and follow some pretty basic practical seamanship principles, you might not get there fastest, you might not be the most comfortable but you are probably ok. So, that side of things doesn’t really concern me too much and the other side doesn’t concern me too much either.  I am looking forward to that challenge but that is the unknown and how am I going to cope.

OSP: So, when you think about the solitude, have you thought about the ability to communicate with the rest of the world? Have you got any plans in terms of satellite or other communication options?

Andy Lamont: Yes.

OSP: What have you given thought to then?

Andy Lamont: I think the main option is the satellite phone. They are great now and the plans are much cheaper than they have been for ever so that will be the main thing. HF radio maybe but probably satellite phone is going to be the main conduit for communication with land. But having said that I do not want to be on the phone.

OSP: How is your day today? What do you see? Ocean.

Andy Lamont: Exactly. Part of me would be happier if there wasn’t that technology and I could just say I’d love to talk to you but I can’t but of course that’s me saying that now, that is not me saying that in 100 days into the journey so probably will be a whole different.

The rotten foredeck on Impulse has to be removed and replaced

OSP: And so have you talked about the communication side with your wife, what the expectation is and what – we are going to catch up once a week or once a month? Have you talked about that?

OSP: Its one of those things you often don’t get concerned until its only happening.

Andy Lamont: No. that is not a conversation we have had and it’s a difficult conversation to have, it’s probably one we will have as time draws nearer and like I said probably I am great one for these really strong ideas about how tough I am, how I am great I don’t need anything until I am right in the guts and that will completely change my mind. The roles will probably be reversed and I will be ringing – I will want to ring her up every half an hour and she will be going I have got a life to live leave me alone. So I don’t think calling anymore than once every couple of days is necessary at this point probably even once a week or something but I don’t know.

OSP: I found with crossing the Tasman the combination of I will send you a text every so often once a day or whatever and I will and I will call you at this frequency was kind of good because somebody just takes to say it’s all good rather than the obligatory phone call when there is nothing more to say than it was yesterday. So, you can get quite a frequency that kind of makes more sense and text through your GPS location.

Andy Lamont: Well actually I will have to have a tracker on the boat. So, that should actually just…

OSP: Great. You can track you progress around the world. So, we are getting on the Gold coast there is a bit of helicopter activity on the outside I am not sure how much of it is coming through the microphone but that’s ok.

Andy Lamont: Ok. So, my sail wardrobe plan I have a 150% Genoa and a mainsail with 3 reef points in it. So, that is a furling Genoa and then going down from that I have a 100% jib which is again on the furler. Once I am expecting more than 15 knots I will take the Genoa down put the 100% jib up because there is not a lot of performance lost over 15 knots with the smaller headsail and it’s just means that 100% jib is quite ok up to 25 knots downwind probably up to 30 knots but it’s quite ok and then that is on the furler too so if it is downwind we can furl that. After that we will go to probably a smaller headsail hanked on to the inner forestay.

I haven’t had that built yet but that would be probably 50% of the size of the 100% jib , that is going to be a fairly small sail then you can go to a triple reef main with that sail. I am guessing it’s going to be fine under 40 knots and then we will have a storm  jib with the triple reefed main which is going to be pretty much the lowest that we go and then we could put away the jib just to go under the main. So, that should be triple reefed main is pretty much going to act as my storm mainsail. I will carry a storm tri-sail as well. I may put a track on the outside of the mast to put it up but my understanding is that these boats under triple reefed main there is pretty much triple reefed main then bare poles.

OSP: In terms of, how much sailing do you expect to be upwind versus downwind?

Andy Lamont: Well, it’s probably predominantly going to be downwind although you never know. You might run into the wrong side of the system where it might be upwind for quite a while but predominately downwind then you as you go through the southern ocean, its mostly going to be north westerlies ,south westerlies and westerlies but it could can clock around to the east as well.

Then up to the Atlantic I think it’s just going to be complete variation of all directions and that is quite a long leg from basically from Cape Horn up over the Azores and back down into Cape of Hope. Probably be the longest time wise and that is going to be all directions. So there will be fair bit of upwind quite fair bit of light wind sailing that is where the 150% Genoa will come in handy. If the budget stretches and everything is good I will get a code zero as well something that will just ghost along in 3 knots will be great to have as well because the Genoa is not a nice heavy duty Genoa but it just doesn’t really it need 5 knots.

