Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - And then there were four

Jean Luc-Esplaas’ 41 SUD
In the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, at 8.00am this morning, four yachts were left at sea and all four were expected to make it across the finish line and into Constitution Dock in time to ring in the New Year.

Martin Power’s Bacardi, Jean-Luc Esplaas’ 41 SUD, Namadgi skippered by Paul Jones and Steven Carey’s Déjà Vu are the final four that will close the chapter on the 69th Rolex Sydney Hobart.

With 20 nautical miles left to race, Bacardi, a Peterson 44 from Victoria, will make history as the yacht to sail the most Hobarts when she crosses the line shortly after 0845hrs this morning. She will claim 28 races with only one retirement in the 35 year-old’s history.

41 SUD, an Archambault 40 from New Caledonia is expected next, around 1300hrs, with the Canberra Ocean Racing Club’s Elan 444, Namadgi, set to cross the line after 1700hrs and the Dufour 38, Déjà Vu, is last on line and due sometime after 2100hrs.

'We are estimating arriving at the finish line at 1800 hours New Year’s Eve...and there better be cold beer!!!!! - Deja Vu with an experience remembered forever,' came from the yacht that is last on line and now due well after her expected ETA.

Steven Carey and his crew have been in the wars, Carey reporting last evening: 'Well, we have faced the devils at sea!!!! Last 24 hours in 15 metre swell gusting 40-50 knots, boat was slung this way and there a lot of injuries and sickness.

'At 6am in knock down 29th December, one of the crew thrown completely over the side. As the boat righted, crew slung back into the boat. Horrendous conditions; definitely saw some of the biggest waves in our sailing lives. I think we all will never forget the 29th December.

'Currently we are cruising, 53 miles to Tasman Island - spinnaker flying - sitting on seven to eight knots, winds coming from the west. Crew managed to catch up on some much needed rest and we've managed to dry wet weather gear and put cabin back together. Over,' he ended.

The last yacht into Hobart always receives resounding applause from those waiting dockside on New Year’s Eve. Carey and crew will also get their desire, cold beer, which is delivered with a welcoming smile by the volunteers of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania to each finishing yacht in the race – a tradition.

Rolex Sydney Hobart website
http://www.sail-world.com/118029