The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has been billed as the match races within the race – long-time foes battling for glory across several divisions, with just seconds separating winner from loser, while many had nervous waits for final results.
Robbo swore this would be Lunchtime Legend’s year - 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
One of the fiercest contests was that between the eight competing Beneteau First 40s in Division 3. Robbo Robertson’s Lunchtime Legend secured the overall win with relative ease compared to second placed Two True, who edged ahead of Wicked by just over one minute. Robbo was adamant pre-race in Sydney, telling all 'This is it – I want to win this year.'
Remarkably, after four days racing, just seven seconds separated Wicked and the newest Beneteau in the fleet, Chris Bran’s aptly named less than 12-month old Brannew across the line.
Lunchtime Legend’s Adam Brown said the Beneteaus had met at various times at regattas across the country in the lead up to the blue-water classic, firming the rivalry.
'The Hobart was definitely the one where we wanted to prove ourselves most,’’ he said. 'It was really fierce out there. Every sked the lead changed, everyone was hungry for that win. It was extremely tough, but that makes the win sweeter.'
Overall race winner in 2009, Two True skipper Andrew Saies, reckons his win with his Beneteau in 2009 was a trend setter. 'We proved it was affordable and a type of yacht that’s capable of winning,’’ he said.
It was a disappointing 2012 race for Saies, but having finished fourth overall, after thinking they’d have to withdraw in the opening hours, is not a bad result he said on reflection.
Saies said the team modified several headsails to help improve their handicap rating. The problem was that the recut sails wouldn’t hold in the track, leaving the crew bareheaded for changes and racing with older headsails.
'It was disappointing for us,' he said. 'But just fantastic to have seven other identical boats to race against.'
Wicked’s skipper, Mark Welsh from Melbourne, said it was more like match-racing than ocean racing, and it was definitely motivating.
'We were crossing tacks and covering boats, you wouldn’t think it was an ocean race,’’ he said. 'It’s a match race in one of the greatest ocean races.'
Meanwhile, in Division 4, Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose had a nail-biting wait to see if they defended their title. Simon Kurts’ Love & War looked like a challenger, leaving the crew nervously checking online to track their rival’s course up the Derwent late yesterday.
The crew counted down from 10 like it was New Year’s Eve as the clock ticked towards 1620hours, the deadline that Love & War had to meet to dethrone Wild Rose.
It was then that they realised they had succeeded.
'Love & War is a beautiful boat; we have a lot of friends on board,’’ Hickman said. 'I’d love them to do well, but that’s the catch 22, we want to do well too.' Many others felt the same way.
Wild Rose also had the distinction of beating every boat in Division 2 and 3 overall; Love & War did too.
Divisional winners will be announced at a ceremony at a dockside ceremony in Hobart at 1100hours AEDT today, December 31.
This morning, just four yachts remained at sea in bitterly cold winds; John Bankart’s Eressea (Qld), Noel Snedden’s CIC Technology Inca (ACT), Peter Lewis’ Charlie’s Dream (Qld) and last of all, Sean Langman’s Maluka of Kermandie (Tas) which finished last on line last year and is expected around 3.25pm today – well in time for New Year.
Rolex Sydney Hobart website