They said it couldn’t be done and that just drove Grant Wharington to prove the doubters wrong when he built the new 100 foot Wild Thing 100 in five months and made both the start and finish lines of the 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Wharington and crew, including son, Oli, on his third Sydney Hobart and 21-year-old daughter Georgia, doing her first, were as thrilled as everyone else when he moored at the King Street Pier late today after crossing the finish line at 06:09:06pm.
Wild Thing 100 finished just short of an hour behind Sean Langman’s Moneypenny which had been in a battle royale with URM Group and Alive for the overall win. The pair were fifth and sixth boats to finish the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race.
Wharington said, “We wouldn’t have gone to the start line if we thought we would not have made the finish line. That would be foolhardy.”
Wharington could not heap enough praise on his build team of Theo (Somssich) and Paddy (Lambourne). “They worked hard to get the boat done, even working on Christmas Day. I couldn’t have done it without them.
“We have fantastic people who are dedicated. This morning I saw a few friends had retired; Witty with Scallywag, Spiesy on Maritimo, so I was grateful we finished. Grateful.
“We knew we couldn’t win, but we are here with our heads held high. We are still starting at the bottom and I know we will get better from here.”
Wharington said having his kids involved in the race “has given me a new enthusiasm for the sport. I like designing and building, so to do this also with the new boat also gave me enthusiasm.”
Earlier, Sean Langman’s chances of winning the race evaporated when he decided to take a ‘short cut’, the most direct route to the finish. Moneypenny, a Reichel/Pugh 69, is currently placed third overall, a great result, but not what Langman was looking for.
The next boats due to finish are David Gotze’s No Limit and the first of the TP52s, Sebastien Bohm’s Smuggler, the Max Klink skippered Caro and Sam Haynes’ 2022 winner, Celestial. The four boats are not due till tomorrow from 9.30am.
In other news, more retirements today. Bacardi, Allegresse and Cyan Moon. Bacardi, which contested its 30th Sydney Hobart, the most by any boat, suffered damage, the New Zealand crew of two-handed entry Allegresse pulled out with fatigue, while Cyan Moon had rig damage.
Written by Di Pearson/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.