S2H Day Nine - Race Complete

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 3 Jan 2024 04:15

Noon Position: 43 04.49 S 148 09.26 E
Alongside Constitution Dock, Hobart
Wind: NNW, F2
Sea: calm Swell: nil
Weather: overcast, mild
Day's Run: 77 nm

We continued a good run down Tasmania's east coast, rounding Tasman Island, spinnaker flying, at 1900 yesterday evening. As we rounded its towering basalt organ pipes (standing off sufficiently to avoid the island's wind shadow), we dropped the spinnaker and set the code zero to the N'ly breeze. As we crossed Storm Bay the wind freshened slightly and we made good time, averaging six knots and keeping the possibilty of completing the race within Sylph's previous longest race time alive. At fifteen minutes after midnight we handed the code zero and set the working jib in its place to a fresh breeze and in preparation for tacking up the Derwent River. At 0100 we passed the Iron Pot, marking the entrance into the river. As we headed further up the river the winds gradually faded, such that it took another six hours to sail the remaining eleven miles to the finish line off Battery Point, tacking against a weak ebb stream in very light NE to NNW breezes. Eventually we crossed the line at 0826 and 15 seconds, thus beating, ie taking longer than, Sylph's previous longest Sydney to Hobart Race by 2 hours, 13 minutes and 13 seconds.

While our performance was disappointing, we had done our best under very difficult conditions for Sylph, a race dominated by mostly light airs, calms, and strong headwinds. However, the disappointment was more than compensated by our reception at the finish line. Some fifty or so people had turned out to cheer Sylph across the line and in particular to welcome Oli, with placards and Oli chants. Alongside Constitution dock it was also a flood of media and Oli fans.

Now the media and fans have thinned out and Sylph's crew and support team enjoyed the mandatory post race drink at the Customs House Hotel, although it was no doubt a lot quieter then on New Year's Eve.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me to get Sylph to the start line of this iconic race, and thanks particularly to Chris for his support and commitment to achieving our goal of finishing the race.

All is well.