This is Derry-Londonderry-Doire, Derry-Londonderry-Doire, Derry-Londonderry-Doire… Sydney to Hobart Race

Monday 28th Dec – Bass Strait, Sydney-Hobart Race

The start of the Sydney Hobart race is pretty much how you would imagine. Over a hundred fast and expensive boats all trying to tack into each other. General carnage, lots of shouting by teams in matching outfits, a few birds flipped. Lost track of how many times we tacked.

Had some fruity weather as a front came over. That was mad – spinnaker came down (in 1 piece woohoo!), staysail went up and reef went in the mainsail. It was dark and wet and windy and I ended up completely tangled in the ropes in the cockpit. The front itself was a pretty spectacular thing in terms of cloudage.

Also been doing radio scheds for this race which is the archaic way in which we report our position. We all have to tune into the HF radio several times a day, say our position and write down the position of every one of the other hundred boats in the race. Sometimes there are radio problems so the whole process can take an hour. Although the aforementioned weather front means there aren’t quite so many boats in the race due to damage.  I believe there have been 39 retirements including Perpetual Loyal, Blackjack and Wild Oats. Still, sitting in the nav station as we bounce on the waves triggered my sea sickness. Threw up everything for about 24 hours. Sandwich and crisps was horrible to bring up.

At the moment we are in the bass strait in very little wind. Hoping our tactics will pay off.

Tuesday 29th Dec – Frustration

Currently exiting the Bass Strait flying a spinnaker upwind (as you do?!) Had a few frustrating hours last night with very little wind thinking we might make the new year party.

Wednesday 30th Dec – This is the race that never ends, it just goes on and on my friend…

3-4 days they said. Ha ha. We were doing ok, then we messed up during a windshift and we are back in 8th. Unlikely to regain. Also I have broken my trousers so they are now stuck as shorts. Tired and struggling to control my inner chimp.

Racing ruins what should be a lovely sail round a gorgeous coastline. 😡

On the plus side we saw a shark – he got his mouth out the water and everything. Plus dolphins. I also saw some secret whales. Secret because everyone was so busy at the time I thought it best not to distract them.

http://www.derryjournal.com/news/derry-boat-crew-gets-jaws-moment-at-sea-1-7138226

Still giggling at the boat name “Willyama”. Pronounced “Willy Armour”. Ruth (the other radio scheder) and I have become quite fond of JBW. Although it is a boat name we like to think of it rather as the man from the radio scheds. Hopefully he will be in Hobart.

1st Jan 2016

So the race did end. We got in the evening of the 30th after a nice spinnaker sail up the river. Wendo and team Da Nang won. I think, although we are all jealous, all the crews are genuinely chuffed for them.

The reception as we motored into the marina in Hobart was incredible. Hundreds of people were cheering us like family. So, for the second time, I found a tear in my eye as we approached the Tasmanian shore.

Since then we have stuffed ourselves with food at the Taste of Tasmania food festival, partied til the early hours for New Year and drunk Moet on the yacht (Mow-et on the yat-chet). This is because we are a very classy bunch. My New Year’s Resolution was to become a classy person. This ended by about 9am the next day as we dashed to the (very proper, blazer affair) prize giving and I realised I had no pants on under my shorts (which I had slept in).

The Sydney Hobart prize giving is something that needs to be seen to be believed. They hand out more prizes than there are yachts in the race, although most obviously go to the same boat and they are a weird and wonderful array of shapes and sizes (although most are massive). I am surprised there are any trees left in Tasmania. We also saw JBW from the radio scheds. Then they played a dramatic video, which was great, except for the lack of D-L-D.

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Ellie, Ruth and JBW (photo by Ruth)

Back to sea tomorrow. We’re hoping for some good luck.  

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