by Des Ryan
Solo sailor Bruce Arms on his catamaran Big Wave Rider is now about three-quarters of his way around Australia, and is still on track to set a new record for the circumnavigation. However, it hasn't been all smooth sailing.
Bruce Arms has had times when he admits being ’terrified’
He has admitted he was terrified as his 14-metre cat lost its sea brake in 60-knot winds last week.
Bruce was then more than halfway through his attempt to sail around Australia non-stop and unassisted in less than 42 days when a severe low hit south-west of Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia.
He had been trying to get some much-needed sleep when he woke to the sound of the sea brake snapping.
'I ended up surfing down a 12-metre wave, hanging on as tightly as I could,' he told the Sunshine Coast Daily. 'It was one of the scariest situations I have ever encountered on the ocean.'
Conditions improved vastly as Bruce rounded the cape and yesterday he was 132 nautical miles south-south west of Kangaroo Island, heading towards Tasmania.
'Things are much more pleasant now,' he said.
While the wind chill factor has meant temperatures plummet to zero each night, Mr Arms said sunny days warmed to a balmy 17 degrees.
Despite its notoriety for east coast lows that create treacherous conditions, he is optimistic about the next challenge of his journey – the Bass Strait.
Although he lost time early in the week, Bruce has regained speed and is 86 hours ahead of schedule to beat the current record of 42 days, five hours, 31 minutes and 55 seconds set by his friend and colleague Ian Thomson, also famed as the 'plastic bag man' from Save Our Seas, in June last year.