The sight of the first three TP52s to finish the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this afternoon (friday) reflected three contrasting emotions: disappointment, excitement and resignation.
For the New Zealand entry Caro, ninth boat to finish the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race, the mood was disappointment. Even though they were the first of the TP52s and first international boat to finish, their lament was for not having achieved what they came for; overall victory and the Tattersall Cup.
Close behind Caro, this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race winner after a race-long challenge with the Kiwi boat was Seb Bohm’s Smuggler. There was not quite three minutes between the two which were ninth and 10th over the finish line. Behind them was the 2022 overall winner, Sam Hayne’s Celestial.
Asked if being the first TP52 provided solace to falling short of claiming the overall win, Caro sailing master, Justin Ferris, said: “That’s trying salvage something out of the race. There’s always a competitive fleet of 52s and it’s nice to win that battle, but we wanted it to be a better end to our year.
“We had a good year and it would have been nice to have this win as well. But it’s bloody hard to win it. A lot have tried for a long time,” the Kiwi sailor said.
Ferris said Caro paid the price of taking the wrong option with their strategy: “We worked out the only way we’re going to win this race is to try and get through with the mini maxi’s wind.
“We knew that if we failed at that attempt, then we were going to be well behind the 50-footers that took the inside route, that we would fall off the back. That is exactly what happened.
“Then it was all about catch up and at least be the first TP52 home. We rolled the dice, had a good shot, and it didn’t work.”
However, Ferris lauded the performance of Smuggler, whose crew threw everything at Caro.
“They went bloody well. They took the option that was presented to us as well, which obviously we didn’t take,” Ferris said. “We were super impressed at how well they went.
“Last night we tried everything to catch them and it took us one day to get in front of them.”
On Smuggler, a boat that Bohm bought from Sam Haynes in 2019, the mood was one of excitement and celebration, rather than disappointment for having been passed by Caro close to the finish.
Bohm, who has finished all nine Hobarts he has sailed, also enjoyed beating his CYCA clubmate Haynes with the latter’s former boat. “But we are good friends,” Bohm acknowledged.
Bohm was thrilled with how Smuggler performed against the international campaigner Caro.
“It’s fantastic,” Bohm said. “We were surprised and in awe that we were so close to them. We’ve got a great product and a great package.
Written by Rupert Guinness | RSHYR Media
Internationally, the race will be available through YouTube on CYCATV or on Facebook Rolex Sydney Hobart page.
For the full list of entries and more information about the race, visit rolexsydneyhobart.com.