Sydney yachtsman Bruce Gould, a survivor of the sinking of the veteran timber yacht Winston Churchill in the tragic 1998 Sydney Hobart Race, will be sailing in his 40th Sydney Hobart Race when this year’s race gets under way on Boxing Day, 265 December. The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron member will be sailing as watch captain aboard fellow RSYS member Geoff Hill’s MKL49 Strewth in the 628 nautical mile ocean classic. That’s Bruce at the helm of his famous old yawl Margaret Rintoul. Photo by John Jeremy.
Bruce will join nine other members of the ’40 Hobarts Club’ who have sailed in 40 or more Hobarts since its inception in 1945.
A survivor of the foundering of the classic timber cutter Winston Churchill in the tragic race of 1998, Bruce has sailed in nine of the ten Hobarts since then.
He was rescued after spending 30 hours with crew mates in a life raft after Winston Churchill sank. Three other crew members in another raft were lost at sea.
Commenting last year on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, after completing his 39th Hobart, Bruce said: “I can’t stop racing. If I did, I’d just sit around and be haunted by the thoughts of what happened with the guys. And besides, I think I should do this in memory of my mates. I’m sure they wouldn’t want me to stop.”
In the lead-up to the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart, the former America’s Cup yachtsman told ‘Offshore Yachting’ magazine: “I still enjoy sailing and the challenges that a Hobart can deliver. The friendship and companionship you make out of sailing is one of the main reasons I still participate at my age!“Whilst we may be rivals on the race track and competing for divisional success, it’s great to enjoy a laugh and a beer with your mates once the race is completed,” he added.
While he ocean races on other people’s yachts, Bruce is the proud owner of the famous former line honours winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, the classic timber yawl Margaret Rintoul, which led the fleet home in 1950 and 1951.
Among the other ocean racing yachtsmen in the ’40 Hobarts Club’ is Squadron member Syd Fischer, who is racing to Hobart for the 41st time as skipper of his current Ragamuffin, a TP52, while his sailing master Tony Ellis will be sailing his 42nd race.
Record-holder is Cruising Yacht Club of Australia member Tony Cable, who has competed in 45 Sydney Hobarts, all as a crew member.