7 reasons why our crew love our offshore passages
This blog describes the situation onboard Silver Fern but is representative for all our skippers and boats you can join.
7 reasons why sailing with Sail Race Crew and Silver Fern is a great experience!
Taking your sailing to the next level can be challenging, exciting and sometimes scary. Selecting the right crew, skipper and yacht for an offshore ocean passage or race is important and has the biggest single impact on whether you get to your destination safely and enjoy the journey.
If you want to become a capable and confident offshore sailor, the best thing you can do is go to sea with experienced skippers on well-prepared yachts. It does not matter how much you have read or how much inshore sailing you have done, going offshore on an ocean-going yacht is a whole new experience and a key step to preparing the offshore sailor. David has completed more than 30,000 nautical miles of coastal and offshore passages, competed in more than 400 yacht races and skippered multiple blue water ocean crossings during the past decade.
2. Great leadership
Imagine combining your best school camp experience, with a capable well-organised sailing team and the natural ability for creating team morale, regular humour and a highly personalised experience. Having led teams from 7 to 700 in size on the water, in community organisations and in business, David has the ability to take a bunch of strangers and form a cohesive, friendly, functioning team, in no time at all. To have an exceptional experience on the ocean, you need to be part of a great team.
3. Safety first
David found that the more sea miles he has under his belt from all sorts of conditions, the more his focus on ‘safety first’ has developed. On the yacht ‘Silver Fern‘ he has never spared any expense when it comes to safety equipment, use of technology and boat preparation. You can be confident the safety standards will give you peace of mind when heading offshore on Silver Fern.
There are countless examples of delivery skippers in the news and on social media who went to sea on a tight schedule, on ill-prepared vessels they were unfamiliar with, that they sailed short-handed with one or two “free” delivery crew, then ended up in trouble. These boats often have stressful, poorly prepared voyages, with equipment failure and crews arriving exhausted, swearing never to step aboard a yacht ever again.
Choose your skipper and vessel wisely, your life depends upon it.
4. Proven Team
Silver Fern has an experienced team in excess of 20 sailors to draw upon. This group includes experienced sailors, helmsmen, skippers, industry craftsmen and professionals; all of who regularly race onboard Silver Fern and also completed ocean passages. At any time we have a crew of 4-10 onboard depending on the style of ocean race, regatta, expedition or passage we are doing. In the past 12 months, our team have collectively sailed more than 10,000nm, including to north to Hamilton Island, east to Lord Howe Island and south to Sydney and to Hobart within Australia and across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand and back.
5. Real-time, hands-on training
You will learn more onboard Silver Fern in just a few days than you will learn from reading a bunch of sailing books. Our hands-on, fast-track learning environment, immerses you straight into offshore sailing. You’ll become confident within hours of getting started and relish the opportunity to learn from the extensive knowledge of those around you. From navigation to sail management and trimming, plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems, watch planning, heavy weather preparation, making landfall and weather analysis; we’ll teach it all in plain, everyday English. Every race, regatta and ocean passage is different and we always have to adapt to the challenges, conditions and weather we face. You’ll become part of the team and the decision-making process, the moment you step aboard.
6. David’s sailing philosophy
The more offshore sailing he does, the more he plans for every scenario. As a 24-year-old, he did his Private Pilots License and also completed his Commercial Pilots theory subjects. He chose not to make a career out of flying, but it taught him something he has carried through all of his ocean sailing miles and that’s to always have Plan B in the back of his mind. What if we can’t get into that anchorage? What if the engine stops? What if we can’t fix that pump? What if we don’t get there before dark? What if we lose a halyard?… The list can be endless, but his propensity for taking tools and spares that match the risk and expected conditions has meant we have always had the ability to respond to difficult situations and setbacks with a Plan B, that has ensured our safety, seaworthiness and ability to continue our race or our passage safely.
Silver Fern is a strong yacht, built to go anywhere in the world and we have upgraded and updated gear, to ensure we are always ‘match fit’ and ready to face the most extreme conditions.
Confidence in the seaworthiness of your yacht and capability of your team is what gives you confidence and peace of mind at sea. It’s almost never about luck. A successful ocean racer once said to David “the good sailors get the good luck”. David respects the ocean, the weather and the power of mother nature. Safety and prevention is always our highest priority. As he learned with flying, many times a private pilot has died from “get there-it is” by pushing on ahead into deteriorating weather, because of a rigid deadline. A wise man once said: “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.” While sailing is a lot more forgiving than aviation, any fool can go to sea.
7. Small personalised crew
We take a maximum of 4-8 paying crew on each ocean passage or expedition (plus 2 experienced Silver Fern crew members, to a maximum ocean passage crew of 10. We’ve got bunks for 12 and plenty of room for this number. With a small passage crew, we can more easily meet each person’s specific needs, whether it be more time at the helm, learning navigation or practising sail trimming. On ocean races and regattas, we’ll have a larger crew of 10-12 to meet the demands of competitive round-the-clock racing. We’ll hot-bunk on ocean races (50% in bunks / 50% on watch) and work together on a two-team watch system, to maintain boat speed around the clock.
- You can book any future event and secure your positions with as little as 20% deposit
- Check out an overview of our sailing destinations
- Review the 2021-2023 sailing calendar
- Extra reading on safety offshore.
- What’s expected of you and what to expect offshore and what to pack.
Join David on Silver Fern
The calendar is a combination of racing regattas and ocean passages up and down the East Coast of Australia with the highlights including Hamilton Island Race Week, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race and unique ocean adventure passages to Middleton Reef, Elizabeth Reef, Lord Howe Island, a circumnavigation of Tasmania and some Trans-Tasman crossings.
David sold his 45 foot Beneteau ‘Ocean Gem’ and purchased the exciting 72-foot ocean racing and expedition yacht ‘Silver Fern’ in August 2020 to expand our adventures.
If you book an event and then cancel (at least 30 days) before departure because you are affected by the changing border control/quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19 (when travelling internationally to our port of departure and/or at the port of arrival) your registration fees will be 100% refunded in full or transferred to another event.