Tom McEvoy breaks 12 hour record

Lasers seem to be in the news. Some of you will no doubt remember Tom McEvoy, a Notts County member some years ago, his mum was Commodore. He emigrated to Australia with his wife.

Here is his story of his record sail.

Laser sailor Tom McEvoy sets… – Queensland Laser Association

Laser sailor Tom McEvoy sets Guinness World Record for Longest Distance Sailed in a Single Handed Dinghy in 12 hours

The idea of attempting a Guinness World Record(GWR) came about back in September 2021 when I read a Facebook post about a guy from the Isle of Wight, who set the record of sailing a single handed dinghy (Laser) for 12hr and completed 107km. I believed that would be an achievable target and applied on the GWR website to complete this. Little did I realise the detailed requirements that were needed for this record. I did some research to find out about support boats and people that could or would be willing to help me with this attempt.

After reading about Mara Stansky’s effort of leaving from Southport and then sailing around the top of Moreton and back into the wind I just wanted to sail a straight line point to point, originally from Manly to Noosa (115km) or the other direction depending on wind direction.

Things started to slow down a bit when I couldn’t find a support boat without it costing me over one thousand five hundred dollars. At the beginning of 2022 my neighbour (Matt) and his Dad (Warren) had purchased a boat that I felt would be suitable for helping me. A few months later over a few beers and chatting about being how good it is to be out on the water and having a boat, I mentioned the idea of the world record. But trying to align everyone’s calendar’s and at a suitable time of the year was harder than expected.

Over a year later we talked more in depth about logistics and everything materialised very fast from mid April we agreed that 17th May was going to be the day. We planned to start at Noosa or Manly (wind dependent). On the Sunday(14th) I contacted all the coast guards (CG) along the coast to advise of my sail. The Noosa CG strongly advised that the bar at Noosa was far too dangerous for either support boat or me to cross as they were having multiple boats tipping over every week due to sand movement and unpredictable sea states.

This left us with a last-minute change of plan of start and finish location. On Sunday 13th the wind for Wednesday was forecast 10-15knts SW, this meant us starting in Redland Bay which I was unfamiliar with but Warren was already familiar with. I also had a fellow Laser sailor training in Mooloolaba on the same day, and could help at the end. This felt like all the pieces were falling into place.

And so, on Wednesday May 17th I started my attempt at breaking the GWR for the longest distance sailed in a singled handed boat in 12hrs. It was completely dark at 5am when I started in Redland Bay with a light breeze of 7 knots from the south west. I had notified the Redland Bay CG about the sail and they were more than willing to assist me through the first section of the trip to help navigate around the sandbanks (only ran-aground once). They stayed with us (myself & support boat) for over 1.5hrs as we sailed north past Green Island. After this it was just myself and my support boat as I sailed across Moreton Bay and towards the open ocean.

The wind slowly increased as the morning wore on and the waves got bigger especially as I sailed out of the bay and into the ocean. The wind built to 12 knots from the south west and I had a lot of fun surfing waves and keeping the bow out of the waves. This continued for hours until the wind died around 10:30am and stayed light until 11:30am. By then I was off the northern beach of Bribie Island and the breeze had swung around to the south and had picked up again as the south easterly sea breeze built in the early afternoon. The Caloundra CG joined us around 12:30 until 13:30 as the breeze continued to increase to approximately 15 knts.

As we passed Warana Beach I had broken the record having done 108km in 9.25hr. I continued to sail up to Mooloolaba and after 10hrs we had arrived in Mooloolaba bay. I spent the next 1.5hrs sailing backwards and forward making a few phone calls and taking some pictures just having to kill time while I increased my distance. With 30mins left on the timer I started to sail into Mooloolaba harbour (it was nice to do some tacking to stretch and move around), and just off the slipway next to the CG office I did laps up and down waiting for time to count down. After 12hrs I had recorded 130km.
I sent all the logs, pictures, video and gps data off to GWR on the Thurs 18th for verification. I won’t hear back for at least 3 months and will be contacted if further information is required.

My record attempt could not have happened without my support team. A big thanks to Warren Van Vurren and Matt Vickers for driving the support boat, filling out all the logs and helping with the logistics, Rod Goodrick for being our support driver dropping us off early morning and towing trailers to rendezvous points between start and finish. Also to BSS and QILCA for the support helping me achieve the GWR.

Tom Mcevoy is a 37 year old Laser sailor from the Brisbane Sailing Squadron.

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