This week the Clipper yachts left Hobart to race to Airlie Beach. Two days later I left Sydney to also “race” to Airlie Beach. We are all due to arrive early next week. The Clipper fleet on Monday and I will be there on Wednesday 13th January, follow this race, one powered by petrol and the other by wind.
The Sydney to Hobart race started with very challenging conditions. Racing out of Sydney harbour under spinnaker ended with a very quick change to deeply reefed main and storm sails as the wind increased to over 50 knots. Some competitors were not so lucky and some, not the Clipper yachts, sustained ripped main sails, dis-masting and other damage which had them retiring on the first day. Andrew’s blog of the events leading up to the start and the sailing under the Sydney harbour bridge gives a telling account how high profile the Rolext Syndey – Hobart Yacht Race is in the sailing world.
The crew have been enjoying some free time in Sydney the boats have been lifted out of the water to be cleaned and a new anti-fouling layer to be applied. Many family have travelled here to see their loved ones and to celebrate Christmas in much hotter weather than back in the UK which is pretty weird. The Hobard race will start tomorrow and there is great exitement among the crews.
The Unicef crew has cycled 1000 kms in its bid to cycle the length of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (628 nautical miles/723 miles/1225 kms). The crew have cycled on static bikes at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia over the last four days. Their challenge finished a few days ago in driving rain and lots of wind, akin to the conditions of the notorious Bass Strait on the famous offshore race. Crew members from the Unicef yacht were joined by crew and skippers from other teams who cycled in the Race Village at the CYCA, Rushcutters Bay, Sydney.
The week started with a brilliantly sixth place for Unicef. They were more than 30 miles behind Visit Seatlle when they decided to stay further out to sea than the rest of the fleet. They got better wind possibly less current in deeper waters and kept going at 8 knots while Visit Seattle dropped to 3 to 4 knots. They quickly overtook Visit Seattle and finished in Sydney five hours ahead and under spinaker to a raptious welcome. There were even boats coming out into the harbour to welcome them over the finishing not line. The final positions have been announced after the remainder of the fleet were becalmed and are motor sailing to Sydney.
This week was dominated by difficult tactical decisions and unpredictable weather patterns with very strong winds for some and no wind for others. Team Unicef are in fifth place although my family members have been querying the drastic tactics employed by Team Unicef to get ahead of the pack.