The Sydney Hobart… The middle and the end.

Wow and double wow is all I can say right now. As we revved up for the race start, 90 odd other boats jostling for line domination, the spectator boats so close with helicopters ducking and diving overhead, it was simply incredible, the noise, the images of all the boats tacking around each other, the faces of the crew in absolute awe of this amazing occasion.

Sydney Hobart start

Switzerland crew on deck Sydney Hobart

We had our start positions determined pre race start. I was on the main grinder with Richard, ready to hoist the main sail and grind in the Yankee sheets aka the ropes that hold the sail at the front of the boat (well, just in case the jargon was too much so early in the New Year).

Alysoun and Richard on the grinder Sydney Hobart

Alysoun and Richard on the grinder. Photo credit: Juerg Kaufmann/Swiss Sailing

We managed what one could describe as an affectionate nuzzle of Mission Performance or simply… We ran into the back of them (big oops). It meant, according to the rules of racing that we should take a penalty immediately and so we took ourselves off to complete two 360 degree turns. If only life was that simple when you made a mistake… Go off and spin round twice! Anyhow, it meant we lost ground. It also meant that we didn’t receive any penalty points.

We had a journalist on board and a professional Swiss photographer. During the next four days we would have some great stories to tell and have some great photos taken.

headsail change on board Switzerland during Sydney Hobart

Headsail change on board Switzerland. Photo credit: Juerg Kaufmann/Swiss Sailing

The race was described as tough, but not one of the toughest. As usual the Bass Strait provided its usual entertainment with “feisty” conditions. Strong winds, gusting 70 knots, we managed to survive with three reefs in the main and the Yankee 3 which gave us good speed and only marginally horrible conditions below deck ;/

We did get ready to hoist the storm jib but thankfully managed without and kept up our speed. It was a game of tactics and determination, constantly asking ourselves how we could get more out of the boat.

Switzerland and One DLL Sydney Hobart

We had changed our watch pattern to four hours on and four off during the race – no luxurious six hour off watch moments. It meant that when you were needed to support the oncoming of an ongoing watch with something that you got very little sleep. The noise below deck was worse than usual with the squall of the HF radio that was used for position reports as well as weather updates. Good quality sleep was a rare commodity.

Monday dawn Sydney Hobart

And then Monday morning dawned, we had the Derwent river to get down, we just couldn’t catch Old Pulteney darn it.

Yellow buoys finish line Sydney Hobart

Then the sight of the yellow buoys marking the finish line! Alleluia, we’d made it.

So the 69th Rolex Sydney Hobart race had just been completed, a world renowned sailing race that the clipper fleet had just completed. The welcome as we motored into the marina was uplifting, and a little emotional if I do say so…how many times can one blink before a tear escapes?!?

We’d done it!


2 thoughts on “The Sydney Hobart… The middle and the end.

  1. Joy Tong

    Alysoun, I am so in awe of you. What an achievement! what a dedication!
    Let’s celebrate with dinner when you get back. Be safe.


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