World record holder visits region
YACHTSMAN Bruce Arms called into Airlie Beach this week just three months out from taking the World Speed Sailing Council's ratified record for the first solo circumnavigation of Australia aboard a multihull.
"No-one's ever done it in a multihull [or] non-stop so it's really two records," he said.
Arms has briefly swapped his beloved catamaran 'Big Wave Rider' for a new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409, which he was recently commissioned to deliver from Mooloolaba to Townsville.
"You've got to get used to the heeling over again, but it's been a comfortable trip," he said.
Great Barrier Reef Boat Sales company director Rachel Hohnke, whose parent company booked Bruce for the trip, said the boat was the first of its kind in North Queensland to be privately owned.
"I think it demonstrates that people of Bruce's calibre are interested enough to sail a Jeanneau because there's not a lot of 409's in Australia. It's great to get the feedback from someone in the know," Hohnke said.
Also on hand to welcome Arms was Abel Point Yacht Club Commodore and good friend Rupert King.
Arms and King both hail from New Zealand and have sailed together for many years.
Arms is no stranger to the Whitsundays having cruised and raced here on several occasions, including the 2010 Multihull Rendezvous, which schedule permitting, might make the agenda for 2012.
"It would always a possibility. If we can fit it into the time schedule it's be nice to come back up here and race in one of the events," he said.
Arms completed his round Australia trip from July 10 to August 18 this year in 38 days, 21 hours, 41 minutes and 42 seconds. And as for the future, "We'd like to break the crewed around Australia record, which is currently held by the French - aboard a multihull that is," Arms said.
Whitsunday sailor Ian Thomson still holds the record for assisted monohull circumnavigation of Australia.