A quick whip around of the crews and the skippers on the dock in the hours before departure provides a spectrum of interesting perspectives on the race, ranging from the technical to the personal. The following images taken by Crosbie Lorimer are accompanied by brief quotes from each of the individuals that he spoke to yesterday.
The Wild Oats XI team talk to Roger ’Clouds’ Badham at his annual ’seawall briefing’ for skippers and crew beside the CYCA. Left to right Adrienne Cahalan, Roger Badham, Iain Murray and Michael Jarvin. - Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2012
Meantime on the race course, yesterday's lumpy conditions have given way to some fine downwind sailing in strong northerlies that are careering the fleet down the NSW coast and for the leaders seeing them well across Bass Strait. Wild Oats XI is east of the rhumbline, sailing on 170 degrees at 23 knots almost parallel with the northern tip of mainland Tasmania and ahead of her 2005 record winning position at this stage in the race.
Steve Kemp aboard Secret Men's Business 3.5 said this afternoon by satphone ' The boat's flying, we've got a big spinnaker on and we're sailing along happily in strong northerlies'.
Jim Cooney, skipper of Brindabella was equally content with the conditions, 'This is as good as it gets; we've had boat speeds up to 22.5 knots; we're in very good shape and we're about 1.5 hours away from a gybe to close with the coast for the westerly change. We'll probably run parallel to the coast about 20-30 nm off the land'.
At the other end of the fleet Tail End Charlie (quite literally) is Charlie's Dream, whose crew are also enjoying good sailing conditions and some fine food as well. A quick call to Peter Lewis from the media centre in Hobart early this afternoon revealed that lunch aboard today will include smoked chicken, prosciutto, King Island Double Brie, tasty cheese, pickled onions and Jallapinos.
'We're washing that down with a nice Chardonnay' said a very relaxed Peter Lewis, adding the they were sailing in much better conditions today after 'wallowing around' in next to no wind during the early hours. 'Fortunately, as we're bringing up the rear of the fleet there was no-one behind us to take advantage of the hole we got stuck in!'
Bruce Taylor, skipper of Chutzaph "A critical part of the race for us will be getting to the Strait before the westerly change. If you’re into the Strait when the change hits you’re reaching, but if you’re still around Gabo Island the westerly breeze bends and you can be tacking for a good while in a southerly before you get into the Strait"- Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2012
Warwick Sherman, skipper of Occasional Coarse Language Too "I'm not entirely sure how fit I'll prove once we're out at sea, so I'll certainly be spending some time in the rack when I can; but you've got to be part of it so I'll be sure to be making the most of the race" (It will be Warwick's first race to Hobart). - Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2012
Geoff Ross (former owner of Yendys) comes down to the CYCA to talk to his mates. He bumps into Mike Green (sailing master on Quest) and they compare notes on previous Hobarts (Geoff still wants to do a Fastnet Race). Geoff Ross puts his money on the 60 footers "I've been speaking to Michael Bellingham on Loki and I reckon there's a window of opportunity opening up in the weather for those guys". - Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2012
Bob Taylor of AFR Midnight Rambler. "We'd like a fast race, that suits us; but our division is going to be very difficult, to win this one you're going to have to sail almost perfectly. The $64,000 question will be off the east coast of Tasmania. Do you go east a long way looking for pressure off the mainland or keep sailing towards Tasman Light and hope to get the south-easterlies." - Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2012
Jim and Mary Holley just prior to the start of their last Sydney to Hobart yacht race. "We’ll probably be getting a bit of everything; the forecast doesn’t really suit us, but we’ll enjoy it nonetheless." (Jim has done 25 races, Mary 16 and their boat Aurora, the last 15 races). - Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2012
Michael Spies, Sailing Master on Ichi Ban. " it's a bit of a different race this year, the weather could speed up or slow down by 6 hours and that could make a lot of difference for the 60 footers. But we're close to the magic 72 hours; it's all going to depend on what happens off the Tassie Coast". - Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2012
What did we just tell you??? Roger Hickman of Wild Rose - Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2012 Division 4 IRC handicap winner