The final race of the year 2001 turned out to be the most interesting in many ways. Seven Volvo 60s lined up at a starting line 200 meters ahead of the rest of the 57th Sydney Hobart contenders and proceeded to show the fleet that months of preparation and crew training really do make a difference. Mark Rudigers ASSA ABLOY took line honors and Volvo 60s captured most of the top places on elapsed time. (At the time of this report, ASSA was still leading the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, which headed for Auckland, New Zealand, after a three-and-a-half hour pitstop in Hobart.)
Not that the Volvo 60 fleet was immune to the ravages of the Sydney-Hobart; Team SEB blew out a lower rudder bearing, took on a few tons of water, and headed back to Oz for repairs. “Immediately we could hear a crushing sound and the composite work list was getting longer and longer,” said skipper Gurra Krantz. “At the same time we heard the sound of massive amounts of water filling the aft compartment and the rest of the boat. It happened very quickly. It did not take many seconds before the water was flooding from the aft to the middle of the boat.”
Lisa McDonald and the crew of Amer Sports Too lost a duel with a shark and had to stay in Hobart a few extra hours for repairs. Hero of the incident award went to crewmember Keryn Hendersen, who dove repeatedly into the chilly water to determine the extent of the rudder damage.
Team Tyco earned a DNF by checking in seven minutes late at the entrance to Bass Strait. The crew attempted to fight the charge, stating that equipment problems and harsh weather conditions were to blame. The race committee stood by their original decision.
Nicorette, Ludde Ingvalls 80-foot maxi, had her race highlighted by a brush with a waterspout. “I really feared for my life. It was the most unbelievable thing I have ever seen, said Ingvall. “I saw it coming and tried to outrun it. It looked like it was going behind us, but then it turned and got us. I was looking up a tunnel of water and could feel my jacket riding up my back.”
Nicorette, last years line honors winner, placed second and was the only non-V60 to place in the top six. This was noted by Grant Dalton, who said: “I was delighted that a Volvo 60 won the event and really it was totally dominated by V60s. Despite the races standing in Sydney it contains nothing other than a bunch of slow old boats and this result confirmed that.”
The overall IMS winner was the well-sailed Bumblebee 5, a modified Sydney 62. The IRC victor was Polaris of Belmont, a 31-year-old Cole 43.
For complete results: http://s2h.tas.gov.au/2001/
The Key West Race Week entry list now stands at 325, only one entrant below last year’s record fleet. Large classes of Melges 24s, Farr 40s, J/80s, J/105s, and 1D35s helped pump the numbers up. There are one hundred PHRF boats entered, ranging from an Andrews 70 all the way down to a J/24, as well as a goodly selection of 30-something foot sport boats.