BRUCE Arms wants his record-setting circumnavigation of Australia completed yesterday to be challenged immediately.
The yachtsman, who has won the past two solo Trans-Tasman races, was battered and bruised when he pulled up to the commodore’s berth at Mooloolaba Marina just under 39 days since he headed north.
It had been a tough ride.
Unseasonable headwinds dogged him to the very end of the journey, forcing him to tack repeatedly as he made his way on the final leg from Cape Moreton to home.
The achievement set two records: the fastest time for a solo, unassisted journey, and being the first person to do it solo in a catamaran.
Arms, a multi-hull boatbuilder, said he hoped his example would encourage other sailors to challenge the record time.
There is talk of four possible attempts by catamaran skippers.
Around-the-world yachtswoman Jessica Watson joined Arms’ wife Suzanne on board Big Wave Rider after it crossed the finish line.
Arms project-managed the refit of Jessica’s boat Pink Lady after it colliding with a cargo vessel off Cape Moreton on its shake-out run to Sydney in 2009.
He also kept in regular contact with Jessica during her 23,000km, 210-day epic.
Arms spent his last night at sea tacking repeatedly to avoid prawn trawlers and cargo vessels off Cape Moreton, sleeping for just 20 minutes during the last 24 hours of his journey.
With a bandaged lower leg and a damaged knee and ankle he laughed that his boat had held up better than he had.
At times it was touch and go.
Off the West Australian coast his boat was bashed by huge waves. Arms feared it may break up.
“I seriously thought of pulling out,” Arms said.
He pressed on south and into the Great Australian Bight where again winds that should have been rocketing him along from behind, came at him head on.
Then the wind swung and the seas rose. He lost the sea anchor or drogue that was meant to slow Big Wave Rider as it raced up, over and down 13-metre swells.
His arrival at Mooloolaba was greeted by a flotilla of vessels from Mooloolaba Yacht Club, Mooloolaba Marina and the Coast Guard. Big Wave Rider will be moored for the next week outside the Wharf Tavern.
AROUND THE FACTS
FINISHED: 09.41.06 hours
TIME: 38 days 22 hours; 73 hours ahead of record (still to be ratified)
PREVIOUS RECORD: 42 days, 5 hours, 31 minutes, 55 seconds set on June 16, 2010, by Ian Thomson of Airlie Beach in SOS Ocean Racing
DISTANCE: 6698 nautical miles
VESSEL: 14.14m Chamberlin-designed catamaran
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