It is customary for me, at this time of the year, to write a brief overview of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. How the competitors faired during the event is generally a topic of interest shared by most.
Of the 57 entrants, 51 were insured with Club Marine. From a marketing perspective you’d have to say I was fairly happy with that, but from a risk perspective, let’s just say that come Boxing Day I was glued to the television switching regularly between the race coverage and the weather station.
But other than two unfortunate racing incidents not long after the start, the race itself was virtually incident free. The normally strong southerlies that have tested sailors for years just never appeared. Instead, sailors enjoyed mild temperatures and reaching conditions, that had the entire fleet in Hobart before the New Year. Now that has to be some kind of record!
Congratulations have to go to Neville Crichton and his crew on board the mighty Alfa Romeo for taking out the line honours win. I know that Neville had a point to prove this year, and I now doubt that there would be too many people prepared to question the ability or capacity for Alfa Romeo to win just about any race it enters.
Having personally seen Alfa Romeo perform on a number of occasions, I am prepared to agree with Neville when he states he has built the fastest maxi in the world.
Congratulations must also go to Bob Steel and his crew on board Quest who took out the handicap win. But before the victory was confirmed, he and his crew had a nervous wait in Constitution Dock as Zeus II, the oldest and smallest boat in the fleet, still with a chance of snatching the handicap victory, battled her way against tide and light winds as she made her way slowly up Storm Bay. A sentimental favourite, Zeus II only missed out on the handicap win by just eight minutes.
In our race wrap up article on page 20, you’ll find full details of the race as well as some fantastic images taken of Grundig as she charged across Bass Strait for a second over the line position. Congratulations to master photographer Ian Mainsbridge for capturing, yet again, the true feel of this great race.
Also in this issue we cover the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race; Mike Rose talks with young Australian America’s Cup helmsman, James Spithill, who many believe will one day win the Auld Mug; Warren Steptoe realises a dream and chases the famed Niugini bass; we have some exciting photographs of the Class One Offshore Powerboat World Championships in which Bill Barry-Cotter finished third outright; there is all the latest water ski and wakeboard gear and much more.
Enjoy the magazine and remember that your safety is our top priority.