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Sterling effort.

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 2 Jan 13:00 PST
The three 100 foot (30.5 metre) maxis lead the fleet out of Sydney Harbour - 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race © Rolex / Andrea Francolini

Singling out the Two-Handers in the Hobart is in no way belittling any of the 50 crews who made it through the first night in the washing machine. It is just that their somewhat herculean performances have probably already crossed over into folklore. Making Hobart at any time is an achievement, and this has certainly been elevated in the Covid era, what with all that the pandemic has done to upset plans the world over.

Throughout 2019, 20 and 21 we looked very closely at a lot of the short-handed scene, and especially the new breed of boats that are around to fulfil the desires of sailors looking to go quickly, even if it is in something around 32-34 feet. A quick search on our sites will provide you many a hour's reading on Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300, J/99, and Figaro Beneteau 3, amongst others.

Some things I noted stemming from the Hobart are thus. Tasmanians Rob Gough and John Saul on the Marc Lombard penned Class 40, Sidewinder, blasted away across Storm Bay to in the end have an elapsed time very close to that of the full-crewed Marten 49, Carrera S. Must have seemed like ages to go back to the start on Sydney Harbour to then once again have your favoured conditions and start to punch out towards 20 knots of boat speed.

J/Boats are very thrilled with Jules Hall and Jan Scholten on Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth, as well they should be, but I would imagine nowhere near as much as the two Gents in question. In short, the pair made every post a winner aboard their J/99. They were fourth out of everyone under corrected IRC time, but wait for it, they beat them all, no matter what the size or number of POB, under ORCi, and did it by around three hours. Yes. You deserve to take home IRC, ORCi and even PHS. Nice one!

I was also deeply impressed by Carlos Aydos and Peter Grayson on Crux, who came home just six hours (elapsed) after the fully crewed White Bay Six Azzurro, and they are both S&S 34s. When you have been at sea for five days, that's just change. Make it under IRC, and the corrected time for Crux (.9250) is 04:22:12:08, and Azzurro (.9320) is 04:17:38:26. Say no more... Respect! Yes, expect to see even more Two-Handers next year.

Many could not have used their autopilots on that first night, for they would have simply burned out. That means hand steering all the way, in addition to doing all the other myriad of tasks required, on a violently moving platform, in the dark, and when you're understandably well-tired. Getting around the wheel on the First 34.7 for Wendy and Campbell must have been challenging.

Speaking of challenges, with the bucking bronco in full action due to the complete absence of backs to the seaway, I heard of one Two-Handed crew who lashed themselves to the pushpit in order to helm. Drastic action, but when you consider they had been thrown into the leeward tiller once before, a primary as well, and the boom too, then it was more than warranted.

Doing a Hobart is never easy, and whilst I might be on the slowest vessel these days, as I go off watch when the last boat's in, I do get a hot shower, great coffee, and the bed (when I get to it) doesn't move. Bliss. To quote Monty Python, 'shoe box on the side of the road.' So yes, sincerest and deepest congratulations to all who made it in 2021 (some '22).

Black Jack's race for her Maiden win was tactically brilliant, so well done Alex Nolan, and the entire team you have put together Mark Bradford. Little wonder Peter Harburg was so happy in Hobart. Ichi Ban collected their third overall win.

Many thanks to our entire team, but at this time of year somewhat especially Cros, Dale, Wendi, Jake, Steve, Stu, Lee, Mitch, and our unsung heroes, Tony and Clayton.

Most of all, thank you to you, the readers. Your comments, calls, and emails have been wonderful. Normally we might not single one such item out, but this one from Melissa Piech at the bottom New Dawn really reached out to us. "Great website, well done. Informative and great photos and weather detail." Gracias Melissa...

So with Hobart done, it is now time for all those Australian Championships to begin in earnest. One that certainly jumped onto the radar was the 16-footers out of Belmont on Lake Macquarie. Dream Team of Iain Jensen, Tom Slingsby, and Nathan Outteridge part of the fleet, so look out. All three know those waters pretty well, Nathan arguably the most.

Stay safe, thanks for tuning into Sail-World.com, and all the best for 2022.

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS

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