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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Bacardi to return for 70th edition

by Jennifer Crooks RSHYR media on 31 Dec 2013
Bacardi has etched herself into the race record books. Credit ROLEX-Daniel Forster - Rolex Sydney Hobart © Rolex/Daniel Forster http://www.regattanews.com
Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2013 - She’s not your typical sailing billboard, yet the old and slow Bacardi already has sponsors clamoring to have their name on her heavy frame for next year’s 70th anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The 35-year-old boat creaked and moaned her way into the record books this year, finishing her history making 28th race to Hobart in just under five days.

In all her years she’s only failed to finish once, so when the mainsail shredded near Flinders Island and with more than 200 nautical miles to go, retiring wasn’t an option.

Bacardi bounced over the high seas and through the 60-plus knots of wind at a painstakingly slow pace with nothing but the boat’s tiniest headsail up for 16-hours.

'Retire? No way,’’ said skipper Martin Power. 'This boat doesn’t retire unless she’s sinking or her mast is overboard.'

In typical Sydney Hobart style, just a day later the crew was drifting with nothing but lemons on the dials, a zero boat-speed reading.

Grinder Bruce Leighton grabbed the sail-repair kit, and hand-sewed the main on an ad-hoc sail-loft created on the bow, where he spent four hours sewing the one metre tear down the bolt rope, just between the first and second reefing points.

'It looks like Frankenstein,’’ he joked. 'It’s enough to bring a sail maker to tears.'

They’d lost about three nautical miles for every hour that the main was down, but worst still they’d drifted wide on the course to be about 60 nautical miles off the Tasmanian coast.

With the wind filling in from the west, Power reckons it cost them a chance to step up on the podium in the overall standings.

She has finished fourth last and 58th overall after crossing the line on the morning of New Year’s Eve.

'We were too far out to sea, we were the furthest out, but when the main went we couldn’t point' he said.

'We took a hit overall; at our best we were second, but we were also last at one stage. Third would have been nice, but this boat can win it,' he says about his yacht which finished second overall in 2006 courtesy of her original owners.

And that’s why Power keeps coming back.

'I say I’ll retire, and you do say that even after your first one when it’s just a couple of days after the race and the agony is still fresh in your head.

'But I’ll have my arm twisted. It wouldn’t seem right to have the 70th without Bacardi here racing.

'We’ve already got a few sponsors saying we’ll sponsor you next year if you go. So it’s promising, the money is good, and it’s enough to pay for the new sails we’ll need.'

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