This morning at 7.00am, only 10 yachts remain at sea in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart, with all expected ashore in time to ring in the New Year in what has been one of the fastest races on record.
Ted Tooher from the host club started the ball rolling early this morning when he sailed Chancellor across the Castray Esplanade finish line at 6.24am. Tooher’s 27 year-old son, Aiden, was along for the ride.
Despite an unusual ending to their race, father and son were able to joke about it.
“The steering failed just as we were coming up to the finish line. We couldn’t cross the line,” Ted said. “An official came over in a boat and said, ‘Chancellor, do you intend to finish’. I told them we were trying, but couldn’t cross until we had the emergency steering in place.”
Coming up the Derwent was also tricky, Ted said. “One minute we were becalmed and then we were slammed hard by some big gusts – it was really up and down.”
On his first Hobart, Aiden commented: “It was more eventful than you could ever imagine – you could say it was a 360 degree experience… I’m sworn to secrecy, I’m not allowed to talk about it,” he said laughing.
Prior to the race, Tooher gave some international sailors the nod to sail with him. “We were without a ride, and Ted took us on,” said Margarita Tzoka from Greece of Tooher taking on herself, Marina Jackson from Italy and others. “We had a very good Sydney Hobart,” she said of the experience.
Merlion (Vic), owned by Eddy Mackevicius and the second of two Tasmanian entries, Magic Miles (Mike Crew) are due next, as winds pick up on the Derwent.
Last on line is the William Atkins designed Freyja. Built in 1945, the little wooden boat skippered by Richard Lees was north-east of Cape Sonnerat this morning, with a current ETA of around 2.00pm tomorrow. Just ahead of her is the Army’s Gun Runner, the second smallest boat in the fleet at 9.2 metres, which is due into Hobart late afternoon tomorrow.
Well-wishers in Hobart reached a new all-time high yesterday, crowding the Kings Pier Marina yesterday when the bulk of the fleet ran to the finish line under spinnaker throughout the day. Among the evening’s finishers was the most talked about boat in the fleet, 87 year-old Dorade, a classic wooden beauty owned by Matt Brooks and Pam Rorke Levy.
The American pair brought their famous yacht to Australia in an attempt to add the Rolex Sydney Hobart to her winning trophies from all the other major classic offshore races in the world. The lone Australian aboard was internationally recognised navigator, Adrienne Cahalan, the first women to reach 25 Sydney Hobarts when she raced on Ragamuffin 52 last year.
By Di Pearson, RSHYR media