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Ocean Gem Beneteau 445

Ocean Gem Beneteau 445

2,495.004,525.00

Ocean Gem Beneteau 445: she is a 45-foot yacht for the ocean sailing adventure of a lifetime. Whether its a 600nm ocean passage down Australia’s East Coast, a 200 yacht regatta around the Whitsunday Islands, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, a Tasman Sea crossing or circumnavigating Tasmania, why not join Ocean Gem as a paying crew member in one of the limited spots available for each adventure.

Our mission while you are aboard is to share our knowledge and experience to ensure you get to play an active role as a crew member on our team. On a passage, you will be an equal part of the crew and responsible for all aspects of boat navigation, handling and trimming. If you join us for an ocean race or regatta you will be assigned a racing role as an active part of our race team and experience all of the highs, lows and highlights that come with offshore racing in some spectacular locations. This is not a yacht charter or luxury cruise, you will be hands-on from the “get-go” and your experience can be described as an ocean racing adventure or passage sailing expedition. This is ocean sailing, its the real thing. Join us for an adventure now, it will be challenging, you will have to deal with whatever mother nature serves up, you will see some spectacular sights and the memories will last you a lifetime…

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SKU: OGB-445 Category:

Product Description

Ocean Gem

Ocean Gem a Beneteau 445 was built in 1992 and was purchased by the current owner, David Hows in 2011 and berthed in Auckland NZ until late 2013, while extensive cruising was undertaken around the top half of New Zealand’s North Island. In November 2013 David sailed Ocean Gem across the Tasman Sea via Norfolk Island to the Gold Coast where Ocean Gem is now located at the Southport Yacht Club SYC where David has competed in more than 250 club races since January 2014. Ocean Gem has had title successes in the QLD Beneteau Cup, Sail Paradise Regatta, the Coffs to Paradise Race and won multiple SYC twilight/offshore series and club championship titles.

Why consider sailing with us on Ocean Gem?

Experience

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 as your skipper, has completed more than 25,000 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.

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 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.

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 Ocean Gem, we have never spared any expense when it comes to safety equipment, use of technology and boat preparation. You can be confident our safety standards will give you peace of mind when heading offshore on Ocean Gem.

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.

Experienced team

Ocean Gem 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 Ocean Gem and also complete ocean passages. At any time we have a team of 4-10 onboard depending on the style of race, regatta or passage we are doing. In the past 12 months, our team have collectively sailed Ocean Gem 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.

Real-time, hands-on training

You will learn more onboard Ocean Gem 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.

Small personalised crew

We take a maximum of 2-4 paying crew on each ocean passage (plus 1-4 experienced Ocean Gem crew members, to a maximum ocean passage crew of 6. We’ve got bunks for 7 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 8-10  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.

Gold Coast Dolphin Watching

Feel the fear and do it anyway

When David first contemplated crossing the Tasman Sea in 2013, he had weeks of sleepless nights. He had read every book possible on sailing disasters and despite the long list of extra spares, tools and equipment to counteract every possible scenario, he felt uneasy until the day he departed. As soon as he cleared customs and cast off the dock-lines, fear quickly turned to excitement as he realised the great adventure that lay ahead. While he had sailed thousands of nautical miles prior to this, he had barely been out of sight of land.

What David discovered in November 2013 was the magic that comes with completing ocean passages. From the deadline-driven pressure of the preparation and planning to the sheer wonder that unfolds hone you head to onto the open sea, under the brightest night stars you will ever seas on your own private circular piece of ocean. Your life quickly transforms into planning you next meal, lots of relaxation and sleep, studying what the weather is doing next and the daily tasks and schedule that comes with managing a yacht and crew offshore.

The colours and textures that are created by the sky, sea, wind and sun create a stunning natural kaleidoscope of endless combinations. Whales, dolphins, turtles, fish and sea birds add to the awe that comes with time on the ocean and away from land.

Getting offshore

It’s only once you get away from land that you realise how comfortable being at sea really is. Without land, reefs, rocks, shipping lanes, commercial trawlers and other recreational vessels to worry about, heading offshore and out of sight of anyone or anything for days on end is a feeling of both isolation and empowerment. Offshore bluewater sailing in the right conditions is an addictive thing to do. The more you do, the more you realise you can do. Whether its 200m deep or 5,000 metres deep, or you are 10nm or 500nm from the nearest coastline, the view and the conditions are just the same in 10-20 knots. With today’s weather forecasting tools, there is no sound reason for ending up in harms way with good planning and seamanship.

Test yourself and discover your potential

When a lot of sailors think about racing; skippers with short tempers, high blood pressure and excessing yelling and screaming come to mind. This picture of a high-stress environment can be etched in our minds from a bad experience earlier in life or just the behaviour we witness at our local yacht club on a windy weekend.

On cohesive, well-trained racing teams this behaviour could not be further from reality. The Ocean Gem racing team that David has shaped and developed over the past years, over the course of 400+ races has created a culture of talented amateur sailors, that work well together and who are crossed trained and able to cover most positions on the boat. When you join this racing team for an ocean race or regatta, you will quickly settle into a role, surrounded by capable team-oriented people who will support and train you to quickly become a contributor to the team.

With the latest in carbon racing sails, racing rigging systems and advanced electronic technology, we are a competitive and consistent performer in local, coastal and long-distance ocean races. You’ll enjoy great team morale, plenty of humour, a comfortable warm dry, bunk and excellent food as we compete in comfort and style on a solid boat you can count on to be reliable. We have picked up plenty of inshore and offshore club championship and regatta titles won Queensland State titles and won a number of long-distance ocean races and its seldom because we have the fastest boat and often because we have a great team that works well together, give it 100% and who refuse to give up when the chips are down. We never give up and often come from behind when others have.

There is nothing more exhilarating than being on the start line with 50 other large yachts as the 5-minute gun goes off… or battling you way around the top mark with your competitors and getting your spinnaker up first… or surfing downwind under spinnaker in 20-30 knots of wind… or winning a long ocean race by just a few seconds and realise you it was that one tack you did a little bit better than the other boat.

We have taken first-time sailors, on day one to racing regatta performers from the get-go. Yacht racing is really a bunch of simple steps, carried out in the right order in coordination with the rest of the team. That takes communication, training and a willingness to listen and learn. That’s all.

Checklists and resources

We have a range of checklists and resources here to help you prepare for your adventure with us.

Ocean Gem Crew Gear List

Space is a premium onboard and its surprisingly easier to sail with less rather than more gear. The following is a list of required gear that will ensure you can stay warm, cool and dry in the conditions we sail in. Remember its a lot cooler at night especially in strong winds so you need to be able to layer up and down to manage body temperature. Download checklist as PDF.

Ocean Gem Crew Gear List

David takes safety seriously and it’s impossible to have high safety standards without also having high training standards. Most skippers talk about how important safety is to them, but very few actually do a thorough job of training their crew and ensuring that the vessel can continue to operate safely even if they are incapacitated.

It’s one thing to have the knowledge in your head, but it takes a different level of safety management to ensure that accurate, safety and vessel operations information is at everyone’s fingertips when it’s required, especially in an emergency situation. It’s often 2 or 3 poor decisions or minor operational mistakes that can set off a chain of escalating problems and cause injury, gear failure and in extreme cases, loss of life or the vessel.

Although we perform several hours of safety training and vessel familiarisation prior to departure, it’s not always easy to remember every detail. What we also carry onboard and make available to every crew member prior to and during every passage is our; 47-page Ocean Gem Yacht Operations Manual written especially by David and tailored to Ocean Gem’s crew, yacht design, systems and safety equipment. Feel free to download a copy.

Offshore sailing: what to expect and what’s expected of you

Welcome to offshore sailing, if you enjoy sailing offshore, then ocean passages and big regattas add a whole new dimension. Here are some thoughts on how to make it a great experience for you and your team.

1. Attitude Crew Resources Ocean GemYour attitude has a major impact on your enjoyment and those around you. Having a positive and proactive approach to your fellow team members is really important. You will be working and living in a confined space that can get uncomfortable, but a positive atmosphere has a major impact on everyone on board. If you are not feeling great mentally, try and diagnose what you need; is it time out, asleep, food, hydration, time out of the sun etc. If you deteriorate physically, your mental state will follow.

2. Personal responsibility – As part of the crew on a racing yacht, you have the responsibility to fulfil your role to the best of your ability and manage your own personal safety, health and well being, so you can enjoy the race and avoid putting yourself and your team at risk.

On a racing yacht, you will experience all sorts of extreme weather and sea conditions and these can have an impact on our ability to sail safely. You are working on a slippery, moving surface with equipment such as halyards, sheets, winches, booms and spinnaker poles that are under heavy load and can cause injury or death if you end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Crew Resources Ocean GemTo stay mentally sharp, you need to stay in peak physical condition. This requires managing food intake, energy levels, hydration, sleep, body temperature, sun protection and seasickness. There are lots of variables and the environment changes constantly. Managing these things requires ongoing diligence. It’s also good to keep an eye on your team members around you and check they are staying on track too. Accidents, injuries and damage to the yacht are usually caused by losing mental focus and making poor decisions and these are often triggered by fatigue and declining energy levels.

