According to a report in BoatSales.com.au, Australian V8 Supercar driver Todd Kelly is planning a 4 day journal (700-800km round trip) across Bass Strait aboard a Kawasaki Ultra LX JetSki.”…Unlike anything this high-profile V8 Supercar driver has accomplished before, the jet ski odyssey comes out of left field or, rather, the backseat of a road trip with mates.”
Kelly will be joined by friends Robert O’Brienand Bryan Hands, departing from Port Welshpool with a fuel stop and overnighter at Flinders Island, ending at the Tamar River, the four-day trip will average 350-400km each way. The motivation behind the trip is simply the challenge. “It’s a whole new discipline. Not too many have been there and back on a jet ski,” Kelly tells BoatSales.com.au. “And I’ll raise money for the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard… Who knows, I might need them.”
Kelly’s choice of ski is also a smart one. “Going the fastest is no use,” Kelly explains. “We’re going for reliability and economy.” Of course, the units themselves aren’t being left “as stock.” Each Ultra has been equipped with a custom 60-litre roto-molded poly fuel tank on a stainless-steel frame rear rack, with an easily-accessible electric switch to a transfer tank on the dash. Kelly has also added a custom waterproof case to the rear rack for the essential gear; as well as a bilge pump in the hull with float and dash switch.
Finally, each machine has been outfitted with a waterproof Lowrance VHF radio with AIS, a Lowrance Hook 4 chirp sounder and GPS plotter, EPIRBS on board (all mounted on a custom aluminum billet dash panel) and each rider will have a personal beacon, plus a satellite phone, and possibly helmet cameras. “We’ll be wearing full-length wetsuits and PFDs with head support,” Kelly adds.
While a set date has yet to be confirmed, the crew watches the weather for the best window: “We’re not locking in a departure date. We’re dictated by the weather. But it will be in early 2017.” By this account, the “Bass Strait is twice as wide and twice as rough as the English Channel. With an average water depth of just 60m, the infamous Strait is known for its huge swells and storm-force seas.” That being the case, it’s best to play it safe.