Just a Few Questions – Kei & Bill

Our next two skippers to answer our questions Kei and Bill, really had very little to do with each other for most of the race. Kei and Masa on Bartolome had swapped places numerous times since starting the event with Dave and Paul on The Edge, as tactics or weather put then ahead or behind. Bill and Aaron on Matrix Reloaded had both these boats in their sights since the race re-start and it took them the best part of the race to catch up.
Local knowledge had seemed to have served the boys on Bartolome well coming up Osaka Bay, as they were now well clear of The Edge. However not far behind them now was Matrix Reloaded and close to the finish line it appeared as though Bill and Aaron might just sneak past. The local unpredictable breezes put paid to that and Bartolome finished ahead of Matrix Reloaded but only by a few minutes. Firstly, here are Kei’s thoughts about the race.
How did you feel as you crossed the line?
Just one word “Wonderful”
There’s been preparation, then the race. Of those which was the hardest part for you?
The hardest part was the preparation. I didn’t have a boat when I decided to join the race, so it was the hard to manage the  finance, job and time matters.
What was the highlight of your trip?
At the moment of crossing the finishing line. Everything I’d worked for came together at that moment.
What was the lowest point?

Speaking realistically,

The lowest point was the finance problem because there was not ample funds.  I was thinking about this every day. Considering how to make my budget work and what to do, what I should give up while working to win the race given the limited funds.
Have you learnt anything about yourself by doing this event?

I learnt a lot not only about the race but also how to enjoy and enrich my life.

If somebody else was thinking of doing the race, what advice would you give them?
I will give them the same words which someone told me before I started – ”Be sure you do everything you can to reach your goal.”
Bill & Aaron at Race finish
With three Open 40’s in the 2018 event, Bill Gray and Aaron were the only crew to sail theirs all the way to Osaka.  They had their technical issues but as you’ll see in the video clip below, having a clever man on board for the trouble times, seems to have made all the difference. Here are Bills answers.

How did you feel as you crossed the line?

Huge relief and happiness at our accomplishment.  We had a mast track issue that could have failed at any time and this stopped us using the mainsail.

There’s been preparation – then the race. Of those which was the hardest part for you?

We had a very short lead time during preparation, having only purchased the boat in August 2017 and it was not delivered to Melbourne until late October. This made our preparation task very tough. We basically only sailed our 400Nm qualifier just before the race start. The race was also very tough, I am not sure which was tougher.

What was the highlight of your trip?

The highlight was probably the week after we finally reached the northeast trade winds and clocked up eight consecutive 250Nm plus days.

What was the lowest point?

Choosing to stay inshore up the east coast of Australia and battling the light upwind breezes I feel was our low point.

If somebody else was thinking of doing the race, what advice would you give them?

There a few pieces of advice.
– Choose your co skipper very carefully and sail some long two handed races together.
– Choose your boat carefully. The simpler the boat systems the less that can go wrong.
– Work on the boat yourself as much as possible, so you will understand the systems.

Bartolomes’ home port of course is OHYC and so Kei had done the round trip by completing the race. Matrix Reloaded we’re told, will remain in Osaka for a number of months, while some work is carried out on the mast. It doesn’t seem like a huge chore though for Bill and partner Cathy, who are lapping up life in Japan with the aid of some long time friends there.

Three boast finished within a short time of each other on April 29th – the other was The Edge with Dave and Paul. Here’s the video clip from that exciting day.