Exclusive report from Spirit of Australia


G’ day supporters,

Welcome to the first of many updates from the good yacht Spirit of Australia, competing in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Race.

We began the race in Hull, on the east coast of England on September 13. The first part of the race was a short shakedown sprint to La Rochelle in France, 730nm away. We blitzed the course in an astounding three days, averaging 10kts all the way. Our fastest speed was an 18.2-knot surf in 33kts of wind.

We raced hard and prevailed on the leader board, coming in a creditable second. We are now on the next leg of the race, from
La Rochelle to Rio de Janeiro. At present, we are nine days into the race and are holding second place.

My crew of amateur sailors are performing brilliantly and we are showing persistence in the face of everything the sea can throw at them. For somebody who never sailed before the clipper race training, to be helming a 32-tonne missile downwind under spinnaker in a rolling
Atlantic swell is an amazing achievement. The smile on the crew’s faces as they conquer these new challenges is what makes me so glad to be their skipper.

So, that brings you up to speed, look forward to a new update each week.

— Ben Hall,
Spirit of Australia

Photo: Spirit of Australia's skipper Ben Hall.