From the blunt end of the Sydney-Hobart fleet. For an interesting little mashup of S2H coverage from this year’s race, check out Lulu Roseman’s ‘flip-card’ race page, too.
Many people have complained for many years that the coverage of the S2H is all about line honours and Wild Oats and who they are racing. There were 88 boats in the race, all will have their own story. This was ours…cut short.
We are a crew mostly made up of guys from the Gold Coast, myself from Perth in Western Australia, and Matt Faddy from Sydney. We have sailed together for 6 years in coastal events so know each other fairly well. The boat [Beneteau 44.7 “Alacrity” –ed] has done 4 S2Hs (2 with the current owner), this to be the 5th. Alacrity had a freshen up with a new carbon fibre mast, E6 carbon rigging, and some new sails and it has been going better than ever and the IRC rating only took a minor hit.
The owner’s son just turned 18, so qualified this year for the age limit and convinced his old man that the boat should enter. This also made Chris the youngest skipper in the race, and also one of several father/son combinations competing.
As can be seen from the start video, we had a great start and were happy with our exit out of the harbor. We enjoyed 6 hours of reasonably square kite run until we got to the Southerly front at about 8pm. We dealt with the weather well and 22 hours on the nose was no problem at up to 30 knots. The boat and crew were in great shape and looking forward to crossing Bass Straight.
We had fairly short sails…. # 4 and 2 reefs and did a standard tack onto Starboard when the D1 let go from the fitting at the spreader. We managed to get the boat to head to wind and sails down, saving the rig, but the damage to the fitting eliminated our chances and after an overnight at the seaside port of Eden, we had a 30 hour motor back to Sydney.
It was a sad end to a well-prepared campaign, but we are thankful no one was injured and we kept the rig intact.
There’s always next year!