3. Teamwork/support/communication – One of the most enjoyable parts of ocean racing is the friendship, support and camaraderie of being part of a great team. To make a great contribution to our team spirit there are some things you can do that will make a big difference;

  • Be positive and enthusiastic. Have a sense of humour.
  • Avoid being negative, sarcastic, overly critical or losing your cool.
  • Respect our shared spaces by storing your gear tidily and keeping kitchen and bathroom areas clean.
  • Don’t sulk or give people the silent treatment. If you are happy – say so. If you are not happy, chat to someone about what’s bothering you and work out a plan to deal with it proactively.
  • Be enthusiastic about the tasks you need to do to keep the yacht and the crew in good shape. If you want a hot drink, offer to make one for everyone else. If you are grabbing a snack, check who else wants one. When we all take care of each other, everything is easier.
  • Crew Resources Ocean GemCheck your crewmates are OK. Often crew will get hungry, dehydrated, cold or seasick and start to go downhill rapidly. When you don’t feel great, it’s easy to drop your head, not feel like moving and think; “if I just sit here, things will eventually improve”. They rarely do, but the mind can start making poor decisions under stress or fatigue. Check on your teammates regularly on a long passage. Managing health and well-being is an ongoing focus and we all have times when we feel great and not so great – and that’s when we count on our teammates to help us get back on track.
  • Communicate – if you are worried about something, see a potential issue with the yacht, see a crew member who does not look well, have an issue with someone else over something that has happened earlier or has been said. Its always better to speak up and communicate in a pleasant, respectful and constructive manner. The best teams communicate regularly regardless of whether things are going right or wrong.
  • Be proactive and take ownership – good sailors think ahead and stay proactive. When you are responsible for specific functions on the yacht; plan ahead, communicate, check to fine-tune and plan ahead. If something does not feel right or you think we can make some changes to improve boat operations, teamwork, systems or speed, always speak up and share your thoughts. Continuous improvement is how we get better and better as a team.
  • Sometimes you will carry your team and sometimes they will carry you. There are always ups and downs, so just do your best and expect that things won’t always go smoothly.

4. Personal comfort Crew Resources Ocean GemOn a racing yacht you are going to face extreme heat and cold, you will get wet, suffer from wind chill, hurt yourself and find it hard to get comfortable. It’s really important to manage your comfort levels, so you balance staying warm, cool and dry to maintain optimum comfort. Sometimes it’s easy to put off going below to change your clothing and the end result is usually increased discomfort and wishing you had done it sooner. Being comfortable makes it easier to maintain focus and your contribution to the yacht’s performance.

5. Hydration – Your body is about 60% water. A 5% loss in hydration reduces brain function by 25% and leads to a loss of energy, loss of focus, headaches, sleepiness and seasickness. The most classic example is to avoid drinking water regularly so that you don’t need to go to the toilet in rough weather, which can be time-consuming when taking wet weather/safety gear off and there is the worry that ‘if I am in the toilet too long, I might get seasick as well’. You have to maintain your hydration, which usually means 2 litres of fluids a day (more in hot weather) including water, hot drinks and other cold drinks. Dehydration impacts decision making and can lead to accidents that put both crew and the yacht at risk. If your lips/mouth are dry or you are yawning, they are all symptoms of dehydration.

6. Seasickness – Everyone has different tolerance levels for seasickness and everyone will be sick at some point if the contributing factors line up.

  • Do’s – Stay warm, stay hydrated, maintain sleep levels, stay up on deck, keep your eyes on the horizon and avoiding reading your phone or books or looking down. If you are not feeling great, get others to bring up food, drinks and clothing for you.
  • Don’ts – Avoid alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods and late nights in the 24 hours before going offshore.
  • Be proactive – Crew Resources Ocean GemCheck the forecast and take seasickness pills in advance of rough weather. Its like insurance, it does not work if you wait until you feel sick, to take it.
  • Watch out for your mates – If you see other crewmembers going downhill, do your best to make sure they are warm, dry, fed and hydrated. Discuss any concerns with the skipper, as it’s always best to take precautions before someone’s condition deteriorates.
  • Sailing through rough weather has a big impact on your stomach muscles, as you use them to brace your body constantly to stay upright. Stretched stomach muscles can often cause discomfort and can be confused with the onset of seasickness, when in fact it’s just strained stomach muscles. Doing sit-ups for 4-6 weeks prior to a big passage race can help prevent this.

7. Sleep – Managing your sleep can be difficult on passages of 3-5 days in length, but it is really important for your wellbeing and ability to contribute to boat management, to manage your sleep proactively. Sleeping below can be hot, noisy and rocky depending on temperature and weather and it’s tempting to live on less sleep than you need, but that can cause headaches, seasickness and an inability to concentrate on your tasks on deck.

With overnight races, we will have a watch system in place that will see you on watch with others for between 2-4 hours, once or twice between 8 pm and 6 am. Broken sleep will cause you to feel tired (and grumpy) during the day following, so take advantage of the opportunity to head below and grab a couple of hours sleep, when the opportunity arises during the day. Think of it as topping up your batteries regularly instead of running them completely flat.

8. Your focus and boat performance – Part of the challenge of offshore passage racing is the ability to maintain a high level of focus and boat performance 100% of the time. As a team, it’s important to rotate each trimming and helming role regularly to keep people fresh and focused. We should all feel happy to take a break when we start to lose concentration and also ask a crew member if they want a break if we start to see them losing focus and affecting sail trim or boat performance.

Crew Resources Ocean GemLong passages and races can have sections that are uncomfortable, boring, hot, cold and difficult. Rotating regularly helps break up roles and keep our crew fresh and in good shape.

9. Hero’s and risk-takers –There are only 3 priorities when it comes to offshore passage racing;

  • Keeping our crew safe.
  • Keeping our yacht safe.
  • Working together as a team and giving it 100%.

Offshore racing is very different to bay/day racing. Managing the yacht conservatively to avoid damage and minimise over stressing of sails, hardware and the hull is very important. Great crewmembers are assets, but poor crewmembers can become liabilities that can put the welfare of the yacht and team at risk. When we are sailing offshore, we have to be self-sufficient. Help is usually several hours away and getting rescued can be dangerous in itself, so its better not to put yourself in that position.

With round-the-cans racing, there is often stress and urgency to execute in seconds, as every metre counts. With offshore sailing, what becomes more important is planning ahead, preparing well, minimising risk and making sure safety is our number one priority. With stronger breezes, bigger seas, night sailing and the risk of losing someone overboard; taking time to execute methodically and safely becomes the overriding priority. Taking risks and heroic behaviour is a last resort if all else fails. Getting our yacht and team to our destination without injury or damage is always our biggest achievement. Results come second.

10. Boat management Crew Resources Ocean GemWith offshore passages, changes in wind, weather and sea state create all sorts of challenges. Another risk is damage or loss of equipment due to things working themselves loose and coming undone or chafe causing lines, sails and sheets to wear through and fail. Good management requires us to constantly check that all fittings and shackles are tight and to look for areas at risk of chafe that we can adjust and fine-tune.

Keeping updated with weather forecasts and adjusting sails proactively also helps minimise damage. Leaving it too late to reef or reduce sail only puts the yacht and crew at risk. As you walk around the yacht above and below deck, keep your eyes, ears and nose open. If you smell something strange (smoke or toilets), see something that’s out of place (chafing), hear water sloshing in the bilge or a knocking noise then check it out. If something does not seem right – it probably isn’t, so don’t ignore it.

11. Training – Offshore passages are a great opportunity for training. There is a chance to spend time learning each of the crew/helm/navigator roles and also to better understand many of the yacht’s systems e.g. water, refrigeration, engine, electronics, communication, emergency management etc. Look for opportunities to learn and to teach. It helps make the most of the time on the water and can make some of the monotonous sections of the race pass faster.

12. Safety – Your personal safety and that of the crew and the yacht is a collective responsibility. Offshore racing has numerous risks that include; cuts, broken bones, fire, hypothermia, drowning, sinking, concussion and being lost at sea. With every step you take and every move you make, its important to consider the impact and risks involved. Its always better to take the time to plan, communicate, assess how difficult a task is and err on the side of caution by getting extra help if you need it.

There is a lot of safety equipment that we invest in and carry on board to maximise safety and eliminate as many risks as possible. You are responsible for your own safety and need to take it seriously. You will be equipped with PFD’s, whistles, lights, PLB’s (personal locator beacons), knives, safety tethers and wet weather gear. They take time to put on and take off when going to bed or the bathroom. The entire process of undressing and/or getting dressed again can take 20-30 minutes, especially if the boat is heeling and going to windward over a lumpy sea. Be patient and enjoy the process, most people would kill to go ocean racing instead of sitting at a desk in an office.

