Queensland based solo sailor Bruce Arms aboard his 46’ catamaran Big Wave Rider is just over two days away from claiming the record for sailing a solo, unassisted circumnavigation of Australia.
by Terry Travers
Arms commenced his journey at noon on July 10th from Mooloolaba, and is due to arrive back to his home port on Thursday morning after 39 days at sea, bettering by three days the unofficial record set last year by Ian Thomson sailing SOS Ocean Racing, a Welbourn Open 40 monohull.
Since rounding Tasmania’s South East Cape on Friday after a rugged crossing of the Great Australian Bight, Arms was initially frustrated by calms and light winds necessitating frequent sail changes and course adjustments to keep moving.
He reported at one point the wind built to 20 knots then died to zero as if sailing out of a wall of wind completely, yet the boat was still doing 10 knots boatspeed – albeit with the sails flapping from nil wind. Quite eerie.
But after heading to sea on advice from his weather router, Arms finally found steady following breezes up to twenty knots, and when contacted by phone on Monday evening reported a noon to noon run of 226 miles. At the time of speaking he was about 150 nautical miles east of Sydney and making 13 knots under reacher and full main, with 475 miles to go to the finish line.
Having had nearly two days of steady breeze he has been able to get several good periods of sleep at night. His AIS ship alert system has performed flawlessly, setting off an alarm when any shipping has come close enough to cause concern. His transponder also transmits his boat’s identity and location, and at times during his voyage he has been called up by name by crews from passing ships. His last ship sighting was off Tasmania’s Maria Island, but he is expecting an increase in shipping as he closes the coast approaching Cape Moreton near Brisbane.
The forecast for the remaining days at sea show light headwinds over the final miles of Bruce’s journey.
'It’s really exciting to be on the home stretch, I’ve missed my wife and friends and I’ve certainly had enough of this cold climate sailing. Give me sunny Queensland anytime!' he said.
Follow Bruce Arms journey in Big Waver Rider via Addcom Contact Solutions Website: http://www.acssatellite.com.au/products/tracking-portal/bruce-arms-solo-around-australia.html www.brucearms.com
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9:07 AM Mon 15 Aug 2011 GMT
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