SDMF Ambassador Andrew Lock recently competed in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and shared his experience with us.
At 1pm on 26 December 2014, I and eleven other guys crossed the start line of the 70th Sydney to Hobart yacht race. We were on board ‘Ausreo’, a 47.7 foot Beneteau. I’m no highly experienced yachtie but I’d sailed back from Hobart after a race one year, completed the Sydney to Lord Howe Island race and a couple of other offshore races and was lucky enough to sail around Cape Horn some years ago on a gaff rigged 30 foot home built Norwegian yacht. The opportunity to join Ausreo came at the last minute and I jumped at the chance, as the Sydney to Hobart has been on my bucket list for many years.
Our race started well and it was glorious to cruise out through the Sydney heads surrounded by sleek yachts heeling to the wind. We were a heavy boat, so the headwind and resulting rough seas suited us, although perhaps not our stomachs. By the second day however we were under spinnaker with a brisk northerly cranking our speed up to 18 knots (about 35 kph), not bad for 13 tonnes of boat. That breeze stayed with us for most of the crossing of Bass Strait and down to Storm Bay where a sting in the tail of the race forced us back into our wet weather gear as we battled strong and fluky gusts.
We crossed the finish line in Hobart at 12.45 am on 30 December, just under three and a half days after setting out. We placed 70th over the line but did better on handicap, although those placings meant little to me. The race is an iconic event and has a reputation for testing even the most hardy sailors. I suspect we had a pretty mild race by comparison to other years but it was a fabulous experience. I enjoyed facing new physical and psychological challenges and I made new friends. What more can one ask for? Can’t wait to do it again.
You can see a bit of race footage from our yacht on Youtube.
Andrew Lock OAM
Ambassador, Sir David Martin Foundation