Broad Reach Radio - The Yachting New Zealand Podcast
Ep 48 - Sharon Ferris-Choat

Ep 48 - Sharon Ferris-Choat

May 13, 2022

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

Ep 47 - Jo Aleh

April 15, 2022

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)

Ep 46 - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er sailing)

March 18, 2022

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.

Ep 45 - Steve Ashley and the 1979 Fastnet Race

Ep 45 - Steve Ashley and the 1979 Fastnet Race

March 4, 2022

Steve Ashley was an 18-year-old sailmaker living in England when he was asked to crew on a 34-foot yacht for the 1979 Fastnet Race. Little did he know, like the rest of those scattered on the 303 boats who took part that year, he was about to be involved in one of the most notorious races of all time and one that led to the largest combined rescue operation since the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940.

Steve talks about the leadup to that race, the fact they received no warning about the ferocity of the storm they were sailing into, what happened when hurricane-strength winds hit in the middle of the night and how he and the rest of the crew on board went about ensuring their survival when others perished.

Steve has found himself in dicey situations many times, and also talks about a notorious passage he had from Bermuda to New York, as well as his role in the early days of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. 

p 44 - Dan Bernasconi

p 44 - Dan Bernasconi

February 4, 2022

The America’s Cup has long been at the cutting edge of yacht racing and we’ve seen incredible development over the last decade or so and a lot of that has to do with Dan Bernasconi. Dan is head designer at Emirates Team New Zealand and played a large hand in things like the evolution of foiling in the America’s Cup, the use of cyclors on Team New Zealand’s boat for the Bermuda campaign in 2017 as well as the design of the AC75 monohulls used in the last edition in Auckland.

Dan’s route to the America’s Cup came via Formula 1, and he talks about the six years he spent with McLaren when they were at the top of the tree, how he then got into the sailing game and how he approaches boat design. He also delves into some of the major developments he’s been behind, the team’s thinking around when to reveal to rival teams some of the latest innovations they’ve been working on and what it’s like when some of the radical design features come off.

Ep 43 - Andy Ventura

Ep 43 - Andy Ventura

January 21, 2022

Andy Ventura sailed solo from New Zealand to the UK via the Southern Ocean so he could get to his mother’s 80th birthday party in the middle of a global pandemic. As you might imagine, it was a remarkable and sometimes dramatic journey. He experienced everything from being becalmed in the Southern Ocean to raging storms, capsizes to concussion, and also endured some worrying equipment failure that could have led to an altogether different outcome.

Andy talks about how he prepared for the journey, what life was like on board his 35-foot yacht and how he dealt with the ongoing obstacles and setbacks.

Ep 42 - Erica Dawson

Ep 42 - Erica Dawson

December 10, 2021

It’s fair to say Erica Dawson has had a big year in 2021 for a number of different reasons. She broke her leg in a training accident only five weeks before the Tokyo Olympics, but made a speedy recovery to take her place alongside Micah Wilkinson in the Nacra 17. She also joined the New Zealand SailGP Team and made history when she became the first Kiwi woman to compete in the high-octane sailing circuit.

Erica reflects on the last 18 months, the highs and the lows. She talks about what it was like to be selected for the Olympics only to go through the uncertainty of not knowing if she’d actually get to go and compete, how she coped with breaking her leg in the leadup to the Games and what her experience was actually like in Japan. She also delves into life on the SailGP tour and what it’s like sail on the foiling catamarans.

Erica is also an advocate for women’s sailing and played a leading hand in the development of Yachting New Zealand’s Women and Girls in Sailing Strategy and talks in this podcast about what she’d like to see over the next few years.

Ep 41 - Tom Saunders

Ep 41 - Tom Saunders

November 26, 2021

A couple of weeks ago, Tom Saunders became just the second New Zealander to win the Laser world title in nearly 50 years of trying. It was a breakthrough result for the 29-year-old and sets him up nicely as he not only tries to go to his first Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 but also win a medal for his country.

Tom has been on the circuit for the best part of a decade and talks about his experiences in that time – how he’s coped with disappointments after finding success came quite easily to him as a youngster, what was different about the last world championships in Barcelona and how he might not have even gone to the world championships had he stuck to his original plan.

He also delves into his background growing up in and around a group of young sailors in Tauranga who have gone to achieve phenomenal success, what influence his brother has had on him and how training for and racing in an ironman event last year has helped shape his mentality as he commits to another Olympic cycle.

Ep 40 - Roger ‘Clouds‘ Badham

Ep 40 - Roger ‘Clouds‘ Badham

November 12, 2021

Roger ‘Clouds’ Badham is one of the world’s pre-eminent meteorologists and was also the first person to forecast for yachties and boaties on a fulltime basis. His 50-year involvement in the sport has seen him work on 10 America’s Cups, nine Olympics Games, more than 40 Sydney to Hobart races and countless world championships and big events. He’s been a critical member of Team New Zealand for 20 years, helping them firstly win the Cup in Bermuda in 2017 and then retain it earlier this year in Auckland, and has also worked with New Zealand’s top Olympic campaigners for the last five Games.

Clouds has described weather forecasting as like short-term futures trading - either selling or buying left or right – but his accuracy is something he’s renowned for it and it earned him a job working with the Ferrari Formula 1 team.

Roger talks about his career in this episode of Broad Reach Radio, how he got into the industry, what forecasting was like in the early days before computer modelling and then the arms race as teams tried to get the edge, what impact he’s had on various campaigns and the pressure he can sometimes come under to get it right. He also touches on the world of Formula 1 and how it differs to high-level sailing.

Ep 39 - Martin Tasker

Ep 39 - Martin Tasker

October 29, 2021

Martin Tasker spent most of his time behind a microphone, having commentated and presented news stories on anything from the America’s and Admiral's Cup to the Ocean Race and Olympics. In fact, in his time as a reporter with TVNZ, he produced close to 5500 stories, many of them about yachting. He lifted the lid on a number of news breaks, like the time Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth were lured to Alinghi, but was equally happy telling the story about something happening at grassroots level.

Martin talks about his career as both a yachting reporter and commentator in this podcast and tells the stories about how he and Peter Lester were threatened by Oracle with expulsion from not only the America’s Cup but also the country, what it was like to be on the inside with Team New Zealand in Bermuda in 2017, the lengths he would go to for a story, and the time he became the story after a seemingly innocent comment picked up when he thought he was off air caused a huge controversy.

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