The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is one of ‘the’ internationally known yacht races that people want to be a part of. We are lucky that it is one of the races in the Clipper Round the World Race and the Clipper fleet has its own class.
After every race my Mum always asks me, ‘Were you scared at all?’ and my reply has always been that I haven’t been. However I have to admit this was the first time in the race so far that my reply would have been ‘Yes’. It wasn’t the adverse weather conditions, nor bouncing around the deck that got to me, but the start line! 108 yachts started the race, all trying to get the best spot on the start line in close tacking conditions, with vessels of different sizes and pace. I’m glad that I wholeheartedly trust our skipper Dan to helm us well and am pleased to say that despite my fear, there was no mishap for us with the start. Once we had cleared the harbour and left the headlands I was able to relax and take in the spectacular sight of yachts flying spinnakers as far as the eye could see.
This race for us was short at just over 600nm, however pre race start there was media coverage about the extreme weather that would be faced. We enjoyed a spinnaker run as long as we could as the weather then turned with the wind coming on the nose once more making life a little bouncy. We experienced wind from 50 knots to wind holes of no wind at all.
For this race I, along with Ellie in the other watch were the radio operators. This meant we had to take part in the race radio schedule which happened four times a day, with every yacht having to report in their position over the high-frequency radio. We reported to a boat called JBW and Ellie and I both became fond of our role and hearing the voices of others in the race and were even more excited when we reached Hobart to see the vessel there. We had to write down the position of every other yacht during the radio broadcast which did have the downer of causing us both to be seasick as being in the nav station for 45 minutes at a time didn’t help us!
This race was tough and at times felt like it would never end. It was also frustrating as we were doing well and then our luck changed and as it was a short race we ran out of water to chase back the places. However we should be proud as we completed the race damage-free, with 39 other vessels (including professional crews) having to retire from the race. I can now add this prestigious race to my sailing CV.
New year in Hobart was good fun and we had the best view of the fireworks from the bow of our yacht. Here is to 2016, a new year, and a new set of races for Derry~Londonderry~Doire to fight back with.
Many thanks for all your kind wishes and support messages which have been coming in. They all mean a lot and help me to carry on. I’m nearly half way, it’s getting tougher but I know I have your support behind me which helps me keep going, so thank you.