2001 Sydney to Hobart

Posted by: Craig Arthur

2001 Sydney to Hobart - 14/12/2001 12:36

Being the avid sailor I am, I thought it time to get this thread happening. The Canon Big Boat Challenge is off and running on Sydney Harbour today, one of the final lead-up races to the Sydney to Hobart. Let's see if we can't get a few forecasts happening for the race. I know it's still a bit early, but some discussion would always be a good thing. I just hope we don't have a repeat of 1998. That was horrendous...
Posted by: crosswind

Re: 2001 Sydney to Hobart - 14/12/2001 14:59

Well if they used real boats designed to time honoured marine standards of naval architecture instead of kevlar egg shells it would not have happened in the first place. Taking scaled up nee oversized esturine racing dinghys to sea was never smart and never will be. There were many voices for years warning of the dangers. The elite never listen, they know all. Combine technology, money, ego, arrogance and mother nature in a bad mood and you have one disaster. My worry is the poor buggers who have to go out and get them. Some of those helo crews, particularly the Navy one that did the double night rescue with a stuffed autopilot should have been given their weight in gold, but no, hardly a partonising well done. I think the professional fisheman that 4 corners interviewed at Eden said it all.
Posted by: Craig Arthur

Re: 2001 Sydney to Hobart - 14/12/2001 16:25

A comment I heard from Lindsay Cunningham, designer of the world speed sailing record boats...

"if it doesn't break, it's too heavy"

The Sydney-Hobart boats don't go to quite this extreme, but many do go close. I've seen the results storms while sailing, even been the victim of my own stupidity in being out in bad conditions, but my boat has always survived. The boats are designed to survive well after the crew have given up. Many of the boats which got into trouble had turned back to get to Eden, those which pushed on survived with much less damage. My point is that the boats will survive if sailed the way they were designed to be sailed. If you turn and run, and stop thinking you are in trouble, that's when you will have problems.
Posted by: Craig Arthur

Re: 2001 Sydney to Hobart - 19/12/2001 11:17

OK now it's time to start putting up a few forecasts as the models start showing their cards for Boxing Day. GASP is showing a deep (979 hPa) eek low centred south of Tassie on Xmas Day. This is not too worrying ATM, as the low (if it develops this dramatically) will be long gone east by the time the yachts reach TAS. The thing to watch will be the timing of the southerly change up the NSW coast and any secondary fronts. Ensemble forecasts are slowing the main southerly change till late Xmas Day/early Boxing Day and then leaving a strong westerly flow across the course area for the following days. The NCEP ensemble appears to push the low through quicker, but maintains the westerly flow. ECMWF also holds the main cold front back too, but I'm still waiting on the latest run...
Posted by: Craig Arthur

Re: 2001 Sydney to Hobart - 21/12/2001 09:57

I didn't think GASP could hold it up for long. The massive low that has been progged to sit south of TAS for about three and a half days is now set to be swept southeast away from the region. What will be left behind is a strong southwest airstream and a rather bumpy racetrack.
I'm going for a spinnaker start (southwesterlies in the harbour) and then a steady beat (20 kts) down the coast until Eden when the southwester will pick up to around the 30/40 kt mark. GASP progs a few little cold fronts in this southwesterly also, so this could give boats a few interesting moments through Bass Strait, probably up to 50 kts at times. EC also has the low moving off to NZ on Wednesday, with a few cold fronts racing up the western side of the low. EC has a much stronger upper trough on
The high ridging across the Bight will also aid the development of the southwest flow, and with this lingering for few days, there should be a decent steep swell running up the east coast of TAS against the current on Thursday (27th).
Posted by: crosswind

Re: 2001 Sydney to Hobart - 24/12/2001 18:21

Nice little low spinning up for the yachts ?


[ 24-12-2001: Message edited by: PeterC ]
Posted by: gustfront

Re: 2001 Sydney to Hobart - 26/12/2001 06:53

It's shaping up to be an interesting start to the race. There is a reasonable chance that the race will start in westerly winds for the first time since I can remember. This will make for a spectacular spinnaker run to the heads. The westerlies look like being much lighter than yesterday and this throws up the prospect of some kind of weak sea breeze type influence developing near the coast. Do they head offshore away from the this and beat into winds that will be more consistent but more southerly in direction? Or so they stay inshore and try to exploit the better angles offered by the more westerly oriented breezes? The risk is that any kind of sea breeze like development inshore could produce zones of very light winds along the coast and fickle directional shifts. The race down the NSW coast will make or break the prospects for the key contenders.

This is the first race for a long time where weather strategies will have a critical outcome on the race. This will make for a much more interesting race than the technological/financial race that has determined the line honours winners over the past decade.

I'm looking forward to this one.

[ 26-12-2001: Message edited by: gustfront ]
Posted by: terrified

Re: 2001 Sydney to Hobart - 26/12/2001 14:15

I just watched the start of the great race,Newscorp was the first boat out of the harbour south bound..

Considering a slow start for the entire fleet,lets all hope it isnt a repeat of the 1998 race.

