New website for Campbell Field

14 03 2013

Please visit www.fieldyachting.com





Suspend Leg 3 and restart the race from Uruguay

12 02 2012

The Global Ocean Race organizers should suspend racing in the current leg and restart the race in Uruguay following their decision to shift the mandatory Southern Ocean scoring gate in mid-race, says Ross Field of Team Buckley Systems.

Within hours of Team Buckley Systems and the French Campagne de France yachts arriving back in New Zealand, the Race Committee put out a notice that the scoring gate would be moved 180 miles south, as a safety precaution for the remaining three yachts.

However, Ross and Campbell Field, who were leading the race when they turned back a week ago after their Class40 yacht was damaged in heavy seas, believe the third leg of the double-handed round the world race has been reduced to a farce.

“We were opposed to the imposition of this arbitrary scoring gate in the first place,” said Ross Field. “We warned the Race Committee that it would force the competitors to sail upwind in adverse and dangerous conditions – and that is exactly what happened. For them now to move the gate in the middle of the race is ridiculous.”

Team Buckley Systems was  forced to turn back to New Zealand after crashing off a monstrous wave as they were sailing upwind in storm force winds. Ross Field injured his back and the yacht lost all its wind instruments and its main autopilots.

The second-placed French Campagne de France pair also decided to turn back.

A week later, with the remaining yachts struggling to reach the scoring gate, the organizers issued a notice that they would shift its location from 47°S to 50°S. “If any boat feels they have been disadvantaged, they can obviously apply for redress, which would be dealt with by the GOR’s International Jury, but our priority right now is the safety of the skippers and the boats,” said Race Director Josh Hall.

Nick Leggat, skipper of Phesheya-Racing, which is still in the race, immediately said the decision had caused “serious anger and disillusion” and added: “This seems ridiculous to us, as it has made a mockery of our strategy and also Buckley Systems’ and Campagne de France’s decisions to retire.”

Back in Auckland, Ross Field was beginning treatment for his compressed spine injury, but said Team Buckley Systems would be looking closely at the rules to investigate redress. But he believed the fairest solution would be to suspend racing in Leg 3 and then restart the race again in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

“We are keen to carry on. Buckley Systems is a fantastic boat and this is a fantastic event. We and Buckley Systems have invested a lot of effort and money in this and were gutted at having to pull out when we were in the lead.”

Because of his injuries, Field would probably not be able to sail the next leg, but his son and co-skipper, Campbell, could carry on with a replacement crew. “We are looking at options for getting the boat to Uruguay,” said Ross.

After the current leg, there are two more stages of the race: from Uruguay to Charleston, South Carolina and from there to the finish at Les Sables D’Olonne, France. Leg 4 is scheduled to start from Punta del Este on April 1.





Leg 4, Tauranga to Auckland

8 02 2012

Arrived in Tauranga at 0330 local time this morning. Was another beautiful afternoon and evenings sail in a dying sea breeze. A full moon lit the way, the only disappointing part was seeing the lights of the operation clearing up the shipwreck on the Astrolabe reef. This maritime disaster has had a deep and lasting impact on the local environment – the Bay of Plenty is a stunning part of the world – the ships captain who tried to cut a corner to save a bit of time and money should be taken out the back and shot, or at the very least locked up and the keys thrown away. Probably along with the ships owners or charterers who probably applied pressure on him to save costs, miles, fuel etc.

A quick nap and the friendly local Customs Officer arrived at 0700 to clear us back in to NZ. At the same time Jan, Bruce and Cam walked down the dock armed with a long black and a flat white. Just what we needed. Ross has been whisked away by Jan for a quick shower then a drive to Auckland to see a specialist this afternoon. He will probably require the services of an ear specialist as well as his right ear will be playing up by now.

We left Taurange Bridge Marina at 1030 on the turn of the tide and have approx 120nm to Half Moon Bay Marina – my old stomping ground in Bucklands Beach. the Tauranga harbourmaster came tearing over in his RIB as we were exiting the harbour and I was wondering what we had done wrong, as it turns out Charlie (the harbourmaster) used to sail with Dad and I on Honeywell, a Young 11 that dad built in the early 80s. It was a pretty radical concept at its time, ultra light, open transom, very controversial to all the old fuddy duddy IOR lead smuggling vessel owners who deemed it too fast, dangerous and unseaworthy. maybe they were just pissed off that we looked like we were having much more fun than them. Anyway, Charlie came over to say hi, and to pass on his best and say how sorry he was that we had to pull out of Leg 3.

There is little to no wind, hopefully a sea breeze will develop later as it is getting hot, very hot. Just caught lunch with a line over the back, so things are looking up.

Campbell.





