43 Hobart sailed, one to go

Lou Abrahams
Daryl Krasu
Evergreen Victorian yachtsman Lou Abrahams says he wants to equal but not better the late John Bennetto’s record 44 starts in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Health permitting, the 78-year-old twice winner of the Hobart race will board his yacht Challenge again next year to sail to Hobart for his 44th time.

However out of respect to Bennetto, the man they called ‘The Fish’ who sadly died earlier this month after preparing for his 45th race, Abrahams said he would then call it a day. He will not be going for the absolute record.

‘I’ll see how I feel next year but at this stage I am feeling well enough to do it,’ said Abrahams.

‘I wouldn’t mind equalling John’s record. I don’t want to beat his record. It was never one of my targets to set a race number. It just happened that way.

‘John did a great job and I wouldn’t mind equalling it. I don’t want to surpass it. My prime objective was always to win the Sydney-Hobart.’

Lou Abrahams has already done this twice – in 1983 with his Sparkman and Stephens designed Challenge, then again in 1989 with his Ed Dubois-designed Ultimate Challenge.

In this year’s Rolex race, Abrahams has shown his class, winning both the IRC Division C and the Sydney 38s division with his latest version of Challenge, designed by Murray Burns Dovell.