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Just a second

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 3 Jul 15:00 PDT
Hull #1 of the Farr X2 © Vicsail

Hull #1 of the Farr X2 has lost its keel offshore, and the remains have washed up on a beach on the South Coast of NSW. Mercifully, the two sailors on board are alive, and subsequently had a wee sojourn in hospital to ensure all is well. Shaken, and stirred, as well as being a little cool after a passage of time clinging to the upturned craft before being extracted by an RAN helo and RIB is not trying to be trite, or make fun of an ordeal. For how does one describe something like that?

So I have made my share of mistakes in this life. There'd be plenty of souls to get up and say I have a gung-ho tendency, especially in the earlier years. However, having done a few laps of the planet, both literally and metaphorically, and lost the colour in the hair, you do get to gain a certain understanding.

In these sorts of things, everyone's an expert, and has an opinion. You probably won't even need to ask them for it. Also, stuff will get flung around, just as much as loose gear down below in a storm that ends up looking like the balls in a lotto machine. The there's that fine mist that pervades everything when you're doing over 15 knots out at sea, and can change the way it operates (if at all), and the way you have to manhandle it. Covered in, well you get the point... So it is important to look for facts, and the opening paragraph pretty much covers that off.

For the benefit of sailing overall, to ensure that two-handed continues to thrive, and to allow female participation to carry on at its burgeoning pace, a moment of calm needs to take place. So assume the Lotus position, press your thumbs against your middle fingers, and let's all chant 'Ommmmmm' together now.

We'll start by thanking all the first responders that took to sea to try and get them, and the aircrew that were successful. We'll extend our condolences to the owner. We'll remember to give the authorities the time to prepare their material. We'll remember that this is a Naval Architect designed craft that had gone through the full suite of engineering and 30-knots with 5m seas is inside the brief.

Brendan Hunt of Vicsail, the Central Agents for the Farr X2 said, "Whatever we need to do we'll sort out, and we're just amazed with the good seamanship of the crew, given what they went through."

So the 'go' decision to undertake the minimum 100nm passage to qualify for the impending Sydney to Gold Coast race was theirs, and with three more weeks in which to complete that, there will be eyebrows raised. Given the forecast, and the resultant weather that did and is still prevailing, one would imagine all insurers would look poorly upon you. Now right there is exactly the point. That is for the insurers and the legal eagles to wander through. Not us.

Equally, many would say that taking a new boat out into that, when all it had done previously was photographic type trips on Pittwater and Sydney Harbour, is akin to roaring along in sixth in a new car, then popping it back to second and wondering why the valves went through the bonnet. But this is for surveyors and engineers to determine. Not us.

I mean a counterpoint would be to say that it was good seamanship that afforded the crew the opportunity to get to the now skyward-facing underside. Usually, when the keel goes the result is anything but pretty, and just about always 100%. So that is for the fullness of time. Not us, and not now.

Ultimately, the grand picture needs to be assessed here, for the last thing that is needed is for the regulators to apply mandatory and unilateral rules/obligations/requirements to a sport that has a constantly evolving and changing set of parameters as its playing field. Already a lot of club racing has a 25 knot limit applied, yet we gladly send off fleets to the big blue when many have not had the kinds of training that only exposure to vicious elements can deliver.

Case in point. Being heard from Fantasy Island when you're up in Adventure Land and it is blowing 50 knots is not merely a case of yelling at twice the volume you do at 25. It is exponential, as is the fear, and power of the wind and the waves. So this is not the time for banging a big drum. Not us, and not now.

So before everybody pulls their hands out of their pockets for a massive session of bar karate, contemplate how much you really know. Yes. It is likely that one thing caused the chain of events, and with a heap of evidence sitting on the floor becoming home for a bunch of fish and crabs, much will be needed to be evaluated before Hull #2 in the USA, and Hull #3 in the factory, can be dealt with appropriately.

Raving on now just chums up the water. Not good. Not us, and not now.

Ok. There it is. Short, but there is heaps more on the group's websites for you, just use the search box, or 'edition' pull-down menu up the top on the right of the masthead to find it all. Please enjoy your yachting, stay safe, and thanks for tuning into Sail-World.com

John Curnow

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