Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 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.





Naiad/Oracle SupplierMackay BoatsC-Tech

Related Articles

A Q&A with Kimball Livingston about San Francisco high school sailing
I emailed with my friend and colleague Kimball Livingtston to learn about San Francisco’s latest sailing revolution. I started hearing whispers of shifts in the San Francisco Bay high school sailing scene a couple of months ago. A few inquiries led me to my good friend and colleague Kimball Livingston, a world-class sailor, scribe, and StFYC staff commodore who isn’t one to keep his seaboots dry when the topic turns to opportunities for the next sailing generation. I caught up with KL via email to learn more.
Posted on 13 Jun
A Q&A with Andrew Howe about winning the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Andrew Howe, the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race’s winning co-navigator, to learn more about their race. In 2015, skipper Greg Marston and the crew of Ti, a 1967 Alden Mistral, racing under celestial rules, were the overall winners of the Marion Bermuda Race Founders Division, beating boats that were enjoying GPS accuracy. On the eve of the 2017 edition of the race, I reached out to Andrew Howe, the team’s co-navigator, to gain perspective on this impressive win and hear about his 2017 plans.
Posted on 7 Jun
An interview with Allan McLean about the 2017 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Allan McLean, the Marion to Bermuda Race’s executive director, to learn more about this biennial event. The 2017 Marion to Bermuda Race is set to kick off on Friday, June 9, so I caught up with Allan McLean, the race’s executive director, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the special America’s Cup experience that awaits Marion to Bermuda sailors upon reaching the Onion Patch.
Posted on 5 Jun
An interview with Ray Redniss about the STC’s annual Block Island Race
I caught up with Ray Redniss, the Block Island Race’s longtime PRO, via email to learn more about this classic event. I caught up with Ray Redniss, who has served as the PRO for the Block Island Race and the Vineyard Race (September 1, 2017) for the past twenty-plus years, via email to learn more about the state of this classic, early season New England event.
Posted on 22 May
An Q&A with Jeremy Pochman about 11th Hour Racing’s impressive efforts
I interviewed Jeremy Pochman of 11th Hour Racing to learn more about this forward-thinking environmental non-profit. 11th Hour Racing is doing some of the most forward-leaning environmental work in the entire marine sphere, and I wanted to learn more, so I reached out to Jeremy Pochman, 11th Hour Racing’s Strategic Director and Co-founder, to ask a few questions. All sailors are strongly encouraged to give this interview the time it deserves.
Posted on 15 May
A Q&A with Don Adams about Sail Canada’s plan to win Olympic medals
I caught up with Sail Canada CEO Don Adams to hear about Team Canada’s High Performance Plan for winning Olympic medals. Sail Canada, Canada’s national sailing authority, is implementing a new High Performance Plan with the aim of improving on their recent Olympic sailing performances. I caught up with Don Adams, CEO of Sail Canada, to learn more about this ambition plan for helping Canadian sailors win Olympic medals while also helping to inspire younger generations to pursue the Olympic-sailing dream.
Posted on 8 May
America's Cup - Southern Spars AC50 build for Emirates Team NZ + Video
The Peter Blake skippered Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map 27 years after Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map with her unequalled clean sweep of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race, Southern Spars were called on to build Emirates Team NZ's America's Cup Challenger. Here's a look behind the scenes at the composite engineering process Southern Spars employ on projects ranging from Volvo OR spars, to Olympic bike wheels to an AC50
Posted on 1 May
She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish
Posted on 24 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.
Posted on 18 Apr