Significant repair work is need to the cabin top as well along with strengthening for new genoa tracks

OSP: It hangs in the lack on winds rather than fills…

Andy Lamont: Yes. So, it will be nice to have something like a big code zero that just sort of ghosts along.

OSP: I bought a code zero over last year and the predominant thinking was that sorts of 2 or 6 knots of breeze I read that you get another knot of boat speed easily. I bought it without realising its actually a brilliant reaching sail and as long as you are reaching at about 90 or 100° you can then carry it into the 15 to 18 knots, it’s just a great reaching sail. Obviously as its starts to come up on the head will drop dramatically because it overloads really quickly but as long as you off the wind around sort of 90-100-110 it’s a great reaching sail in 15 plus knots and it really is quite powerful.

Andy Lamont: Yes. Well, that right. So it will be great to get a code zero. Again but that’s on the wish list. So, that depends I probably priority wise before I buy a code zero I will buy a radar. So, I will buy a radar and then probably after the radar definitely need new VHF, definitely need a sat phone, HF is a nice one on the wish list.

OSP: Yes. And it’s a tradeoff between an HF versus be it I am going to spend more money on satellite phone credit given the number of people that aren’t on HF these days, it’s almost hard that you should get anybody and if they have got HF radios [inaudible] [00:05:27] anyway. So, that is a tradeoff to make.

OSP: I guess if you have got a lot of downwind sailing, what thought have you given to running wing and wing, calling out your jib or Genoa? How are you going to make the most of your going straight downwind if you get that kind of wind from behind a lot of the time?

Andy Lamont: Well, it’s interesting you asked because the boat goes great with the 150% Genoa and I have actually got much to the chagrin of all the local guys I have been competing against I’ve got a longer pole I’ve got a spinnaker pole plus a plus a long whisker pole that pushes the Genoa out to its full extent and the boat is really balanced and goes really well. I have got a spare Genoa as well so I could run twin headies and go down when with that. And that was my plan until I read John Sander’s book. It’s only a very tiny book and I have read it about 4 times and each time you read it something else jumps out at you and this time I read it and he said in downwind sailing where he went for his double circumnavigation in the S&S 34.

He dropped the genoa completely and just used the mainsail because he didn’t want to work the forestay because working the forestay is a potential cause of damage or failure for the boat. So, I sort of had all my plans of being really nicely setup running downwind and now I’m thinking “really I am going to do that now?” So, however I think as long as I make sure we have got really oversized fittings there and talking about setting it up properly plus I think the furling forestay arrangement is not going to flex and work as hard as a forestay without a foil in it. So, that is my plan anyway. At the boat it just settles down once you pole it out.

OSP: Yes. And there is a couple of things to consider as well. If you run wing and wing and put your main sail away, you have eliminated the risk of crash gybe or even if you have a boom break on and you have got none of that trying to happen, but also if you have got a bit of seaway out there, if the weight is forward seem to be pushing right in front of the boat, there is less tendency for the main to try and round the boat up. So, with all the pressure right in front of the boat, I have heard and read that running downwind is a lot more easier and the natural tendency to want to broach is just eliminated completely.

Andy Lamont: Yes, that also brings into its own self steering sort of moment at well because as it just wants to run dead downwind. So, everything works…

OSP: Great so it’s a nicer motion. You mini that seesaw motion that you often have running downwind with main trying to push it sideways.

Andy Lamont: Yes. So, I am going to run with two poles. I have set the boat up to run with two poles. I have got a new system on front of the mast so I can use two poles nicely. I am going to run it. I am just going to make sure we have got a not only the – will have the spectra line forward to the bowsprit it’s just on all the time just in case we do break some fitting or something fails on the forestays. I will have that built up properly and make sure that that’s all we have got failsafe and redundant systems there. But I have got twin grooves in the foil Basically you can just run both Genoas up there, in light winds running two 150% Genoas at the front of the boat will just motor along. And also you can just furl them both up.

Windows are refurbished and replaced with thicker 10mm lexan hatches

OSP: Which is pertinent to the manageability of the boat. And if you need to climb the masts, can you and will you?

