Rolex Sydney Hobart Preparations
Our next race will see us compete in the world famous Rolex Sydney Hobart race. For me this is the icing on cake coming near the end of my whole adventure. As a watch leader it was also great to be able to attend the official race briefing held at the CYCA on Xmas eve, which I believe was being broadcast live around Australia.
There will be 94 yachts on the start line and we will be competing in the IRC 1 class. One class down from the really big boats like the Volvo boats and Maxi yacht wild oats which is the current record holder for the race. Interestingly 14 of the 94 yachts are actually Clipper yachts, the 12 70’s plus 2 of the old 68’s that are now based down here for training. Sir Robin Knox Johnston himself will be competing on one of the 68’s as the navigator.
There is a separate Sydney Hobart Race Tracker for this event where the boat positions are updated every 10 mins instead of every hour.
For those who can’t get to watch the live broadcast of the start of the Race on the Seven Network across Australia, Yahoo!7 will webcast the program. You can also watch the same webcast on the home page of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race website.
Listening at this briefing actually brought home what we have achieved over the last 4 months and how our perspective has changed. It was clear for some this 628 mile race was a major undertaking involving 3-6 days at sea, whilst for us we viewed it as “we’ll it’s only 628 miles, hardly any distance at all….”. During the weather brief the weatherman talked about difficult conditions and winds of 30-35 knots, perhaps gale force as we approach Hobart, again our perspective has shifted; now we talk about the wind only being 35knots; 4 months ago this would have filled us with trepidation. Not now, 2 reefs and the number 2 Yankee will see us nicely through that, or if the wind is aft of the beam it may even be the number 1 and 1 reef.
All being well our boat is now better prepared than anytime before as we have a nice clean hull after we spent 3 days cleaning and re anti-fouling it, and the propellor blade now folds nicely away! In fact we spent 12 hours working on the yacht on Xmas eve complete the preparations and get it looking slick and span; fortunately we have been give Xmas day off.
We even left a message on the keel, just in case!
As a competitor we also receive an official polo shirt and I’ve also hit the memorabilia shop quite hard, so I apologise now for the guys I normally sail with back in the National Grid Sailing Association – guess what I will be wearing next year at the first regatta!!
This race also still forms part of the overall Clipper Round the World race and we only get a short stop over in Hobart before setting off once again, for what is my final destination, Brisbane