Crew Resources Ocean GemFalling overboard can be traumatic for you and for the crew. Losing someone overboard is our biggest fear and there is no guarantee you will be found and recovered alive despite all the safety equipment and personal locator beacons. Hypothermia sets in quickly in southern waters and in big seas you are at risk of being injured by the hull of the yacht in the recovery process. You will have a safety tether that you can use to attach yourself to the yacht – use it.

Most man overboard situations occur with a knockdown, freak wave, sail change or unexpected gybe and therefore will happen before you have time to respond. Use your safety tether after sunset, in rough weather, when leaving the cockpit, when the spinnaker is up and any other time we are not sailing on a millpond or close to outside assistance.

Some tips; if in doubt use your safety tether, when going forward of the cockpit hold on to rails and safety lines, keep your body weight low by crouching when moving in a swell, take your time and use your shorter safety tether when working at the mast or near the bow. Sailors have drowned when using their 2-metre safety tether while working up at the bow and then getting washed overboard and dragged along underwater on the end of their safety tether.

The best thing you can do is stay on-board. If you see another crew member taking short cuts or unnecessary risks – speak up; safety is everyone’s responsibility. We never want to have to meet with the police or your loved ones and explain how we lost you overboard.

13. Physical fitness/workload managementCrew Resources Ocean GemWe are in the unique position of being amateur club sailors and competing at a state or national level in events that often include professional racing teams. We have a crew that range in age from 16 to 60 something and that brings all sorts of challenges and opportunities. As a racing crew, there are many roles to be performed on-board and many ways to make a contribution. From helming to sail trimming, foredeck management, preparing meals, making hot drinks and grabbing snacks, they are important roles with vastly different requirements in both experience and physicality that we can all play.

It’s important to play to your strengths in whatever roles you enjoy and manage your physical workload to avoid injury through overload/tiredness. Having a racing crew of 7-10 means we have the ability to rotate roles and allow for rest and recovery time as well. The is no benefit in overexerting yourself to the point where you bend or break something, that then limits your ability to contribute as an effective crew member.

A lot of the at-risk areas with sailing are; arms, shoulders, stomach muscles and lower back. Helming, winching, trimming sheets, pulling halyards and bracing yourself when going to windward in a lumpy sea and a strong breeze is where most of the physical impact takes place. Anything you do increase your strength in these areas is a benefit in offshore racing.

Always assess how strong and fit you are and manage your workload accordingly. It’s smarter to ask for help or take a break than to push yourself to the point where you suffer an injury. I have the view that a champion team is made up of people with a variety of strengths and experience to draw upon. We are not professional athletes and our goal is to succeed as a team, make a meaningful contribution individually and take satisfaction out of “punching above our weight”.

Crew Resources Ocean GemSuccess to me is measured by ‘how we go about our work and how we take care of each other’, not how many trophies we win. If we take care of each other, work effectively together, enjoy learning new skills, always give 100% and have some fun along the way, then the results will come.

14. Sun protection – Sun is one of the biggest threats with long periods of time on the water. Excess sun will cause overheating, sunburn, dehydration, fatigue and seasickness. It’s important to manage your exposure to the sun each day. Wear clothing that reduces exposure, such as hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts. Manage your time in direct sun, by using shade created by the sails or sleeping below to reduce excess exposure. Increased time in the sun and hotter temperatures will increase your water intake requirements. Excess sun combined with dehydration will cause headaches, tiredness and even seasickness. Even on cloudy days, 70% of the suns UV gets through. If you get burnt, its sunburn and not windburn. Use sun-cream proactively, if you get burnt you will have an unpleasant trip and find sleeping difficult as well.

15. Summary – enjoy your sailing, you will never wish you spent less time on the ocean!

Safety flare trainingOcean Gem is regularly audited by registered Australian Sailing National Equipment Safety Auditors to ensure we are compliant to the safety standards required for offshore sailing. Our safety audits are performed at least once annually and we are usually audited to Category 1 (Trans-Tasman / Sydney to Hobart) or Category 2 (Coastal Ocean Passage) standards each year depending on the events we have planned.

These rigid safety standards ensure that yachts and crews are well prepared and trained to handle extreme conditions confidently. Many of our crew have undergone sea safety and survival, marine first aid, radar, offshore skipper, radio communications and diesel engine maintenance training courses as part of the Category 1 & 2 crew training requirements.

Ocean Gem Safety, boat management checklists and manuals

Ocean Gem safety brief checklist – Download
Ocean Gem yacht operations manual – Download
Ocean Gem abandon ship checklist – Download
Ocean Gem sail management guide – Download

Safety equipment floor plans

We carry an extensive list of safety equipment on board and are trained to use it in all conditions. The following outlines detailed floor plans summarising where equipment is stored.

Ocean Gem exterior planOcean Gem interior safety plan

Podcast producer and sailor David Hows

I am a sailing addict. I have watched, followed or listened to almost every Americas Cup Series and Volvo Ocean Race since 1987. The highs and lows of supporting the New Zealand Teams have been a rollercoaster ride over the years. I am a 48-year-old New Zealander that has lived in Australia for 13 years and I dream of one day returning to New Zealand for summer every year, to live on a piece of Waiheke Island paradise in a place overlooking my beloved Hauraki Gulf (while still spending the winters on the Gold Coast in Queensland).

After being a dinghy sailor for many years, I purchased a 1992 Beneteau 44.5 in 2011 and spent my first 2 summers as a keelboat owner, cruising the top half of the North Island of New Zealand, before sailing her (Ocean Gem) across the Tasman in late 2013, with my 68-year-old father as part of the 4 man crew, to where she is now based at the Southport Yacht Club (SYC) on the Gold Coast and raced regularly.

It was such a great experience that I wrote and published an iBook ‘Sailing the Tasman Sea’, so my Dad could keep a memory of our treasured trip together, forever. This was the first time in my life that I really understood the power of capturing and sharing stories. I am not a writer or journalist. I am a sailor and I love introducing new people to my love of all things – sailing.

My ‘Ocean Gem’ racing crew and I have now competed in more than 400 races and regattas since 2014 including two Rolex Sydney Hobart Races, the Sydney to Gold Coast Race, Pittwater to Southport Race, Brisbane to Hamilton Island Race, Hamilton Island Race Week, the Queensland Beneteau Cup and the 2018 Solo Tasman Race. I have been north to Hamilton Island and south to Sydney multiple times. I have now crossed the Tasman five times (twice solo) and I think we are possibly the only 1992 Beneteau to ever get a carbon sail wardrobe and an IRC rating in Australia. We have also won back to back Keel Boat Club Championships at the Southport Yacht Club in 2016 and 2017.

In 2018 Australian Sailing awarded me the honour and the title of Australian Sailing: Queensland Offshore Sailor of the Year.

Some of my favourite reads are ‘Peter Montgomery: The Voice of Yachting’ by Bill Francis (2015) and ‘Australian Ocean Racing’, published in 1967 by Murray Davis and they are great chronicles of the birth of Ocean Racing in New Zealand and Australia, going back as far as 1907 with the first Melbourne to Tasmania Race.

These books have again reinforced to me that there are so many untold sailing stories that need to be captured and shared or they risk being lost forever.

My extensive reading and sailing, combined with Andy Schell’s 59 North Podcast inspired me to launch the Ocean Sailing Podcast in 2016 to capture and share the numerous ocean racing and cruising sailing stories on a regular basis with armchair sailors, cruisers and racers across Australasia, that help inspire us to sail further and set our sights on new challenges. The Ocean Sailing Podcast has now had more than 500,000 episode downloads and has listeners in more than 100 countries with my ocean racing, regattas and adventures attracting an increasing amount of media attention too.

My sailing philosophy

The more offshore sailing I do, the more I plan for every scenario. As a 24-year-old, I did my Private Pilots License and also completed my Commercial Pilots theory subjects. I chose not to make a career out of flying, but it taught me something I have carried through all of my ocean sailing miles and that’s to always have Plan B in the back of my 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 my 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 set backs with a Plan B, that has ensured our safety, seaworthiness and ability to continue our race or our passage safely. Over the years Ocean Gem has become stronger (and heavier) as 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 sailed to me “the good sailors get the good luck”. I respect the ocean, the weather and the power of mother nature. Safety and prevention is always our highest priority. As I learned with flying, many a private pilot has died from “get there-itis” 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.

 

Regards David

This is not a yacht charter, boat hire, training course or luxury cruise. You are joining a working ocean passage or racing crew, paying your share of the trip/event costs including a donation towards the general running, maintenance and upgrade costs of the vessel and you will have an active, hands-on role to play as a crew member. Most importantly, you’ll be welcomed into our team and made to feel at home, as an important part of the Ocean Gem crew.

