Just a Few Questions – Rohan Wood

Rohan Wood is the next co-skipper in our interview series, where a number of questions were asked regarding competing in the Sundance Marine Melbourne Osaka Cup 2018. Rohan and owner skipper Mark Hipgrave brought Mr Lucky across the line very early on the morning of May 4th.

How did you feel as you crossed the line?

The opportunity to complete a race like the Melbourne to Osaka is a great achievement. Given that we had some pretty major issues in the last 24 hours of the race it was great to cross the finish line. I always get a little bit emotional when finishing big ocean races and this race was no different. The reception from the Osaka Hokko Yacht Club was sensational. It was great to share the achievement with others who had completed but more importantly with my teammate Mark Hipgrave – who obviously was instrumental in the entire journey. Apart from that I couldn’t wait to celebrate, have something hot and fresh to eat and have a shower.

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

It is hard to differentiate between the two as the race becomes all-consuming up until the start, during and finishing the race.  A lot of things were put on hold, cash flow was sacrificed, business opportunities were lost, just to be able to compete in the race. The hardest part of this race was having the mandatory stop caused by the cyclone in North Queensland and then having to restart again. For us, we had a very good position and lead prior to the stoppage and felt as if we were chasing the pack from the restart until the finish. Apart from the body adjustment required to restart, the re-establishment of the routine and mentally having to go through the emotions of saying goodbye to the family again. The additional pressure of chasing down the fleet was noticeable from the restart.

What was the highlight of your trip?

The whole trip was a highlight. The effort of SYC and the BYC was sensational for the lead up to the event. The actual racing was competitive and fantastic to be a part of, experiencing as you would expect, all manners of different yachting conditions. And the finish put on by the OHYC was properly one of the most memorable of my life. I think the highlight really was the bond and trust that was developed by two people with a common goal to get the job done.

What was the lowest point?

The low point for me was finding out that a family member had been critically injured and placed on life support during the race and I had to get back to Australia as soon as possible after completion. From the racing perspective, it was probably around 20 miles from the end where we realised that a podium finish was still a reality and we made some critical errors of judgement which nearly resulted in us not finishing at all. The reality was, if we maintained a slightly more conservative approach we could have still been on the podium rather than having our spinnaker wrapped around forestay.

Have you learnt anything about yourself by doing this event?

Yes. I knew keeping a routine was critical to the success of the race both mentally and physically. For me one of those routines was to keep a journal which I noted the things I was grateful for that morning and at night. As the race drew to the conclusion, and after reading the journal, I noted that the things that I was grateful for became more basic and certainly less materialistic. So the reality was, a lot of things we take for granted or want, we really don’t need.

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

Just do it – stop making excuses. It is tough for everyone but the rewards of completing such an adventure outweigh short-term challenges or pain.

Mr Lucky Co skippers Rohan & Mark

With Rohan back in Australia, Mark and a return crew member Bill, departed OHYC on May16 aboard Mr Lucky for the journey home. They have company at the outset as Morning Star also departed on the same day. You can of course keep up with their progress on the Tracker, which still has the tracking devices active for the return voyages.