Stunning sailing

6 02 2012

All is well on board Buckley Systems. Although we are still bitterly disappointed to be sailing in this direction, it is some stunning weather – pretty much what it would be like were we permitted to go far enough south to avoid the gale force headwinds and severe bashing that we got. Yes, quite a lot colder than it is now, but still full main and A4 surfing along in the high 50’s latitude S. The funny part about it is that there is hardly any darkness that far south, so we can see where we are going and of course any hard water around.

One thing is for sure we are not going to run out of coffee or food on this trip. We do have to clear customs when we arrive as we cleared out from Wellington, I wonder what they will think when they figure we have taken almost 2 weeks to travel about 400nm…

Been keeping a close eye on the rest of the fleet – were very concerned watching one 3 hour report with Nick and Phillipa doing 1.9 kts at about 100 deg to course – a big ‘oh no’ moment for us, thinking they had lost thier rig and were drifting. Thankfully they hadn’t, just in even worse conditions that we left days ago.

Ross is well, however drugged to the eyeballs – nothing too heavy, just enough to knock you around. So it makes for some interesting conversations, mainly when he is asleep. The course of drugs recommended by Dr Spike from MSOS has kept the pain under control, and it takes a bit of discipline on Rosses part to maintain the course to keep the pain at bay, rather than the natural instinct of dosing up, pain goes away so stop taking anything. Learnt that the hard way. We are diverting to Tauranga and anticipate being there in 24 to 28 hours. This is to get Ross off the boat and to specialists as soon as possible, we had him booked in Auckland for Friday, but the forecast is getting lighter and lighter so we may not make it there in time. Should surgery be needed, then he will get it done as soon as physically possible to be back up and running in the very near future.

Bruce and Cam are very kindly giving up thier time to come and help me get the boat to Auckland – will feel quite crowded! Jan is driving them down and Ross back, the initial thought of Ross taking a rental car was pretty quickly dismissed as not the greatest idea we have had.

So we will arrive in Auckland on Friday some time, might link up with the local Friday afternoon Rum Race on the Waitemata if we time it right! Plan is so far to get the boat tidied up, pull the rig and effect repairs up there, then make a plan for the future.

Lots of messages of support coming in still. Thank you everyone, they are all appreciated – please rest assured we are both well and getting plenty of rest.

See you all soon,
Campbell.





Stunning sailing

6 02 2012

All is well on board Buckley Systems. Although we are still bitterly disappointed to be sailing in this direction, it is some stunning weather – pretty much what it would be like were we permitted to go far enough south to avoid the gale force headwinds and severe bashing that we got. Yes, quite a lot colder than it is now, but still full main and A4 surfing along in the high 50’s latitude S. The funny part about it is that there is hardly any darkness that far south, so we can see where we are going and of course any hard water around.

One thing is for sure we are not going to run out of coffee or food on this trip. We do have to clear customs when we arrive as we cleared out from Wellington, I wonder what they will think when they figure we have taken almost 2 weeks to travel about 400nm…

Been keeping a close eye on the rest of the fleet – were very concerned watching one 3 hour report with Nick and Phillipa doing 1.9 kts at about 100 deg to course – a big ‘oh no’ moment for us, thinking they had lost thier rig and were drifting. Thankfully they hadn’t, just in even worse conditions that we left days ago.

Ross is well, however drugged to the eyeballs – nothing too heavy, just enough to knock you around. So it makes for some interesting conversations, mainly when he is asleep. The course of drugs recommended by Dr Spike from MSOS has kept the pain under control, and it takes a bit of discipline on Rosses part to maintain the course to keep the pain at bay, rather than the natural instinct of dosing up, pain goes away so stop taking anything. Learnt that the hard way. We are diverting to Tauranga and anticipate being there in 24 to 28 hours. This is to get Ross off the boat and to specialists as soon as possible, we had him booked in Auckland for Friday, but the forecast is getting lighter and lighter so we may not make it there in time. Should surgery be needed, then he will get it done as soon as physically possible to be back up and running in the very near future.

Bruce and Cam are very kindly giving up thier time to come and help me get the boat to Auckland – will feel quite crowded! Jan is driving them down and Ross back, the initial thought of Ross taking a rental car was pretty quickly dismissed as not the greatest idea we have had.

So we will arrive in Auckland on Friday some time, might link up with the local Friday afternoon Rum Race on the Waitemata if we time it right! Plan is so far to get the boat tidied up, pull the rig and effect repairs up there, then make a plan for the future.

Lots of messages of support coming in still. Thank you everyone, they are all appreciated – please rest assured we are both well and getting plenty of rest.

See you all soon,
Campbell.





A dark day for Team Buckley Systems

3 02 2012

You would have seen by now the news that we are headed back to Auckland. A tough way to have a year of blood, sweat and tears collapse in front of you. Although cursing every minute of the last day or so of bashing and crashing upwind towards the ice gate, we had played it out pretty well, we feel.

