Tag Archives: yacht

A traveller – at the Salamanca Market set up by the Derwent River

Since April I have been waiting for the weather to warm up so I can continue my walk to the source of the Derwent River more comfortably. Between then and now my posts have connected with the Derwent River by various degrees. This posting is no different. Months ago I walked past historic Salamanca in Hobart as I walked the edge of the Derwent River and last Saturday, I headed back again to the area for the renowned Salamanca Market.

The big find was an Englishman who has relocated to live in Tasmania and had set up a stall to sell his book.  A few years ago his Tasmanian wife lured him here for a holiday and when she flew back to England, he decided to return by hitching his way half way around the world.  After starting from Hobart by accepting a lift on a Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race yacht returning to Sydney, his trek took 6 months via the countries north of the Himalayas.  Apparently it only took 800 rides, through 19 countries! Out of the adventure and experiences Jamie Maslin wrote his story: ‘The Long Hitch Home’.

The Long Hitch Home Jamie Maslin book cover

In more recent times, Jamie has relocated to Hobart for permanent residence.

Past posts have indicated my awe and amazement about the achievements of people who take on, what seem to me to be, herculean tasks – These always excite me to make yet another step.  Inspiring others to make the first step in their own backyard is one of the goals of this ongoing blog.

In the right place at the right time watching the Derwent River

From my front windows I can look down the Derwent River, and when I am lucky, over the curve of Bellerive Bluff sloping into the water I can see tall masts suddenly appearing.  If I wait a few moments, the sails become visible and then the entire yacht sails into view, trying to fly to the finish line of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Last night, my mind was full of stories and ideas. Earlier in the day I had relaxed in the large chairs within the Gold Class at the cinema courtesy of a friend, and been moved strongly by Russell Crowe’s new movie The Water Diviner.  We were both very impressed by the movie and were thrown into thinking and talking about World Wars, and the futility of lost lives and the consequences for families. Then later, once back at home, I finished reading our Tasmania’s Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize winning novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Until then I had never truly felt the situation for our Prisoner of War soldiers forced by the Japanese army to build the Thai-Burma railway.  It is an extraordinary story, which made me feel quite breathless with despair about how different cultural values and beliefs can neutralise or destroy the natural talents of men.

So with two war stories swirling in my head, I dozed. When I woke from a half sleep at 2.20am I thought not of mud and death rather of water and the achievement of goals.

I ambled to my front windows and was brought wide awake. As I stood looking onto the dark Derwent River with the lights of streets, buildings and Wrest Point Hotel marking the western shore line, I realised something tall was slipping along behind Bellerive Bluff.  Within seconds the tall mast was momentarily blocking my view of bits of light on the other shore.  Before long the supermaxi was entirely in view and charging towards the finish line. I was surprised at its speed. Majestic. This morning, after checking the race standings, I now know I watched the third boat to arrive, Ragamuffin100.

Today’s arriving yachts have not been so lucky with the wind once they have come into my view. It’s almost as if once they pass Bellerive Bluff, the wind stalls.  I have watched yachts tacking across trying to make the most of a fickle breeze. Sometimes one almost passes another which had been way ahead.  It’s a beautiful clear morning in Hobart, and the surface of the Derwent River seems to be without a ruffle, but I doubt if any of the crew are thinking about that as they try to cover the last kilometre or so and improve their race standing and time.

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.