Sydneysider Nick Black, an Ausgrid telecommunications engineer specialising in Smart Grid technologies, 29, is preparing for the experience of a lifetime as he reaches the halfway mark living his dream of sailing across the world for a year. On Sunday Nick starts the world’s biggest trans- ocean sailing event.
Nick’s yacht, The Charm Offensive, will join 232 entrants and 1267 people racing from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to the Caribbean destination of Saint Lucia, at the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), which takes an average of 2-3 weeks. For the ARC, Nick’s crew includes his father John, a Qantas 747 captain who enjoys sailing during breaks, an IT security analyst and a Spanish architect Nick met on a stopover in Valencia.
Skipper Nick and crew will be sailing in the Hanse 445 Nick had bought new and built up for ocean sailing, with Nick and four others spending more than seven weeks fitting all the extra electronics, safety gear and general sailing equipment. Nick flew to Germany to start his journey in July and has already travelled more than 4500 nautical miles, cruising through the Baltic, the North Sea, the Mediterranean and stopping over at St Katharine’s Docks for the London Olympics.
It has not all been easy sailing: 'Punching upwind in 35kts with 8ft swells the self tacker broke and I needed to repair it while we were smashed with waves and wind from the front. I made a mini pulley system to ensure the self tacker didn’t go off the end of the track and then we could sail with the storm jib,' Nick says.
'It has always been my dream to sail around the world. I grew up sailing and cruising on Sydney’s Pittwater with my parents. My first time on a boat was when I was two months old and from then on most of my Christmas holidays were spent on the boat cruising Pittwater, Broken Bay, Port Stephens, the Great Barrier Reef and once Noumea. Over the past few years I have been racing three times a week on Sydney Harbour and helping deliver yachts back from the Sydney to Hobart and Hamilton Island race week.'
Premium additive- and preservative free AussieMite has sponsored The Charm Offensive from the very start, following the launch of the 100% Australian owned and made spread into Coles supermarkets nationwide recently as well as into select Woolworths stores. The crew are enjoying AussieMite every day as a good way to keep their salt intake up and Nick has taught architect-turned-chef extraordinaire Javier Perez how to add the savoury spread to his Spanish meals. 'We have made AussieMite with mushrooms, AussieMite with brie, AussieMite with paella, AussieMite with eggs, AussieMite cooked into a Spanish beef stew (in Spanish the dish is called Guisado de Ternera)—this was awesome by the way!'
AussieMite Managing Director Elise Ramsey says: 'We’re excited to be a part of Nick’s fantastic journey and look forward to seeing AussieMite reach many more countries other than the UK—where it is also available in leading supermarkets. AussieMite has led the way, providing an alternative to yeast spreads such as Vegemite, now US-owned, and which not only tastes great but is also good for you.
'We want to put AussieMite on the map as a true taste of Australia to be enjoyed by a global audience, while supporting Australian Tourism and showing what Aussies are capable of.'