Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad

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.

InSunSport - NZNaiad/Oracle SupplierSouthern Spars - 100

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted on 27 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr