Training day

Ranj BeardJust finished Level 1 and Level 2 training for the Clipper round the World race. The idea being that as Gosport is pretty far from Sydney Id do them back to back. It worked out pretty well albeit very tiring. The first week was super organised and naturally we were all keen as buttons to get involved, the second week was a little slower and by day 11 I got a stomach bug so my enthusiasm and sense of humour waned some what! Nevertheless it was great training and massive amounts of experience and knowledge were gained. Emergency procedures, sail changes, racing tactics, drills, points of sale plus much more were covered across the Solent and Channel and we “raced” across to Falmouth, down to the Channel Islands, round Alderney and back up covering nearly 1000 miles along the way. Australians, Russians, Norwegians, Brits, Swiss to name a few nationalities joined the throng and the camaraderie was excellent. The weather was unseasonably cold and we had force 7/8 conditions at times but it was great practice and the cold weather gear kept us all warm and dry when the waves weren’t crashing overhead! I bought a GoPro so enjoy the filming and stills below and if you are considering the training beware of the last clip!

My neighbourhood – some more amore!


imageThe walkway / boardwalk from Manly to Shelly beach is awesome, and I guess these couples thought so too! It’s not quite the Ponte Milvio in Rome, but I love this gesture. Some have braids and engravings – great bit of urban graffiti!

I didn’t see any with combination locks…..which was nice!

My Neighbourhood


2013 has got off to a flying start! Arriving back in Australia last month, thanks to Adrien and Daniella, I had a roof over my head in the lovely Mosman! Running in the morning down to Balmoral beach was a pleasure but looking for apartments in Sydney is very competitive! Having decided on Manly as the best option for someone at my stage in life, I looked at several apartments over a two week period. In Australia, as some other places, the apartments are shown to would be tenants at predetermined dates for 15 minute intervals. However with everyone viewing at the same time, vying for the agents attention, asking questions and measuring up, its a cut throat business! For each place there were at least 4-5 potential suitors, so in the end Gumtree came to the rescue and I found a little bachelor pad through a private landlord. “Nestled in among the back streets of Manly, a stroll away from all the amenities, is this charming semi furnished studio”… broom cupboard with sofa but its home and I’ve got wifi so am settling in nicely. No sooner had I unpacked from 8 weeks on the road however, I packed up again and headed off to Minh and JessieJervis Bay for a party with fellow MGSM graduates and a refreshing scuba along the coast with Minh and Jessie. Its been 4 years since I got my PADI in Zanzibar but it all came back very quickly. Cyclone Oswald didn’t do us any favours and the swell and thus boat trip out was eventful, but once in the water it wasn’t so bad even though the viz was pretty poor. We saw octopus, shark, lots of weird fish and dolphins a-leaping, so in all it was very successful, mind you any dive where you don’t drown is arguably so!

Having returned to Manly it was time to get the fitness regime back on track for the pending Round the World sailing training in April. So I’m now doing yoga three times a week followed by a 8-10k run towards Spit Bridge and a short swim in the ocean. Squash has recommenced on Mondays with Don Diego and the apartment block has a gym in it so I can do weights in between days. Today is Tuesday so naturally I can barely walk! Adrien (being a ex sailing instructor)…. (I think) has offered to give me some extra tutelage, so last week we took the seas in Hunters Bay in a Dart 16 catamaran. With such a small “vessel” you are really with the elements and everything happens very quickly, so naturally I capsized us within half an hour – a baptism of sorts you could say! Not to be disheartened we joined the club to get some extra practice in before D-Day! Living the dream or trying too hard….you decide!

Of course there is always business….. this year being that of the water snake (my birth year is the fire snake) ought to be a good one I think. The rationale being that as Pisces is a water symbol, maybe the water snake might have mercy! This time next year baby…….. oh yeah!Living the dream



Sounds of regal spendour

Think of life without music, silence the whole day long, ears that don’t hear rhythm, words without a song. Such inspiring lyrics from a favourite song, reminded me how important music is in life. Strangely its something I sporadically forget, such is life in the nomadic fast lane. My iPod is rammed with 160GB’s of music, more than 78 days of continuous listening, yet I barely find time, other than when running, to listen to any of it. Music on a rainy dayIt makes me wonder is there enough music recorded to enable someone to listen for a lifetime without repeating a song by the same artist? For me that might just be heaven, lost in world of rhythm, dance and sound. Indians are obsessed with it, Italians are ensconced in it, the
Welsh virtually communicate in it and yet its surprising that we limit it in favour of more dull endeavours. What constitutes music though and what does it take to be a song, is it “sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats” as defined by the much maligned Criminal Justice act in 1994 to hinder “illegal” public music gatherings… I think that’s a bit dry! Perhaps its the mythical 30 seconds that some believe constitutes copyright of music….. for some tunes that could be too long! For me it can be as simple as a morning routine such as the sound of a tap bursting to life, switching on the kettle and even hearing the microwave ping ( a bit like the beginning of Pink Floyd’s “Money”).Music takes me up I believe Elvis Presley said its whatever gets your feet moving and I kind of like that definition. As such 2013 is definitely going to be my year of sound! I’ve flirted with salsa with a little success and even dabbled in tango, with no joy at all, but for sure my resolution for 2013 is to listen to more music, dance to more music and if possible start making music again. I long for that creativity, spirituality and escapism that, other than a novel, only music can provide. So what do you consider sounds of regal splendour – please send me votes and ideas on your most uplifting song! On a rainy day in Sydney, when there’s not much else to do, here’s that little jovial number from Mr. Scruff – Music takes me up!