A yachting race, climate change, and SisterShip Training have a commonality and it’s when The SisterShip Team set a sailing record with Lisa Blair.
I (Jackie) am a cruiser first and foremost, so when Lisa asked me to co-skipper SV Climate Action Now in the Melbourne to Hobart race, I had to think about it carefully.
The fact that I was not boat-fit at the time also played on my mind, boat-fit is different from general fitness.
What is the Westcoaster Race?
The Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster is considered, by some, to be the most challenging race in Australia. Four hundred and thirty-five nautical miles of the fickle Bass Straight, the lee shore of Tasmania’s west coast, and the mighty Southern Ocean.
This was my FIRST ever ocean race and there were many reasons not to do it and many reasons to do it!
Record Breaking and The Message
Lisa’s boat, Climate Action Now, spreads the climate message, the boat carries hundreds of Post-it notes on her hull via a digital vinyl wrap. Written on these notes are messages such as ‘I ride to work for climate action now’, or ‘I recycle for climate action now’. Showcasing a simple sharing of ideas to reduce emissions in everyday life.
Everyone is invited to take part, click here to send your message:
SV Climate Action now has sailed around Antarctica TWICE now, also around Australia and up and down the coast. Lisa is setting records left right and centre and I was super proud that we were attempting to set a record together.
I jumped on board in Sydney to help Lisa deliver CAN to Melbourne and become familiar with the setup. I am used to a few lines in the cockpit for double-handed sailing (ie two of us on board) – Climate Action Now (CAN) is set up for single-handed sailing and EVERY line fed back to the cockpit – all 260 of them! (Well almost, but that’s what it felt like!)
“Where are the Cushions?”
There’s not much conform on a racing boat, my first question was “where are the cushions?” My middle-aged body had plenty to say about this!
It was exhilarating. Forty-knot headwinds tested my ability and endurance. Wilsons Promontory seemed to accompany us for a long time as we tacked through the howling gusts. But the team was gelling, and I was becoming slightly more comfortable with the setup.
“Forty-*&*()%*- lines in the cockpit!”
Forty was a popular number onboard – not 260 but over forty lines in the cockpit all laying there smirking at me “bet you can’t guess what I am for!”
After grappling with the colourful speghetti I took time out on my nightwatch to tame the lines and get to grips with them. I wasn’t the only one who was relieved with this progress!
Pre-Race Passage Planning
We spent Christmas day passage planning to ensure that we were ready for any and all eventualities. This is crucial for every boat, for every passage for everyone – no matter how much experience.