Your role onboard

You’ll land on your feet quickly and we will give you all the training and support to need to be able to fulfil your crew role. There is no previous offshore experience necessary, although prior sailing experience is required. Your tasks may include some or all of the following;

  • Hoisting and trimming sails
  • Standing watch
  • Reefing the mainsail
  • Navigating
  • Standing watch
  • Cooking, cleaning & washing up

Do’s and Dont’s

This is an ocean-going yacht and safety is our highest priority at all times. As a crew member you must also agree to the following;

  • Observe all safety procedures, training and instruction provided
  • Only use safety equipment as instructed and when requested
  • Wear a PDF (Personal Flotation Device), PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), Safety tether (clipped to the boat when directed) and any other clothing and equipment, whenever directed, to ensure you remain safe in all conditions
  • To take responsibility for managing clothing, hydration, sleep and nutrition to maintain your health and well being aboard
  • No alcohol consumption or smoking while at we are racing or at sea. No illegal drugs are to be bought on board. Any prescription or allergy medication must be stored in the ships medical cabinet while aboard
  • To treat everyone aboard with respect regardless of their gender, age or prior experience. No yelling, abusive language, socially offensive or threatening behaviour will be tolerated
  • To follow all reasonable and lawful requests and directions given to you by David Hows and his nominated employees.

Your physical ability

  • Please tell us upfront if you have any physical limitations including prior injuries, back problems, health issues and anything that will prevent you from playing your part on board. We can work around most things, but its important we know so we don’t put you at risk or in a role you are unlikely to be able to fulfil safely and enjoyably. It’s important that you have a great experience while you are part of our crew and good teamwork is about playing to everyone’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Can you swim? Can you swim 100 metres or tread water confidently? Understanding your swimming ability is important for ensuring we assess the conditions that you will be required to wear a PDF (Personal Flotation Device) for your own safety.

While onboard

  • Each person will be assigned a single (twin-share) berth while on passage to use for the entire passage except for extreme weather conditions, where we may change where people sleep
  • No eating food in cabins
  • Each person will get their own gear bags (1 x 20 litre, 1 x small) to store their personal gear in while aboard. These are usually hanging in the main saloon area to keep the cabins uncluttered and easy to get in and out of. No gear can be stored on the floor, it must be secure and put where it belongs at all times. There is a separate shared space for storing boots and wet weather gear.

Meals & diet

  • All meals are supplied while aboard. You are welcome to bring snacks that you prefer to eat while at sea. Avoiding excessive sugar and caffeine at sea is recommended
  • All food should be consumed while in the saloon, galley or cockpit. No liquids or food at the nav station and no food to be consumed in cabins
  • Please confirm if you have any dietary limitations or allergies.

Weather & comfort

  • We set our schedule based on various special events and seasonal weather. We use the latest in Predict Wind weather forecasting technology and commercial weather routing services, to plan for safe passages at all times. We download updated weather forecasts 2-3 times a day while at sea, to ensure we monitor and adapt to any changes in the forecast, that may affect our comfort or passage time
  • Reality does not always match the forecast and we have to adapt to the weather we get and manage Ocean Gem to optimise for performance, comfort and safety in all conditions
  • We are Category 1 equipped to handle the most extreme weather safely and confidently, but will always choose to avoid it where possible
  • Sometimes you may get cold, wet, tired, hungry, seasick and scared. There is a lot you can do to prevent this, but those are the challenges that we have to deal with ocean sailing. Sometimes there is no wind and endless days of sunshine
  • We will support you through the challenges you encounter and have strategies that can help you maximise your comfort and wellbeing.

Pre & post passage

  • Before we get started, we will complete a full training and safety induction to ensure your start off confident and comfortable and feel right at home onboard. Whether racing or on a passage, we have a friendly crew that will do their utmost to share their knowledge to ensure you can play your part from day one, so you get the maximum enjoyment
  • Once we are done sailing, we may need your help to clean up and pack up. Many hands make light work and it’s always a great time for reflecting on trip highlights and celebrating the completion with the crew.

Other stuff

  • Join us on Ocean Gem for an adventure does not provide you with a formal qualification and we are not a sailing school. You will have an opportunity to learn and participate almost any level in the management of the boat especially on ocean passages
  • If you join us for an ocean race or regatta you will be given roles that suit your physical ability, experience and desire to learn
  • In the event Ocean Gem is unable to depart within seven days of the scheduled departure date on any passage, we will refund all monies received to date for that specific leg or transfer them to a future trip
  • You agree by registering, that you will be available to participate from the start to the end each passage/race/regatta. As we are offshore and away from major airports most to the time, there is no ability to arrive late or leave the crew earlier than the dates set down in the calendar in most cases
  • The itinerary is subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control. These may include weather, sea conditions, national holidays and natural disasters. The safety of the vessel and crew is always our priority
  • You agree that any photos or video recorded that include you can be used at our discretion in any marketing material with our requiring approval from you or making payment to you
  • Ocean Gem is a 45 foot, 10-ton yacht – but it’s not that big! You won’t have much privacy on board and will be living in close quarters in challenging conditions. You will require to work as part of a team, be flexible and get along with others who have different experience and personalities. What’s guaranteed is if you give it 100%, you’ll have the time of your life
  • There are no refunds if you decide to arrive late, leave early or depart during any stopover
  • All expedition members will be signed on as crew, not passengers and will be processed as crew, in each country visited where customs is concerned
  • If you act in a socially unacceptable manner or display offensive or threatening behaviour or are uncooperative to the point where it is affecting the enjoyment of others aboard, we have the right to ask that you leave the crew and head home at your own expense. You agree that any costs or inconvenience caused is at your expense and you will not seek compensation for costs or damages

Booking and payment policies

Late payment policy – You agree to make payments on or before dates specified on this website and by email. You also agree to a $200 late payment fee for any payments received seven days or more past the payment due date. Continued non-payment of pre-agreed weekly payments under payment option 2 for more than 4 weeks, without other payment arrangements being agreed to, will be considered a cancellation and the same cancellation policy terms apply as detailed below.

Deposit and decline policy – Once your crew application has been reviewed and approved, you’ll receive an invoice for your deposit (and the details of your weekly payment by automatic payment if you have selected option 2). Your deposit is due for payment immediately in order to officially reserve your crew spot and is non-refundable. Your weekly payment plan is required to start within 7 days of paying your deposit if you have chosen option 2. If your application is declined, you will be notified and there are no fees to pay.

Cancellation policy – If you give or receive written notice of your cancellation at least 60 days before departure, you will not be billed for any final 50% balance if you selected payment option 1, or the balance remaining if you selected payment option 2. You understand that within 60 days of departure, no refund or credit will be given for any reason including illness. You understand that there are no exceptions to this policy. You understand the importance of travel cancellation insurance, which is your own responsibility to obtain.

Assumption of Risk

Each person participating in a sailing passage, race or regatta on Ocean Gem waives all claims against David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited for injury, accident, illness or death during or by reason of their joining a sailing passage, race or regatta on Ocean Gem. “I acknowledge that I am aware that during a sailing passage, race or regatta on Ocean Gem in which I will be participating, certain risks and dangers may arise, including but not limited to, the hazards of traveling on the open sea, falling overboard, storms, high winds, a collision of vessels, shipwreck, travel ashore in remote terrain, the forces of nature, and accident or illness in remote regions without means of rapid evacuation or medical facilities.

I am also aware and clearly understand that David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited will have no liability regarding provision of medical care or the adequacy of any care that may be rendered. I have read the expectations supplied to me by David Hows and agree to abide by the rules on board or ashore, for the duration of the sailing passage, race or regatta on Ocean Gem. I understand that although David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited may make suggestions as to airlines and travel agents, they assume no liability for injury, damage, delay, irregularity or loss of baggage relating to airline travel.

In consideration of the Agreement with David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited to participate in this sailing passage, race or regatta on Ocean Gem, I hereby agree that I will assume all risk of this trip and I will not make any claims against David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited or sue for bodily injury, emotional trauma, death and/or property damage resulting from negligence or unseaworthiness of the vessel, or other acts, however, caused, as a result of my participation in this expedition. I, therefore, release, indemnify and discharge David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited and its booking agents and employees from all claims, actions and demands that I may have for bodily injury, death or property damage arising from my participation in the expedition.

This release of liability, agreement to hold harmless and indemnify and assumption of risk Agreement is entered into on behalf of all members of my family, including any minors accompanying me. If any person who accompanies me on this trip as part of my family makes claim, or if a claim is made on their behalf, my estate or I will indemnify and hold harmless David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited from any loss, including reasonable legal fees incurred in the defence of such claim. This Agreement is binding upon my heirs, legal representative and assigns. If any portion of this Agreement is unenforceable, the remaining portions shall remain in full force and effect. All applicants are subject to acceptance by David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited. This Agreement shall be deemed to have been entered into in the State of Queensland, Australia and shall be construed and interpreted according to the laws of the State of Queensland, Australia. In the unlikely event, a legal dispute should arise, I agree the dispute shall exclusively be brought before the appropriate court in the Gold Coast Region, in the State of Queensland, Australia. I have carefully read this and understand its terms. I execute it voluntarily and with full knowledge of its significance.

