And they're off

Paul Larsen describes day one of Raw Nerve's round Australia record attempt
Sailing along north east of Eden may be considered the usual route for most sailors from these parts to get to Hobart. Hobart is where we are headed - trouble is that it is directly behind us and we are northbound. We humans tend to make a habit of making our lives difficult. We chose Tasmania as the starting point for our 'around Australia record' attempt for a number of reasons not the least being that it would give us some control over the weather with which we would cross the infamous Bass Strait. We trucked across yesterday in 25 to 35 knots on the beam. This makes for wet sailing no matter what type of boat you sail. There was a confused chop which didn't help but all the same we sat around 18 knots for the larger part of it. The forward structure sure was moving a lot of water out the way. The boat is performing well but it does feel a little heavy under the burden of the necessary provisions for the trip. We have sailed into lighter headwinds now which have us 30 or so degrees east of course approaching Sydney. It is a glorious night outside under the Southern cross. We have not seen a ship since we started and apart from a close encounter with a whale which we had to quickly avoid, the ocean is ours to enjoy. Raw Nerve goes well upwind due probably to the longitudinal stiffness of its layout, a very efficient rig and nine feet deep daggerboards. The layout of the boat is unconventional for a cat of this size and type in that the rig is stepped on the pod between two beams and not on a central beam. Whilst the emphasis is very much on performance,