Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – Christmas cheer

by John Curnow on 25 Dec 2012
Alex South keeps baby Lara Lewis more than amused. - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race © John Curnow
Santa Claus and his Christmas cheer arrived at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia to spread happiness amongst the four international crews competing in the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

And they needed some cheer for it was a pretty dreary day in old Sydney town, as the thunder bellowed and the rains rolled in, often with more than a decent vigour.


Nicole Browne first alerted Santa to this special stop on his busy tour of the globe back in 2004. A very obliging D.D McNicoll, the respected journalist from the Australian, stepped in to the big man’s shoes and did a marvellous job, ensuring that the many children around the club also got to experience the festive joy.

Assisting him in the Principal Elf role was Alex South, who is most famous as being the driver of the Skiff Chicks Racing, 18-Footer team. So it was not just about smiles, ringing of bells, holding babies and ho-ho-ho-ing. There were great treats to be presented. These included charts of the various species of shark to be found in Australia, fly swatters, chocolates, stuffed toy indigenous animals, face ‘war’ paint, bottle (read beer) opener, and possibly the most useful of all, an Aussie slang dictionary to assist them understand the unique habitat into which they have put themselves. We are lead to believe this includes a special section for that other unique dialect, Tasmanian.


First stop was Ambersail from Lithuania. Owner/skipper, Simonas Steponavicius, commented on how much they appreciated the gesture and gifts, ‘We hope to have a lot of this strong stuff, as we love it and it does suit the boat.’ Asked if this included beer, he said, ‘We are on a water diet as from today, so that will have to wait until Hobart. We are really looking forward to this race, as it is a dream for every sailor to do one. We have done a lot of the Northern hemisphere events, like the Rolex Fastnet and Middle Sea races, along with the New York Yacht Club’s Transatlantic race. This is our first time Downunder, where we’ve noticed everything is a bit opposite.’

It was then on to Gary Lewis’ impressively maintained Cookson 50, Akatea from New Zealand. On hand to greet Santa was Gary’s brother, Ross and his wife Jennifer and seeing Santa for her first time ever, was 6-month old baby daughter, Lara.


Santa then strode down the quay, greeting and chatting with all of the people on the way, as he got to the ANZAC/Franco crew on Peugeot Surfrider. They were all very relaxed and happy, with Santa receiving a wonderful welcome, full of great merriment.


Asking skipper, Nicolas Lunven, about the transitions in the weather, which will be a major feature of how each boat performs in the end, he said, ‘We will certainly be on the look out for these, as everything is not completely bedded down and can change in matter of a few hours over the course of the next few days.’

‘Just a few minutes ago I was looking at the various models from the routing software and I think it is really possible to do very well inside these transitions, relative to your opposition. Most of all I am most cautious of the Tasmanian wind shadow and it looks to be an interesting challenge for the last part of the race with not a lot of wind and many a change to be aware of.’

‘For the moment I do not have a favourite model and we’re certainly not locking ourselves in, just yet. Perhaps during the race one will appear to be more suitable.’


Finally, the super-cheerful Japanese crew of KLC Bengal7 had gathered for Santa back up at the clubhouse. They enjoyed every second of their gifts being presented, including demonstrations and explanations by those crewmembers who had worked it out. Their smiles were delightful and their commitment to the day evident by their hats and liberal use of tinsel to decorate everything and everyone.

Everyone is now enjoying their own Christmas cheer and then tomorrow the real games begin when the fleet heads South in readiness for New Years Eve celebrations in Hobart.





Mackay BoatsNaiad/Oracle SupplierZhik Dinghy 660x82

Related Articles

A Q&A with Charles Pessler, the regatta director of the legendary STIR
I corresponded with Charles Pessler, STIR’s regatta director, to learn about the event’s recent changes and evolutions. I recently corresponded via email with Charles “Chuck” Pessler, who is serving as the regatta director of the legendary STIR, to learn more about the changes and evolutions that have taken place at the event since my 2010 trip to racing paradise.
Posted on 22 Mar
New Pacific 52 class makes its debut in San Francisco
The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. Invisible Hand for San Francisco's Frank Slootman replaces his earlier RP63 of the same name. She will soon be joined by a second Cookson build, Bad Pack (Tom Holthus) from the same moulds. A third, RIO 52 is for RIO 100 supermaxi owner Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted on 18 Mar
A Q&A with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race
I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba. The 2017 Miami to Havana Race is set to begin on March 15 and promises high adventure-both sailing-related and cultural-for the sailors lucky enough to be participating in this historical-and for now legal-race. I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race and SORC race chairman, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba.
Posted on 13 Mar
Gladwell's Line - Of Carnage, Characters and Colour
About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched, and Cup fans get their first sight of the various team designers' response to the latest America's Cup Class rule. In the monohull days, of course, we initially only got a partial glimpse thanks to the shrouding practices adopted by all teams to hide the nether regions of their America's Cupper
Posted on 13 Mar
Caleb Paine on winning a US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award
I talked with Caleb Paine about his recent US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award and about his Olympic plans. On August 16, Caleb Paine broke the longest-running medal ceremony dry spell for American-flagged Olympic sailors since the 1930s when he captured a bronze medal in the Finn class at the Rio 2016 Olympics. I recently caught up with Paine on the phone to talk about his proud US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award and about his future sailing plans.
Posted on 10 Mar
A Q&A with Lloyd Thornburg about his love of fast boats and racing
I recently caught up with Thornburg to learn more about his program, and to gain insight into racing MOD70s offshore. Not too many world-class sailors hail from the high deserts of Santa Fe, New Mexico, but Lloyd Thornburg isn’t your average sailor. The 37-year old investor flies the New York Yacht Club’s burgee from his fleet of raceboats that have included a Gunboat 66, a MOD70, and a Farr 280. I recently caught up with Thornburg to learn more about his program, and to gain insight into racing MOD70s offshore.
Posted on 8 Mar
So what’s it really like?
For ages now, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and 24-hour runs For ages now, well it seems like that anyway, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and incredible 24-hour runs. In their own very unique way they totally represent the technical avant-garde, and thank God for that. Where would we be without their impressive shapes, wonderful rigs, and now of course, foiling magic.
Posted on 6 Mar
JJ Giltinan 18ft - Kiwi Champion the subject of two protests in Sydney
Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings on Friday Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings Friday morning in Sydney. She faces two claims - both from Appliancesonline (David Witt). The first is an attempt to re-open the Hearing held on Wednesday morning after Yamaha was suffered damage in Race 3 as a result of a collision with a give way yacht, and Yamaha received redress of average
Posted on 3 Mar
A Q&A with US Sailing’s Malcolm Page about the Sailing World Cup Miami
I spoke with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s Olympic chief, about the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami I talked with Malcolm Page (AUS), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Men’s 470 class and the chief of Olympic sailing at US Sailing, to get his pulse on the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami and discuss some recent coaching changes within the Olympic-sailing program.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb