Tag Archives: Rolex Sydney to Hobart race

The end of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2014 yacht race

This afternoon I needed to walk to Bellerive’s Village for basic shopping. Once there (20 minute walk) it seemed a waste to be so close to the Derwent River and not to walk around Kangaroo Bay to Bellerive Bluff and see if any more yachts were sailing up to the finish line.

Today has been exceptionally blustery and Mount Wellington keeps disappearing from view as rain squalls and clouds move across in waves.

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It was clear to me that a major storm was passing and could reasonably be expected to travel across the Derwent River and saturate me. Nevertheless, knowing its only water and that my umbrella could be expected to be blown inside out with the wind, I walked on.  And it was worth it.

The wild water of the River showed peaks and troughs and there in the blurry distance, trying to keep close to protection of the land on the western shore close to Wrest Point Hotel Casino, two of the last yachts were fighting it out to see who would cross the line first.

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At home I have checked and learned that the two were Maluka of Kermandie and Charlie’s Dream.  As I stood on that windswept shore, I could see it was a battle between the two but I was surprised to discover their finish time had only 3 seconds between them. Can you imagine?  After hundreds of miles/kilometres in some very testing weather, three seconds separated these two at the line. Inspirational!  The message for me was that one must never give up; I must keep pushing onwards.

Only two yachts are yet to cross the line. One is charging up the Derwent as I type and has almost reached the finish line (Southern Myth) and the other seems almost to be stalled in Great Oyster Bay slightly south of Freycinet peninsula on Tasmania’s east coast.  I can only imagine that yacht is taking it slow and easy to cope with the weather and arrive in one piece.  Many yachts have withdrawn from the race with expensive rigging, sail, rudder, lost masts, and other boat damage. Perhaps the last yacht, Landfall, is considering making landfall earlier than the Hobart docks.

If you don’t mind thickly padded appearances and wind-blown hair, then today is a wonderful day to be wearing your winter woollies and outside walking and filling the lungs with fresh (and it is fresh) air.

Wild Oats XI took line honours for the 8th time when it crossed the finish line on the Derwent River

I bussed into Hobart seeking a spectacle and I wasn’t disappointed. I looked seaward when the bus crossed the Derwent River on the Tasman Bridge.  Hundreds of boats of all shapes and sizes were out on the water  welcoming the racing yachts into and up the River. Picture postcard imagery.  Perfect.

Once in the city and amidst thousands of people, I wandered down to the wharf. I loved the festive atmosphere and the sense of great achievements.

The tallness of the supermaxi masts always surprises me, and seeing the mast on the glossy Wild Oats XI was no exception. Gasp. So tall I had to move my head to see from the bottom to the top; simple eye movements were not enough.

The yacht was tied up and people, whether on or off the boat, were hugging and shaking hands, their tanned faces full of smiles. The crew had not slept but were exhilarated. Publically broadcast speeches followed. The sun beat down and it seemed the air reverberated with good will.  Today was definitely full of joy for those who have arrived safely in port at Hobart.  ABC Online was the first to transmit a story of the win.  Have a look at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-28/2014-sydney-to-hobart-yacht-race-winner/5990156 for colourful action photos, and a video.

The great and wonderful Sydney to Hobart Yacht race is about to enter the Derwent River

For 69 years annually on Boxing Day (26th December), over 100 yachts have set sail from Sydney Harbour for the internationally renowned Sydney to Hobart Yacht race.  Their well-trained crews have great ambitions of becoming line or overall winner depending on the size and class of their yachts.

The website (http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/about-the-race) explains this race is an egalitarian event, attracting yachts as small as 30-footers or large maxis, sailed by crews who range from weekend club sailors to professionals from the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race circuits. The Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2014 is a classic long ocean race open to anyone who owns a yacht that qualifies for this challenging event and which meets all the safety requirements of a Category 1 safety race.

Today is the exciting one for Hobart residents, thousands of yachtie fans and plane loads of tourists who expect to see the first two towering maxis come over the final line later this afternoon.  As I type this posting, an Australian yacht Wild Oats XI (which has won the race 7 times) leads the USA maxi Comanche which is trailing by 10 kilometres. The rest of the fleet are over 140 kilometres north and none of those yachts can be expected to arrive until tomorrow at the earliest.

But, for today’s two maxis, the big trial will be sailing the final 11 nautical miles of the Derwent River to the finish line.  A change in the wind is forecast and this could be to Comanche’s advantage.  The history of this race is littered with leaders who are overtaken during the last leg on the Derwent due to fickle, conflicting or no winds. Currently the winds around Hobart are north-westerly 15 to 20 km/h and are expected to shift south to south-easterly 15 to 25 km/h in the early afternoon then become light in the late evening.

As I sign off, Wild Oats XI has entered Storm Bay which is the last expanse of water before the Derwent River.

Check out the website http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/ for stunning photos of the yachts and in a few hours you will see the arrival of the first two in Hobart, on this gorgeous sunny blue sky day.