There are some cruising sailors that race a little, and there are some racing sailors that cruise a little, but our greatest living seamen just might be a couple of self-styled 'old geezers' who have racked up the most amazing record of both long cruising voyages and entry into the world's most famous races.
The veteran yachtsmen Alex Whitworth and Peter Crozier, both in their sixties, are scheduled to arrive in Tasmania after another incredible voyage, this time across the Southern Ocean from Cape Town to Hobart.
Berrimilla crozier whitworth.JPG - .. .
Their history says they certainly like a challenge, and they just keep taking them on.
In 1998, sailing Berrimilla, one of the smallest boats in the Sydney to Hobart fleet, they took on the savage storm that hit the race, leaving six dead and several boats sunk. They made it to the finish line, winning their division. In 2004/2005 they had decided to go one better.
In early January 2005, after Alex and Peter completed the 2004 Sydney to Hobart, they dismissed the rest of the crew and sailed off eastwards on the long way home to Sydney via Cape Horn, England, Cape of Good Hope and the Southern Ocean.
In July 2005 they sailed in the Fastnet race winning 11th place on handicap. From Falmouth, England, they then returned to Sydney around the Cape of Good Hope. While at sea in the Southern Ocean, they were awarded the 2005 Seamanship Trophy by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, London, for outstanding seamanship.
Reaching Sydney just 5 days out from the 2005 Sydney to Hobart, the restocked, recrewed, and made the Boxing Day start line. In Hobart for New Years Eve, then back to Sydney on the ninth of January 2006.
Of their 'Sydney-Hobart - Fastnet - Sydney-Hobart circumnavigation via Cape Horn and the Great Capes' they acknowledge it was a first and 'doubt whether anyone will be silly enough to do it again.'
Berrimilla - the Horn and Alex - .. .
As if that weren't enough, here are their other feats:
First ever Australia to England voyage via the North West Passage with Corrie McQueen and Kimbra Lindus.
First ever circumnavigation under sail via the NWP - we think, and if we're right then:
First boat to circumnavigate via both Cape Horn and the North West Passage - opposite ends of the Americas.
First Australian boat through the NWP unassisted and in a single season (Fine Tolerance was the first through, but over two seasons and with icebreaker assistance)
Only boat ever to sail from Australia to England for a Fastnet race and sail back again. Twice. As they modestly remark themselves, 'That's true headbanging.'
They have been awarded the Royal Ocean Racing Club Seamanship Trophy, the Royal Cruising Club Seamanship Medal and the Ocean Cruising Club Barton Cup, and they were Sailing Anarchy's sailors of the year after their first circumnavigation.
We hope that the Taswegians will be out there in droves to welcome them as they arrive into port in the very near future! Footnote:
Berrimilla arrived Hobart successfully on 1st March to a robust welcome, and will soon be sailing north to Sydney