Please select your home edition
Edition
MySail Skipper

Psaltis and Bencsik to mark major milestones together

by Di Pearson/RSHYR Media 25 Dec 2022 13:23 PST 26 December 2022
Michael Bencsik (far left) and Ed Psaltis (second from right) have a lifetime of sailing memories together © Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

When Ed Psaltis and Michael Bencsik step aboard Psaltis' yacht Midnight Rambler today, the lifelong friends will tuck away yet another special memory, as they take in the festive atmosphere at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia while making final preparations for the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Psaltis will sail his 40th race south, while Bencsik, known as 'Mix' to friends, will sail a milestone 25th, which will see his name added to the famous '25 Hobarts' board.

All Bencsik's Hobarts have been with Psaltis. Their first two together were on Don Curchod's Revelation, in 1988 and 1989. All others, excluding 2017, when they sailed on Warwick Sherman's Snowdome Occasional Coarse Language Too, have been on boats owned by Psaltis, or Psaltis, Bob Thomas and Bencsik.

The two met as children. They were neighbours in Hunters Hill where Bencsik was friendly with Psaltis' younger brother, Arthur, who will do his 17th Hobart on South Brittany this year.

"Our friendship goes back to when Mix was about 7 and me 10. We both loved boats. Outside sailing Sabots, we raced model boats of Ragamuffin, Police Car and others and inherited a passion for ocean racing from that," Psaltis recalls.

Starting in 1979 as an 18 year-old, Psaltis did his first three Sydney Hobarts aboard father, Bill's, famous Sparkman & Stephens 45, Meltemi. He learned everything about offshore sailing from Bill, a seasoned yachtsman and two-time Commodore of the CYCA, where he stimulated interest in international competition such as the Admiral's Cup.

"I couldn't wait to do my first Hobart. I grew up around it and was ready. It was 1978, but my old man, who is from the old school, said I couldn't go because I was only 17. It broke my heart that I had to wait another year."

Bencsik remembers, "I was introduced to ocean racing on Meltemi. My first ocean race was Sydney to Port Stephens with Bill and Ed. Ed and I weren't allowed on deck as it was blowing like hell!

"Ocean racing has been a big constant in my life. Ed and I were, of course, the winning crew together in the 1998 Hobart...

"Later, I co-owned a couple of boats with him; the Steinmann 30 Nuzulu in the early 1990s and then the Ker 40, Midnight Rambler, from 2011 to 2015. We sailed the Ker in everything and had good fun doing it.

"I've been lucky to sail overseas too, at Porto Cervo in Italy with Bill and the Fastnet Race in 2009 and 2011."

Fast forward to 2022 and they are happily readying aboard Psaltis' Sydney 36, Midnight Rambler.

Psaltis says of their steadfast friendship, "We have good rapport. We know how to tackle thigs together.

"It's good to have one of my regulars back," he explains of leaving Sydney to live in Tasmania, which meant losing his regular Sydney crew to local boats.

"We know each other so well. We do that heat of the moment stuff, but when we get off the boat, it's all forgotten. We don't take it to heart. Having Mix's 24 Hobarts aboard is important - his deep experience.

"We've been great mates so long - been through the best and worst together. It will be a poignant moment sailing round Tasman Island. A big moment. We've been through everything together..."

Originally, Bencsik was to sail his 25th on Kim Jaggar's Sydney 38, Cinquante, but as Bencsik says, "Ed and I talked a few years ago and said if the planets aligned, we would do our 40th and 25th together. I had a chat to Kim and he gave me his blessing."

It means all of Bencsik's 25 Hobarts will have been with Psaltis, inclusive of their incredible 1998 win on the Hick 35, AFR Midnight Rambler. Incidentally, the boat's co-owner and navigator in 1998 was Bob Thomas, who will do his 30th this year with Jaggar.

Psaltis says, "We're having a Quiet Little Drink at the Shipwright Arms in Hobart after the race. Me, Mix and Bob will celebrate 95 Hobarts."

For the full list of entries and more information about the race, visit rolexsydneyhobart.com.

Related Articles

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2024 entries open
79th edition of the historic 628-nautical mile blue water classic The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) is pleased to invite eligible boats to enter 2024 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Posted on 14 Jun
Rolex renews support of Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
CYCA renew sponsorship for a further ten years The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), is delighted to announce that Rolex, the Title Partner of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, has recently confirmed a continuation of its twenty-year relationship with the iconic Australian sporting event Posted on 11 Mar
Oldest videos from the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
A look back into our video archive We delve into the past, and round-up all the videos which show sailing in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Australia, which has run every December since 1945. Posted on 14 Jan
Wild and wet and windy... and so happy to finish
Last night at sea - bitterly cold temperatures, rough seas and plenty of wind O'Neill's J99 Blue Planet, is a two-handed entry, co-skippered by Michael Johnston. O'Neill reflected after their fifth night pitted them against bitterly cold temperatures, rough seas and plenty of wind. Posted on 31 Dec 2023
RSHYR 2023 | Bow Caddy Media Day Six Wrap
Final report from quayside in Hobart Final report from quayside in Hobart Posted on 31 Dec 2023
RSHYR 2023 | Bow Caddy Media D5 arrivals videos
Video Interviews with some of the arrivals on Day Five of the 2023 Sydney Hobart race Video Interviews with some of the arrivals on Day Five of the 2023 Sydney Hobart race Posted on 30 Dec 2023
Sydney Hobart – Magnificent Results
71 finished at the time of writing, leaving 14 racing with four of those not getting in today 18 retirements, all tucked up safe and sound, except for the amazing octogenarian David Henry, whose Sydney 36CR, Philosopher, is still at sea. Rig damage has ended the campaign for Henry and co-Skipper Stephen Prince. 71 finished at the time of writing Posted on 30 Dec 2023
Unfinished business settled for Eye Candy
Finish sweetens bitter taste of last year's retirement in the Rolex Sydney Hobart It was all about settling unfinished business for the New Caledonia entry, Eye Candy, in the 78th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, after a disappointing retirement on debut last year. Posted on 30 Dec 2023
Mistral has what it takes to win race
The first two-handed entry to finish the 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race Rupert Henry believes his two-handed boat, Mistral, can one day win the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race overall after he sailed the Lombard 34 to an impressive finish today. Posted on 30 Dec 2023
RSHYR 2023 | Bow Caddy Media arrivals videos
Teasing Machine, Mistral, Alive gets the chocolates finally, daily wrap with guests and more Teasing Machine, Mistral, Alive gets the chocolates finally, daily wrap with guests and more Posted on 30 Dec 2023
Cyclops Marine 2023 November - FOOTER2024 fill-in (bottom)J Composites J/99