When registering for a sailing passage, race or regatta on Ocean Gem, you accept and are bound by the Ocean Gem Crew Terms And Conditions and any subsequent updates to these terms as set out above.

You also accept and are bound by Sail Race Crew Terms & Conditions and any subsequent updates to these terms as set out above.

Info

Ocean Gem

Ocean Gem a Beneteau 445 was built in 1992 and was purchased by the current owner, David Hows in 2011 and berthed in Auckland NZ until late 2013, while extensive cruising was undertaken around the top half of New Zealand’s North Island. In November 2013 David sailed Ocean Gem across the Tasman Sea via Norfolk Island to the Gold Coast where Ocean Gem is now located at the Southport Yacht Club SYC where David has competed in more than 250 club races since January 2014. Ocean Gem has had title successes in the QLD Beneteau Cup, Sail Paradise Regatta, the Coffs to Paradise Race and won multiple SYC twilight/offshore series and club championship titles.

Why consider sailing with us on Ocean Gem?

Experience

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 as your skipper, has completed more than 25,000 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.

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 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.

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 Ocean Gem, we have never spared any expense when it comes to safety equipment, use of technology and boat preparation. You can be confident our safety standards will give you peace of mind when heading offshore on Ocean Gem.

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.

Experienced team

Ocean Gem 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 Ocean Gem and also complete ocean passages. At any time we have a team of 4-10 onboard depending on the style of race, regatta or passage we are doing. In the past 12 months, our team have collectively sailed Ocean Gem 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.

Real-time, hands-on training

You will learn more onboard Ocean Gem 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.

Small personalised crew

We take a maximum of 2-4 paying crew on each ocean passage (plus 1-4 experienced Ocean Gem crew members, to a maximum ocean passage crew of 6. We’ve got bunks for 7 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 8-10  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.

Gold Coast Dolphin Watching

Ocean Passages

Feel the fear and do it anyway

When David first contemplated crossing the Tasman Sea in 2013, he had weeks of sleepless nights. He had read every book possible on sailing disasters and despite the long list of extra spares, tools and equipment to counteract every possible scenario, he felt uneasy until the day he departed. As soon as he cleared customs and cast off the dock-lines, fear quickly turned to excitement as he realised the great adventure that lay ahead. While he had sailed thousands of nautical miles prior to this, he had barely been out of sight of land.

What David discovered in November 2013 was the magic that comes with completing ocean passages. From the deadline-driven pressure of the preparation and planning to the sheer wonder that unfolds hone you head to onto the open sea, under the brightest night stars you will ever seas on your own private circular piece of ocean. Your life quickly transforms into planning you next meal, lots of relaxation and sleep, studying what the weather is doing next and the daily tasks and schedule that comes with managing a yacht and crew offshore.

The colours and textures that are created by the sky, sea, wind and sun create a stunning natural kaleidoscope of endless combinations. Whales, dolphins, turtles, fish and sea birds add to the awe that comes with time on the ocean and away from land.

Getting offshore

It’s only once you get away from land that you realise how comfortable being at sea really is. Without land, reefs, rocks, shipping lanes, commercial trawlers and other recreational vessels to worry about, heading offshore and out of sight of anyone or anything for days on end is a feeling of both isolation and empowerment. Offshore bluewater sailing in the right conditions is an addictive thing to do. The more you do, the more you realise you can do. Whether its 200m deep or 5,000 metres deep, or you are 10nm or 500nm from the nearest coastline, the view and the conditions are just the same in 10-20 knots. With today’s weather forecasting tools, there is no sound reason for ending up in harms way with good planning and seamanship.

Ocean Racing

Test yourself and discover your potential

When a lot of sailors think about racing; skippers with short tempers, high blood pressure and excessing yelling and screaming come to mind. This picture of a high-stress environment can be etched in our minds from a bad experience earlier in life or just the behaviour we witness at our local yacht club on a windy weekend.

On cohesive, well-trained racing teams this behaviour could not be further from reality. The Ocean Gem racing team that David has shaped and developed over the past years, over the course of 400+ races has created a culture of talented amateur sailors, that work well together and who are crossed trained and able to cover most positions on the boat. When you join this racing team for an ocean race or regatta, you will quickly settle into a role, surrounded by capable team-oriented people who will support and train you to quickly become a contributor to the team.

With the latest in carbon racing sails, racing rigging systems and advanced electronic technology, we are a competitive and consistent performer in local, coastal and long-distance ocean races. You’ll enjoy great team morale, plenty of humour, a comfortable warm dry, bunk and excellent food as we compete in comfort and style on a solid boat you can count on to be reliable. We have picked up plenty of inshore and offshore club championship and regatta titles won Queensland State titles and won a number of long-distance ocean races and its seldom because we have the fastest boat and often because we have a great team that works well together, give it 100% and who refuse to give up when the chips are down. We never give up and often come from behind when others have.

There is nothing more exhilarating than being on the start line with 50 other large yachts as the 5-minute gun goes off… or battling you way around the top mark with your competitors and getting your spinnaker up first… or surfing downwind under spinnaker in 20-30 knots of wind… or winning a long ocean race by just a few seconds and realise you it was that one tack you did a little bit better than the other boat.

We have taken first-time sailors, on day one to racing regatta performers from the get-go. Yacht racing is really a bunch of simple steps, carried out in the right order in coordination with the rest of the team. That takes communication, training and a willingness to listen and learn. That’s all.

Crew Resources

Checklists and resources

We have a range of checklists and resources here to help you prepare for your adventure with us.

Ocean Gem Crew Gear List

Space is a premium onboard and its surprisingly easier to sail with less rather than more gear. The following is a list of required gear that will ensure you can stay warm, cool and dry in the conditions we sail in. Remember its a lot cooler at night especially in strong winds so you need to be able to layer up and down to manage body temperature. Download checklist as PDF.

Ocean Gem Crew Gear List

David takes safety seriously and it’s impossible to have high safety standards without also having high training standards. Most skippers talk about how important safety is to them, but very few actually do a thorough job of training their crew and ensuring that the vessel can continue to operate safely even if they are incapacitated.

It’s one thing to have the knowledge in your head, but it takes a different level of safety management to ensure that accurate, safety and vessel operations information is at everyone’s fingertips when it’s required, especially in an emergency situation. It’s often 2 or 3 poor decisions or minor operational mistakes that can set off a chain of escalating problems and cause injury, gear failure and in extreme cases, loss of life or the vessel.

Although we perform several hours of safety training and vessel familiarisation prior to departure, it’s not always easy to remember every detail. What we also carry onboard and make available to every crew member prior to and during every passage is our; 47-page Ocean Gem Yacht Operations Manual written especially by David and tailored to Ocean Gem’s crew, yacht design, systems and safety equipment. Feel free to download a copy.

Offshore sailing: what to expect and what’s expected of you

Welcome to offshore sailing, if you enjoy sailing offshore, then ocean passages and big regattas add a whole new dimension. Here are some thoughts on how to make it a great experience for you and your team.

1. Attitude Crew Resources Ocean GemYour attitude has a major impact on your enjoyment and those around you. Having a positive and proactive approach to your fellow team members is really important. You will be working and living in a confined space that can get uncomfortable, but a positive atmosphere has a major impact on everyone on board. If you are not feeling great mentally, try and diagnose what you need; is it time out, asleep, food, hydration, time out of the sun etc. If you deteriorate physically, your mental state will follow.

2. Personal responsibility – As part of the crew on a racing yacht, you have the responsibility to fulfil your role to the best of your ability and manage your own personal safety, health and well being, so you can enjoy the race and avoid putting yourself and your team at risk.

On a racing yacht, you will experience all sorts of extreme weather and sea conditions and these can have an impact on our ability to sail safely. You are working on a slippery, moving surface with equipment such as halyards, sheets, winches, booms and spinnaker poles that are under heavy load and can cause injury or death if you end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Crew Resources Ocean GemTo stay mentally sharp, you need to stay in peak physical condition. This requires managing food intake, energy levels, hydration, sleep, body temperature, sun protection and seasickness. There are lots of variables and the environment changes constantly. Managing these things requires ongoing diligence. It’s also good to keep an eye on your team members around you and check they are staying on track too. Accidents, injuries and damage to the yacht are usually caused by losing mental focus and making poor decisions and these are often triggered by fatigue and declining energy levels.

