our time in Hobart
The atmosphere when we arrived into Hobart was amazing. Not only were all
the Sydney-Hobart boats there, but two other races finished at the same
(ish) time - one from Melbourne, and one from elsewhere in Tassie. Plus
Hobart holds a big food and wine festival at that time every year (Taste of
Tasmania) which attracts quite a few.
Point is, there were people everywhere. We had a bit of a clean up around
the boat before heading off to showers and the all-important pub. The place
all the sailors head is Customs House, which is actually open 24/7 around
the race. There’s a sign on the wall in there, wedged in between photos of
race-winning boats, that says “you haven’t finished the Sydney-Hobart until
you’ve been to Customs House.” It’s such an incredible atmosphere. Safe to
say we all spent some serious time in that bar, chatting with other
Clipper-ites and guys off proper pro boats. I was a bit surprised, but
everyone was really receptive to what we were doing. Our boats have nothing
on real race boats - and why should they? We are amateurs after all.
Throwing us into high-performance boats would be an absolute disaster
(sailing these ones is dangerous enough as is!). Anyway, it was really
encouraging to hear seasoned sailors talk about how much they respect you
for doing something like the Clipper Race - putting up with the many
disastrous bits of boat (always broken) and pushing for 11 months.
How did the fleet do compared to the pro guys? Pretty poorly, no surprises
there. We had all been hoping for a downwind race - that’s when these boats
are at their best. Unfortunately it ended up being an upwind one and we’re
seriously slow that way. Both the 68s beat nearly all the 70s - they are
faster upwind boats. It’s a shame, but what can you do with the weather?
We were originally supposed to leave Hobart on the 1st - New Year’s Day.
Can anyone see a flaw in the plan here? Sailors funnily enough drink quite
heavily, and that’s a pretty heavy party night. Luckily (?) for all of us,
a couple of the boats needed rudder bearings fixing ASAP, and that was
going to take some time.
New Year’s Eve saw the fleet partying pretty hard, as we can all imagine.
People spent time at Taste of Tasmania and Customs House. For the countdown
to midnight, most of us went back to the boats - where better to get a view
of the fireworks over the harbour? It was so much fun. Probably half the
fleet was just full of people, drinking, watching the fireworks, just
celebrating being in an incredible place for the New Year.
The next morning saw quite a lot of hangovers, as you can imagine. A few of
us from Mission went over to Shippy’s - another sailor-heavy Hobart pub for
a drink. We made it back over to Taste of Tasmania for some more after
that. And so on.
We left the next morning - but that’s a story for another blog entry. The
moral of this one was just that the Hobart stopover was fantastic, and I
can’t imagine a better way to have spent my New Year’s.