I first met Chris in 1996 as we happened to work in the same building. I worked for a furniture company & he was a full time boat builder by day but spent every other spare second finishing his 6.5m (21ft) yacht for a Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race.
To me it seemed like a crazy thing to do (to be honest still does) but Chris is more determined than anyone I’ve ever met and with huge effort & little money managed to get the boat finished. He campaigned it locally named Essentially to qualify for the race then with the help of NAVMAN & many other supporters managed to get the boat (by now renamed NAVMAN) to France for the 1999 Mini-Transat. This was eventful with storms, gear damage, a run in with Spanish customs, knockdowns an many other thrills & spills but he completed the race finishing a superb third place. He was the first New Zealander ever to complete the Mini.
Chris returned to New Zealand with the hope of creating an Open 50 campaign for the Around Alone race. After an exhausting search for sponsorship he reluctantly decided to defer that and compete in another Mini-Transat, this time to win. He built a new high tech carbon boat designed by Bakewell-White Yacht Design. Chris completed the “Round North Island Race” and then sailed to Sydney for a trans-Tasman qualifying race. The race turned to disaster when the rig was lost requiring a return to Sydney & then total loss of the boat on the voyage home due to foreign object collision. Believe it or not, all this is just the begining of an epic story…
Chris’s Mini-Transat adventures are chronicled in a new book OCEANS ALONE by Rebecca Hayter. It’s soon to be published and can be pre-ordered at the links below. It will be an inspiring read, its an inspiring story…
OCEANS ALONE - CHRIS SAYER’S ADVENTURES ON THE HIGH SEAS
Rebecca Hayter ISBN 1869504666
Reserve a copy from BOAT BOOKS NZ
Reserve a copy from Dymocks NZ (NOTE: its towards the end of this page)
NAVMAN Photo Credit: Benoit Stichelbaut Photographe