3. Teamwork/support/communication – One of the most enjoyable parts of ocean racing is the friendship, support and camaraderie of being part of a great team. To make a great contribution to our team spirit there are some things you can do that will make a big difference;

  • Be positive and enthusiastic. Have a sense of humour.
  • Avoid being negative, sarcastic, overly critical or losing your cool.
  • Respect our shared spaces by storing your gear tidily and keeping kitchen and bathroom areas clean.
  • Don’t sulk or give people the silent treatment. If you are happy – say so. If you are not happy, chat to someone about what’s bothering you and work out a plan to deal with it proactively.
  • Be enthusiastic about the tasks you need to do to keep the yacht and the crew in good shape. If you want a hot drink, offer to make one for everyone else. If you are grabbing a snack, check who else wants one. When we all take care of each other, everything is easier.
  • Crew Resources Ocean GemCheck your crewmates are OK. Often crew will get hungry, dehydrated, cold or seasick and start to go downhill rapidly. When you don’t feel great, it’s easy to drop your head, not feel like moving and think; “if I just sit here, things will eventually improve”. They rarely do, but the mind can start making poor decisions under stress or fatigue. Check on your teammates regularly on a long passage. Managing health and well-being is an ongoing focus and we all have times when we feel great and not so great – and that’s when we count on our teammates to help us get back on track.
  • Communicate – if you are worried about something, see a potential issue with the yacht, see a crew member who does not look well, have an issue with someone else over something that has happened earlier or has been said. Its always better to speak up and communicate in a pleasant, respectful and constructive manner. The best teams communicate regularly regardless of whether things are going right or wrong.
  • Be proactive and take ownership – good sailors think ahead and stay proactive. When you are responsible for specific functions on the yacht; plan ahead, communicate, check to fine-tune and plan ahead. If something does not feel right or you think we can make some changes to improve boat operations, teamwork, systems or speed, always speak up and share your thoughts. Continuous improvement is how we get better and better as a team.
  • Sometimes you will carry your team and sometimes they will carry you. There are always ups and downs, so just do your best and expect that things won’t always go smoothly.

4. Personal comfort Crew Resources Ocean GemOn a racing yacht you are going to face extreme heat and cold, you will get wet, suffer from wind chill, hurt yourself and find it hard to get comfortable. It’s really important to manage your comfort levels, so you balance staying warm, cool and dry to maintain optimum comfort. Sometimes it’s easy to put off going below to change your clothing and the end result is usually increased discomfort and wishing you had done it sooner. Being comfortable makes it easier to maintain focus and your contribution to the yacht’s performance.

5. Hydration – Your body is about 60% water. A 5% loss in hydration reduces brain function by 25% and leads to a loss of energy, loss of focus, headaches, sleepiness and seasickness. The most classic example is to avoid drinking water regularly so that you don’t need to go to the toilet in rough weather, which can be time-consuming when taking wet weather/safety gear off and there is the worry that ‘if I am in the toilet too long, I might get seasick as well’. You have to maintain your hydration, which usually means 2 litres of fluids a day (more in hot weather) including water, hot drinks and other cold drinks. Dehydration impacts decision making and can lead to accidents that put both crew and the yacht at risk. If your lips/mouth are dry or you are yawning, they are all symptoms of dehydration.

6. Seasickness – Everyone has different tolerance levels for seasickness and everyone will be sick at some point if the contributing factors line up.

  • Do’s – Stay warm, stay hydrated, maintain sleep levels, stay up on deck, keep your eyes on the horizon and avoiding reading your phone or books or looking down. If you are not feeling great, get others to bring up food, drinks and clothing for you.
  • Don’ts – Avoid alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods and late nights in the 24 hours before going offshore.
  • Be proactive – Crew Resources Ocean GemCheck the forecast and take seasickness pills in advance of rough weather. Its like insurance, it does not work if you wait until you feel sick, to take it.
  • Watch out for your mates – If you see other crewmembers going downhill, do your best to make sure they are warm, dry, fed and hydrated. Discuss any concerns with the skipper, as it’s always best to take precautions before someone’s condition deteriorates.
  • Sailing through rough weather has a big impact on your stomach muscles, as you use them to brace your body constantly to stay upright. Stretched stomach muscles can often cause discomfort and can be confused with the onset of seasickness, when in fact it’s just strained stomach muscles. Doing sit-ups for 4-6 weeks prior to a big passage race can help prevent this.

7. Sleep – Managing your sleep can be difficult on passages of 3-5 days in length, but it is really important for your wellbeing and ability to contribute to boat management, to manage your sleep proactively. Sleeping below can be hot, noisy and rocky depending on temperature and weather and it’s tempting to live on less sleep than you need, but that can cause headaches, seasickness and an inability to concentrate on your tasks on deck.

With overnight races, we will have a watch system in place that will see you on watch with others for between 2-4 hours, once or twice between 8 pm and 6 am. Broken sleep will cause you to feel tired (and grumpy) during the day following, so take advantage of the opportunity to head below and grab a couple of hours sleep, when the opportunity arises during the day. Think of it as topping up your batteries regularly instead of running them completely flat.

8. Your focus and boat performance – Part of the challenge of offshore passage racing is the ability to maintain a high level of focus and boat performance 100% of the time. As a team, it’s important to rotate each trimming and helming role regularly to keep people fresh and focused. We should all feel happy to take a break when we start to lose concentration and also ask a crew member if they want a break if we start to see them losing focus and affecting sail trim or boat performance.

Crew Resources Ocean GemLong passages and races can have sections that are uncomfortable, boring, hot, cold and difficult. Rotating regularly helps break up roles and keep our crew fresh and in good shape.

9. Hero’s and risk-takers –There are only 3 priorities when it comes to offshore passage racing;

  • Keeping our crew safe.
  • Keeping our yacht safe.
  • Working together as a team and giving it 100%.

Offshore racing is very different to bay/day racing. Managing the yacht conservatively to avoid damage and minimise over stressing of sails, hardware and the hull is very important. Great crewmembers are assets, but poor crewmembers can become liabilities that can put the welfare of the yacht and team at risk. When we are sailing offshore, we have to be self-sufficient. Help is usually several hours away and getting rescued can be dangerous in itself, so its better not to put yourself in that position.

With round-the-cans racing, there is often stress and urgency to execute in seconds, as every metre counts. With offshore sailing, what becomes more important is planning ahead, preparing well, minimising risk and making sure safety is our number one priority. With stronger breezes, bigger seas, night sailing and the risk of losing someone overboard; taking time to execute methodically and safely becomes the overriding priority. Taking risks and heroic behaviour is a last resort if all else fails. Getting our yacht and team to our destination without injury or damage is always our biggest achievement. Results come second.

10. Boat management Crew Resources Ocean GemWith offshore passages, changes in wind, weather and sea state create all sorts of challenges. Another risk is damage or loss of equipment due to things working themselves loose and coming undone or chafe causing lines, sails and sheets to wear through and fail. Good management requires us to constantly check that all fittings and shackles are tight and to look for areas at risk of chafe that we can adjust and fine-tune.

Keeping updated with weather forecasts and adjusting sails proactively also helps minimise damage. Leaving it too late to reef or reduce sail only puts the yacht and crew at risk. As you walk around the yacht above and below deck, keep your eyes, ears and nose open. If you smell something strange (smoke or toilets), see something that’s out of place (chafing), hear water sloshing in the bilge or a knocking noise then check it out. If something does not seem right – it probably isn’t, so don’t ignore it.

11. Training – Offshore passages are a great opportunity for training. There is a chance to spend time learning each of the crew/helm/navigator roles and also to better understand many of the yacht’s systems e.g. water, refrigeration, engine, electronics, communication, emergency management etc. Look for opportunities to learn and to teach. It helps make the most of the time on the water and can make some of the monotonous sections of the race pass faster.

12. Safety – Your personal safety and that of the crew and the yacht is a collective responsibility. Offshore racing has numerous risks that include; cuts, broken bones, fire, hypothermia, drowning, sinking, concussion and being lost at sea. With every step you take and every move you make, its important to consider the impact and risks involved. Its always better to take the time to plan, communicate, assess how difficult a task is and err on the side of caution by getting extra help if you need it.

There is a lot of safety equipment that we invest in and carry on board to maximise safety and eliminate as many risks as possible. You are responsible for your own safety and need to take it seriously. You will be equipped with PFD’s, whistles, lights, PLB’s (personal locator beacons), knives, safety tethers and wet weather gear. They take time to put on and take off when going to bed or the bathroom. The entire process of undressing and/or getting dressed again can take 20-30 minutes, especially if the boat is heeling and going to windward over a lumpy sea. Be patient and enjoy the process, most people would kill to go ocean racing instead of sitting at a desk in an office.

Crew Resources Ocean GemFalling overboard can be traumatic for you and for the crew. Losing someone overboard is our biggest fear and there is no guarantee you will be found and recovered alive despite all the safety equipment and personal locator beacons. Hypothermia sets in quickly in southern waters and in big seas you are at risk of being injured by the hull of the yacht in the recovery process. You will have a safety tether that you can use to attach yourself to the yacht – use it.

