Crossing the high seas with Lucas Chapman

4th June 2021 Jack O'Rourke

Crossing the high seas with Lucas Chapman

For Lucas Chapman sailing started at a very young age, playing around on his dad’s yacht before he could even walk or talk, cruising around Lake Macquarie.

Chapman first started competing at the Belmont 16ft Sailing Club and quickly graduated to offshore racing in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

His goal now is to compete in The Ocean Race, scheduled for 2022, after racing in the 2017-18 Ocean Race on Turn the Tide on Plastic.

He has joined fellow Lake Macquarie sailing star Chris Nicholson onboard AzkoNobel Ocean Racing team for The Ocean Race Europe underway this month. 

Chapman spoke to Deckee before he departed for Europe to compete in the gruelling round-the-world race. 

“Since the finish of the last Volvo Ocean Race, I set a goal that I would do the next edition of The Ocean Race. I started working with Chris on his campaign to get a team in this year's race. I started sailing for him, and was recruited to the AzkoNobel team,” explained Chapman. 

“He has recruited me as a watch leader, which means when the skipper is off-watch, I’m running the boat. it is a step up in responsibility this time, and I'm excited to take on the challenge.”

Starting on 29 May from Lorient in France, the fleet of 12 yachts will make stops in Cascais in Portugal and Alicante in Spain before finishing in Genoa, Italy, on 19 June.

The AzkoNobel team features two other Australians on board, with Liz Wardley serving as boat captain and Charlie Wyatt doing the trimmer and helmsman roles. There's also a good mix of international sailors from the Netherlands and two from the UK, with nine crew in total. 

After the disappointment of the 2020 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race being cancelled, Lucas is just excited to be out on the water. 

“It was pretty quiet last year in terms of my sailing, so it's been unreal to sail in a professional team once again. We have been able to train by sailing on InfoTrack throughout the summer which has put us in good stead for the Ocean Race,” said Lucas. 

“There has been a fair bit of organising trying to get the boat ready and getting the team prepared. There has been a focus on taking responsibility for our own physical training to get us up to speed with the intensity of The Ocean Race. We haven't been able to sail and train much together as a crew because the team is from all around the world. I think once we are all together we will be able to gel together pretty well.”

The Ocean Race Europe will serve as a lead-up series for the main event in 2022, with The Ocean Race pushed back to next year.

Chapman’s affinity for the water doesn’t stop at sailing, and there isn’t a water activity he hasn’t tried his hand at.

“I am always keen to try something new. In the last couple of years, I have been using hydro-foiling boards. I am excited about the possibilities that this technology presents, and I want to push the limits and make it more exciting.”

His main interests are sailing and surfing, but will get on anything that floats in order to get near to the water. 

“The best part of being out on the ocean is that it is an untamed environment. We live our day-to-day lives in a very controlled state and everything is pretty comfortable,” reasons Lucas. 

“The ocean is a natural element that can be so unpredictable. We can not change or control it, we just have to deal with whatever is thrown at us. It is a humbling experience and brings you back down to earth very quickly.” 

He regularly goes fishing, often going up to Nelson Bay and throwing a line in, or heading offshore near Broughton Island

His advice for first-time boaters is to plan ahead before the first trip out on the water. 

Check the weather, and have an understanding of the state of conditions out at sea and how to read the waves. From a safety point of view, it is important to be aware of the situation and try to get a handle on weather forecasting so you don't end up in a dangerous situation.”

His number tip for all boaters?

“Preparation is key.”

“Make sure everything on your boat is in working order before you head out, and let someone know where you are and when you will be back. The Deckee app is a great tool for logging your trip.”

 You can follow Lucas’ progress with AkzoNobel team by checking in at theoceanrace.com