Clipper Race Sydney Hobart Leg 4

The Clipper fleet has arrived in Airlie Beach after leaving Hobart and the crews are enjoying a short break before continuing the leg to China. In the following update, Catherine North reflects on her Sydney Hobart Yacht Race experience aboard Sanya Serenity Coast.
Another tick off the list. We were almost Sydney Hobart Clipper 70 Divisional winners but another redress moved us from 1st to 2nd. But….. we got line honours again! We are sailing really well as a team and are pretty happy with the results.
At the Sydney Hobart race start, the wind was pretty light in the Harbour, so even though there were more yachts than had been on our previous starts, everything went that little bit slower.

After we left the heads and turned right with everyone else, we were on a downwind tack and this continued for the next two days. We chased PSP Logistics who seemed to be on a mission to win, staying just in front of us for the longest while. 

One exciting watch, we had a 180 degree wind change. Seeing others on AIS changing direction and a boat nearby dropping their spinnaker in a hurry, we were prepared. After 15 minutes, the spinnaker was dropped and both headsails hoisted and by the time another 40 minutes had passed, we had two reefs in. This began the most exciting part of the race. When we came up for our next watch, the wind had disappeared and we were sitting in 6th or 7th place and things were looking pretty grim.

I was on “Mother Watch” for the final hours into Hobart. Lunch was made and we’d made it into the Derwent River, still with very little wind. We decided there was no need for any more meals to be cooked, so I went up to be part of the final team into Hobart. Fellow Clipper, Garmin, was behind us, there were no other boats in sight and someone told me there were also no Clipper yachts ahead! Back in the race! The wind was finally filling in and it was upwind to the finish. We sail passed Taste of Tasmania with everybody cheering, including our mate Doc who sailed with us on Leg 4 and will be joining us in China for Legs 6 and 7. 

The highlight for me in Hobart was being reunited with many of my friends. Great soothing for my homesick soul. I caught up with many Melbourne sailors who were down for the Westcoaster and Sydney Hobart races. I’m now rejuvenated for the next half of my Clipper Round The World adventure.

By Catherine North (with support from Alexandra Doran)