Sailor faces the challenges

Solo sailor Ian Thomson's world record attempt to circumnavigate Australia has got off to a good start and he is currently above the Northern Territory.
Solo sailor Ian Thomson's world record attempt to circumnavigate Australia has got off to a good start and he is currently above the Northern Territory.

INTREPID sailor Ian Thomson, now more than a week into his attempt to circumnavigate Australia, has started to adjust to the ups and downs of life as a solo voyager.

Thomson has been uploading snapshots of the voyage on his website every day and each posting paints a different picture about the unexpected challenges that have confronted him.

While the first couple of days were literally smooth sailing, with Thomson well ahead of schedule as he slipped past Cairns and rounded Cape York, he has since encountered a few minor slip ups that have ensured life aboard SOS Ocean Racing has been anything but mundane.

Sailing overnight on May 6 – or in Thomson's world, the end of Day 2 – demonstrated just how unpredictable life at sea can be.

Thomson wrote: “I had a few visitors last night in the form of sea birds, not up to speed on what type they are but five of them [were] flying around and two landed; one of them on the stern of the boat.

“I then decided to jibe and rather than take off, he headed straight downstairs into the cabin, proceeded to throw up the day's catch of fish all over the place and now the cabin stinks of fish.”

This incident was the start of a little trough of bad luck for Thomson, which culminated in his spinnaker wrapping itself around the forestay on May 11 or Day 7.

He wrote: “The last time this happened it was in the Sydney to Southport Yacht Race [and] even with six crew on the board, they could not get it unwrapped and just simply shredded the sail.

“After one hour of trying to unwrap it, I amazingly got it undone with no damage and this of course made me very happy.”

Today, Day 9 for Thomson, SOS is forecast to have flown past Darwin and started to head south.

For any more information or stories you can check Thomson's blog on his website –

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