On September 11th the World Sailing Speed Record Council announced the ratification of a new World Record for Mooloolaba sailor Bruce Arms sailing his self-built 46’ catamaran. (See news article here).
Big Wave Rider (Chamberlin 46) rounding SE Cape before heading for the finish in warmer QLD waters. - Bruce Arms Solo Around Australia
Arms has become the inaugural world record holder for sailing solo around Australia.
Aboard the aptly named ‘Big Wave Rider’ Arms battled 60 knot winds rounding Western Australia’s Cape Leeuwin, strong headwinds in the Southern Ocean, and frustrating calms as he passed the bottom of Tasmania.
While deploying his parachute drogue during one of the Southern Ocean gales, (the drogue was subsequently lost overboard which left Arms and his 46’ catamaran to surf unrestrained on huge rollers), he suffered a serious leg injury but kept the details deliberately down played. But the bandaged leg and damaged knee and ankle on his safe return to Mooloolaba gave away the extent of his injury. On his return when questioned about his injury he laughed that his boat had held up better than he had.
After the loss of his drogue Arms told the Sunshine Coast Daily, 'I ended up surfing down a 12-metre wave, hanging on as tightly as I could. It was one of the scariest situations I have ever encountered on the ocean.'
Arms, originally from New Zealand, built the catamaran on the Sunshine Coast with the assistance of his wife Suzanne and friends after coming to Australia as an entrant in the 1998 Solo Trans Tasman Race aboard a 9.8m monohull Skiddy Too.
Arms subsequently entered ‘Big Wave Rider’ and won the 2007 and 2010 Solo Trans Tasman Races. He and his wife Suzanne currently live aboard ‘Big Wave Rider’ when Bruce is not racing the boat.
Just before completing his Australian circumnavigation Arms was asked about the journey. 'I’ve missed my wife and friends and I’ve certainly had enough of this cold climate sailing. Give me sunny Queensland anytime!'
Arms volunteered his boat building skills as project manager for Jessica Watson during the rebuild of her yacht and subsequent world renowned solo voyage around the world aboard her S and S 34 Ella’s Pink Lady.
Big Wave Rider (pictured SW Tas) lived up to her name in the Southern Ocean when the drogue was lost. - Bruce Arms Solo Around Australia
Bruce Arms arriving home to Mooloolaba a world record holder. Photo Courtesy of Nicolas Falconer / APN - Bruce Arms Solo Around Australia
Bruce Arms website