Long overdue continued…(pt.2)

Fueling up somewhere halfway across the country

Nullarbor and Nationals

Next up on the agenda was preparation for a summer of racing with my own charter business being run on the side. Many months earlier the opportunity to buy some team boats (6 to be exact) had been presented to me by Rafa and I thought I would take on the challenge. This started a massive logistical learning adventure but I had a lot of fun along the way. To begin with I had to fly to Esperance last minute to get mums car, which was the only thing big enough to tow the 6 boats across the country, then bring it back to Perth to pack the car and collect the trailer I was going to use for the trip. It was a lot of running around but eventually everything was sorted so Elyse and I could get on the road. We enjoyed Christmas morning in Perth with Elyse family before driving to Esperance (yes, all 8 hours’ worth) to then enjoy Christmas eve with my family. On boxing day we continued on across the country, camping one night, staying in the worlds roughest pub the next before getting into Sydney late on the 4th day of driving. We had quite the adventure as I kept telling Elyse who had never driven the Nullarbor before, “you have to do it once in your life!”

The iconic Eucla whale (shot on Elyse’s film camera)
Fueling in Port Augusta, 2,325km from Perth

The next day we settled in a bit more at my Uncle Rob and Aunty Kate’s house in Sydney for the nationals, the same place I had stayed for the same event at the same yacht club 12 years prior when I was still a radial sailor. No time to relax too long though, I had 6 boats I had to move out of storage on the other side of the city and get to Botany Bay in time for all the internationals coming to charter from me. The British boys and Kiwis were coming for most of the summer which included the Nationals, Sail Melbourne and a month of training in Adelaide so I had offered my services and they had all happily accepted my solution to their charter needs. Now I needed to pull this thing off otherwise I could have some grumpy competitors coming after me. It was a bit nerve racking trying to figure out how to best stack the boats the first time, not knowing even if I would have to capacity to do it but after the first short drive to Botany, I knew we would be alright. We got the boats to the club and Elyse and I quickly got to work putting the boats together with the parts that were missing, cleaning the hulls and spray painting the trolleys so they wouldn’t go missing during the week. It was a really big two days of work getting them ready but we got it done just in time and everyone was happy with what they had so that made me happy. Now it was time to start racing!

The fleet ready to go!
At our favorite pasta place in Newtown, Sydney

We got off to a cracker start with a strong North East seabreeze blowing and sunshine. The racing was red hot from the go and I think we all realised this was going to be a tough summer of sailing. We had the entire British Sailing Team of Micky, Elliot, Dan and Sam along with the Kiwi Team of George and Tom as well as Ryan from Singapore. We also had the whole host of young Australians coming up through the ranks to challenge us so from the first race I think we all knew we were on for a big summer. I got off to a bit of a shaky start to the Nationals but I improved as the event went on and put myself in a position to challenge for the podium on the last day but it wasn’t to be and I had to settle for 4th overall and second Australian behind Wearny, Micky and Elliot.

Day 1 racing
Presentation night

Then came the big pack up for the journey south to Melbourne and the second event of the summer. It took a while but we managed to get all the boats on the trailer and in a stable situation so the day after the event Elyse and I hit the road. We started late so the goal was Aubrey and we got in a bit later than planned but we had no time pressure so we could just plod along. The next day we rolled into Royal Brighton Yacht Club on a sunny afternoon and unloaded the boats. This time we were staying at our friends parents house of Eliza and Jeremy, the same as I stayed in for the worlds back at the start of 2020. This was actually the first time I had been in Melbourne since then so it was nice to be back and see how the city had changed after a few years away.

The big pack up after a big day of racing

After two days of training on the water and a day off the water playing golf we got stuck into the racing. Melbourne always throws up a mix of conditions and this was no exception with shifty offshore conditions and one and strong onshore conditions the next. I was able to keep my sailing fairly consistent throughout the event and coming into the last race had a good chance at finishing on the podium. I had George on equal points with me and Dan 1 point in front so it was going to be tight. I remember completely messing up my start though, getting trapped in irons moments before the gun and starting a whole 15 seconds late behind the fleet. I was able to catch up but knew I hadn’t done enough to beat Dan, although I did manage to keep George behind me, just beating him in the race to secure 4th. Then, when we got to shore and checked the results it had me in 3rd! Dan had be BFD on the start in the race to gift me the podium. I was very lucky but happy to take a medal behind Micky and Elliot again.

