Friday, June 14, 2024

Inside the largest and smallest boats on this yr’s fleet

“It relies on the entire climate outlook, however sometimes, we must always have the ability to knock it off [the race] in 4 days,” Michel mentioned.

“I believe the report for this dimension of boat is about three-and-a-half days, however that would wish beneficial working and reaching situations. However this boat can go fairly fast.”

Co-skipper and owner of Niksen, Marc Michel.

Co-skipper and proprietor of Niksen, Marc Michel. Credit score: Louise Kennerley

It’s all arms on deck for Niksen. With a two-person crew, shift work is versatile and a minimum of one particular person is awake always.

In good climate, Michel and co-skipper Logan Fraser will do 4 hours on, 4 hours off. In tough and harmful situations, they’ve mastered the artwork of power-napping.

“It simply relies upon what’s occurring. If situations are powerful, then it could solely be an hour [sleep],” Michel mentioned. “You will get to the state of affairs, significantly in tough climate, the place simply 20 minutes, and you are feeling like a brand new particular person.”

Niksen’s sleeping quarters are spacious, a mattress on both facet in the back of the boat with a light-weight mattress. It’s much more luxurious than the tremendous maxis.

On Andoo Comanche, the 24-person crew additionally does shift work – fours hours on, 4 hours off, sometimes half the crew might be up high whereas the opposite half are down under.

The beds are primary, just like what you’d take tenting, and grasp from the edges of the boat. Navigator Justin Shaffer sleeps at his desk, whereas engineer Andre Vorster wears headphones whereas sleeping on a beanbag – out there always.

On Niksen, Michel and Fraser are every part – the navigator, engineer, prepare dinner, cleaner and sailor.

It’s quite a lot of duty, however Michel wouldn’t have it every other manner. His final Sydney to Hobart was in 2005 on board tremendous maxi Zana, nevertheless it’s not the form of crusing he likes.

“After I sailed on the 100-footer I did the starboard runner, and that’s all I did the entire strategy to Hobart,” he mentioned. “[On two-man boats you do] completely every part, and if you happen to break one thing you’ve received to repair it. It’s a really all-round problem.”

With regards to meals, every part is easy. Michel and Fraser have frozen meals for the primary half of their journey, however will swap to dehydrated meals by the top. For Andoo Comanche, it’s dehydrated meals all the best way to Hobart.

And naturally, there’s a bathroom – it doesn’t get a lot use, no matter which boat you’re on, however they’re on board if you happen to’re courageous sufficient – ft strapped in to maintain you grounded.


Andoo possible gained’t win general – it’s closely handicapped as a result of it’s the quickest boat – however line honours is on the playing cards. For Niksen, an general win can also be unlikely, however Michel’s solely aim is to cross the road.

“I’ll be sincere, I’ve prayed my manner throughout Bass Strait, and I’ve seen grown males go to items in Bass Strait,” he mentioned.

“Anybody that will get to Hobart, that’s an excellent achievement. To get to Hobart, you’ve at all times received to earn it. It’s at all times laborious, it’s by no means straightforward … [and] it’s not till you get throughout that line that you may calm down.”

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