Most man overboard situations occur with a knockdown, freak wave, sail change or unexpected gybe and therefore will happen before you have time to respond. Use your safety tether after sunset, in rough weather, when leaving the cockpit, when the spinnaker is up and any other time we are not sailing on a millpond or close to outside assistance.

Some tips; if in doubt use your safety tether, when going forward of the cockpit hold on to rails and safety lines, keep your body weight low by crouching when moving in a swell, take your time and use your shorter safety tether when working at the mast or near the bow. Sailors have drowned when using their 2-metre safety tether while working up at the bow and then getting washed overboard and dragged along underwater on the end of their safety tether.

The best thing you can do is stay on-board. If you see another crew member taking short cuts or unnecessary risks – speak up; safety is everyone’s responsibility. We never want to have to meet with the police or your loved ones and explain how we lost you overboard.

13. Physical fitness/workload managementCrew Resources Ocean GemWe are in the unique position of being amateur club sailors and competing at a state or national level in events that often include professional racing teams. We have a crew that range in age from 16 to 60 something and that brings all sorts of challenges and opportunities. As a racing crew, there are many roles to be performed on-board and many ways to make a contribution. From helming to sail trimming, foredeck management, preparing meals, making hot drinks and grabbing snacks, they are important roles with vastly different requirements in both experience and physicality that we can all play.

It’s important to play to your strengths in whatever roles you enjoy and manage your physical workload to avoid injury through overload/tiredness. Having a racing crew of 7-10 means we have the ability to rotate roles and allow for rest and recovery time as well. The is no benefit in overexerting yourself to the point where you bend or break something, that then limits your ability to contribute as an effective crew member.

A lot of the at-risk areas with sailing are; arms, shoulders, stomach muscles and lower back. Helming, winching, trimming sheets, pulling halyards and bracing yourself when going to windward in a lumpy sea and a strong breeze is where most of the physical impact takes place. Anything you do increase your strength in these areas is a benefit in offshore racing.

Always assess how strong and fit you are and manage your workload accordingly. It’s smarter to ask for help or take a break than to push yourself to the point where you suffer an injury. I have the view that a champion team is made up of people with a variety of strengths and experience to draw upon. We are not professional athletes and our goal is to succeed as a team, make a meaningful contribution individually and take satisfaction out of “punching above our weight”.

Crew Resources Ocean GemSuccess to me is measured by ‘how we go about our work and how we take care of each other’, not how many trophies we win. If we take care of each other, work effectively together, enjoy learning new skills, always give 100% and have some fun along the way, then the results will come.

14. Sun protection – Sun is one of the biggest threats with long periods of time on the water. Excess sun will cause overheating, sunburn, dehydration, fatigue and seasickness. It’s important to manage your exposure to the sun each day. Wear clothing that reduces exposure, such as hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts. Manage your time in direct sun, by using shade created by the sails or sleeping below to reduce excess exposure. Increased time in the sun and hotter temperatures will increase your water intake requirements. Excess sun combined with dehydration will cause headaches, tiredness and even seasickness. Even on cloudy days, 70% of the suns UV gets through. If you get burnt, its sunburn and not windburn. Use sun-cream proactively, if you get burnt you will have an unpleasant trip and find sleeping difficult as well.

15. Summary – enjoy your sailing, you will never wish you spent less time on the ocean!

Safety

Safety flare trainingOcean Gem is regularly audited by registered Australian Sailing National Equipment Safety Auditors to ensure we are compliant to the safety standards required for offshore sailing. Our safety audits are performed at least once annually and we are usually audited to Category 1 (Trans-Tasman / Sydney to Hobart) or Category 2 (Coastal Ocean Passage) standards each year depending on the events we have planned.

These rigid safety standards ensure that yachts and crews are well prepared and trained to handle extreme conditions confidently. Many of our crew have undergone sea safety and survival, marine first aid, radar, offshore skipper, radio communications and diesel engine maintenance training courses as part of the Category 1 & 2 crew training requirements.

Ocean Gem Safety, boat management checklists and manuals

Ocean Gem safety brief checklist – Download
Ocean Gem yacht operations manual – Download
Ocean Gem abandon ship checklist – Download
Ocean Gem sail management guide – Download

Safety equipment floor plans

We carry an extensive list of safety equipment on board and are trained to use it in all conditions. The following outlines detailed floor plans summarising where equipment is stored.

Ocean Gem exterior planOcean Gem interior safety plan

About your Skipper

Podcast producer and sailor David Hows

I am a sailing addict. I have watched, followed or listened to almost every Americas Cup Series and Volvo Ocean Race since 1987. The highs and lows of supporting the New Zealand Teams have been a rollercoaster ride over the years. I am a 48-year-old New Zealander that has lived in Australia for 13 years and I dream of one day returning to New Zealand for summer every year, to live on a piece of Waiheke Island paradise in a place overlooking my beloved Hauraki Gulf (while still spending the winters on the Gold Coast in Queensland).

After being a dinghy sailor for many years, I purchased a 1992 Beneteau 44.5 in 2011 and spent my first 2 summers as a keelboat owner, cruising the top half of the North Island of New Zealand, before sailing her (Ocean Gem) across the Tasman in late 2013, with my 68-year-old father as part of the 4 man crew, to where she is now based at the Southport Yacht Club (SYC) on the Gold Coast and raced regularly.

It was such a great experience that I wrote and published an iBook ‘Sailing the Tasman Sea’, so my Dad could keep a memory of our treasured trip together, forever. This was the first time in my life that I really understood the power of capturing and sharing stories. I am not a writer or journalist. I am a sailor and I love introducing new people to my love of all things – sailing.

My ‘Ocean Gem’ racing crew and I have now competed in more than 400 races and regattas since 2014 including two Rolex Sydney Hobart Races, the Sydney to Gold Coast Race, Pittwater to Southport Race, Brisbane to Hamilton Island Race, Hamilton Island Race Week, the Queensland Beneteau Cup and the 2018 Solo Tasman Race. I have been north to Hamilton Island and south to Sydney multiple times. I have now crossed the Tasman five times (twice solo) and I think we are possibly the only 1992 Beneteau to ever get a carbon sail wardrobe and an IRC rating in Australia. We have also won back to back Keel Boat Club Championships at the Southport Yacht Club in 2016 and 2017.

In 2018 Australian Sailing awarded me the honour and the title of Australian Sailing: Queensland Offshore Sailor of the Year.

Some of my favourite reads are ‘Peter Montgomery: The Voice of Yachting’ by Bill Francis (2015) and ‘Australian Ocean Racing’, published in 1967 by Murray Davis and they are great chronicles of the birth of Ocean Racing in New Zealand and Australia, going back as far as 1907 with the first Melbourne to Tasmania Race.

These books have again reinforced to me that there are so many untold sailing stories that need to be captured and shared or they risk being lost forever.

My extensive reading and sailing, combined with Andy Schell’s 59 North Podcast inspired me to launch the Ocean Sailing Podcast in 2016 to capture and share the numerous ocean racing and cruising sailing stories on a regular basis with armchair sailors, cruisers and racers across Australasia, that help inspire us to sail further and set our sights on new challenges. The Ocean Sailing Podcast has now had more than 500,000 episode downloads and has listeners in more than 100 countries with my ocean racing, regattas and adventures attracting an increasing amount of media attention too.

My sailing philosophy

The more offshore sailing I do, the more I plan for every scenario. As a 24-year-old, I did my Private Pilots License and also completed my Commercial Pilots theory subjects. I chose not to make a career out of flying, but it taught me something I have carried through all of my ocean sailing miles and that’s to always have Plan B in the back of my 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 my 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 set backs with a Plan B, that has ensured our safety, seaworthiness and ability to continue our race or our passage safely. Over the years Ocean Gem has become stronger (and heavier) as 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 sailed to me “the good sailors get the good luck”. I respect the ocean, the weather and the power of mother nature. Safety and prevention is always our highest priority. As I learned with flying, many a private pilot has died from “get there-itis” 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.

 

Regards David

Terms & Conditions

This is not a yacht charter, boat hire, training course or luxury cruise. You are joining a working ocean passage or racing crew, paying your share of the trip/event costs including a donation towards the general running, maintenance and upgrade costs of the vessel and you will have an active, hands-on role to play as a crew member. Most importantly, you’ll be welcomed into our team and made to feel at home, as an important part of the Ocean Gem crew.

Your role onboard

You’ll land on your feet quickly and we will give you all the training and support to need to be able to fulfil your crew role. There is no previous offshore experience necessary, although prior sailing experience is required. Your tasks may include some or all of the following;

  • Hoisting and trimming sails
  • Standing watch
  • Reefing the mainsail
  • Navigating
  • Standing watch
  • Cooking, cleaning & washing up

Do’s and Dont’s

This is an ocean-going yacht and safety is our highest priority at all times. As a crew member you must also agree to the following;

  • Observe all safety procedures, training and instruction provided
  • Only use safety equipment as instructed and when requested
  • Wear a PDF (Personal Flotation Device), PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), Safety tether (clipped to the boat when directed) and any other clothing and equipment, whenever directed, to ensure you remain safe in all conditions
  • To take responsibility for managing clothing, hydration, sleep and nutrition to maintain your health and well being aboard
  • No alcohol consumption or smoking while at we are racing or at sea. No illegal drugs are to be bought on board. Any prescription or allergy medication must be stored in the ships medical cabinet while aboard
  • To treat everyone aboard with respect regardless of their gender, age or prior experience. No yelling, abusive language, socially offensive or threatening behaviour will be tolerated
  • To follow all reasonable and lawful requests and directions given to you by David Hows and his nominated employees.