The Solly family
Ej in front and me in the background chasing
Trying to hang on to the lead
Sail Melbourne fleet
Sail Melbourne podium (R-L Myself, Micky, Elliot)

Once again, the circus was on the road, this time off to Adelaide. We packed up and Elyse and I left the day after the regatta, driving all the way in one go and arriving to our Airbnb (which was very nice) in the evening. We were here to complete a month of training in preparation for the 2024 world champs which were to be hosted here in 12 months’ time. Elyse and I had a few days to enjoy Adelaide, exploring the town and even riding down to see the start of one of the stages of the Tour Down Under, Australia’s premier cycling event. It was great to get to see all the pros and their expensive bikes, you could really tell just by looking at them just how fit they were. We then got stuck into the sailing again, completing 9 days on the water for the first part of the camp with the Adelaide State Champs as a part of it. I managed to finished 3rd here, finally beating Elliot in a regatta but losing to Micky and Wearny.

On the road again
Tour down under

I flew home to see Elyse and get some rest from sailing for a few days while we had some holiday time between camps, then got stuck back into it again for the second camp for another 8 days on the water. It was a great time with amazing cycling, good gyms and a very supportive venue. The sailing waters off Adelaide and very nice, with a mix of strong seabreezes and tricky gradient winds to keep you on your toes. After all this intense sailing it was time to pack up one final time and hit the road, all the way back to Perth! We loaded the trailer and I got all the parts in order and was driving out of Adelaide by 2pm. It was pretty hot so I took my time and has the goal of getting to Ceduna that evening. Nothing could have really prepared me for what happened next.

Adelaide States
Some big breeze in Adelaide
Amazing cycling in the hills of Adelaide

At around 2am, only 30km out of Ceduna, my right axle of my trailer snapped. The trailer hit the tarmac and an explosion of sparks followed as the right wheel whizzed past me into the bush on the other side of the road. Thank goodness there wasn’t anyone around and I was able to pull over safely off the road and park up near some bushes. I didn’t really know what to do but this wasn’t a part of the plan. I decided to camp up on the side of the road and see if I could find help the next morning in town. It was a Friday (of course) so I knew this was going to be tricky in a country town. I rolled in early, leaving the trailer on the side of the road, and found some breakfast before getting to work finding a repair place. One conversation led to another and I eventually found this guy Toby who could help me. He ordered a new axle for me to be freighted over night from Adelaide and said he would even fit it for me the next day on a Saturday. This meant I had another night to spend in Ceduna so I camped up at the local caravan park for the night and went exploring. I met a nice young guy from Korea who was camping next to me and he was cycling across Australia just because he felt like it. Crazy guy but we had dinner together and some interesting conversations. I cycled with him out of town and said goodbye then was able to pick up the trailer that afternoon and hit the road. Couldn’t believe it was only a 24 hour turn around to get going again, I was very lucky to break down where I did. If it was anywhere else, I could have been stuck for days. Also, amazing that nothing happened to the boats, they all could have fallen of and I would have been in real trouble but everything was fine and not a single boat was damaged.

I drove a bit over 1000ks that day, arriving in Balladonia in the early hours of the morning for a quick sleep before finishing the drive into Perth the next day, just in time for my dad to collect mum’s car from me to drive back to Esperance the next day. Meanwhile I got to work sorting out all the equipment and cleaning the boats up for the customers buying them, I had a big day on the tools that day but after 12 hours at Freo sailing club I had sorted everything as was ready to be done with my charter boat business expedition. I had to be anyway because the next day I was off to Sydney for a 3-day team camp, the annual get together of all the members and staff of the AST to talk about the year ahead. When that was finally done, I could go back home and enjoy 10 days of being in Perth, sail testing for a couple of them and just generally getting my life sorted before I headed over to Europe again for the first event of the season, the European Championships (I know I had just completed the 2022 European Championships but for whatever reason they decided to put the event late in 2022 and early in 2023 so that meant they were pretty much back to back events).

What an epic summer it was, definitely one of the most heavily packed sailing and busiest I’ve had but one I’ll always remember. I think it will be hard to top the summer of 2023.

Long overdue…

This is a well over due update. I’ve constantly been telling myself to update my blog but I keep finding excuses not to so now we’re here 7 months later with a biannual report I guess! It’s been one of the most packed tight 7 months of sailing and travel of my life so buckle up. Keeping things consistent I’m going back to were I left off in October where I’m just finishing up a training camp on the Gold Coast in preparation for the European Championships in Hyeres, my second trip to Hyeres in 2022 (and funnily enough I’m writing this from Hyeres mid regatta in 2023 but we’ll catch up to that at the end). I’m going to break this up into location-based chunks to keep things simple.


