Solo sailor in hi-tech record bid

POSTED Monday, January 7, 2013 in Sunshine Coast Daily by Bill Hoffman

Bruce Arms launches boat hunt

Around Australia solo sailing record-holder Bruce Arms was all sea over the Christmas-New Year break, his mind both on the task at hand delivering a yacht from Tasmania to Freemantle and also the boat he hopes to buy this year.

Jessica Watson’s sailing mentor has a record attempt on his mind and it will take something special to pull it off.

Building a new craft is out of the question. What he has in mind would cost at least $2 million and that, even he is prepared to admit, might be a bit of a stretch.

The plan is to have a crack at Olivier de Kersauson’s record set in 2005 on Geronimo, a 27 metre (90 foot) trimaran that completed the passage in just 17 days, 12 hours 57 minutes and 5 seconds.

Bruce’s single-handed effort in 2011 on board his catamaran Big Wave Rider set a solo record of 38 days, 21 hours 41 minutes and 42 seconds.

As much as he loves the 14.02 metre (46 foot) Big Wave Rider – the home he shares with his wife – there is absolutely no way it can match the 15.44 knot speed Geronimo maintained while setting the record. By comparison Big Wave Rider managed an average of just 6.9 knots. “I’ve been looking at different boats,” Bruce said as he prepared to fly back to the Coast from Perth yesterday.

In fact, he has been looking at Geronimo but it’s unavailable.

What he needs is the right one for the right money. Too cheap and guarantee yourself a big set-up bill.

“It will cost about Euro 400,000 for a good one,” Bruce figures. “The record was half the time I took and at twice the speed.”

Some of the set-ups he is looking at defy most of our concepts of what boats should look like.

Build for speed, modern trimaran designs are sailed on the blade, the outer pods barely ever touching the sea hi-tech, high speed, Mad Max meets Water World.

The campaign, which will require a crew of six, includes Cotton Tree Around the World yachtswoman Lisa Blair as boat captain.

Bruce figures he will need a $1 million budget – something he hopes can be achieved through sponsorship and marketing.

The plan is to secure a boat, a deal and a crew by the end of the year, have a crack at the Sydney to Hobart as a training run and possibly a shot at the Sydney to Lord Howe record before setting off on the around Australia record run from Perth tentatively by mid-2014.

Perth offers the best chance of success because it will allow Bruce to pick the weather and time to run across southern Australia.