Andy Lamont: Yes. It’s been one of things that I have been thinking about on the original boat that I built, I have got a mast built for that and I put steps little folding steps on them and that was great.  I was thinking about doing the same thing to this mast when it gets out but I just had to go and was looking at these rock climbing systems with the giri and then I can’t remember that name they lock onto the halyard and you just walk up the mast. When you attach the mast just walk up I had to go with that and I think I am going to do with that and I not worry about the steps because that system doesn’t seem to be very difficult at all. I am not really scared of heights so it doesn’t really worry me and it seems like a really – it’s a nice system that you – basically what you do is you run two halyards main halyard and another halyard onto a nice 20 mm rope specifically for the purpose and that is right the climb up. So you pull that rope up the mast on two halyards.

OSP: So, you have got safety.

Andy Lamont: One halyard for some reason breaks you’ve got another halyard on to the purpose built mast climbing rope that’s not going to break. It’s a really good system.

OSP: Well that sounds good. And if you know you are going to drill all those extra holes in the mast attached steeps too. I am just a fun of less holes things like that.

Andy Lamont: Yes.

OSP: So, in terms of if you want to just describe your plan and route into that were are you going to tell us where the toughest parts of the trip will be.

Andy Lamont: The initial first toughest parts will be while leaving the Gold coast and heading east to clear of all the shipping channels because as much as I probably wanted to be rested before I leave I probably won’t be and that is the biggest risk of all. That is hitting something and we will be straight out of the seaway into a well used shipping channel off the east coast of Australia. So, that is the toughest first part is basically making sure that I get at least 100 miles east before I can relax a bit. Luckily ships travel quite near to the coast here so I think I might sail 100 miles east I am much out of all what is going on apart from fishing boats. And then of course you have got the Tasman Ocean which it could give you anything. It’s a real interesting piece of water, isn’t it?

OSP: Yes. And you are straight into the action. There is no sort of 3-4-5 week build up, you are straight out there.

Andy Lamont: Which is what Jessica Watson did that was really smart, she was went up over the equator in the Pacific Ocean which gave her a nice window to get used to the boat and I was really tempted to do the same thing.

OSP: But the moment you are heading for the bottom of New Zealand right?

Andy Lamont: I was really tempted, but for me it’s always been under the five capes to me that is what it’s been. So, then if I was to go and start here and go up in the equator in the Pacific all the way back I will have to go under New Zealand or it seems like a waste of time doing that way and also it will be under New Zealand in the Middle of winter which is…

OSP: Which is not a good idea. Well, also if you are not fixed about your departure date you’d have the ability to wait two of three days if your weather router wants to kick you off as a system just gone through depending on how you want to approach it.

Andy Lamont: I think I will have to settle on a date probably a couple of months out which is go to be because I have got family coming up. So, it might be just a matter of a month out going whatever you do wait till the second half of October or whatever you do you go a bit earlier it’s probably the best as close as you can expect…

OSP: And you just got to go.

Impulse's refurbished hatches are ready for refitting

Andy Lamont: And then you sort of go of course you can slow down and so that will be- Tasman Sea will be – I only sailed across it once and we had 60 plus knots so….

OSP: Okay so, that’s as bad as its going to get most of time anyway.

Andy Lamont: Yes. And that is just the Tasman Sea so it’s quite interesting but then obviously under Stewart Island it’s predominantly over 30 knots. It’s very rare to be less than 30 knots under Stewart Island so, that is going to be the milestone to get around that probably to jump around that and depending on what the weather is doing I might head up, go down few degrees head north and get a bit of better weather or if the weather systems look alright you sort of continue down a bit lower.

OSP: So a shorter course around the bottom.

Andy Lamont: Yes. And I have got to remember it’s not a race but that’s the thing. Always when you are sailing you always want to go as fast as you can.

OSP: And if you are done you log each day knowing to see how much ground. You will always going to be conscious of those records days and anything less wouldn’t feel good enough all that stuff will start to happen.

Andy Lamont: So, then of course, after that is pretty much the big one is Cape Horn and that is where I will rely on Bruce a fair bit just to give me what he thinks is the best strategy to get around there. I definitely don’t want to be going round there with a big low pressure system. That will be kind of terrifying.

OSP: Yes. Timing that well because its so shallow through there the sea can really stand up. There is no point of rushing to get there if you can just sow down to get there a couple of days later and have a nice trip round.

Andy Lamont: Just go behind the system and get down and around and out.

OSP: Ok. So, you get around Cape Horn and then what’s next?