After the Gold Coast I still had a week at home training before I headed to Europe again for the European Championships. This was my last little time here for quite a while so I made the most of it. I also got to compete in my home clubs annual sailing regatta, Sail Freo where I got the win over my team mates Zac and Ethan. I always cherish being from such a great place as Western Australia and I’m lucky to call it home.

Hyeres, France

After just 6 months away I was back again in Hyeres but in an entirely different time of year. I think this was everybody’s first time in the venue in November and it certainly had a different feeling to the usual April sailing we were all used to. Most shops were closed up for the winter months as the town is very much a summer time destination only. We were very lucky to score some amazing weather however. With a drought hitting most of Europe it meant the sun was unseasonably still out and despite the days being quite a bit shorter we could still enjoy 20-degree weather each day.

Elyse and I had flown into Milan to collect the team trailer and van (along with my new boat) and then driven down to Hyeres the next day. The sailing conditions were really great in all the lead up training with nice onshore winds blowing and fun waves. Then in classic fashion the first day of the event saw a complete wind change with off shore winds and flat water for the entire regatta. I started out alright with a few good scores and a race win in qualifying to get into finals in an alright position, 14th if I remember right. Then finals started with a 3-race day and some of the most shifty and difficult conditions I’ve seen in Hyeres. We had a North West wind blowing which was a direction no one had ever seen before, including JB who is the local. Coming straight off the mountains it made for a bizarre day of racing. I lead to the top mark race one and held onto a 2nd place which was a good start but after that I couldn’t navigate to the top mark in any kind of a good position. I had an amazing come back race 2, going from 53rd at the top to 16th at the finish but couldn’t sustain that level of comeback for the final race.

New boat, thanks ElementSix!
First to the top in finals

On our final day of racing, it was looking like we were going to race after waiting on land and on water for many hours for wind. Then, in the dying moments before they would have to abandon the day a puff came through under a rain cloud and the race committee got the orange flag up. Half the fleet had towed in by now and they were racing back out to get to the start in time. We were the only fleet out and there was a strange feeling in the air, like we were in a stadium. I was fighting to try and get myself into a top 8 position overall to re qualify for AST and I had a good start and beat but didn’t capitalize on the left shift I knew was coming so was stuck in the late teens when a top 5 was probably needed to secure the result. I finished 11th overall after the hard-fought week then had to do the grimmest pack up I’ve ever done. It was dark when we got in and the rain had settled in. We had less than 10 degrees and were all in our sailing kit trying to put our boats on the trailer and all our luggage away. It was time to leave Hyeres for another year.

Worst pack up ever


After the European Championships were over Elyse and I had planned a little 3-day trip to Paris, seeing as we were already in France and neither of us had been. We had also heard November can be a very nice time to go with minimal tourists as the summer rush was over and the Christmas holiday makers hadn’t started filling up the city yet. We caught the train up via Marseilles which was a total of about 4 ½ hours. We had a lovely time seeing as much as we could and eating out at some very nice places. The weather was cold but not too rainy and a combination of public transport, walking and Lime bikes got us all over the city. It was a perfect amount of time to run around and enjoy travel away from a boat park. When out time was up it was time to say goodbye to Elyse as she was heading back to Perth and I was off to Mexico, again!

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

This was my second time in Mexico in the same year as well but for quite different reasons to the World Championships earlier in the year. This time I was invited back to run a coaching clinic of my own and I couldn’t be more excited. I truly love Mexico and think it’s one of the best places to visit, everything from the people, the climate, the food and the culture. It’s all very interesting and different to Australia and I’ve got great friends in Collin and his family after the staying with them the last time I was in PV. I did a 50/50 split in accommodation this time with half my time at Collins ranch and half my time at Vaughn’s apartment in Bucerias which is a very chill seaside town about 30min drive from the city of PV. I had a great time looking after my sailors for the week and can’t wait to come back again. The two weeks flew by and once again it was time to get in the air, this time for a very long flight from LA to Sydney.


No rest for the wicked, it was time to compete again only 3 weeks after the Euros were finished. I hadn’t competed in Sail Sydney in what felt like forever with Covid preventing me from doing the event for several years. This was a doozey of an event with some of the windiest sailing I’ve ever done on the harbor but we all had a good time and I managed to just pip Finn for second overall behind Wearny in the last race. That afternoon was followed by a quick pack up and a flight out of there to start getting ready for a massively busy summer and a quick Christmas break (wasn’t much of a break).

Sail Sydney 2022 podium

I’m going to cut off here and start fresh for the next blog instalment about the domestic season and all the craziness that was the summer of 2023. Hang tight!