Your physical ability

  • Please tell us upfront if you have any physical limitations including prior injuries, back problems, health issues and anything that will prevent you from playing your part on board. We can work around most things, but its important we know so we don’t put you at risk or in a role you are unlikely to be able to fulfil safely and enjoyably. It’s important that you have a great experience while you are part of our crew and good teamwork is about playing to everyone’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Can you swim? Can you swim 100 metres or tread water confidently? Understanding your swimming ability is important for ensuring we assess the conditions that you will be required to wear a PDF (Personal Flotation Device) for your own safety.

While onboard

  • Each person will be assigned a single (twin-share) berth while on passage to use for the entire passage except for extreme weather conditions, where we may change where people sleep
  • No eating food in cabins
  • Each person will get their own gear bags (1 x 20 litre, 1 x small) to store their personal gear in while aboard. These are usually hanging in the main saloon area to keep the cabins uncluttered and easy to get in and out of. No gear can be stored on the floor, it must be secure and put where it belongs at all times. There is a separate shared space for storing boots and wet weather gear.

Meals & diet

  • All meals are supplied while aboard. You are welcome to bring snacks that you prefer to eat while at sea. Avoiding excessive sugar and caffeine at sea is recommended
  • All food should be consumed while in the saloon, galley or cockpit. No liquids or food at the nav station and no food to be consumed in cabins
  • Please confirm if you have any dietary limitations or allergies.

Weather & comfort

  • We set our schedule based on various special events and seasonal weather. We use the latest in Predict Wind weather forecasting technology and commercial weather routing services, to plan for safe passages at all times. We download updated weather forecasts 2-3 times a day while at sea, to ensure we monitor and adapt to any changes in the forecast, that may affect our comfort or passage time
  • Reality does not always match the forecast and we have to adapt to the weather we get and manage Ocean Gem to optimise for performance, comfort and safety in all conditions
  • We are Category 1 equipped to handle the most extreme weather safely and confidently, but will always choose to avoid it where possible
  • Sometimes you may get cold, wet, tired, hungry, seasick and scared. There is a lot you can do to prevent this, but those are the challenges that we have to deal with ocean sailing. Sometimes there is no wind and endless days of sunshine
  • We will support you through the challenges you encounter and have strategies that can help you maximise your comfort and wellbeing.

Pre & post passage

  • Before we get started, we will complete a full training and safety induction to ensure your start off confident and comfortable and feel right at home onboard. Whether racing or on a passage, we have a friendly crew that will do their utmost to share their knowledge to ensure you can play your part from day one, so you get the maximum enjoyment
  • Once we are done sailing, we may need your help to clean up and pack up. Many hands make light work and it’s always a great time for reflecting on trip highlights and celebrating the completion with the crew.

Other stuff

  • Join us on Ocean Gem for an adventure does not provide you with a formal qualification and we are not a sailing school. You will have an opportunity to learn and participate almost any level in the management of the boat especially on ocean passages
  • If you join us for an ocean race or regatta you will be given roles that suit your physical ability, experience and desire to learn
  • In the event Ocean Gem is unable to depart within seven days of the scheduled departure date on any passage, we will refund all monies received to date for that specific leg or transfer them to a future trip
  • You agree by registering, that you will be available to participate from the start to the end each passage/race/regatta. As we are offshore and away from major airports most to the time, there is no ability to arrive late or leave the crew earlier than the dates set down in the calendar in most cases
  • The itinerary is subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control. These may include weather, sea conditions, national holidays and natural disasters. The safety of the vessel and crew is always our priority
  • You agree that any photos or video recorded that include you can be used at our discretion in any marketing material with our requiring approval from you or making payment to you
  • Ocean Gem is a 45 foot, 10-ton yacht – but it’s not that big! You won’t have much privacy on board and will be living in close quarters in challenging conditions. You will require to work as part of a team, be flexible and get along with others who have different experience and personalities. What’s guaranteed is if you give it 100%, you’ll have the time of your life
  • There are no refunds if you decide to arrive late, leave early or depart during any stopover
  • All expedition members will be signed on as crew, not passengers and will be processed as crew, in each country visited where customs is concerned
  • If you act in a socially unacceptable manner or display offensive or threatening behaviour or are uncooperative to the point where it is affecting the enjoyment of others aboard, we have the right to ask that you leave the crew and head home at your own expense. You agree that any costs or inconvenience caused is at your expense and you will not seek compensation for costs or damages

Booking and payment policies

Late payment policy – You agree to make payments on or before dates specified on this website and by email. You also agree to a $200 late payment fee for any payments received seven days or more past the payment due date. Continued non-payment of pre-agreed weekly payments under payment option 2 for more than 4 weeks, without other payment arrangements being agreed to, will be considered a cancellation and the same cancellation policy terms apply as detailed below.

Deposit and decline policy – Once your crew application has been reviewed and approved, you’ll receive an invoice for your deposit (and the details of your weekly payment by automatic payment if you have selected option 2). Your deposit is due for payment immediately in order to officially reserve your crew spot and is non-refundable. Your weekly payment plan is required to start within 7 days of paying your deposit if you have chosen option 2. If your application is declined, you will be notified and there are no fees to pay.

Cancellation policy – If you give or receive written notice of your cancellation at least 60 days before departure, you will not be billed for any final 50% balance if you selected payment option 1, or the balance remaining if you selected payment option 2. You understand that within 60 days of departure, no refund or credit will be given for any reason including illness. You understand that there are no exceptions to this policy. You understand the importance of travel cancellation insurance, which is your own responsibility to obtain.

Assumption of Risk

Each person participating in a sailing passage, race or regatta on Ocean Gem waives all claims against David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited for injury, accident, illness or death during or by reason of their joining a sailing passage, race or regatta on Ocean Gem. “I acknowledge that I am aware that during a sailing passage, race or regatta on Ocean Gem in which I will be participating, certain risks and dangers may arise, including but not limited to, the hazards of traveling on the open sea, falling overboard, storms, high winds, a collision of vessels, shipwreck, travel ashore in remote terrain, the forces of nature, and accident or illness in remote regions without means of rapid evacuation or medical facilities.

I am also aware and clearly understand that David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited will have no liability regarding provision of medical care or the adequacy of any care that may be rendered. I have read the expectations supplied to me by David Hows and agree to abide by the rules on board or ashore, for the duration of the sailing passage, race or regatta on Ocean Gem. I understand that although David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited may make suggestions as to airlines and travel agents, they assume no liability for injury, damage, delay, irregularity or loss of baggage relating to airline travel.

In consideration of the Agreement with David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited to participate in this sailing passage, race or regatta on Ocean Gem, I hereby agree that I will assume all risk of this trip and I will not make any claims against David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited or sue for bodily injury, emotional trauma, death and/or property damage resulting from negligence or unseaworthiness of the vessel, or other acts, however, caused, as a result of my participation in this expedition. I, therefore, release, indemnify and discharge David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited and its booking agents and employees from all claims, actions and demands that I may have for bodily injury, death or property damage arising from my participation in the expedition.

This release of liability, agreement to hold harmless and indemnify and assumption of risk Agreement is entered into on behalf of all members of my family, including any minors accompanying me. If any person who accompanies me on this trip as part of my family makes claim, or if a claim is made on their behalf, my estate or I will indemnify and hold harmless David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited from any loss, including reasonable legal fees incurred in the defence of such claim. This Agreement is binding upon my heirs, legal representative and assigns. If any portion of this Agreement is unenforceable, the remaining portions shall remain in full force and effect. All applicants are subject to acceptance by David Hows and Willow Vale Consulting Pty Limited. This Agreement shall be deemed to have been entered into in the State of Queensland, Australia and shall be construed and interpreted according to the laws of the State of Queensland, Australia. In the unlikely event, a legal dispute should arise, I agree the dispute shall exclusively be brought before the appropriate court in the Gold Coast Region, in the State of Queensland, Australia. I have carefully read this and understand its terms. I execute it voluntarily and with full knowledge of its significance.

When registering for a sailing passage, race or regatta on Ocean Gem, you accept and are bound by the Ocean Gem Crew Terms And Conditions and any subsequent updates to these terms as set out above.

You also accept and are bound by Sail Race Crew Terms & Conditions and any subsequent updates to these terms as set out above.

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