Your weekly dose of interviews with people in the New Zealand sailing community from top sailors of today and yesteryear to those working in the sailing and boating industries.
Ep 51 - Simon Gundry and Ceramco New Zealand
New Zealand has a proud tradition in the round the world race and a lot of that started with Ceramco New Zealand in the early 1980s – the first New Zealand-flagged boat to compete in the gruelling event. It was a campaign headed up by Sir Peter Blake and something that captured the imagination of Kiwis everywhere. But disaster struck on the first leg of the race when the boat’s mast came down in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean as the team were vying for the lead. It was a devastating blow for the crew, including Simon Gundry who is today’s guest on Broad Reach Radio.
Simon details what happened that day when the mast came down and how the crew rallied to sail 4000 miles under jury rig to complete the leg but also describes the inescapable feeling on board that they had let the nation down. He talks about their epic battles with the crew on Flyer in subsequent legs, including when they had their rivals in sight for 10 of the 24 days across the Southern Ocean to Cape Horn, and provides an insight into Peter Blake, from his unorthodox approach to crew selection to his recognition of the value of media to build support for Ceramco.
Simon is one of the characters of New Zealand sailing, and talks about the imaginary animals he had on board, his love of reciting poetry, how he managed to pull a team of yachties together to play in a rugby sevens tournament while in port in Argentina and the after-effects of one of their annual Mast Falling Down parties. He’s a terrific story-teller who was able to give a detailed insight into that 1981/82 Whitbread Round the World Race and a campaign that changed Kiwi yachting.
Ep 50 - Karl Budge
Karl Budge doesn’t purport to be much of a sailor, but he is one of this country’s leading event organisers having previously turned the ASB Classic into one of the world’s best tennis tournaments. He consistently attracted some of the world’s top tennis players to this country and now he’s looking to sprinkle his magic dust on the New Zealand leg of SailGP.
Karl talks about why he got involved in SailGP and what his vision is for the New Zealand legs that will be held in alternating years between Christchurch and Auckland. He also talks about what the fan experience is like at SailGP events around the world. Talk inevitably turned to tennis and what tricks he used to lure players like Serena and Venus Williams, Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova to these shores. He also talks about the time he gave Serena a piece of his mind after a less than inspiring performance. But she still came back the following year.
Karl delves into his background that saw him leave school at 16 only to find himself working at the WTA and Manchester United, but also turn down job opportunities with Formula 1, Manchester City and the NFL. This is a slightly different episode of Broad Reach Radio, but a good way to mark the 50th podcast.
Ep 49 - Mike Sanderson
Mike Sanderson is one of the most successful sailors of his generation. He’s a former World Sailor of the Year, two-time winner of the round the world race including when he skippered ABN Amro to victory in the 2005/06 Volvo Ocean Race, been involved in multiple America’s Cup campaigns, a record breaker, a successful maxi yacht skipper and now co-owner and CEO of Doyle Sails.
Mike has plenty of stories to tell, and we touch on a few of those in this podcast, from why he left school early and how he earned his ticket alongside many of his heroes on New Zealand Endeavour, to heading up international teams and dealing with the tragedy of losing a friend at sea while still racing. He clearly has a passion for the sport and it doesn’t matter if he’s racing in a high-pressure environment or going for a blast with a son on the Auckland Harbour. He’s also fascinated by trying to work out how to make a boat go fast and clearly been very good at figuring it out.
Ep 48 - Sharon Ferris-Choat
There’s not a lot Sharon Ferris-Choat hasn’t done in sailing. She’s a two-time Olympian, first woman to be part of a team to win a round the world race, world distance record breaker and the first woman to skipper a GC32 team. And she’s not done yet.
The Northlander talks about how she stumbled into the sport, how she found herself at the Atlanta Olympics only two-and-a-half years after committing to an Olympic campaign, her long association with the legendary Tracy Edwards and what’s still left on her bucket list. There have been plenty of highlights along the way, like breaking the 24-hour distance world record and winning the Oryx Quest, but also major disappointments, not least of all when Royal & Sun Alliance dismasted deep in the Southern Ocean when on track to claim the Jules Verne Trophy. Sharon was on the helm when the maxi catamaran lost its rig and details what happened and why she still has regrets about that day nearly 25 years later.
Sharon is an extraordinary sailor who is largely unheralded in this country. She’s deeply passionate about the sport and the need to provide greater opportunities for women and is always searching for what might be around the corner.
Ep 47 - Jo Aleh
Jo Aleh always maintained she hadn’t retired when she stepped away from top-level sailing after the 2016 Rio Olympics but it was still a surprise in some circles when she announced earlier this year she was targeting a third Olympic medal in Paris. Rather than do it in the 470, the boat in which she and Polly Powrie excelled for so long, Jo has taken up a fresh challenge and jumped in a 49erFX with fellow Rio medallist Molly Meech.
Jo talks in this podcast about what drew her back to the top level of the sport, what it has been like trying to master a new boat and form a new partnership, what it will take for the pair of them to win a medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics and how she will deal with expectations. She also delves into how she coped with the last five years, when she combined office work with coaching, and talks about what she’s trying to achieve in her role as chair of World Sailing’s athletes’ commission. One of the more important conversations we had was around the struggles Jo had with her health during her Rio campaign and how she approaches that part of her life now, which could be valuable for any young sailor, parent or coach, and we kicked things off by talking about her involvement in Live Ocean Racing, which was announced earlier this week.
Ep 46 - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er sailing)
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are never far from the action, whether it’s the America’s Cup, SailGP or in their environmental work, but the spotlight for this episode of Broad Reach Radio is on their Olympic sailing in the 49er.
We take a look back on where it all began for one of the world’s most successful partnerships, some of the challenges they faced in the early days when some wondered if they could actually realise their potential and how they went on to become so dominant. They delve into that golden period between the London and Rio Olympics, when they were virtually unbeatable, what brought them back for a crack at another Olympic medal in Tokyo and how they dealt with the impact of Covid-19 and the postponement of the Olympic Games. Pete and Blair also give an insight into two of the most dramatic races they’ve been involved in, the medal race at the 2019 world championships on home waters and last year’s medal race at the Tokyo Olympics.