I’ve been in Australia for close to two weeks now, and what can I say... I love the place! I’ve been intrigued by Australia (and New Zealand) for years and have often thought that I would like to live here, despite never having visited. Now that I have visited, well, I still think i’d like to live here... at least for a while. The parts of Australia that i’ve seen, people i’ve met and ways i’ve consumed my time are very very similar to the life that I live in California, although profoundly different in a uniquely Australian way. As an avid traveler and adventurer, I love being in foreign countries and the lifestyle and people here suit me to a T. A nation with a deep respect for sailing and surfing, stunningly beautiful scenery (both geographical and female in nature) and a healthy, happy group of populous that are generally stoked on life, being outdoors and constantly doing cool stuff... Need I say more?

 

 

The mighty Archambault 40 "One for the Road" in full-on prep mode in Sydney.

 

Personal reflections and initial impressions aside, I traveled to Australia for a reason; to sail in my first Sydney- Hobart yacht race. If you don’t know about the Sydney- Hobart, well, let me try to summarize it. Beginning in Sydney, which lies on the eastern coast of Australia, the race travels 628 nm down to Hobart, Tasmania (the large island south of the southeast corner of the Australian continent. Tasmania is one of the 10 states that comprise Australia.) Despite being less than a third the length of a Transpac race, the S2H is quite notorious and well-known for being one of the most grueling (and dangerous) races in all of sailing. Not quite a long-distance ocean crossing, but definitely not a mere overnighter, the Sydney- Hobart is a full-on, brutal sprint of a race that will probably last for about 4 days for myself and the crew i’m sailing with. Now less than 3 days from the start, the weather scenario is beginning to look a bit more defined and it shows that the conditions will be typical for the race... Beginning with a downwind start, we should see everything from light, fluky breeze to moderate downwind to 35-45 knots upwind (!!!) during the second half of the race. No sense in writing out the whole forecast, the weather will do what the weather will do. Needless to say, i’m quite interested to know what words i’ll be writing in these pages once all is said and done...

 

As for the boat that i’m sailing on, I am immensely proud to be sailing on Kym Butler’s Newcastle-based Archambault 40 One for the Road

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Woohoo! Back in San Diego after what ended up being a rather excellent delivery from Acapulco to San Diego. The boat held up well, my crew and I got on great together and we totally lucked out on the weather card. Not to mention, we were in Mexico (!!!), which is always a plus for me. I had planned to work on "Sirena Gorda" and leave for Mexico almost immediately after getting back to SD, but another adventure has thrust itself onto the near-term horizon, which will delay my trip south..... In about a month, i'll be flying to Australia to sail in my first.... SYDNEY- HOBART!!!!!!!!!!!

Dave had a yellow brick tracker on the boat. This is the Acapulco - San Diego track of S/V 'Champ'! As you can tell, we hugged the coast as i've been taught to do in Mexico deliveries and it again worked out great! Stayed mostly in flatter water, less breeze, more offshore breeze at night (a good thing) and many eddies and pockets of good current. A great trip up from Acapulco!!!

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After a solid adventure on her from Kauai- Seattle in 2012, it's good to re-unite with David's Island Packet 380 "Champ" in Acapulco.

 

Less than a week after sailing Sirena Gorda into San Diego, I am in Acapulco, Mexico to deliver my friend David’s Island Packet 380 “Champ” from Acapulco to San Diego. So needless to say, it’s been a wild week! We were supposed to leave for Mexico on Monday night with a different crew member, but Category 3 Hurricane Raymond came within 100 miles of Acapulco on Monday, which delayed our departure and created a logistical challenge, so I was left scrambling last minute to find another crew. Boom, my good friend Walt stepped in. Walt is the guy who taught me to surf and my partner in the wounded veteran’s sailing clinics. Very excited to share this trip with him.

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Sirena Gorda in her new home for the next month - San Diego. She will kick it here in the slip while I head to Mexico for a yacht delivery.

Sirena Gorda is in San Diego... Wow! That is honestly further than I ever thought this modest, inexpensive Craigslist sailboat that I bought in Tacoma would ever make it. Not that I ever doubted the vessel's capabilities, so much as I doubted myself. Not in sailing ability, but in desire to sail this boat this far. When I bought SG, I only planned to sail her to San Francisco, but somewhere along the way things changed. I can think of many times this year when I was sailing big, fast, exotic race boats in some pretty cool offshore races and thinking, "you know, I wish I was on my crappy little sailboat doing my own thing." And now I am again, and that makes me very happy. Sirena Gorda has now cruised the entire US west coast and is about to receive another small re-fit and then enter Mexico for a solid winter of surfing and cruising. So far after some 1,400 miles of coastal cruising, she is holding up great and we're already planning for what comes after Mexico. Hawaii...

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