What is the Aghulas Bank?

The Aghulas Bank, from Portuguese for Cape Agulhas, Cabo das Agulhas, “Cape of Needles”) is a broad, shallow part of the southern African continental shelf which extends up to 250km (160mi) south of Cape Agulhas before falling steeply to the abyssal plain. It is the ocean region where the warm Indian Ocean and the cold Atlantic Ocean meet. This convergence leads to treacherous sailing conditions, accounting for numerous wrecked ships in the area over the years. However the meeting of the oceans here also fuels the nutrient cycle for marine life, making it one of the best fishing grounds in South Africa. (Source Wikipedia)

What is the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Rocks?

The Saint Peter and Saint Paul Rocks (Portuguese Penedos de São Pedro e São Paulo), is an archipelago lying about 685 miles (1,100 km) off the coast of northeastern Brazil, just north of the Equator. Under Brazilian sovereignty, it consists of six large islands, four smaller ones, and several rock tops. It is one of the most important fishing sites of northeastern Brazil, and several migrating species are caught there annually. The islands are unhospitable and uninhabited. A scientific station was established there in 1998. (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)

What are lee-cloths?

Unless the structure of the boat renders them unnecessary (quarter berths, pilot berths with partitions), bunks on a yacht must have lee-cloths to prevent the sleeper falling out due to the motion of the vessel. These are sheets of canvas attached to the open side of the bunk (very few are open all round) and usually tucked under the mattress during the day or when sleeping in harbour. Lengths of rope are attached to the upper corners of the lee-cloth, and fittings are provided above the bunk to which these lines can be tied, holding the cloth in place as a kind of wall across the open side of the bunk. (Source Wikipedia)

Who was Rolland Tasker?

Rolland “Rolly” Tasker AM (21 March 1926– 22 June 2012) was an Australian sailor who won Australia’s first Olympic sailing medal, at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. From 1969 to 1985 Tasker dominated ocean racing in Western Australia with five sister yachts all called Siska. He won numerous other ocean racing events in his career including taking line honours and first place in the Queen Victoria Cup off Cowes, England. Tasker was inducted into the Western Australian Hall of Champions in 1986 and the Sport Australian Hall of Fame in 1996. He became a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006 for his services to sailing. Sails for Jon Sander’s Parry Endeavour were made by Tasker Sails. (Source Rolly Tasker Sails)

What is the Americas Cup?

The America’s Cup is one of the oldest and best-known trophies in international sailing yacht competition. It was first offered as the Hundred Guinea Cup on August 20, 1851, by the Royal Yacht Squadron of Great Britain for a race around the Isle of Wight. The cup was won by the America, a 100-foot (30-metre) schooner from New York City, and subsequently became known as the America’s Cup. The American winners of the cup donated it to the New York Yacht Club in 1857 for a perpetual international challenge competition. In 1987 the San Diego Yacht Club took control of the U.S. competition.

Since the 1920s the America’s Cup race has been between one defending vessel and one challenging vessel, both of which are determined in separate series of elimination trials. Each competing vessel must be designed, built, and, insofar as possible, outfitted solely in the country that it represents. Until 1995, the America’s Cup competition was a best four of seven races; from that year until 2007 it required five of nine races to win.

In 1983, after American yachts (sponsored by the New York Yacht Club) had successfully defended the cup 24 times without a loss since the first defense in 1870, the Australian yacht Australia II won the cup. In the next race, in 1987, the Americans (now from San Diego) regained the cup. The controversial race of 1988, between the winning American 60-foot (18-metre) catamaran and a New Zealander 132-foot (40-metre) monohull, had to be decided in the courts and provoked a redefinition of the rules governing future races.

1995 event was won by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, only the second victory by a non-American challenger in the history of the competition. The skipper of the New Zealand victory in 1995 was Russell Coutts, who also led New Zealand to a win in 2000; Coutts, skippering for a Swiss team, won a third consecutive victory in 2003. In 2007 the Swiss team, with Brad Butterworth as skipper, defended its title. An American team owned by businessman Larry Ellison, Oracle Team USA, recaptured the Cup in 2010. In 2013 the U.S. had one of the most-dramatic comebacks in sporting history: the American team was trailing New Zealand 8–1 in a best-of-17 series and then won the remaining eight races for the most-unexpected America’s Cup victory of all time. (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)

The First Circumnavigation (25 May 1986 – 29 January 1987)

The first leg of Sanders’ voyage was intended to go westward round the Cape of Good Hope, cross the Equator, then go round Cape Horn to Fremantle where the yacht would do a lap of the America’s Cup course in 1987. To qualify as a ‘true’ circumnavigation, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the sailor must go above the Equator for at least 24 hours. Originally, the voyage was scheduled to turn at Cape Verde above the Equator but Sanders’ radio mentor Jack Seabrook suggested the turning point be the Islands of St Peter and St Paul as this would save 10,000 nautical miles.

Sanders had promised his sponsor Kevin Parry that he would sail past the America’s Cup course off Fremantle on Thursday 29 January 1987, two days before the final match. He had requested that the Kookaburra‘s chase boats escort the Parry Endeavour across the Cup course to ensure that no one attempted to board the yacht. Had someone boarded the yacht, it would have disqualified his record attempt at a solo, non-stop triple-circumnavigation.

Sanders arrived in Fremantle at approximately 8.30am with two chase boats alongside. He was joined by the Sutherland, Parry’s power yacht, which carried media representatives. Sanders had a brief chat at sea with a group of people including Royal Perth Yacht Club Commodore Alan Crewe and Parry officials. Spectator craft included the Royal Perth Yacht Club’s Part VI, the Perie Banou skippered by Colin Sanders and the John Curtin which had WA Premier Brian Burke and Curtin Vice-Chancellor Don Watts on board. A crowd of more than 3,000 had assembled to wish Sanders well on the next leg of his voyage.

Fremantle Post Officer Frank Reid used a jet-powered chase-boat to deliver three bags of mail to the Parry Endeavour. This mail was vetted by Australia Post, Curtin University, Parry Corporation and Colin Sanders to ensure it did not contain any food or equipment that would help Sanders on his voyage. Although the rules of the Guinness Book of Records allowed the delivery of letters and newspapers, Sanders decided against further mail deliveries in the second and third circumnavigations. (Source Project Endeavour)