FINISHED!! 18th August 2011 @ 9:41:06 am AEST
What a last 24 hours, plenty of wind for fast sailing to get home in a hurry, which was great because I was trying to beat a wind change to the north west which would have meant lots of tacking up the coast of Moreton Island. As I approached the coast lots of ships started showing up on the AIS with up to six at a time! But with the AIS it took a lot of the guessing out of it, as you could see which way they were going and how close they were going to pass you by. The closer I got to Cape Moreton the more current there was against me trying to slow me up, I could see the Cape Moreton Light by now and it was great to see it, as it meant I was in home waters. There was a lot of water coming over the boat by now as I was pushing BWR hard to beat that wind change and it was constant trimming to keep her on her feet, which meant no sleep. At the top of Cape Moreton lots of prawn trawlers appeared, about a dozen and with all their lights ablaze, you don’t know which way they are going and I had to do a bit of tacking to get around a couple which came very close. With the adverse current near Flinders Reef, prawn trawlers and also wind shifts it was a big struggle to get around and past Cape Moreton.
At first light I had made it to the Cape Moreton and beaten the big wind change but only just. I had made an ETA of 9am, the wind started to shift and with the incoming tide I got sucked south towards the main shipping channel at Caloundra. It was so great to see the Glasshouse Mountains and the Sunshine Coast that it didn’t matter if I had to do a few more tacks to get to the finish line. Of course there was the usual rain shower just before the finish. It was big relief and a huge weight off my shoulders to finally cross that finish line, as I didn’t have to be on edge anymore and be constantly ready for anything. It was great to see all the boats out there to welcome me in. Just after I crossed the line a boat came over with my wife Suzanne and Jessica Watson it was great to get big hugs and kisses from them as I had been waiting a long time for that. Then I just sat down and let them take over BWR. Murray from Trimworx and Ralph from the doco team had come on board as well, The sails were dropped as we made our way to the river entrance then I lit up two flares for the crowd waiting on the river walls.
We then made our way to the Mooloolaba Marina to the waiting crowd and media scrum. After docking and giving interviews it was great to get more hugs from my mum and dad, my team, family and friends. Then onto my first cold beer, hot chips and a huge hot dog. Earlier Jessica had brought Tam-Tam’s and an apple on board for a quick snack. One huge surprise was that Pat Gannon was there after his major heart surgery, it was totally unexpected as I had talked to him that morning and he never let on that he was going to be at the finish line. Sorry this blog has taken so long as I have been very tired and totally exhausted, but have had some good sleep now and am still letting it all sink in. I will update soon as to what I have been up to since the finish.
Again I would like to thank all my sponsors, as this record would not be achievable without them and to my weather team Mike Griffin for his weather forecasts around Australia and Bob McDavitt (NZ Met Office) for his weather routing across the bight and up the east coast great job guy’s thanks a lot.
Big Wave Rider will be on display at The Wharf Complex home of the Mooloolaba Yacht Club for the rest of the week.
PHOTO - Finished at Last (Jill Swan) Mooloolah River Entrance