sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Tony Cable going strong at no. 47
Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Tony Cable going strong at no. 47

'Duende - Rolex Sydney Hobart Race'    Carlo Borlenghi ©

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 will be another memorable journey for sailing veteran Tony Cable, who has been a witness of rich tradition and festivity of the Boxing Day race extravaganza since 1961.

On the eve of his record-setting 47th Rolex Sydney Hobart, Tony Cable is blunt: 'You wouldn’t do multiple Hobarts if Hobart wasn’t at the end – just as you wouldn’t do multiple Gold Coast’s or Mooloolabas, would you?'

Make no mistake - Cable loves the challenge of Bass Strait - the piercing stars and fluorescent sea on a quiet night off Eden; the downhill rush and the up-wind slog. 'People focus on the storms,' he says, 'and I’ve been in every storm since ’61, but really sailing is one of the nicest, most pleasant things you can do.'

However, it’s the laughter when all goes awry; the friendship over decades, the stories over a quiet little drink around Constitution Dock that keep him coming back.

When his ride last year, Duende, was forced to retire in Eden with engine trouble, a bitterly disappointed Cable flew down to Hobart, just in case it turned out to be his last time.

At the Customs House and the Shipwrights Arms, his name is legend.

And at the starter’s end of the racetrack is the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Tony’s ‘local’. 'I started racing when I was 18, but couldn’t join the club until I was 21 and it was legal to go into a bar. I’ve spent an entire life of drinking at the CYCA.'

If ocean racing is Tony’s religion, the CYCA is the temple for his lay priest.

'It’s 50 years since I first started serving on CYCA committees, and I've never not been involved since then. I’ve served on the board - I’m a life member - it’s a whole of life thing,' he says.

He is as proud of his time on the Publications Committee, the former publisher of the club’s glossy ‘Offshore’ magazine, as he is of the hours spent toiling on the foredeck of some of Australia’s greatest yachts.

One of his jobs has been to find the people who will fire the starting cannon on Boxing Day. For the past few years, the honour has gone to someone who sailed in and won the race half a century ago. It came as a bit of a shock when he realised that, these days, one of the candidates is him.

He marvels that, 50 years on, he is still able to share a beer with men he sailed with on Southerly, on his very first long ocean race to Montague Island. Cable, Southerly’s owner Don Mickleborough, David Reid, Bruce Jackson and Richard Hammond hold court every Thursday night in the CYCA bar.

'Ocean racing throws up great characters; nice blokes you can get along with. I’ve always sailed with boatloads of good sailors and seamen,' Cable says.

Tony Cable is about to undertake his 47th Rolex Sydney Hobart -  Kurt Arrigo/Rolex ©  


‘It’s the people, stupid’, would be his campaign bumper sticker if he were ever to run for high office in the sport that has given him so much over the years.

Back in 1961, when Tony did his first Hobart, serious ocean racing was still in its infancy. The CYCA was then a bit of a shed, the timber boats heavy, wet and, let’s face it, slow. By the time the boats reached Constitution Dock, everything below was saturated.

'There were no sea-boots in those days; you sailed bare foot. I have never owned a pair of sea-boots. Woollen jumpers, oilskins. I couldn’t stand wearing an oilskin jacket, but I had to get my oilskin pants re-oiled regularly, just to get the stink back.

'The boats had cotton sails; we had to wash them regularly so they wouldn’t rot. The ropes were natural fibre, the rigging galvanized steel; even the halyards. The first time I saw Spectra halyards, I said they were nice, but were they as strong as steel?

'’Mate’, I was told, ‘they’re eight times stronger than steel’. Now they’re 30 times stronger.'

It took a long time to get to Hobart, and for most of the way, it was wet and cold. No wonder the sport attracted rugged, hard men, who knew how to party while they waited for everything to dry out.

Cable considers himself lucky to have started out in those tough times. 'We youngsters had to work hard to get a place on a boat, and then you found yourself with blokes who were real hard-core seamen.

'These were men who had fought during the war; real heroes. Stan Darling had three DSCs, Jim McCloy won the Military Cross at Kokoda; and ex RAN veterans like Russ Williams. I was a teenager meeting legends.

'And young guys now don’t get the relentless racing we got in those days. There was a big race almost monthly. People don’t have the time for that now. I was young, free. You’d end up sailing on 15 different boats, and you’d see something different every time. '

It was seat-of-the-pants sailing. No instruments, no dials with wind speed and direction, no GPS or iPad chart apps, no dedicated navigator for that matter, just a Walker Log trailing from the stern and a sextant.

'In ’62 we were racing in heavy fog, relying completely on dead reckoning. We got the shock of our lives when we realised we had sailed into Fortescue Bay, a rocky box, when we should have been out at sea.'

Cable, or ‘Glark’, as sailing mates call him, in a play on famous actor Clark Gable, does not yearn for the old ways though. Duende is a grand-prix Judel/Vrolijk 52. Most definitely a racer, not a racer/cruiser.

