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UK Flying Fifteens en-route to Fremantle for the 2023 Worlds

by Bill Chard 25 Nov 2022 04:43 PST
UK Flying Fifteens loaded to the container ready for the Worlds in Fremantle © Bill Chard

By the time you read this, a dozen Flying Fifteens should be en-route from the UK to Fremantle. The 2023 Worlds may still be over 3 months away, but with a predicted 60 days at sea, plus some contingency, we packed the boats into containers on 18 and 19 November.

To minimise road haulage miles in the UK, the containers were packed in Harlow only 45 minutes from the departure port (London Gateway). Arriving at 0800 to meet the first container meant an early start from Chew Valley! Others managed to travel the evening before.

Thanks to Johnny Cooper for providing the loading site, a forklift, and extra manpower on the day.

Neil White, Dean McAullay and the organising committee in Fremantle have got us a great deal with shipping company MSC, without which the trip would be impossible. And MSC even went out of their way to make sure we had new, clean, and very visible yellow containers!

Freight forwarding and customs arrangements are being handled by GAC Pindar.

There was some stress about whether we'd get each container loaded in the allotted 3 hours, but we did have some old hands to advise and keep us on track.

Loading boats with keels on was straightforward with the use of some high-tech loading ramps courtesy of Ian Pinnell.

The process was rather more involved for those of us travelling with keels off, and included some advance preparation to make sure the keels would come off easily on the day.

Keels were packed separately on plastic pallets (thanks Chris Turner) and many, many ratchet straps were employed (although I do still have a supply of spares...!) We were very lucky to have fine weather on both days, between days of heavy rain either side, so thankfully the boats and kit all went into the containers dry.

When it came to it, the first container was packed in less than 2.5 hours, and by the time the same team got to the second we had that down to about 90 minutes. The next day we must have got complacent, or hung over, or maybe just talked too much - and just about managed to finish in the 3 hours!

Fingers crossed now for a smooth journey and safe unloading at the Fremantle end, and we'll be all set to go sailing in March. As well as the 12 boats shipping from the UK (including Campbell Alexander's South African boat currently based at Chew Valley) there are some other UKFFA members who already have boats in Australia. The GBR team should be something like 14 boats out of a predicted fleet of 70.

Oh, and if you're interested, you can track the boats on their way by visiting www.vesselfinder.com/vessels/details/9729116

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