The prestigious Rani Trophy for outstanding seasmanship in the 2010 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has been awarded to 20-year-old Lisa Chamberlain, one of the three ‘youth crew’ aboard the maxi yacht YuuZoo.
The skipper of YuuZoo, Ludde Ingvall, and fellow crew members, paid for Lisa, to fly to Hobart yesterday to receive the award at the official prizegiving at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. Lisa, from the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth, WA, is the first woman to receive the Rani Trophy, an award judged by the Race Committee.
Ingvall described Lisa’s courage and seamanship in an incident report emailed to the Race Committee in Hobart following YuuZoo’s retirement after a series of mishaps, including a water breach of the hull that 'we can safely say, could have sunk us on the first night.'
In what he described as a 'thoroughly scary situation', Ingvall said it also brought to the fore an exceptional person in Lisa Chamberlain
Ingvall said Lisa had played a key role in stemming an inflow of water because a faulty through-hull speed sensor. Describing the situation, with water pouring into the boat forward of the mast, he said: 'As we were in a substantial sea state, water was sloshing from side to side and all the way up to the deck…Lisa was standing in the middle of it…searching for the problem.'
As the crews started the pump and began a bucket brigade, Lisa had called out that one of the boatspeed sensors was missing and proceeded to plug the hole with a wooden plug. 'At times I could not see more than Lisa’s head above the water as she felt around the bottom of the boat with her hands,' Ingvall said.
'For the following four to five hours Lisa relentlessly worked in the bow, scooping up water into buckets and passing them to the line of crew. While others swopped places, Lisa showed an unsurpassed determination to lead the ‘chain gang’ until the task was competed and the vessel was safe.
'My team and I would like to nominate Lisa Chamberlain for the Rani Seamanship Award for alertness to identify a problem, finding the reason for our predicament and working tirelessly until it was resolved.'
The Jane Tate Memorial Trophy, commemorating the first woman to complete the Sydney to Hobart, was awarded to the first woman skipper to finish the race, the trophy was won by to Stephanie Howarth, skipper of Mille Sabords, a Sydney 38 from Melbourne.
Stephanie, who sails out of Sandringham Yacht Club, has owned the boat only six months and this was her first Sydney Hobart.