Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - The final four

by Danielle McKay on 1 Jan 2014
Déjà Vu makes her way up the Derwent. - Rolex Sydney Hobart © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi http://www.carloborlenghi.net
Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2013 - Sailors’ loved-ones may need to block their ears as stories of survival come flooding in with the smallest yachts bringing up the rear of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet.

Sailors were thrown overboard and ceilings became floors in upturned yachts as heinous conditions had crews looking to the heavens for help in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual 628 nautical mile race.

Yet more than a thousand yachties made it, and the sense of accomplishment on their weathered faces is enough to make the hairs on your arms stand to attention.

When Bass Strait turned foul on Saturday night, race-fans watched as 41-SUD about-turned north in what appeared to be a move to stand-by the stricken yacht Luna Sea when it lost its steering.

But just minutes after reaching a safe haven at Hobart’s dock today, 41-SUD crewman Geoff Sorensen revealed they were in a whole world of strife as well, battling hurricane force winds and waves double the height of a house.

'When the waves hit it was like someone was on the outside, hitting the hull with a sledgehammer, the whole boat just shuddered,’’ Sorensen said.

Local sailors had warned the New Caledonian crew that when the forecast sou’wester hit, they’d best be prepared.

So when they raced towards the southern edge of Bass Strait, closer and closer to a grey cloud that resembled an atom-bomb exploding, the New Caledonian crew heeded the warning, downsizing their mainsail and opting for a conservative headsail.

They’d hoped to reach the lee of Tasman Island for a bit of protection, but they couldn’t outrace Mother Nature.

'When it hit, it hit quickly, I’d say it covered the final 10 nautical miles in a matter of minutes,' Sorensen marvelled.

'It got to 40, then 50, and it kept building. The highest reading we saw was 67 knots.'

Under helm by skipper Jean-Luc Esplaas, the Archambault 40 was turned due north to allow the crew to collect themselves and make a switch into survival mode.

Just 400 metres away, the same could be said for the crew aboard Luna Sea, when the Hick 35 lost its rudder. Not far from them and in the same conditions were Namadgiand Déjà Vu.

Déjà Vumastman, Matt Moss, said it was 'just heinous.'

Moss said: 'I don’t want to do that again, I can tell you now we were very lucky, it was a near miss for a few people here too,’’ he said.

'A massive wave just took the boat over, everyone inside hit the ceiling, and the inside of the boat was like a tornado went through it.'


'The guys that were tethered on while driving the boat were literally thrown out of the boat, then as it righted itself it brought them back into the boat. Thank God they were tethered.'

The crew was injured, sick, and their spirits were broken. Moss admits they regrouped to consider if it was worth going on.

They did. And with a sense of humour too.

'We were actually hoping we would be last, so if anything we’d at least have the last hoorah, the biggest applause, for the last boat.'

Namadgi, the last boat in the fleet, is expected to make port before tonight’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, while the crew of Luna Sea reached St Helens yesterday morning, under the steam of the Tasmanian Police rescue vessel the Van Diemen, which towed the 35 footer which won the horrendous 1998 Hobart, for over 100 nautical miles.

T Clewring J-classBakewell-White Yacht DesignWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Rolex Sydney Hobart- Raw footage from the ABC helicopter
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia presents a series of five videos taken from a helicopter in the last Rolex Sydney Hobar Cruising Yacht Club of Australia presents a series of five videos taken from a helicopter in the last Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. The race begand in light to moderate air, on the second day the breeze filled in giving fast downwind sailing conditions and on the third day the southerly gale hit, along with big swells and breaking seas.
Posted on 10 Mar 2014
Rolex Sydney Hobart - One of the most exciting editions on record
The 69th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race shaped up early to be one of the most amazing editions on record. The 69th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race shaped up early to be one of the most amazing editions on record. The 94-boat fleet featured five 100 foot maxis, three Volvo 70s, seven former race winners and a seriously competitive lineup across the fleet.
Posted on 7 Jan 2014
Rolex Sydney Hobart- America’s Cup heroes take on Sydney-Hobart
Iain Murray and Ian ‘Fresh’ Burns bested Tom Slingsby and Stan Honey for line honors in the Sydney-Hobart race. Iain Murray and Ian ‘Fresh’ Burns bested Tom Slingsby and Stan Honey for line honors in the Sydney-Hobart race. Murray and Burns, aboard Wild Oats X!, were first across the finishing line in Hobart, coming from behind to beat rookie Slingsby and Honey on Perpetual Loyal.
Posted on 4 Jan 2014
Rolex Sydney Hobart; Rounding Tasman Island -Got a Few Hours To Spare?
It’s hard to imagine how Hobart was ever discovered by sea, really. It’s hard to imagine how Hobart was ever discovered by sea, really. There are two dimensions of the city’s sea defences – neither has anything to do with the military - that have seemed to make Hobart an elusive chimera to many a seafarer over the decades and centuries.
Posted on 1 Jan 2014
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Bacardi to return for 70th edition
Rolex Sydney Hobart - The old and slow Bacardi already has sponsors clamoring to have their name on her heavy frame Rolex Sydney Hobart - 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.
Posted on 31 Dec 2013
Rolex Sydney Hobart - Making tracks to the finish line
With New Year’s Eve looming tonight, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet made tracks to the finish line in Hobart. With New Year’s Eve looming tonight, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet made tracks to the finish line in Hobart. By midday on December 31, only two yachts were still at sea. From a total of 94 race starters, 82 yachts have now finished in Hobart, and ten yachts had retired.
Posted on 31 Dec 2013
Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race wrap up video
The 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race wrap up with Overall and Divisional winners confirmed. The 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race wrap up with Overall and Divisional winners confirmed.
Posted on 31 Dec 2013
Rolex Sydney Hobart 2013 - Television coverage of the start
Rolex Sydney Hobart - Here in two parts is the Channel 7 coverage of the 69th race, courtesy of France's Daily Motion Rolex Sydney Hobart 2013 - Here in two parts is the Channel 7 coverage of the 69th race, courtesy of France's Daily Motion video network.
Posted on 31 Dec 2013
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - And then there were four
In the CYCA’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, at 8.00am this morning, four yachts were left at sea. In the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, at 8.00am this morning, four yachts were left at sea and all four were expected to make it across the finish line and into Constitution Dock in time to ring in the New Year.
Posted on 31 Dec 2013
Rolex Sydney Hobart - Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and CV10 crew celebrate
In the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and the Clipper 68 CV10 crew have celebrated their result. In the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Navigator Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, skipper Jim Dobie and their Clipper 68 CV10 crew have celebrated their result into Hobart, Tasmania. CV10, a Clipper 68 that has gone round the world four times in previous editions of the Clipper Race, beat 11 of 12 Clipper 70s into Hobart as well as rival Clipper 68 CV5 in a closely fought 628-mile sprint from Sydney.
Posted on 31 Dec 2013