Good luck to all competitors,hopefully they all finish safely..
Craig smile
Posted by: Hector

Re: 2001 Sydney to Hobart - 26/12/2001 21:05

Just wondering, some of those storms they will be encountering could be quite severe. Do they get any official warnings or just use their own knowledge?
Posted by: crosswind

Re: 2001 Sydney to Hobart - 26/12/2001 23:07

Race Favourites Forced Out by Thunderstorms - December 26th, 2001 - 10:51 PM
Severe thunderstorms off the New South Wales South Coast ripped into the leading yachts in the 57th CYCA Sydney Hobart
Yacht Race tonight, forcing one of the line honours favourites, Australian Skandia Wild Thing, and one of the favoured boat for
Overall IMS honours, Sting, out of the 630 nautical mile race.

Wild Thing ripped her mainsail while Sting reported rigging damage as they returned north to Sydney.

Two other yachts, Simply Red (broken forestay) and Cadibarra (ripped mainsail), both from Melbourne, also retired with

A south westerly front of 25 to 30 knots hit the fleet early this evening as the leaders neared Jervis Bay but the thunderstorms
apparently caused the worse damage.

Line favourite Nicorette, the Swedish maxi, was hit by what skipper Ludde Ingvall described as a “twister” with the crew dropping
her high tech sails as hail the size of golf balls pounded the boat.

Nicorette, the line honours winner last year, tore the mainsail but replaced it with her spare sail and is continuing in the race to

She had taken the lead north of Wollongong this afternoon three hours after a mediocre start, but then lost the lead as she
hove to in the storm, dropping back to fourth place.

The Volvo 60s Tyco from Bermuda and illbruck from Germany took over the lead as Nicorette licked her wounds, with the
skiff-like 66-footer Grundig from Sydney sailing past into third place.

Astern of Nicorette came five more VO60s, Seb from Sweden, the Australian entry Team News Corp, Amer Sports One from
Italy, Djuice from Denmark and Amer Sports Too. Assa Abloy, although well placed early this evening, did not report at the
“sked” (position report) at 2005 hours.

At that stage Australia’s bestknown maxi, George Snow’s Jutson 80, Brindabella, was back in 10th place, nine miles astern of
race leader Tyco, with Bumblebee 5, skippered by designer Iain Murray in 11th place but was placed first overall on IMS
corrected time.

The IMS computer predictions placed Bumblebee 5 leading on corrected time from last year’s overall winner, South Australian
Kevan Pearce’s Farr 47, SAP Ausmaid, and the IMX 40, Nips N Tux, skippered by Sydney yachtsman Howard de Torres.

The latest forecast is for the strong winds to continue overnight but ease during tomorrow as the front moves north. However,
winds are expected to freshen again off the Far South Coast.
Posted by: crosswind

Re: 2001 Sydney to Hobart - 26/12/2001 23:16


Issued at 10:16pm on Wednesday the 26th of December 2001

* Wind speed refers to the average speed over a 10-minute period. Gusts may be
up to 40 per cent stronger than the average speed.
* Wave and swell heights refer to 'significant wave heights' representing the
average of the highest one third of waves. The likely maximum wave height can be
up to twice the significant wave height.

A 982 hectopascal low, centred 300 nautical miles southeast of Tasmania, moving
slowly away.

Renewal of Gale Warning
For Southeastern Tasmanian Coastal Waters. between Wineglass Bay and South
East Cape.

Chiefly southwest winds 20 to 30 knots, but 35 knots offshore, easing during the
morning to 15 to 25 knots, locally 30 knots offshore. Seas 3 to 4 metres. A
southerly swell 2 metres, rising to 3 metres over the south.


Renewal of Strong Wind Warning
for Northern and eastern waters between Sandy Cape and the Wineglass Bay also

Southern waters between South East Cape and Low Rocky Point.
Southwest to westerly winds at 15 to 25 knots, locally 30 knots gradually easing
during the morning. Seas 2 to 3 metres. Westerly swell 2 to 3 metres over the
north. Southwest swell to 3.5 metres over the south. Southerly swell to 2
metres in the east.

Next routine issue by 5am.

------------------------- End of warning -------------------------

[ 26-12-2001: Message edited by: PeterC ]
Posted by: Hector

Re: 2001 Sydney to Hobart - 27/12/2001 10:18

I thought something like this could happen after seeing the radar images and meteorological conditions last night. I am bit surprised the BoM don't issue severe storm warnings for shipping, at least for special events like the Sydney to Hobart...
Posted by: crosswind

Re: 2001 Sydney to Hobart - 27/12/2001 11:22

Secret Men’s Business, one of the eight yachts forced to retire from the Sydney to Hobart yacht race overnight is now limping
back to Sydney with its mast in three pieces.

The owner/skipper of the yacht, Geoff Boettcher says the yacht was through the worst of the storm when the boat was suddenly
and unexpectedly demasted.

“We were getting thirty five to forty knots and it was quite a dense wind and choppy seas. Yes, it was hard going, but nothing

Mr Boettcher, who was participating in his fifteenth Sydney to Hobart, said the yacht was well positioned in its division when the
mast broke about half past eleven last night.

After spending several hours retrieving it from the water, the crew started to head back to Sydney, and is currently about an
hour away from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

Mr Boettcher said it was a big disappointment for the crew, who had put a lot of effort into getting the South Australian yacht to
the race this year.