Andy Lamont: So, really and again this is going to be very reliant on the weather routing as to where I go next. I have got to go up over the equator up to the Azores. Well, I don’t need to go as far as the Azores but I am still not so sure under the world speed sailing record council whether I can go around a way point now or whether I still have to round and island. But anyway I am going to go around the Azores at the moment. So, that is quite a distance and there is a lot of different weather patterns so the way I go will really depend on the weather routing up there.

So, I will be doing my own weather routing and then I will be asking Bruce for advice on that because I will probably be saying,” look this is what I plan to do, what do you think?” He will say, “Stupid! You should do this. You haven’t factored in all these other things.” So to get up and down the Atlantic I don’t want obviously go too close to Brazil or any of the South American countries and I definitely don’t want to go too close to Africa and end up getting boarded by crazy pirates.

OSP: No.

Andy Lamont: I will stay like pretty much a couple of hundred miles off the coast so that is another factor. And once I am up and over there then getting down under Cape of Good Hope will be quite a fair distance under there. Then pretty much after that it’s just trying to miss many systems as you can to get back under Cape Leeuwin and then under Tasmania and the back home. But, that is probably going to be the worst, weather wise, section of the journey because that is going to be approaching winter, or getting right into the winter months.

So, that is where the systems will start running through pretty regularly and that’s probably the way to do it and the fact that the closer you are to home, the more  able you are to limp home if you do sustain some damage and also I will be a bit sea hardened as well. I have been probably have been though a few storms on the way and by the time I get into winter in the Southern Ocean I will be a lot better than I would have been 8 months ago or 6 months ago, that’s the plan.

The new tiller for Impulse gets to the finishing stage in the workshop

OSP: Ok. And staying warm will be a big factor too, wind chill and heat.

Andy Lamont: Yes. Because I don’t mind the heat so much but I do hate being cold.

OSP: It’s a wrong place to go during that time of year.

Andy Lamont: I don’t know why I am doing it. So, I just went and bought myself a nice sleeping bag rated to   minus 13 degrees C because it can’t be down so it has to be al fibre filled stuff so that’s good. So, I have got that lots and lots of layers. I use the Gill sappolettes which I find really warm. I found wearing those and some long couple of layers of long Johns and sappolettes and your wet weather gear and you are going to wear a beanie and gloves, you are pretty even in Tasmania you are pretty warm. But then again that’s the coldest I have been. The furthest South I have been is really Hobart which will probably make some people laugh but to me Hobart is like...

OSP: Antarctica?

Andy Lamont: I just think I have got lots and lots of woollen underwear, woollen base layer stuff and as well as the normal long johns and thermals and I will just take all that stuff and wash it when I can. They will probably stink, they probably won’t let me back in the country I will smell so much.

I think that’s the main thing is before I go that is one of things I will do I will buy some more wet weather gear. The gear I have got the Musto HPX gear is bloody fantastic I love it. I have got Musto boots. Probably don’t need a new pair of boots but I will get some of those seal skin socks which are really good and that should be it – a dry suit would be nice. Survival suits would be nice.

OSP: That’s when having your life jack with a dry suit could be convenient if you can float about for 12 hours ships will be passing by.

Andy Lamont: But if the boat just fills up with water you can just put the dry suit on.

OSP: True.

Andy Lamont: You can sort of slosh around in that. That would be good but probably even putting on your wet weather gear like when the boat is jumping around all over the place it’s a bloody pain in the butt.

OSP: It takes a long time. It’s a good 20-minute job to get it off get it back on.

Andy Lamont: I am just trying to imagine putting a dry suit on it might even take longer so I am not quite sure. But I just know the wet weather gear I have got get another set of that should see me through and just to stay warm. I have thought about getting a heater but it’s just another thing that can go wrong. So, I will probably just go with lots of layers, some emergency clothing in dry bags, towels and that type of thing. The other thing is those space blankets and those survival bags are quite good too.

OSP: And they take no space at all.

Andy Lamont: No space at all. So, that’s another thing if I am really cold I jump in the sleeping bag or jump in the survival bag and then into a sleeping bag. Then another thing I saw at burnings was the AEG heater jackets. You know the 18 volt lithium ion drill . They have also got where you just put a battery in the pocket and then you have got a heated jacket. So, I might even get one of those.

OSP: Could be handy if you have been outside for half an hour and the wind chill fixing something up and then you come down below and just seem to warm back up again.

Andy Lamont: You just put that up and warm up. They are only 150 bucks or something so it’s kind of for the job that it might do its pretty good value.

