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Dolphins - seals - turtles and albatross all part of the Rolex Sydney Hobart package

by Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 1 Jan 15:37 PST 1 January 2020

As the tail end of fleet worked their way in we took to the docks to ask them how their individual races went and their story about the 75th running of the blue water classic, including the incredible sightings of sea life.

Midnight Rambler's Ed Psaltis commented, "Very easy - too easy. We wanted a harder race." This is typical of the man who won the tough 1998 Sydney Hobart on a Hick 35. This time the boat was nearly as small, a Sydney 36 for Psaltis who relocated from Sydney to Hobart early this year.

"There were lots of boats caught up. The race was easy physically, but hard mentally. There were lots of tactical decisions we got most wrong. We were mentally in agony for about three days trying to make the right decisions," said Psaltis who put his 38th Sydney Hobart to bed. "A great crew - compatible - never a bad word.

"I said I would retire at 35 races, but I'm still going at 38. This race just keeps drawing me back."

On the Salona 38, Sticky, Richard Harris maintained: "Pretty normal, modern race, lots of downwind. Long runs, setting the boat up and going hard were great. We had brilliant sunsets and sunrises and a good team. Sometimes we lost instruments, but we still worked fine together."

Out on Packaponch Scamp, owner Mark Mollison confirmed what others were saying. "The race had everything, including rough weather and long, extended periods of downwind sailing and a park up at Storm Bay. The waves in Bass Strait on the second night were both scary and exciting and we just got across the finish line before the wind dropped."

"We saw some amazing sights - a big pod of dolphins, seals, tuna and albatross off Tasman Island. Just amazing to see all these animals. And I sailed with my son, Peter, for the first time. A beautiful Sydney Hobart."

On Solutions, the Dehler 41 entered in the race for the first time, owner Stephen Dadour told of their first Sydney Hobart experiences: "The organisation was great. The CYCA was outstanding."

"Very good conditions - a bit of everything - great sailing. The east coast of Tasmania had wonderful conditions."

"Having done my first Hobart, the next big thing is the Sydney to Auckland race in January 2021."

On Wax Lyrical, it's a different story. They are a very experienced crew led by owner Les Goodridge (owner/skipper) who has just put his 11th Sydney Hobart behind him. Aboard is Louise Stephenson with 14 races and Dinah Eagle with 12.

"It was good actually a fairly straight forward race. We only blew up one spinnaker, so that's not bad in terms of numbers," said Goodridge.

"I guess once realised we were actually contenders to win our division again (Wax Lyrical has won PHS Division 1), we thought 'that's not the way it works here - you very rarely win two in a row," which the X-50 design has actually done.

"Once you start realising that is possible you of course concentrate even harder, and that got quite exciting for the team.

"The first night we were in the 60's (results) which is pretty unusual for a three bedroom three bathroom boat like we have. Next day it lightened off though, and all the real racers overtook us."

"It's always good to finish the race. Getting to the start line is the biggest challenge. Getting to the finish is other part of it. Getting to the start was a huge challenge for us. A week and a half before, we had no rudder and no mast. Some repairs had to be done to the mast, and we had to get a complete replacement rudder with three weeks to go.

"We overcame a bunch of very serious hurdles to get to the start line at all," ended Goodridge who is still smiling, as the effort paid off.

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