Port Stephens based offshore sailor Kevin Le Poidevin and his Adelaide based co-skipper Darrell ‘Daz’ Greig, are two long serving Air Force aviators preparing themselves and their 1983 Sigma 36 Rogue Wave, to race in the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR).
Flying the Port Stephens Yacht Club burgee, the pair will race in the inaugural, and extremely challenging, Two-Handed division. Their goal is to beat their 2019 RSHYR elapsed time of 5 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, arriving just in time for New Year’s Eve. Whilst COVID-19 has impacted their training, the pair have sailed and raced shorthanded together on Rogue Wave since 2012.
“Racing offshore 24/7 is an extremely challenging adventure, with fatigue being the number one risk,” said Le Poidevin. “If the risk is realised, the only outcome will be sub-optimal decisions that impact safety – not a place we want to be. The Sigma 36 is a moderate displacement design, meaning it doesn’t jump up onto the plane like modern designs, however she will surf in big seas.
“Pressing her design constraints, we did manage a new top speed of 14.5 knots in the 2019 Hobart race. We know we will always be at the back of the fleet, so we need to race the boat hard to stay competitive, but at the same time try not to break stuff! Striking the balance between keeping the body fuelled, and rested to be competitive, are the key ingredients for success.”
The aviators are racing to support their Air Force mate, Nathan “Bullet” Draper, who continues to kick goals in his battle with brain cancer.
Two charitable organisations have played a key role in supporting Nathan and his family, so the lads are keen to promote awareness and help raise funds for Brain Tumour Alliance Australia (BTAA) and Soldier On.
BTTA is a national support and advocacy organisation. BTTA offers support to all Australians affected by brain tumours through its 1800 support call service, information resources, forums, and projects.
Soldier On is Australia’s only national, fully integrated support services provider for members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and their families and security agencies who serve side by side with the ADF. The support services include health and wellbeing and social participation, psychological support for better mental health, education, and employment, as well as facilitation of social connections through sports and community networks, and advice on staying fit and healthy.
“I encourage you to support Nathan by donating to these wonderful organisations. BTAA is staffed by volunteers, receives no government funding and operates entirely on the generosity of the public, so any assistance you can offer is greatly appreciated”, said Le Poidevin.
Le Poidevin’s partnership with Brain Tumour Alliance Australia and Soldier On will continue over the next five years under the banner of Aviator Ocean Racing and include several high-profile international sailing events around the globe and in Australia.
“I have entered the 2023/24 Global Solo Challenge, a 26,000 nautical mile circumnavigation sailing solo without crew, non-stop and unassisted in my 40-foot carbon fibre racing yacht ‘Roaring Forty,'” said Le Poidevin. “I will continue to fly the flag for Brain Tumour Alliance Australia and Soldier On during all the lead up events and during the solo circumnavigation starting from A Coruna, Spain in October 2023.
“I hope to inspire and motivate others who are unable to pursue their own adventures because of their illness or injury. Through these adventurous challenges, I hope that for a moment, patients, family, and caregivers can escape their own challenges and join me vicariously, and without getting cold or their feet wet!”
To donate to Brain Tumour Alliance Australia, see: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kev-n-daz-2021-sydney-hobart-rogue-wave-for-bullet
To donate to Soldier On, see: https://fundraise.soldieron.org.au/fundraisers/kevinlepoidevin/racing-for-our-mates