OSP: It’s more practical than trying to heat a hot water bottle.

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly. That’s right and its instant and I haven’t got a battery grinder yet which is one of the things I want to have. So a little 4 inch grinders so if I need to cut stuff away.

New teak rails are fitted

OSP: And if you get the discs that carbon or something but way better for slicing through regiment trying to get a hacksaw or bolt cutters out if you have to cut mast away they are excellent for that.

Andy Lamont: So, one of the things I am thinking about is go the AEG route, getting the grinder and getting the jacket…

OSP: Happy days cutting the regiment away with your warm jacket on. So, if you can ask Jessica Watson questions about her circumnavigation, what would they be and when you start to think about some of the unknown few that lie ahead?

Andy Lamont: Well, there is lots of things we are really interested. One will be the polars for this boat. What strength and sea state did you change to different sails? That would be really good information. I might not do the same thing but it would be good reference point. So, that would be really interesting because basically it’s the same width it’s the same boat.

OSP: Yes. And traditionally if you find out you have too far that you should have changed sails once you break something.

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly. So, that would be a good one to ask her. and then what would she do for power generation next time because I do know like I have read her book but she didn’t say anything negative in a book and good on her but there must have been things that really pissed her off and were really just bad systems or really just annoying and it would be good to know those things and what she thought about. She was very adamant she wanted the D400 generating wind system. Which is great it’s a beautiful systems its nice and quiet but she had to take it down every time it got over 30 knots and that type of thing. That will be interesting to find out power generation thing. But that will two key questions could be really interesting and also – I guess that will be the two main ones.

OSP: I saw a presentation she did she had some great photos of rebuilding her toilet after it had completely seized up.

Andy Lamont: Oh! Yes, right.

OSP: So, I know that she had that system failure which was pretty unpleasing by the sound of it.

Andy Lamont: Yes. So, that’s right. So I don’t have an electric toilet. I am just going to pretty much at the end of the day I don’t think you can beat the bucket, that a pretty good system. We always go over the side and that is not a good system single handed but I just got a pump out system – if you are just yourself on the boat then you sort of think that should be alright. I have go that system where your toilet paper and just get right down to the nitty gritty, you just take a big supply of paper bags so you use your toilet paper put in your paper bag, throw the toilet paper over to the side and pump out.

OSP: Because that’s the toilet paper that notoriously blocks those toilets up.  I am fan of the pump toilet it’s just one less thing that can fail electronically and it’s a pretty simple system and it only fails if you put too much down the hole.

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly.

OSP: So, if you just don’t, that is probably not going to fail.

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly.

OSP: If it’s not used by 10 people a day it’s definitely not going to get a lot of use.

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly. Definitely when you sail solo the person that blocks the toilet up is the person who has to clean it.

OSP: Self governing.

Andy Lamont: Exactly, right. That is the best system I have seen it’s just the paper bag for toilet paper and a hand pump and what can go wrong.

OSP: It makes a lot of sense. Ok. So, what do you love being out in the ocean by yourself or what is it that you love about that because you are going to have a lot of that?

The final coat of paint goes onto Impulse's hull

Andy Lamont: I am interested to find out whether I will get sick of it because I am mid to late 50s and I am not sick of it yet so it’s quite interesting. For someone I am bit nerdy and that type of thing for something so basic to completely satisfy me and not just me hundreds of thousands millions of people. A whole thing about being on a boat and having nothing but the wind and I have never gone like this is boring of days and days and days and I am just like oh! God just give me another day so, it’s really interesting. It came down to the first time I got on a boat I was 11 years old and I got on a trailer sailor I was just watching sitting on the boat just watching the water separating from the stern of the boat it was a little hard chine trailer sailor.

OSP: Its quite hypnotising.

Andy Lamont: Yes. And it’s pretty much all I need. It’s a very weird thing if you get me off the water I need to be connected to the internet, I need to be get stimulating conversations, I need good friends, food and the excitement and the entertainment and everything and challenges. I mean there is this unending list of everything I need in my life so that I don’t go crazy from boredom or feel like I am wasting my life, but put me on a boat or a wind surfer or a kite board, that is all I need. It’s quite bizarre, isn’t it?

OSP: Its amazing isn’t it? And the nights will be as magical as the days for different reasons.

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly. That’s it. The first ocean sailing I did from Brisbane to New Zealand some of those night sailing memories are just seared it into my memory I can remember them as if they were like yesterday and two days after I arrived in New Zealand was my 18th birthday and that was 40 years ago.

