Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: It’s Showtime – we’ve arrived

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

A lull in finishers and then the midday rush as a northerly hit the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet and yachts kept rolling into Hobart throughout the day and night – they just kept coming and continued to do so into this afternoon, with less than 20 left on the race course.

Mark Griffith’s LCE Showtime and her crew of nine arrived into dock yesterday afternoon, with Griffith commenting, “A bit of everything, but overall glamour conditions. We had just one night of extreme sailing. And yes, we’ll be back next year. That’s the plan.

On the Ker 40’s current 57th overall, the Pittwater, NSW yachtsman said, “We need to make our boat more optimized for offshore sailing.”

Hartbreaker’s owner/skipper, Antony Walton, said their race was “reasonably easy.”  The Victorian yachtsman added, “We had navigational challenges, such as when to head out, especially on the first night,” but it was a fabulous race and for sure.”

Primitive Cool’s Melbourne owner, John Newbold, said it perfectly: “Easy, frustrating, holes everywhere.”

Newbold, who sailed his Reichel/Pugh 51 to 24th over the line, said, “We weren’t quick enough to get past the 60-footers, but we had a nice run through Tasman Island.”

“We perhaps got our sail mix wrong,” Newbold conceded. “We had a new kite from Tasman Island, so we had to nurse it quite a bit, because kite numbers were down – we tore two…”

“It’s hard for us to match boats like Ichi Ban. We need to spend a lot of money on sails etc. to keep up with them, but we’ll definitely be back next year.”

Twin brothers Louis and Marc Ryckmans were happy with their lot in life when we caught up with them last evening. Racing their Welbourn 50, Ward Civil Yeah Baby, they finished down the rankings with many others who fell into the traps set all the way down the course, Louis remarked: “interesting conditions. We didn’t play transition zones well – we parked a lot.”

Marc added, “We noticed a similarity in patterns (weather) over the last few years. There’s been lots of downhill conditions. Nothing consistent, nothing too strong either.”

The Sydney solicitors agreed, “We’re disappointed personally with our result. Luck wasn’t on our side,” Louis said.

“No,” added Marc, “We knew transition zones would be difficult, and that turned out to be the case. “It’s a beautiful race though, and had all the intricacies and luck typical of it.

“There is a strange attraction, addiction and perversion with this race.”

Two Cookson 50s, About Time (owned by Julian Farren-Price) and Oskana, the canting keeled 50 owned by Tasmanian Orthopaedic surgeon, Michael Pritchard, raced to Hobart this year, but did not finish up in the standings as expected.

About Time is provisionally 88th, while Oskana is currently 103rd – not where either one wanted to be.

“I was very fearful of the weather, but ended up having the best conditions of any race I’ve been in,” Farren-Price commented. “It was a beautiful run through Storm Bay.”

The Sydney jeweller continued, “We were doing very well until the second night. We played it conservative, which cost us a lot. I would be more aggressive next time.”

Meanwhile, on Oskana, Pritchard admitted, “It was a challenge strategically with lots of luck involved. We went well on the first day, but missed a weather system, which set up the conditions for the rest of the race.”

“It’s a great experience,” said Pritchard who competes in the Targa Tasmania when time permits. The start is always special, especially with all the spectator boats following us out.”

On conditions, Pritchard commented, “It was a healthy breeze at the start and we had a terrific run through Bass Strait, but we fell into a hole for about 18-24 hours.”

Oskana was stuck with no wind at Tasman Island for about 12 hours – with around 40 other boats around them, but Pritchard said, “It was brilliant day to sail into Hobart.”

To follow the race and for all information, please go to:

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