A ‘Balanced’ view of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Balance - Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race entrant and Beneteau 45 Balance completed this year’s race within minutes of five other yachts, and on the tail end of a contest that was riddled with patchy weather.

Skipper of Balance, Paul Clitheroe, has kept his passion for sailing throughout his career as a money media commentator. He is well known for his role as the host of the Nine Network's show, Money, as well as his financial advisory firm, Ipac – hence the nickname the ‘Money Man’.

After finishing his fifth Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, he explained that you do not have to be a multi-millionaire to experience the sport, nor do you need to be a professional sailor in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia hosted race.

'We're a little unusual, in that we're a team of complete amateurs. No one gets paid to sail, and we're just a bunch of friends,' Clitheroe, a member of the CYCA said. 'The relatively smaller boats are a lot cheaper; you don't need professional sailors, and you can have a ball doing it.'

However, he warned that the race is not for novices: 'It's a bit like saying, 'I've never walked up a hill before, but I know I'll climb Mount Everest!' Clearly you need to step yourself up to these challenges,' Clitheroe said. 'As skipper, I'm the responsible person for the lives of 12 people.'

This danger and sense of responsibility are also the aspects he loves most about the race. 'There isn’t a bureaucrat sitting next to you - there isn't a policeman sitting next to you,' he said. 'At the end of the day, you’re there on a small piece of fibreglass, in howling winds, and howling waves, and it's up to the 12 of you.'

His statement became clear when six hours out of Sydney Harbour a strong front hit Balance, whisking the Beneteau 45 down the south coast of NSW and into Bass Strait.

Winds died down then and dropped off completely as the yacht reached Tasman Island, where it stayed from dusk till dawn, until the winds picked up and the Clitheroe crew sailed across the finish 23rd on line, with a provisional 18th overall placing.

Despite falling down the rankings due to the wind dying on his last night at sea, the Sydney yachtsman and his crew were pleased with their effort, and are already looking forward to next year's race.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race website