OSP: Its quite incredible.

Andy Lamont: Its just like yesterday. They are the peak moments of your life. For me, the peak of your life are your children being born and all obviously getting married and all that but the peak sort of – I am not a spiritual person but they are the spiritual moments of my life.

OSP: I think what I found is when you are out there on the ocean and it’s just you, there is not land on sight, there is not ships, it’s just you and the ocean and you are on the circular plate because everywhere you look every direction it’s just the horizon in this crowded world you got a piece of the world just to yourself and its perfect an un-spoilt and its magical and even the sea life comes to life. The light show that happens below the water once you really adjust your eyesight and the stars are like you never see on the land because of all the smoke and light interference. It’s quite stunning. It’s hard to explain.

Andy Lamont: As the stars have meaning to you as well. One rises on the horizon you follow that for a while.

OSP: You can see the shooting starts occasionally.

Andy Lamont: Its nice.

OSP: Well its good you are going to have about 300 days of that. So, when you are not sleeping or tending to your daily tasks in terms of checking on chafe and wear and tear and doing bits and pieces, what else are you taking along to be able to occupy your time?

Andy Lamont: Well, I will take a guitar a ukulele and some harmonicas so they are the three instruments.

OSP: But the audience will love you.

Andy Lamont: I will play some music and I will take probably a couple of kindles and iPad and all the books I can fit on that because I love reading. So, that would be pretty much all I need because I wouldn’t be bored. I can play music, I can read and I can even maybe write some stuff and that’s probably a full day.

OSP: And you have got a plan for each meal.

Andy Lamont: Yes.

OSP: After you finish this meal you start planning for the next one.

Andy Lamont: And probably make bread and do some other little sort of nice things during the day when the weather is right.

OSP: And put plenty of sleep in the bank so you keep topping your sleep up.

Andy Lamont: Yes. That’s then I guess that’s a really important thing, isn’t it? Making sure that I don’t get fatigued and don’t enjoy something so much that I sort of don’t leave enough sleep in the bank, sleeping all the time. But that is another thing about being on a boat which I never have trouble sleeping. It’s just I don’t know if it’s the same for you.

OSP: It’s the best sleep; it’s the most restful sleep I have ever have.

Andy Lamont: Yes, so you just put you head down and the next thing you know your asleep.

OSP: And it’s the only place I can sleep during the day. I normally lie down and sleep during the day but on a boat once you are in that rhythm about day 3 or 4 you just lay down and sleep because it’s almost like if the motion is great and you know your body needs it, it just changes your whole ability to rest and recharge.

Andy Lamont: So, that would be my daily routine I guess. One of the things I was thinking of doing like I would love to learn to play the bag pipes. I don’t know whether I would have the time to do that but I thought that would be fun. You mentioned like in the middle of a foggy day, in the middle of the ocean just the sound...

OSP: It would be stunning, wouldn’t it?

Andy Lamont:…on a quiet day with sort of low fog and cold and just the sound of bag pipes…

OSP: Just come rolling out of the mist.

Andy Lamont: Yes. So, anyway I have never played bag pipes but I can’t imagine it would be that hard.

OSP: I was forced to as a child.

Andy Lamont: Oh, truly?

OSP: However, I thought it was quite glamorous until I realised you spend the first two years learning to play I don’t know what it called but it’s like the flute part, you don’t see the bag for the first two years.

Andy Lamont: Oh!

OSP: So, until you learn to play the flute part that plugs into the bag – pretty much so you have got to wait two or three years before you are given a bag. I didn’t last that long.

Andy Lamont: So, you can play the piccolo

OSP: Exactly, so, I didn’t get to the good part but obviously it’s an amazing sound. So, what resources have you used to plan this trip? Where have you turned for information, research and advice?

Andy Lamont: I guess Tony Mowbray has been a help, so he’s been great. I have spoken to him. I sailed back from Adelaide with him. So, he sailed around in a Cole 43 nonstop unassisted. I read a lot of books of course John Gower and Kevin Costin they have taken me on as a bit of a project because really at the end of the day even though sailing has been my sport, ocean sailing I pretty much knew nothing and pretty much still know not much. So, they are both experienced ocean racers. So, they keep telling me like I am crazy going around with a slow boat I should be going around in a fast boat and they just think its nuts to go around in an S&S 34. You should go in something that goes faster than the waves. That’s one opinion. It’s quite a good opinion anyways except that the evidence just doesn’t beat it out. It’s the slow boats that complete.