We had set ourselves up nicely and were as settled in as you could be in those conditions – a nice southerly position (not as far south as we would have liked, but that is another discussion for another day), and very comfortable with where our nearest competitors were.

I guess it was a small mercy to have the horrendous conditions entering Cook Straits at the end of Leg 2 so fresh in our memories as it took the edge off and had us better prepared for the huge seas and 40+ knots we were facing.

We had a few failures as can be expected in these conditions, notably the 4mm thick stainless steel strap that connects our mainsheet block to the traveller car blowing up – quickly fixed with a lashing – but that gives an idea of the shock loads we were putting through this tough old boat.

One huge wave, and the instant it started to happen I knew what had happened. We rolled into a crash tack then around into a crash gybe and another tack. Anyone watching from above would think we were taking a penalty turn.

I was clinging on for dear life in the cockpit trying to simultaneously grab the tiller, disengage the highly confused pilot, hold on for dear life and figure out which way was up. All the while screaming in sheer rage at the situation.

While I was venting my anger, Ross was in agony in the cabin. On leg 2 he took a couple of tumbles that would have stretchered off any mere mortal, with a bruise on one hip that looked like someone had taken to him with a baseball bat.

A severe blow to the abdomen a few days later was only acknowledged with a mere, ‘that hurts a bit’ and ‘hope we have some more of those anti-inflammatories’. Tough old bugger my old man.

Any other day I would have just said stubborn old bugger. So to see him in that much pain meant we had an issue: facing the next 6000nm with one of us in agony raised serious questions. Then the loss of all our wind instruments meant our main autopilots were not functional. This was nothing we could repair at sea.

The combination of these issues seriously compromised our performance and safety.

So here we are, 1100nm from Auckland, riding the huge waves we previously spent 24 hours working so hard against in the other direction. They are just as big going this way, so we are still having a few hairy rides at 19 kts with a triple reefed main and jib up.

All our friends, fans, family and supporters, thank you for your support and messages we have received.

We will keep you posted on progress and the future as it unfolds.

Campbell.





Heading back to NZ after storm damage

3 02 2012

After crashing off a monstrous wave in the Southern Ocean, Global Ocean Race leaders Ross and Campbell Field of Team Buckley Systems have suffered damage to their yacht and are heading back to New Zealand.

For the past 24 hours, the yacht has been smashing into in storm force winds and huge seas south east of the Chatham Islands.

“We were leading the fleet under autopilot in big rolling seas,” said Ross Field. “The wind was up to 45 knots, gusting into the 50s. Campbell was on watch in the cockpit and I was down below in the navigation station, when we just launched off a huge wave.”

As the yacht crashed down into the trough behind the wave, all the wind instruments were wiped off the top of the mast. Ross Field was flung across the boat, injuring his back.

The loss of the wind instruments is a major blow, because it means their autopilots cannot function.

The boat instantly spun out of control and crash gybed. “We ended up with all our ballast on the wrong side and lying with the mast virtually in the water, at the mercy of the waves,” said Ross.

After bringing the boat under control and assessing their situation, the father and son pair decided they could not continue racing.

To carry on with Leg 3 of the race would mean hand-steering the boat nearly 6,000 miles through some of the most hostile conditions on the planet, round Cape Horn and up to Uruguay.

“The loss of our autopilots is like losing a crew member,” said Ross.

“We are absolutely gutted to be in this situation. We were leading the fleet at the time and we felt this leg through the Southern Ocean was an opportunity for us to really stretch our legs.”

After scoring a 1st and 2nd in the opening two legs of the round the world race, Team Buckley Systems was at the top of the leader board on points. The fleet of five Class 40 yachts started Leg 3 of the race from Wellington last Sunday and Team Buckley Systems surged into an early lead.

They tracked south-east to 49°S, before angling back towards the north to clear a mandatory scoring gate at 47°S. From the outset the Field duo was critical of this gate, because it denied skippers the ability to choose the fastest and best course for the conditions.

“Having to head north forced us to go upwind in horrendous conditions,” he said. “The irony is that 100 miles further south we would have been sailing downwind in great weather.”

The father and son pair notified the race authorities, their principal sponsor, Buckley Systems Ltd, and their fellow competitors that they were making their way back to Auckland. They expected to complete the 1200 miles passage in five to seven days.

Bill Buckley, Managing Director of Buckley Systems, said he was bitterly disappointed for the Fields. “Ross and Campbell are extremely determined and competitive yachtsmen,” he said. “They are tough campaigners and certainly would not take this decision lightly, particularly when they were in such a strong position.

“Their safety is paramount and we fully support them turning back, rather than continuing to race with Ross injured and the boat severely compromised.”