In this crew spotlight we spoke to Andy Pamflett who shares where his passion for sailing began and what he did to achieve his first Sydney to Hobart crew position.
When did you start sailing? How did you get involved in the sport?
I sailed as a kid. My Dad and I built a “Minnow” in our backyard. I have always been around, on or under the water and a keen surfer. I never really raced though, just ‘mucked around in boats’.
I did some cruising in Victoria (Geelong and Melbourne) and my first off shore delivery, 2 up, on a Catalina 30 from Westernport to Sydney in 2005. This was a life changing experience and gave me a taste of offshore sailing. Sailing in through the Heads for the first time gave me the most incredible sense of achievement.
I lived overseas in the UAE for 5 years, returning to Australia in 2010 and moved to Sydney in 2011. I did some sail training courses through EastSail, mainly as a social activity as I was new to Sydney. This included a Competent Crew, RYA Day skipper and a Spinnaker course, and a few “Sails and Ales” races. We then put a crew together with an EastSail Skipper, hired a Boat and raced at the Sail Port Stephens Regatta.
I had an amazing time! I was doing twilight races at Drummoyne through some contacts at work and sailing on as many other boats as I could through the contacts I had made at EastSail. I did a Hamilton Island Regatta and another Port Stephens Regatta, and was sailing in the combined West Harbour Summer and winter series.
This was all before I found out about MySail!
What does your current sailing program look like? (types of yachts and racing that you’re doing)
I am currently sailing on a Sydney 38 out of Drummoyne in the CYC winter series, with a plan to do the Blue Water Pointscore series this year.
I also fill in on other boats when I can, and have bought an NS 14 with an aim to be closer to the water and learn about combining sail settings and steering. It is teaching me a lot – mostly staying upright, and going in a straight line!
Tell me about your experience sailing in the Sydney to Hobart.
Racing in the 2017 Sydney to Hobart was an amazing experience. It was a great crew on a really well-prepared Sydney 38.
We got into a routine of watches including sleeping and eating – this was one of the big differences between this and the other offshore races I had done.
Starting with all the big boats and famous names, sailing across Bass Strait, around the corner of Tasmania, and up the Derwent were all special, but sailing into Constitution Dock and receiving a rousing welcome there was incredible.
What was your journey to securing a S2H position?
Prior to the sailing part, I did my Radio certificate and Sea Safety Survival Course to build up my Sailing CV.
I registered with MySail and contacted every person I knew that sailed in prior Hobart’s or was sailing this year. I also attended the pre-race briefing and spoke to CYCA staff and boat crew managers, and through these contacts I got my first break on the Flinders Islet Race.
Then though MySail and Deb I got a crew position for the Newcastle Bass Island Race. Then, also through Mysail, I met Tony and did the Cabbage Tree Island Race on Eleni – I was subsequently asked back on for the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
Any tips for other crew who are interested in this event?
Get your certification done, get as many miles as you can and be proactive with your network. It’s a lot like trying to get a job!
Do you have any upcoming races or regattas that you’re really excited about? Or any you would really like to do?
I am really looking forward to doing the Blue Water Pointscore series this year, and hopefully another Hobart.
In September, I have chartered a bareboat Catamaran in Croatia with my partner and some friends which I am really looking forward to that. I would love to do a longer race, such as the Sydney to Noumea.
I also enjoy yacht deliveries and would like to do a couple of international or longer deliveries.
I have met some great people in and around sailing. The dedicated support staff and administrators, some great “old Salts” with truly amazing stories.