The gold stripe is added to the hull as the finishing touch

OSP: They get there.

Andy Lamont: They get smashed along the way but it’s the fast boats that have problems. On a crewed fast boat going downwind at 20 knots well they are no problem, you have got someone on the helm all the time but on auto-pilot the boat has to be like an open 60 or an open 40 with all the systems been built to broach it has to be that type of boat to sail under auto-pilot. Like a lot of them don’t finish.

OSP: They break down and you are taking five times the overall cost plus and they are more demanding to sail and things are happen fast with bigger loads so you can get injured too and sleeping is probably a lot harder when you punching through stuff at 20 knots and when you are rolling along nicely.

Andy Lamont: Like downwind those boats are sailing. They just flat and stable and fast…

OSP: And wet.

Andy Lamont: Yes, if you haven’t got someone on the helm 24/7 then you relying on the autopilot so it’s the slow boats they are the ones that can do it on a budget unless your budget is in the millions. I don’t think a little maybe an Atlantic crossing on a small fast boat would be alright but unless you have got a really big budget with like some of these autopilots which are coming up of the shelf models now but they are pretty high end systems and they take in account the yaw of the boat so and everything inside it, they are not going to approach on a wave or…

OSP: And you still need a back up for them because otherwise if they fail your trip is over.

Andy Lamont: Yes. If an IMOCA boat or class 40 boat loses its electrics it’s just over.

OSP: Yes. And then working 24/7 under reasonable loads too.

Andy Lamont: Yes. Exactly and it happens. Whereas to have the systems would cost more than this boat the whole trip.

OSP: So, putting a Ferrari engine in a Skoda or something…

Andy Lamont: Yes. So, that’s all their opinions which is I respect their opinions but I just think look! This boat has been around the world more than anyone and at the end of the day everyone agrees: The S&S 34 you are going to get there.

OSP: Yes, it’s not going to break in half and sink.

Andy Lamont: Yes. And it’s not break any records but you are going to get there. But they have been great Mabo and Kozzie have been a real help for me and pretty much they are the main two guys that have been helping me out apart from everyone at the club here too, it’s just interesting like just the doing sailing I am doing here. Even, everyday you go out you are kind of learning a little but more, you tweak a bit more, don’t you?

OSP: Yes. that’s is right and the more people hear about your story and plans and what people popup and contribute also ideas and obviously the help and the strategic all that will create a bit of ground swell. You have to go now because once you tell people about it you are first taking the ground. Did you ever read that book about the guy that did that very first solo trip? He went out there and sailed around in circles for several months just sort of thrown in the towel and disappeared.

Andy Lamont: Yes.

OSP: Sad story.

Andy Lamont: Yes, a real sad story. Donald Crowhurst.

OSP: That’s it.

Andy Lamont: Its an interesting story, isn’t it? And then it was the slowest boat in the field was Robyn Knox Johnson’s boat that won.

OSP: That’s a very good example of choose a well prepared solid boat.

Andy Lamont: This is a good example of that rather than these trimarans. But those days have changed and now the – I guess it’s the most important example of that is pretty much about your mental state. So, it was Rob Knox Johnson that had pretty rock solid mental state where I think Bernard Mointessier I think it was the guy who was actually…

OSP: He was leading, right?

Andy Lamont: Yes.

OSP: And then he decided to carry on nonstop.

Andy Lamont: Yes. Exactly. So, he carried on. So, his state wasn’t to finish the race, his state was to keep sailing I guess and there were a few others there. It was pretty interesting story.

Andy in action in his kitesurfing training business

OSP: Great story and Robin Knox Johnston story is a good example of if you know your boat from end to end and you have got confidence in it then everything comes from confidence in your boat. I think the only think he didn’t like was he had a cover over his heel as a form of antifoaming and it started leaking into something and he had to get off the bottom in the Southern Ocean and go down below hammer a nail some patches on the boat or something and sharks were hovering around so…

Andy Lamont: He talked about that so matter of fact, I will just have to jump under hold some copper nails in my mouth. Have you ever tried to nail something underwater I would drop the nail anyhow.

