Rough ride home leaves former Wallaby smiling

Former Wallaby player Mick Martin was almost thankful that he and his crew on his TP52 entry, Frantic, were given a rough ride to the finish of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this morning.

“If you don’t get smashed it is not a Hobart,” said Martin with a trademark grin after Frantic finished at 8.14am following an “on the nose” run up the Derwent River into 30-35 knot winds from the west.

Frantic finished the 628nm race in 2 days 19 hours 14 minutes 47 seconds. It was the 22nd entry to finish, one place ahead of another NSW TP52, Bush Paul Group, skippered by Mathew Short. Owned by ‘The 5200 Syndicate NSW’, Bush Paul Group finished a little under three minutes behind in 2 days 19 hours 17 minutes 15 seconds.

Martin, who earned six Wallabies caps from 1980-1981 and whose boat is registered with the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, said Frantic’s journey began as a “soft trip down.” Then when they reached Gabo Island, he said: “It ran out, then it was a bit easy, and then a bit dicey – chop and change then it lightened up,” until Friday.

At that point, Martin recalled: “We got hit with this great run. It was … a bit stormy looking, it started up … nasty Volvo sort of seas. It was nice sailing … it was extreme. It made super cars look like Dinkies …

“Then we got smashed (on the Derwent River) on the way in. It had been two knots, but all of a sudden it was 35 knots on the nose.”

Martin reported no problems with his boat that he bought in May 2012 when it was named Strewth. “It was one of its best runs,” he said. “It was a very enjoyable run. It was just (frustrating when) we were becalmed in the ‘fog’ (Friday). We couldn’t see. It is so frustrating. I would rather get kicked in the head than that …”

Martin’s plan now, after some celebrations in Hobart, will be to sail Frantic back to Newcastle at a leisurely pace. “I have a lot of mates who want to tick the box, come in and have a run back,” he said.

“We’ll dodge all the nasty stuff and get on the back of a low and go go in at Wineglass Bay and a few places up the (Tasmanian) coast.

“There are no crowds, no phones. It’s easy to chill out.”

For Mat Short, the run up the Derwent River to the finish by Bush Paul Group was hampered by their mainsail being torn in the gusts.

“It was a bit slower than we would have liked,” said Short, who has raced nine Hobarts. “We did it with just a trysail – no main.”

“We tore a mainsail this morning through Storm Bay when we were getting 45-50 knots.”

Short was otherwise pleased with how the boat and his crew performed – and that they arrived under sun and in daylight.

“It was good to come in at daytime and see the beauty of Hobart,” he said, then explaining how their journey unravelled from the start.

“It was a cracking first day, a bit slow next morning, then it picked up again during the course of the next day,” Short, whose parents Ian and Peta raced with him said.

“We found a couple of parking lots towards the bottom of Bass Strait and coming down the (Tasmanian) coast which slowed it down.

“But it was a pretty good ride.”

Short’s plan after a shower, a visit to the Customs House Hotel and the ‘Taste of Tasmania’. To sail Bush Paul Group home to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, in the company of his fiancé.

“There was talk of tomorrow, but I hope it’s later,” Short said.

Rupert Guinness, RSHYR media

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