So, another Hobart race has been run and won. This year I sailed aboard Alan Brierty’s RP63 “Limit”. Unlike in recent years, this year brought a mixture of weather, and a more typical crossing of Bass Strait, seeing us carry 3 reefs and a #5 jib, sailing into 45 knots and very large waves. Although this didn’t last to long, its still a test of survival with several boats in the fleet retiring with gear failure.
Sailing down the Tasmanian coast was both exhilarating and frustrating. For the first part we were still neck and neck with our sister ship “Loki” and both of us knew who ever was to be first across the line, stood a good chance of Overall handicap honours. Well, this theory was put to bed very quickly on day 3 when we sat in light winds for extended periods, sometimes sailing a course that would take us closer to Sydney than Hobart just to find some consistent breeze. All the while the “Mini Maxi’s” were going no where, there was a herd of 40 and 50 footers sailing along in good breeze, not only closing the gap, but in some cases passing us.
With the chance for Overall honours gone, it was time to continue our 630nm match race with Loki. The only thing to sail for now was a few jugs of beer which were put on in friendly bets between ourselves and Loki. From about half way down Tasmania, the breeze finally picked up and kept building into the night from the Northwest. This made for some great running conditions with speeds in excess of 20 knots. We were fast approaching Tasman Island, marking the run home to the finish.
As it was always going to be, I suspect, both Loki and Limit were only a mere boat length apart at Tasman Island setting up an exciting dual into the finish. A finish that would have us only 4 minutes apart, after 3 days of sailing through several weather systems and more sail changes than I care to reflect on. I think we used all of the sails on board bar maybe the storm gear which at one stage across the Strait, very nearly went up.
So,15th overall, 7th across the line, and a 630nm match race made for the end of a great month of sailing which included the Solas Big Boat Challenge and Rolex IRC Regatta.