OSP: I have tried to swing a hammer underwater you can’t do it. But he saw a great white shark and he short it but he figured there wasn’t any other so he as safe to proceed. I would be thinking about the other 100 waiting there too. Anyway, so great story. This is a bit of Mount Everest in terms of challenges short of going somewhere crazy like North Pole or South Pole. Have you thought of beyond the trip in terms of what happens when you get home and what you do next?

Andy Lamont: Well, definitely, I am ready for a new change in my life. I have run the same business with my wife for 20 years and she has done most of the work. I was basically on the kind of ideas guy and get everything rolling and doing all then we are a great team in that it works really well for me and she sort of figured out after 20 years it doesn’t actually work so well for her because we both really want to do some other things in our lives. So, that is why I did a law degree so I would like to do something with that when I get back and we would like to do some public speaking if that comes up after the trip then really life’s over too quickly isn’t it.

OSP: It is, far too quickly.

Andy Lamont: But luckily I am 57 I am fit enough and its interesting because I have had a fantastic life from the time I was an adult say from the time I was 20 to the time I was 57, that’s 37 years. Like it’s quite possible to have another 37 years of being active and doing stuff with the advances in medicine and all that type of thing. But even another 20 years its whole another life.

OSP: It is and once I was racing flying fifteens I sailed at the nationals against a guy who I thought this was in 2009 I thought he was in his early 60s and so it is 50 boats and flying fifteens are quite demanding to sail, he finished I think 7th at the nationals. He had been a boat builder all his life, he was 86 years old and still racing at a really physically level. I thought that is a great example of someone who has stayed healthy stayed active and he got to 60 and he has added another quarter of a century of active sailing to his life. I have always remembered that example.

Andy Lamont: It is. Its great and I have a friend a great role model who I have wind surfed with and kite surfed with for the last 20 years and he is a keener kite surfer than me, he is out every windy day and he is 69.

OSP: Wow!

Andy Lamont on the S&S 34 'Impulse' at the Southport Yacht Club

Andy Lamont: It doesn’t matter how big the waves are he is just there and at 69 these people they do forge a pathway don’t they. You don’t have to sort of get to your 50s and 60s and start to slow down you can just turn another page and open a new chapter in your life and do something new and exciting. Yes, that is what I want to do and the other great chapter of my life will be becoming a grandfather, which is going to be fun. So, they are all great things as well. There is a lot to look forward to and when we get back whole new chapter to write I guess.

OSP: It’s been great spending the time with you this morning. I think we have got two episodes out this we are at the two hour mark which is great and its going to be excellent Andy following your journey over the next few months as you prepare to depart and then keeping in touch with you as you head off around the world and seeing how your experience is going. So, thank you so much for sharing your story and I know people listening to this find it fascinating, find it inspiring as well and I just shows you that if you put your mind to something the financial barrier is not the bigger issue or the age barrier it’s just putting your mind to it and heading down the path and certainly the departure day will roll around.

Andy Lamont: If anyone can take anything from what I am doing you can fail your way to your goal when my goal was to leave in 2004. It’s been a massive failure and a lot of detours but failure is just someone said I don’t know who it was, someone once said that failure is a real essential part of any journey. No journey and nothing happens without failing.

OSP: Yes. And the irony is if we didn’t put these unrealistic timeframes against things other than the timeframe you did everything else right because you are about to go.

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly.

OSP: If you hadn’t put and unrealistic timeframe you would have said the plan just took a little longer.

Andy Lamont: Yes, exactly.

OSP: The plan has turned out…

Andy Lamont: And that is the way I look at it.

OSP: But as often if we are not unrealistic about timeframes we don’t actually push ourselves hard enough to even get to what is a reality, otherwise if you just said I will do it in 10 years, of course 10 years comes and goes and there is no stake in the ground. Well, thank you Andy and we look forward to catching up and updating things as they unfold and good luck on all of your plans and preparations. I am sure you will start to have all sorts of people popping up the out of the woodwork and offering support and help, which will help you prepare for some of those extra things on your wish list that will get you off on the right foot with your fantastic lifetime bucket list type opportunity.

Andy Lamont: Well, that will be great, it doesn’t matter like when someone says what kind of things are you looking for and I said, “even a can of coke would be great” like anything would be alright. So, thanks so much for your interest and I look forward to speaking with you again.

OSP: My pleasure, great, thanks Andy.

Interviewer: David Hows

Checkout out the article on Andy Lamont in the Gold Coast Bulletin that was published following our podcast interviews with him.

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