Please select your home edition
Edition
Selden 728x90

First yacht finishes - Tasman Race Record stands unbroken

by Lindsay Wright on 11 Apr 2010
Trans Tasman Solo Race winner - Big Wave Rider in Mooloolaba Tourism Queensland ..
When Bruce Arms sailed his 14m catamaran, Big Wave Rider, from Queensland to New Plymouth in six days and five hours, taking almost four hours off the existing 24 year old solo Tasman yacht race record, some people thought he had it sewn up.

Arms, who lives aboard with wide Suzanne, built the five tonne yacht in time for the 2007 singlehanded Tasman race, but had added 5m2 area to the mainsail and taken 500kg of cruising gear (including the dining table) out of her to help crack the record.

And so he should – but light airs and contrary weather foiled Arms race against the clock and he crept across the finish line off Mooloolaba at 7:34pm last night (NZST) almost 24 hours outside the record.

The 49 year old boatbuilder bested his 2007 race time of 7d10h57m but his race finished in similar conditions to the way it started and he ghosted across the finish line amidst rain showers and thunder. His elapsed time was 7d 6h34m.

The former Waitara man is now Mooloolaba based – he sailed the 1998 singlehanded Tasman yacht race and stayed on in Australia afterwards. A large crowd of locals gathered to cheer the popular skipper and his lilac coloured yacht across the line.

Further back in the fleet, his cousin Steven Arms was struggling with light airs too and still had about 680km to sail before he received his own checkered flag, but last night he had made a clean break from the monohulls which had been dogging his wake for much of the race.

Soothsayer (Jebby Fitzgibbon),Island Girl (Ian Lillie) and Apriori (Trevor Hill) were still battling to be the first monohull home last night, nursing their boats through light head winds and all within a few kilometers of each other. Fitzgibbon and Hill are both Queensland locals and sail against each other on a regular basis. 'This race just seemed like an extension of what we do every weekend ,' Hill explained, 'taken to the nth degree.'


Auckland skipper Alan Yardley, the 12.6m Kaufman designed sloop he sailed home from his OE in Europe a few years ago, was barking at their heels but the heavy, cruising oriented boat was fast losing ground in the light airs. Matt Paulin sailing Island Time was just a few kilometers astern of him last night and working hard to close the gap.

2010 Fitzroy Yachts Solo Tasman Challenge communications officer, Barrie Vivian, said that he had not been able to speak to any of the yachts last night due to poor radio wave propagation but a ship at Port Taranaki had been speaking to Carl Harmer in Strider.

Harmer (29) was battling with Rhys Boulton (29) in his heavy steel yacht Spellbound. Though two metres shorter, Strider was making better progress and opening a slow gap between them.

Wishbone skipper Trish Lewis celebrated her 49th birthday yesterday with a good sleep, a hot meal and a special birthday cake friends had hidden aboard her 7.6m Whiting designed Reactor. Lewis is head of the Whiting Reactor Association and has 880km to sail before being able to celebrate her anniversary properly with other Reactor sailors gathering to meet her in Mooloolaba.

Blondie Chamberlain was struggling to keep up with the rest of the fleet, handicapped by his heavy Westerly Centaur ketch’s short rig and heavy displacement. Unless he picks up some useful sailing breeze, he is currently predicted to be in Mooloolaba on the morning of 16th April.

Sail World NZ Lone WolfMarine Resources 660Zhik AkzoNobelb 660x82