Bill Gray and Aaron Haigh have done the Melbourne to Osaka race before – back in 2003. Matrix, a boat built by Aaron, was the yacht that they sailed on back then and they completed the journey in just under 35 days. Now once again, both Bill and Aaron are lining up to do the Sundance Marine Melbourne Osaka Cup next March.
Bill put his name on the competitor list pretty much as soon as entries opened early last year, however as far as having a boat for the event, there was still a fair bit of work to do and his entry was listed as TBA. Bill says that he’d dreamily looked at an Open 40 to do the race and so on the entry form he put details from the spec sheet of a Pogo 40 Fortitude. Then crunch time came in July this year when it was time to pay the deposit and so Bill says it was time to get serious about things.
Everything seemed quiet for a while and then in late August, Bill suddenly posted this news on his Facebook page: “I am now the owner of Matrix Reloaded a Pogo 40 Fortitude. (feature image) She was built in 2005, hull number 5 of the Open 40 class but she has rarely been raced by any of three previous owners. As I write, Paul has de-rigged her in Southampton and she is on a ship to Melbourne.”
Soon after this announcement Bill was busy winding things up on his Facebook page with the following : “Introducing the guy who will crew with me – Aaron Haigh. He is lining up to do the Melbourne to Osaka with me again. Must definitely be a gluten for punishment! Ha ha. But seriously Aaron is one of the best boat builders and sailors I know, having worked as manager at Hart Marine in Mornington Victoria for many years. He has been responsible for many racing boat projects.”
Only a few days ago, the latest post from Bill brims with anticipation of the boats arrival and the tasks ahead to get set for the race: “ OK, so the boats on its way. Now we have some breathing space. I WISH!! Aaron, my co skipper is organising collection from the dock in Melbourne and some yard space in Westernport where we (read Aaron and mates for the most part ) can start working on her when she arrives. Purchases and work list looks a bit like this:- HF radio and antenna
– Iridium Satphone
– Power survivor water- maker 40E/12V
– Change out batteries for Lithium Ion batteries
– Remove 2 x engine alternators and engine starter motor for servicing.
– Assessment of all electronics and wiring and renew/repair as required.
– Have boat surveyed for insurance purposes.
OH! Did I forget to mention re rig, fit keel and rudders!! “
The race to Osaka in March will have three Open 40’s competing and with all that’s been written and spoken about these yachts, we’re all expecting big things of them. Bill and Aaron (and their mates) now have the task of getting one of these three speed machines ready for the event and with only just on six months to go until the start, we can see they have a lot to do. We wish them all the best in their preparation of Matrix Reloaded.