Frustration turns to joy in Sydney Hobart

1330hrs (AEDT) | Saturday 31 December

It took Carlos Aydos and co-skipper Peter Grayson half a day on the two-handed entry Crux to overcome the frustration of their botched start to the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Crux, an S&S 34, had a shocking start, sailing from the wrong start line and then missing the first mark outside Sydney Heads.

They were sailing down the NSW coast off Bondi Beach when they realised their mistakes.

“We were off Bondi and suddenly the penny dropped,” said Aydos this afternoon after mooring at Constitution Dock in Hobart.

The realisation of what they had done prompted Aydos to yell out to his co-skipper, ‘”Peter, Peter … we need to go back … drop the spinnaker, put a J2 up, sail back and keep going.

“We lost about an hour and a half. It took us a while to get the frustration out of our minds.

“We were so angry at ourselves. And then we thought, ‘Okay … how long is this [frustration] going to linger around before we can just start enjoying the race again’.

“It was half a day before we got over that. Yeah. Then we started sailing as hard as we could.”

Once they got going, the pair showed their class in what was a highly credentialed fleet of 19 two-handed entries which, for the first time, were eligible for overall victory.

The 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart ended up being a race for the TP52s, from which Sam Haynes’ Celestial came up trumps to win the race overall.

However, the two-handed entries certainly left their mark on the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 628 nautical mile race.

After their flawed start, Aydos and Grayson showed why Crux was so fancied in the two-handed fleet.

She finished fourth in the Two-Handed Division (IRC) and second on ORCi in the Two-Handed Division. Both divisions were won by Rupert Henry and Greg O’Shea on the Lombard 34 Mistral.

Aydos and Grayson’s early set-backs certainly motivated them to sail Crux as hard as possible. “We were racing harder … we did everything we could to make up for our mistake,” Grayson said.

As with all the fleet, the two were soon facing tougher conditions when the wind changed and turned from northerly to southerly and seas increased.

“Two thirds of the way across Bass Strait, we hit some currents and swells,” said Grayson. “There was a lot of vigorous helming to keep the boat on course.”

When they reached Hobart – 36 hours earlier than last year – their perspective changed.

“We started doing the maths and thought, ‘Had we not lost that one and a half hours …,’

“But we realised we still got some good results and did better than we did last year.”

So, will they return in 2023? “We are both saying, ‘I am never going to do another year’,” replied Aydos, laughing, before adding: “But we said the same last year!”

Meanwhile, on the Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 Transcendence Crento, crewed by Martin Cross and his son John, any frustration result-wise was made up by the satisfaction of what they saw.

“It was a race of different parts. The first bit was glamorous … just a light, beautiful downwind run, and then we had an introduction to Bass Strait,” Martin said.

“Within 15 minutes, we were knocked over with the gennaker up and some of the most confused seas I’ve seen in my life … lots of peaks and troughs and huge downhills.

“Then by Tasman Light, we had albatrosses and a lovely sunset over Tasman Island.”

On the Jones 42, Minnie, the father and son crew of Michael ‘Zappa’ and Oliver Bell, finishing the Rolex Sydney Hobart was the achievement they yearned for. Zappa and his other son, Matt, retired early last year when their entry, Kayimai, suffered engine problems.

“It was a great relief to make it,” Zappa said at the docks. “We totally enjoyed it, even though the race was challenging and daunting. Last year was a totally different race.”

Bell even sought some advice from Rupert Henry, co-skipper with Greg O’Shea of Mistral, with his mind on possibly racing two-handed again in next year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart.

“That’s the plan,” Bell said. “But the door is still open … It’s not signed off yet.

“We’ve got some things to do, and we both agreed on what we should do.”

Rupert Guinness/RSHYR Media

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