Back in the middle of the 2001 Sydney to Hobart, with Sail-World’s coverage in full swing, the office phone rang. It was a satellite phone call from Sean Langman, aboard his 66 foot skiff on steroids Grundig/AAPT/Xena.
Team Australia leaving Sydney
‘Hello Rob’ said Sean, ‘We have just declared a Pan Pan. ‘
I said ‘Sean, Gee that is awful, so why are you calling me?’
‘We fell off a wave and have serious bow delamination and we have a lot of water coming in. But the boys have in under control, they are bailing hard and at the same time they are cutting up the bunks to wedge bunk mattresses into place to stop the water coming in and we are out of the race.
‘So I've called Amanda (Lulham from the Daily Telegraph) and now I am calling Sail-World.’
The point of that recollection is that Sean Langman has no peer when it comes to getting his message out to the media. He certainly knows how to look after his sponsors.
Sailing at the front end of the fleet, with is 66 foot skiff on steroids, or at the back end of the fleet with the smallest Hobart boat Maluka of Kermandie, Sean has always been newsworthy and that has attracted some criticism from some jealous owners. The key factor that people often forget is that Sean and his crews are bloody good sailors as well as being good media communicators.
His Orma 60 trimaran, Team Australia, is the fastest boat in the southern hemisphere, it clears away from the 100 foot monohulls any time it has runway and it now holds the Sydney to Hobart passage record, 29 hours 52 minutes; more than 12 hours inside the official race record.
Team Australia sailed out of Sydney Heads yesterday with the thunder of news helicopters heading across the ditch to New Zealand. It’s going to be a very challenging sail for Sean and his small crew.
You can follow Team Australia via its Yellow Brick tracker and we will be bring you the latest news as it happens.
We wish them well and we hope than whales and sunfish will be elsewhere over the next three days.