Lining up for the second time in the Osaka Cup 2018, skipper Bill Gray and co-skipper Aaron Haigh are both seasoned campaigners on the ocean. Competitors in the 2003 race on Matrix, Bill and Aaron decided to enter the Osaka Cup again and re-live the excitement and challenges previously experienced.
Bill had been toying with the idea of competing in the 2018 race for over 18 months and looking around for a suitable boat. The Open 40 attracted Bill and he used the specification sheet from a Pogo 40 called Fortitude when it came to filling out boat details on his entry form (not at that stage having acquired a yacht!!).
As the due payment of entry fees approached, it was time to bite the bullet and buy a boat. Bill was introduced to Paul Peggs of PJP Yacht Services in the United Kingdom, a self confessed Open 40 geek. In an uncanny coincidence, negotiations with a boat broker in the UK resulted in the purchase of the very same Pogo 40 that Bill had relied on for specifications when filling out his entry form – Fortitude, now renamed Matrix Reloaded for the Osaka Cup 2018. Paul was then commissioned to survey the boat and once approved, remove the mast, keel, rudders and bowsprit and load onto a truck and ship to Melbourne. Matrix Reloaded has now arrived!
Both Bill and Aaron have significant ocean sailing and racing experience. Bill boasts that Aaron is one of the best boat builders and sailors he knows. Aaron has worked as manager at Hart Marine in Mornington, Victoria for many years. He has been responsible for many racing boat projects including Raw Nerve, Raw to the Core, the last Australian Volvo round the world entrant, and Bill’s last Melbourne Osaka boat, Matrix.
The two met when both were crew members on Raw Nerve, a 55 ft, all carbon fibre, wing masted catamaran, then owned by Martyn Riley. They helped campaign her through Brisbane to Gladstone races, breaking that record, the Sydney to Lord Howe Island record and an unsuccessful around Australia record attempt. According to Bill, Aaron is a very energetic person, who is a steady hand in critical situations. They are both looking forward to joining forces again, and share their faith in each other.