With age has come wisdom. It’s the cockpit now, not the foredeck. He is indelibly the product of a tough, no-nonsense, no frills, head-down-bum-up era who will never understand the young guys who jump on a plane for home within hours of arriving in Hobart.

After 46 races, there are endless stories: 80 knot gales and 360’s, windless hours on the same glassy sea that was pounding you senseless a few miles back, intimate moments with Hobart’s finest. You wouldn’t be dead for quids.

'I don’t get seasick; that’s important. I don’t know why guys do it when they get seasick. Last year we discovered the whole front end of Duende was full of water. Sails floating about. I spent the whole night passing up buckets of water through the hatch - they tell me I was down there for five hours.

'There were only three of us bailing out; the others were back in the cockpit, seasick. I was soaked, the water coming through the hatch, but at least I wasn’t getting hit by the waves.'

Tony looks, and is, very fit for his age. He is no gym tragic, fighting the years, but he walks a lot - and messing around in boats is more physically demanding than chess. 'I am fitter now than I was three years ago,' he declares.

As long as he can get a berth you figure he will keep at it. 'When I got married, people would ask my wife where I was on Boxing Day; why wasn’t I at home. She’d say ‘he’s gone to Hobart, it’s part of the marriage contract’. I felt a bit guilty at first, but when I missed a couple, she clearly resented not getting a week to herself.'


by Jim Gale

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=104967

4:41 AM Mon 24 Dec 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Related News Stories:

25 Dec 2012  Celestial Assistance Dogs set sail in the Sydney to Hobart
24 Dec 2012  Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 - Onboard Wild Oats XI
24 Dec 2012  Ben the Kids' Cancer Bear checks out 18 foot skiff sailing
24 Dec 2012  Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Big boats favourites to win race
24 Dec 2012  Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 - Alex McKinnon's dockside pictures
24 Dec 2012  Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – conjecture is the current winner
23 Dec 2012  Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Upset win eyed by International fleet
23 Dec 2012  Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Sherman leans on beginners' luck
23 Dec 2012  Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Wild Oats XI banks on long preparation
23 Dec 2012  Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 - Alex McKinnon pictures from VO60 - Merit
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World



Gladwell's Line: A change of direction needed in the America's Cup *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,






















Anna Tunnicliffe set to compete at the CrossFit Games by Anna Tunnicliffe, Pittsburgh, PA
























Final day shakes up standings at Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek by Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Race Week 2014,














2014 Governor's Cup - Two former winners in the finals by Nancy Mellon, Corona del Mar, CA


America's Cup: Iain Murray explains reasons for Australian withdrawal *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz, Auckland, New Zealand


Wilson and Roble remain number one match racers in U.S.
2014 ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship - Set to start
PWA Pozo World Cup - Moreno twins dominate home spot
ISAF Youth Worlds - Record breaking regatta in Tavira + Video
Melges 32 European Championship - Robertissima remains out front
Farr 40 West Coast Championship - Italians take one-point lead
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 3 images by Carlo Borlenghi
New York Yacht Club Race Week - Marstrom 32 fleet off to anxious start
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 3 images by Max Ranchi
CYC Race to Mackinac - Cruising fleet sets sail in 106th edition
Team Alvimedica getting a touchup
PWA Pozo World Cup - Plenty of drama on day 5
ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship - Day 5 Videos
NYYC Race Week - High performance classes put on shoreside show
2014 Pacific Cup - 'Invisible Hand' the first boat to finish
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - B.C.'s Eric Holden skippers wins
America's Cup: Updates on Team Australia withdraw
J/70 North American titles - Brian Keane moves to top of leaderboard
2016-2017 America's Cup - Team Australia withdraws
VX One North American Championship - Chris Alexander takes charge
America's Cup: Team NZ disappointed, but on track after Australians go   
America's Cup: Hamilton Island decides not to proceed with Challenge.   
America's Cup: Challenger of Record withdraws from Regatta   
WWA Wakeboard National Championships head to Waco   
Farr 40 West Coast Championship - Day 2   
RP52 Scarlet Runner sails in San Francisco   
2014 Governor's Cup - Nevin Snow and team on form   
ISAF Youth Worlds - Americans claim silver medals in Tavira   
2014 Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek - Day 1   
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 2 images by Carlo Borlenghi   
Windsurfing and Kiteboarding World Cup to take place on Fuerteventura   
ISAF Youth Worlds - Medals decided in thrilling Tavira conclusion   
7th Annual Swim for Cystic Fibrosis to take place July 21st   
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 2 images by Max Ranchi   
Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek, Day 2 - It just keeps getting better   
ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship final day preview   
AWT Pacasmayo Classic 2014 - Catching up with Levi Siver   
Top Kiwi Laser sailor just avoids being on downed airliner   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Trans-Atlantic: Team Alvimedica - 500 Miles   
Pacific Cup 2014 – Photos of ‘Invisible Hand’   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT