Throwback Thursday: Winning Rolex Sydney-Hobart teams celebrate in Tasmania

01 January 2015

In this week’s Throwback Thursday, we celebrate Derry~Londonderry~Doire, GREAT Britain and Old Pulteney’s achievement in the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The teams were presented with their pennants by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Hobart for their Clipper 70 class win in the iconic Australian offshore race.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would arrive into Hobart at sunrise, smelly and tired and winning Derry~Londonderry~Doire its first podium position of 2013-14 race. Not only this but we came first in its class and 29th overall in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race,” says Wendy White, a 36 year-old nursing student who took part in the race on board the Northern Irish entry. She had no previous sailing experience before taking part in the race.

Describing the competitive racing, Wendy says: “The Bass Strait is known to be a treacherous stretch of water and for the second time around, it offered no respite to us as amateurs. With rough seas, currents and gale force winds, the wind shift pushed in as we sailed further south, and turned right into Storm Bay.

“Knowing that the race was short meant every mile and minute counted. The pressure was always on to have the slickest sail changes with minimal time bear-headed. After the changes we then got spinnaker kites prepped for the next change. My whole body would ached all the time but you carry on with gusto as I knew that every sail change could make a difference.

“Arriving into Constitution Dock at 06:00am with the sun rising, many of the berths empty and a silence except for the handful of Clipper Race staff and supporters on the marina wall was something I will never forget.

“I can genuinely say I will be reminiscing about this race when I am much older, frailer and greyer!”

GREAT Britain came in second place ahead of Old Pulteney in third. Jake Carter, a 21 year-old student on board the British entry says: “Our tactics for the race were the same as always for GREAT Britain. Race hard and play hard when we get there! We took this very seriously, taking time out of our stopover to train in the glorious Sydney Harbour. The routing didn't favour us too much with headwinds forecast both at the start and end of the race. The key was to position ourselves as best we could for the middle section where some heavy weather kite work would give us an advantage over our competitors and minimise the beating in the later stages.

“The weather started out light on the nose and we watched the lightweight yachts not laden down with ocean racing kit sail off into the distance. When the wind finally did go aft and built it was a rocket ride. With our medium weight kite up we were pushing hard averaging well into the teens. Derry~Londonderry~Doire was in first and managed to hold the kite for another couple of hours and pulled some ground on us.

Jacob adds: “It was hard work right until the finish and Derry~Londonderry~Doire and Old Pulteney managed to overtake us at the entrance to the Derwent. We rallied and with everyone up trimming or utilised as rail weight we managed to pull back second a couple of tacks before the finish.”

The fleet will return to Australia and the famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race next year in the 2015-16 edition.

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