Sailing coach to challenge Mother Nature in round-the-Island Optimist sail
Sailing fanatic Tom Herbert-Evans has performed many crazy stunts in the past.
But his next one perhaps tops them all.
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) Sailing Academy Director plans to go where no local sailor has gone before — around the Island in an Optimist dinghy.
To raise money to enable the Islands Optimist sailors to gain valuable exposure abroad.
In order for our young sailors to be really good we have to provide them with big fleet exposure and the only way they are going to do that is by going overseas and to do it often is very expensive and nobody can afford it, Evans said.
So the idea is to help our Bermuda sailors to go overseas and experience that and if we want to develop a new programme and the equipment is the issue it kind of comes under the same umbrella.
Evans circumnavigation will start and end, that is if all goes according to script, at Hogfish Beacon off Spanish Point Boat Club.
The reason for that is because every other attempt (around the Island) has been done from there, the 25-year old Welshman added. Were hoping for a northwesterly so I will go towards Dockyard and counter clockwise (around the Island) which would be a nice run.
A northwesterly is nice because youre protected by the reefs and the waves dont build up that much.
But the little beat off St Georges could get a bit tough because of the waves off there.
Wind speed and currents will ultimately dictate how long it takes Evans to sail around the Island in a training boat designed for youngsters.
We just have to find a weather window this week to get through and around, he said. Its all about the window action because if we get it wrong it could take a long time.
If Im going to be beating going to windward down south shore then it could be a long journey.
Weve been doing an estimation on how long it will take and the quickest is three hours while the longest could be 20-24 hours which is a long time time in the boat.
And when you are in a boat that can only do about four knots then tide makes a big difference. If theres two knots of current running then Im only doing half my speed so thats why it could take long.
Evans could set sail as early as tomorrow but no later than Sunday because of an approaching weather front.
There could be a small window on Thursday but its only for about eight hours so I really have to pick my gap, the experienced ocean sailor said. Wednesday is looking southerly so if its light I can roll the dice somewhere.
The certified sailing coach will take along provisions of food and water and will remain in constant contact with (Rescue Co-ordination Centre Bermuda) Harbor Radio during his circumnavigation.
Hopefully some people will come up and say hello which would be inspiring really, he said.
So where did the bold idea of sailing around the Island in a single-handed, eight-foot dinghy boasting 35 square feet of sail come from?
I heard that someone had done it here in Bermuda in a Laser and of course in some of the yachts. But its never been done in the Optimist so I thought that would be a helluva a challenge for a good cause, Evans explained.
Evans students have received numerous pledges from RBYC members and the general public that will go towards the worthy cause.
The kids have been actively fundraising and Ive donated myself to inspire them to go out there and work hard, he said. They have all been working hard and will benefit from it and thats the important bit. The club members have been really supportive maybe next year I will have to go around twice!
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