The 77th edition of the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was the first to have 2-handers eligible for the overall Tattersall’s Trophy. It was only the second year to allow a 2-handed division.
Jeanneau Sun Fast’s were well represented in the 2-handed division with four SF3300s, a 3600 and 36. Unfortunately and controversially the Sun Fast 3300 Tumbleweed was not allowed to race as one co-skipper was deemed to not have met the qualifying criteria!
Sun Fast Racing SF3300 – Sydney – Lee Condell & Lincoln Dews
Hip-Nautic SF3300 – Hobart – Jean-Pierre Ravanet & Dew Meincke
Transcendance Crento SF3300 – Sydney – Martin and son John Cross
Kraken 111 SF3300 – Hobart – Rob Gough & John Saul
Mister Lucky SF3600 – Brisbane – Rohan Wood & Todd Giraudo
Uprising SF36 – Newcastle – Andrew and son Harrison (18) Miller
The race started with a short upwind leg to the entrance of Sydney Harbour in a 15-knot sea breeze. With 104 boats, including four super-maxis and ten TP52’s, that first leg was quite difficult. All made it successfully to the separation marks without incident with Sun Fast Racing leading and setting a spinnaker for the run south in perfect conditions.
The fleet spread out as those with asymmetric spinnakers headed further out to sea initially, and yachts chose where best to make the best of the ocean currents. During the middle of the first night there was nothing in it as Transcendance Crento and Sun Fast Racing crossed with a few hundred metres, with Hip-Nautic was just out to the East.
As the boats entered Bass Strait the following morning the wind started to build, but not significantly until well into the afternoon, at which point both the wind and seas started to build quickly.
The following a night was spent surfing down steep waves across the notorious Strait, which is known for waves that are both steep faced and hollow backed. Very tricky conditions, but the SF3300’s in particular revelled in the conditions and did extremely well within the overall fleet.
The next morning crews were relieved to pass the lee of Flinders Island where there was some protection from the swell, then entering Banks Strait before Tasmania itself there was broad reaching in 25 knots of wind with long rides across more spaced-out waves. Many boats recorded their best runs and highest speeds through this section with Hip-Nautic recording a remarkable 27 knots!
Late on the afternoon of the 3rd day a cold South-Westerly change came through creating a very messy sea with a beat into 24 to 26 knots of wind right through the night. This was particularly tough on small boats and was the hardest part of the race. Temperatures had dropped 15 deg, so it felt particularly cold.
Dawn the following day and the wind dropped to nothing. Boats drifted for anything from 4 to 7 hours in frustration while waiting for the forecast sea-breeze. It didn’t fill in until 4pm that afternoon!
At this point Sun Fast Racing was almost due South of Tasman light and ready to turn towards Hobart for the final 40 miles. The breeze quickly built and backed into the N’East for an exhilarating reach to the entrance of the river Derwent, which Sun Fast Racing entered on dusk. As is so often the case the wind started to abate on dark, and we ended up drifting the last mile to the finish, the first production boat on handicap.
IRC Two-Handed Results:
2nd – Sun Fast Racing
6th – Hip-Nautic
7th – Uprising
8th – Transcendance Crento
9th – Kraken 111
13th – Mister Lucky