Rolex Sydney Hobart: a Christmas «gift» from Mother Nature
Sailing

Rolex Sydney Hobart: a Christmas «gift» from Mother Nature

Almost a third of the participants dropped out of the regatta, and the winner reached Hobart with a broken steering wheel and a centreboard.
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For the last ten years, the legendary Rolex Sydney Hobart, considered one of the most difficult races, was delighted by the relatively calm weather. But not this time. On the night of Saturday to Sunday, the wind blew in the Tasman Sea. Before it intervened, five boats had dropped out of the race for various reasons; the «fun» night increased the number to 29. Almost a third of the total number of participants!

Wind and huge waves have broken a lot of rudders and masts, not to mention the number of broken sails.

Among the boats that didn't survive that terrible night are two Maxi Sailing Boats, Wild Oats XI and Perpetual Loyal. And if the list was limited to yachts! The Volvo 70 Black Jack, for example, had to return to Jervis Bay to hand over a crew member with suspected broken leg.

The 100-foot Comanche of Texas billionaire Jim Clarke is leading the race.

By the time we finish this article, Comanche will be the first yacht to reach Hobart. And this despite the fact that in the storm the single hull collided with an unknown object, broke one of the two rudders and the centreboard!

The closest Comanche pursuers are the Rambler 88 and Ragamuffin 100. The first one is likely to take the prestigious Tattersall's Cup trophy for the fastest distance in relation to size.

The 628-mile race, which started the day after Catholic Christmas, will last at least two more days. Hopefully, without «adventure». There's even a note about this Rolex Sydney Hobart on SBS Australia's satirical column. Frontier guards noticed an unusually large number of boats under cover of the night heading towards Tasmania, and sounded the alarm: it's definitely unclean here, probably transporting illegal migrants.

Who else in their right mind and with a clear conscience will go to Tasmania this time of year? The border guard started a special operation and towed all Rolex Sydney Hobart members back to Sydney Harbour, joking on SBS.

The text is accompanied by a photo taken during the 2010 race, when Wild Thing ran into a reporter's boat.

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