As is so often the case, the parent and child dynamic, and the differing perspectives, can be a hindrance but for Whelan his knowledge of his boat, coupled with his son’s hunger for competition, helped propel their crew to the top of the standings.
After taking the PHS win Whelan commented, “I’m a cruising sailor really so I know how to soften the blows to the boat and not break anything. My son is more of a racing sailor so it's great to have that balance with him - he’s trying to make it go faster and I’m trying to keep it together, I don’t want to break it!”
While the contrast in styles may seem incompatible it delivered a result which was very satisfying for the owner, “we’re very happy with the result. I’ve had the boat a long time you see, since last century, so it was great to be competitive and enjoy a good race. We handle the light very well so had a strong start."
“In the third day we had that beam breeze and Reve, built in 1991, got up and went. Once you get that 13 tonnes of boat running at 11-12 knots there’s not much that can stop it.”
The race saw Whelan return to offshore sailing with his son, something which has been an enormous part of their lives.
“We sailed around the world on the boat and had 8 years living on that bit of plastic and wood from 2001, my wife, son, daughter and I. It’s been our toy for the weekend, our home, our transport, and a vocation and education for our children. My son is 27 and my daughter is 22 and they’ve had a fifth and third of their lives on that boat."
“It’s travelled around the world more often than most people. It’s lived in Africa, sailed around Mauritius, Cape Verde and been chased by pirates in Indonesia so there’s a bit of history on the walls of that yacht.”