The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was not a mountain that Sydney yachtsman Warwick Sherman ever felt he had to climb, but destiny stepped in last year, when at the age of 57, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and put the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race on his bucket list.
Occasional Coarse Language Too - Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2012
This morning at 0431am Sherman’s Ker-designed GTS43, Occasional Coarse Language Too, crossed the finish line at Hobart’s Castray Esplanade and Warwick Sherman not only ticked off this item on his list of things he has to do, it looks like he has won IRC Division 2 of the race.
'I don’t know which was worse, the chemo (chemotherapy) or the race,' he admitted as he contemplated what he had been through this past year and this past three days.
'It was tough. God, it was tough. The first 36 hours were good, but the race to Hobart just keeps changing. You think you’re almost there; then you realise you are nowhere near there.
Warwick Sherman dockside this morning after finishing the Rolex Sydney Hobart - 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
'The last 24 hours we were hammered. We had three reefs in the main and, at one stage, had a storm jib up. We were still making eight knots, but just slamming down every time.
'I found it wore me down quickly; just like the chemo had. You run out of energy, you know. My body core got really cold, so I spent a long time below. I was doing less and less. My crew were just fantastic. They got me through this and they go the boat through it.'
Warwick Sherman is in remission - he is robust - he is competitive, yet he has a down-home demeanour that is endearing. He calls a spade a spade. For a man in his position, it is admirable.
Occasional Coarse Language Too crew - Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012
To add to the drama of this, his first Hobart race, his nemesis, Ed Psaltis on AFR Midnight Rambler, a similar boat, was omnipresent during the trip, but always behind, just.
'I’d look over my shoulder and there he was. Then, I’d look over the other shoulder, and there he was again. It was like swatting flies. You knew that if you made one mistake, he would be on top of you,' Sherman said.
As it was, Sherman beat Psaltis across the line by 14 minutes to give him the probably division win, with Psaltis second and the other player in their chase across Bass Strait, Sam Haynes’ Celestial – Assistance Dogs, third.
Is that it?
'I don’t know. I’ve never been a numbers man,' the CYCA member responded. 'I don’t have to keep coming back and accruing things,' Sherman said. 'I’ll spend some time thinking about it.'
In his eyes, you can see that this has been a considerable mountain that he has climbed and conquered.
Rolex Sydney Hobart website