Club Marine

Paul WilsonYou know, Christmas is a time for relaxing, catching up with family and friends, and generally taking stock of the year almost over. And it’s also a time to wonder what the New Year will bring.

In my opinion, Boxing Day is certainly the most enjoyable day; well it should be anyway! While most people are sleeping off the excesses of Christmas dinners, or kicking back to watch the start of the Boxing Day test match, I’m usually glued to the television with a list of race entrants in one hand and a pen in the other watching the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. I then spend the next four to five days ticking off the various yachts as they progressively cross the finish line in Hobart.

Every hourly news bulletin on the radio, and every evening news telecast finds me shushing noisy kids and demanding silence as I’m glued to what ever appliance is available in an attempt to track the progress of competing yachts. And boy, didn’t the 2004 race give all of us at Club Marine a few sleepless nights!

But despite the graphic images and extreme weather conditions that most of the fleet had to contend with, I am pleased to advise that, in actual fact, the bulk of the Club Marine-insured fleet suffered very little damage.

A total of 116 yachts started the race on Boxing Day and Club Marine insured 95 of them. Fifty seven yachts withdrew from the race. The majority of the withdrawals were as a direct result of sound seamanship, which saw skippers and crew considering the conditions they were either facing or about to face, and deciding that it just wasn’t worth taking the risk to push on.

And I must applaud the decisions taken in this regard. It is, after all, only a race!

There will always be comparisons made between one race and another – and I’m certainly not about to compare races now – but suffice it to say that if this is the attitude skippers and crews are now going to take in regards to the safe guarding of life as well as their yacht, then I can see a long future for the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. After all, it is, without doubt, the pre-eminent ocean yacht race in the world.

A photographic report on the race by new correspondent, Crosbie Lorimer, starts on page 20 with supporting photos from master photographer, Ian Mainsbridge. I hope you enjoy it.

Also in this magazine we’ve got coverage of the Strathfield Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race, a photographic essay on historic Bruny Island by Bill Bachman and Barry White, a fascinating travel piece on New Caledonia’s Isle of Pines by Rob Mundle, Warren Steptoe stalks barramundi in Arnhem Land, Stephen Morgan wraps up the second year of the Australian Fishing Championships, we offer advice on how to commission a marine survey and we’ve got a special technical piece on Volvo Penta’s ground-breaking new IPS propulsion system. For potential boat owners, Warren Steptoe takes a look at Haines Hunter’s new Breeze 520, while Mark Rothfield tests Arvor’s new 250AS.

Enjoy the magazine and remember that your safety is our top priority!