When Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 lights are turned out most of the near 2,000 sailors competing will return to their home port and their families to resume jobs and normal daily life.
Having sailed his tiny Bonbridge 215 with a waterline length of 21.5 feet, more than 1,000 nautical miles from Sydney, 38 year-old Simon King is only part way through his latest adventure with the next stage a 3,000 nautical mile crossing to his new home, the city state of Singapore.
King, the skipper of Svanika, started sailing an eight foot Optimist class dinghy at age 12 in an Olympic size swimming pool in Christchurch, New Zealand. After that he tried out a few catamaran classes on the Swan River, Western Australia. Only in his twenties did he start keelboat racing in Sydney, finishing up club champion the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club one year.
After Audi Hamilton Island Race Week where he’s racing in Cruising division 3, King will relocate his prized toy, but not in the way most think. He will sail his classic Bonbridge largely solo to Singapore, with a little help from family and friends for some of the stages. He is aiming to complete the ocean passage within two months, before the cyclone season starts.
Relocation to Singapore comes after King’s girlfriend moved there three months ago for work commitments. King is currently on leave from the same workplace to join his girlfriend.
This journey is not for the faint hearted but King says he doesn’t fear much other than the swells, which could get up to five metres, and thieves at marinas along the way. ‘Lucky for me there aren’t known pirates between here and Singapore.’
It may be more than 30 years old but the elegant 1979 built vessel has the latest technology aboard, including a brand new radar and TP20 Simrad auto pilot known affectionately as ‘Bettsie’.
In terms of communicating with the outside world, King has on board all the gadgets needed for a trip of this magnitude. On the list is an AIS receiver, a satellite phone, VHF radio, EPIRB and personal locator beacons. In case the worst comes to worst there is also a life raft on board.
King averaged 6 knots over the 1,060 nautical miles from Sydney. He chose his departure date, July 1st, in order to compete at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and made it ‘just in time’.
The next journey is away from the protection of the Australian east coast and a much more dangerous prospect, particularly on this size boat.
King and his Svanika crew, all from Sydney Amateur Sailing Club won their handicap in cruising division three for Tuesday’s long race.
Back in Sydney Svanika has taken out the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club’s winter series.
This is King’s third Race Week and despite the distance he might have to travel to do it all again next year, he says he ‘would love to come back to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week next year for the 30th anniversary’.
Hamilton Island Race Week website
by Stephanie Hobbs
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8:48 AM Fri 24 Aug 2012GMT
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2012 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
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