Queenslander Bruce Arms is within a day of completing what will become a record breaking solo, unassisted, circumnavigation of Australia.
by Terry Travers
When contacted this morning, he had experienced a frustrating 24 hours of light and variable wind necessitating frequent sail adjustment and course correction to continue making his way northwards towards his home port of Mooloolaba. In these conditions sleep became a casualty of the need to keep the boat moving.
Arms reported that an ESE wind had sprung up about 5am this morning which allowed him to start making some steady progress back inshore from his position about 50 miles offshore from Yamba in northern NSW.
He is now averaging 9 knots but an approaching front will generate headwinds as the breeze backs through NE to NW and builds to 25 knots. The plan is to head in towards the coast as the front approaches where he hopes to be able to change onto port tack and lay up the coast in smoother water.
In anticipation of his arrival into Mooloolaba, hopefully before lunch tomorrow, he is fielding calls from television stations, and despite being weary is feeling good about his homecoming.
'I’m looking forward to getting home,' Arms said. 'Once I cross the line I’ll be up on the bow making smoke and celebrating. Everything is ready. Thank you to all my sponsors who are detailed on my website. They believed I could do it and we’re almost there.'
The official finish line is a transit between the port and starboard markers of the Mooloolaba breakwater where the WSSRC representative will take Arms’ official time for the record book.
Once through the line, Jessica Watson will come aboard to drive the boat. Jessica is quite familiar with Big Wave Rider having sailed this year’s Brisbane to Gladstone Race with Bruce Arms.
Bruce’s wife Suzanne, who has worked tirelessly as the shore based manager and media representative, will also come aboard to welcome Bruce home and assist with tidying the boat. All the action will be covered by a documentary film-maker onboard with Bruce after the finish line.
Although the weather will be frontal and a little gloomy, it will not be able to take away the elation from completing what has been an epic voyage. Arms is expected to better by about three days the unofficial record set last year by Ian Thomson sailing SOS Ocean Racing, a Welbourn Open 40 monohull.
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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4:44 AM Wed 17 Aug 2011 GMT
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