Chris Barnes sails the 110 foot 1851 Schooner America


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In this episode my guest host Andy Lamont talks with Chris Barnes on his Panama stopover about his 17 years of cruising adventures at sea. Chris's story is riveting from start to finish with tales of meteorites, bushfires, hurricanes and an adventure filled life on the ocean

Chris started dinghy sailing when he was young on the Portsmouth Harbour in England and then crossed the Atlantic in 34 days from England to Barbados in the yacht 'Robert Spray' modelled on Josua Slocum's original design. Chris spent several years skippering yachts for various owners, including sailing the 110 foot Schooner 'America'. 'America' was built in 1851 and is the yacht The Americas Cup is named after.

Chris shares insights into the rise, demise and rise again of 'America' including a period where she was left to rot in a shed 50 years ago, before a full rebuild was commissioned to restore her to the full glory we know today. Chris tells a great story of Atlantic crossings, boat yard mishaps and doing up to 9 knots boat speed in 15 knots of wind in a yacht more than 150 years old. Chris's adventures continued to Africa and eventually Australia where tragedy struck his family, as summer temperatures hit 46 degrees celsius (115 F) as Australias "Black Saturday" bushfires swept through his new hometown taking his home and more than 200 lives that day.

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