OCEAN RACING UPDATE – 14 November 2017

THAT Offshore Moment.

WHY DO YOU DO IT?  The most common question I am asked as an offshore racer.

To be honest it is a question I often ask myself.  Then “THAT” Offshore Moment comes. There is one in almost every race; it can be a moment, an hour or a half day.  That one experience you will always remember vividly, even as the events of one race blend into all the others.

One moment was on Farrago racing from Cape Naturalist to Bunbury on a perfect sunny autumn afternoon.  With a steady breeze and spinnaker set, we were running the miles down to home.  Then three dolphins came and played in our bow wave for almost an hour. You get such a great view from a yacht.  As we watched fascinated, we began to see the complexity in their play as two dolphins vied for the attentions of the third.

Another was after a wild night heading to Shark Bay on Freo Doctor.  I was given a crack at the helm and with strong winds and a big following swell I was at the limit of my experience.  Then we caught and surfed on a wave straight onto another and boat speed topped out at over twenty knots.  Words fail me as I try and describe the adrenalin rush of a 50 footer twitching like a dinghy and throwing huge rooster tails of spray from both sides of the bow.  It felt like extreme rollercoasting (with a chance of wipe out) while holding a tiger by the tail.  Seconds later Mara took a photo that always brings a smile to me.  Just six hours later we were in calm conditions sailing towards Denham among the whales, manta rays and turtles.

The crew from Farrago were treated to another moment while finishing the Geraldton Return last week.  It included a spectacular cloudy sunset, a double rainbow on the bow while accompanied by a humpback whale who’s constant flipper slapping seemed to be waving them into the finish line.  Thanks to the joy of e-publishing I can share some pictures of these moments with you.  If they look like tame snapshots to you, for the privileged few they trigger a vivid recollection of THAT moment.

Farrago’s latest offshore was on 4 November, the Roland Smith race, a 12 hour race with whale-watching thrown in for no additional charge and an evening rounding Rottnest West End.  For aspiring offshore sailors, talk to Peter Vlaar, Chris Higham or me, hopefully we can help you find a spot.  Offshore moments are always out there.

By Graeme Brown

Farrago Crewman

Farrago Finishes Gero Return Surfing to Shark Bay