Rolex Sydney Hobart: Don’t tell the wife …

Ever wondered about the cost of breaking and damaging gear – and the repercussions of it in a long race such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race? Well wonder no longer. Three boat owners confidentially whispered this morning “Don’t tell the wife, but….”

Robert Date, owner of the RP52, Scarlet Runner’s year got more expensive than expected when a big Chinese gybe flattened the boat a couple of times, pushing his helmsman, ‘Disco’, through one of the carbon fibre wheels, cracking it. “Two to three grand,” quipped Jono Morris of McConaghy boat builders.

A couple of spinnakers and other sails later; “another 20 to 30 grand each,” says Morris who saw the bills adding up on Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal, which he was sailing aboard in this year’s race.

Date’s wife was aboard the docked Scarlet Runner in Hobart this morning – and he could not bear to tell of the damage in front of her. It might end with some costly jewellery, or a new kitchen, as is often the case. Many a wife has said: “Well you spent such and such on the boat, I want a new kitchen”.

Same story aboard last year’s overall winner, Victoire, where owner Darryl Hodgkinson made the comment: “Well, we won’t be eating meat for a while; we tore a couple of costly sails. I’ll have to find a way to tell Katherine… (his wife).”

However, Dr Darryl is among the luckier ones. Katherine full supports his hobby, inclusive of buying him new sails for Christmas on a regular basis, knowing full well the weather could tear them up in a fit of pique.

Katherine was, as usual, waiting to greet him at the end of Victoire’s race this morning, a big smile on her face.

On Balance, a TP52, Paul Clitheroe had a similar tale of woe. “Where do I start…? First the generator wouldn’t go, we eventually fixed that, but we broke gear like everyone else.”

Clitheroe is in the fortunate position of being a financial whizz, so will figure a way to make the money back quickly – life is, after all, all about balance, according to him.

Ray Roberts, the owner of the Farr 55, OneSails Racing, was grateful his boat has twin rudders. Tackling a sunfish, half of the port rudder sheared off on the Tasmanian Coast yesterday. “It’s not easy steering a boat when one of the rudders is gone – it’s quite unbalanced – thank God we had two,” he said smiling, more concerned about daughter Sam’s new light pink hair than he was about the rudder.

Roberts is also fortunate that any torn sails will be repaired by his on board Sailmaker, Bruce Anson from OneSails – a company Roberts has a shareholding in.

The bigger boats were not immune either. CYCA director, Andrew Wenham tore up a few thousand dollars when he watched his sails rip in front of his eyes.

No matter, they are all happy when they reach the Hobart finish line, escorted by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (the finishing partner of the CYCA’s race) to their berths. There is nothing like the warm welcome Tasmanians offer and a cold beer, delivered to the boat by local volunteers. You can’t beat it.

This morning at 9.30am, 21 yachts had crossed the Castray Esplanade finish line of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Twelve retirements have been noted, the latest this morning when the Victorian yacht, A Cunning Plan (Jon Lechte) reported rig damage. All on board are fine.

The hard running conditions of yesterday continue to prevail, bringing the yachts home one after one in quick succession.

By Di Pearson, RSHYR media 

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