Tom Crabb, Director at Southern Light Marine in Adelaide, completed the 2007 Melbourne to Osaka race on an Adam’s 11.9 with Trent Justice who was working with Wichard Pacific at the time. For the 2018 Edition  of the race, Tom has paired up with Daniel Turner, from Port Lincoln SA, on the 11m Sayer Design yacht Runaway. The pair just finished the Adelaide to Port Lincoln race last month, and we were intrigued by Tom’s decision to participate in the next year race.

Read our Q&A below and for more information go to

You have done the race in 2007, what is bringing you back to the race again?

The opportunity to be involved in this great race again on a purpose built boat (Team FGI M2O 2003), which has been purchased by an extremely driven man who hails from one of Australia’s great yachting communities, Port Lincoln. I had the privilege of getting to Osaka in 2007 with the support of many, such as Wichard Pacific and I just want to support Daniel Turner in doing the same in 2018, many hands make lighter work! It’s a great adventure.

P2180046What did you learn from the last race that you will apply to the preparation of the boat this time ?

It’s never too early to be prepared ! I sweated on some trivial stuff last time but ultimately, reliability of what you have on board is the key, good sail handling systems, utilisation of soft rigging connections and sails which can bridge a few Windows. Technology in the Nav/com area has developed immensely in this period as well.

How do you manage “ Boat co-existence” during 5.500 Nm ?

Respect for each other, respect for your personal hygiene, respect for the gear, open communication and having a positive outlook on every situation, as best possible!  In 07 we were off Kenn reef getting into the trades, it was about midnight and we were considering the A3 from our reacher, “yeah just wait for this little squall coming up then we should be good for it Trendy”…..15min. Later after lying on our beam ends for 10min. the rig having been actually struck by lightning, torrential rain, bit of hail I think (was still trying to get sight back after the welding flash!) and 45 knots, Trendy replied, “do you want to sock it or wool it on the hoist?”….we sat on it a bit longer!!!! Humour definitely diffused the situation.

How do you split tasks on-board ? Is it based on individual skills, or do you both share tasks equally ?

In today’s oceans I think it is most prudent to look at two handed sailing as ultimately single handed sailing, with the luxury/security that somebody is always on watch, within reason one should be able to do most tasks themselves, hence we get back to systems on deck and up top. My background has a practical element as a shipwright and Daniel surpasses me on the technical I.T. side, which is a complimentary match, better than having two blokes squabble over how to hammer that nail…!

Is Runaway ready for the race ? Is there a lot of work to be done ?

No boat is ever finished. Daniel has been lucky to purchase Runaway, a boat which was built by Jon Sayer its designer and initial skipper and then the subsequent owners gave it much care and attention, every party that has been involved in this boat has developed it in some way. There is still however lots to be done, but even at this present stage it is ultimately as sound as a pound.

Do you have any expectations for your race results ? Do you think you will beat your 2007 result ?

I think Daniel and I have the primary goal of getting Runaway to the crazy crazy fun filled welcome out the front of Hokko yacht club at the head of Osaka bay and enjoying the company of the full compliment of other competing boats, it’s an unbelievable experience after a month of solitude.

That said, the boat deserves to be given every opportunity to stretch her legs and cover the passage that she was built for, in good time, performances she has shown on past occasion.

Anything else you would like to add ?

The Osaka race is still one of the races which involves that Corinthian spirit and shorthanded sailing is a great platform for testing new systems and hatching new ideas, which I believe is also Wichard’s passion.