Putting Yourself to the Test

Melbourne to Osaka 2018 entrants ‘put themselves to the test’ for some offshore training as a shakedown – qualifier for forthcoming Christmas races and beyond, with the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria (ORCV) annual Melbourne to Stanley Race (M2S) over the Melbourne Cup weekend.

Chris & Paul with Robin Hewitt

Departing Queenscliff Victoria in the early hours of Saturday November 4th, conditions were initially benign but a building breeze and a confused sea state soon saw competitors reaching for their wet weather gear and seasickness tablets. The Open 40 Lord Jiminy with Osaka crew Chris Barlow and Paul Roberts, took out Line Honours for the 152nm dash across Bass Strait to Stanley in just under 21hrs. Less than a year ago, it was a different battle for Line Honours in the Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster (M2H) 2016 with Chris and Paul on their own separate boats, providing race tracker updates of a nail biting experience ‘better than television’ for all at home. Paul as winner of the IRC division for the 2013 Osaka race, opted for a full crew to Hobart aboard his Jones 42 Cadibarra 8 and beat the double handed Lord Jiminy over the line by only three minutes after 68hrs of racing. Now both skippers are on the same team!

Fourth over the line for the M2S was Laurie Ford on his fully crewed Cameron De Lange Spirit of Downunder. Laurie is a veteran of two previous Osaka races, winning Racer Division C in 1999 with co-skipper Peter De Lange and winning PHS division in 2013 with son Tim Ford. With the 2018 event marking Laurie’s third Osaka and Tim’s second, it will be ‘the road ‘well’ traveled’ for their pitch for the honours.

Laurie & Robin

Further down the fleet, the palatial Moody 54 Try Booking with co-skippers Grant Dunoon and Sue Bumstead arrived in style after some 26hrs, followed only ten minutes later by father and son team Rod and Tyson Smallman aboard the much smaller and now well seasoned Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 Maverick – they had that bird chirping!

On the other side of the continent, there have been testing times for another veteran Osaka boat. The Hick 50 Funnel-Web commissioned by Ivan Macfadyen from Newcastle, competed in the 2003 and 2013 Osaka events. (Featured Image) In October 2015 it was sold to Lisa Blair and renamed Climate Action Now. Early this year, Lisa departed Albany WA and 183 days later sailed into the history books on 25 July 2017 when she set a World Record for the first woman to sail solo around Antarctica.  But her campaign was definitely not plain sailing!

Seventy-two days into her circumnavigation Lisa was demasted in a storm over 1000 nm from land, resulting a battle into the night to save herself and her yacht before finally being able to cut away the mast. Lisa then was rendered fuel from a container ship, built a jury rig and motor-sailed her yacht to Cape Town for repairs. Undeterred, she resumed her challenge and successfully completed her epic journey.

Whatever your journey or challenge in life, ocean racing will certainly ‘put yourself to the test’.

Keen to hear more about Lisa’s campaign and experiences? Lisa will be visiting Melbourne on Friday 17 November as guest of the Royal Brighton Yacht Club and the Women & Girls in Sailing committee, to speak about her world record experience and promote her book ‘Demasted’.

Everyone is invited to come and hear Lisa’s heartfelt and inspiring talk. Bookings are essential.

Event: Lisa Blair Talk

Date: Friday 17 November 2017

Time: 8.00pm

Venue: Bayview Room, Royal Brighton Yacht Club

Cash bar. Meals available in the RBYC downstairs restaurant prior to the presentation.

Tickets: $20.00

Click here to book

– Rosie Colohan