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Battered Nokia and crew finally reach Hobart

by Peter Campbell on 30 Dec 2000
Crew from three yachts survive man overboard incidents

Just over a year ago a jubilant Danish/Australian crew of the water ballasted, round-the-world Volvo 60 racing yacht Nokia swept up the River Derwent to claim an extraordinary race record for the Telstra Sydney to Hobart.

The yacht's time of 1 day 19 hours 48 minutes 02 seconds slashed 18 hours off the previous record after a surfing power sail almost all the way from Sydney.

Tonight, a battered boat and bruised crew sailed slowly up the river, seventh in the fleet and 37 hours outside her record time, crossing the line at Hobart at 9.46.59 pm.

Skipper Stefan Myralf had his head swathed in a bandage, another crew member had bruised ribs; in fact, most of crew of Danes and one Australian, carried minor cuts and bruises as Nokia battled galeforce winds over the past 24 hours.

The yacht's mainsail had been ripped to pieces, at least one jib had been torn badly with Nokia sailing the final 100 nautical miles under storm trisail and storm jib.

Myralf, who co-skippered Nokia with Australian Michael Spies last year, explained that he had been rolled out of his bunk and had cut his head on a bolt in the cabin.

Describing the heavy conditions, Myralf said one crew member had been washed overboard but was securely fastened by his harness and was quickly pulled back on board.

Yesterday, a crew member of Ninety Seven was washed overboard but quickly recovered, while Sydney businessman Garry Holt went over the side from Shipping Central earlier today when his safety harness snapped.

That incident happened when the boat got out of control after the rudder snapped, subsequently forcing Shipping Central to retire from the race.

The Tasmanian Water Police vessel Van Diemen later towed Shipping Central into the port of Lady Barron on Flinders Island where Holt described how he went overboard when the harness snapped, but grabbed a lifeline and climbed back aboard the Beneteau 40.7.

'If I had lost the lifeline, I doubt if anyone could have helped me because it was dark, there was a four to five metre swell with breaking seas, and the boat was out of control because the rudder had broken,' a much relieved Holt said ashore.

Nokia was the last of the five Volvo 60s to finish the race, meaning that the first seven boats were all water-ballasted, ahead of them being the water-ballasted maxis Nicorette and Wild Thing which finished this morning.

Eighth yacht to finish and the first of the conventational ballasted boats, at 10.44.43 pm, was SAP Ausmaid, the Farr 47 owned by South Australian Kevan Pearce with Cruising Yacht Club of Australia rear commodore Roger Hickman as sailing master.

SAP Ausmaid, a past Overall winner of the Telstra Sydney to Hobart, is locked in a close duel for top IMS honours with the Melbourne yacht Another Challenge, a Sydney 38 skippered by the veteran Lou Abrahams, sailing in his 38th Sydney to Hobart.

Based on positions reported from the fleet at the 2.05 pm 'sked' this afternoon, Another Challenger held a narrow lead over Ausmaid in the IMS division from which will emerge the Overall Winner of this 56th Sydney to Hobart Race.

Another Challenge is expected to finish shortly after 7am tomorrow, having reported her position this afternoon as being 18 miles north of Freycinet Peninsula and 118 miles from the finish of the 630 nautical mile race.

The British cruising yacht Sunstone, a timber-hulled S&S 38 owned by Tom and Vicky Jackson was placed third, with the Nelson/Marek 46, Quest, chartered by another British yachtsman, Chris Bull, a closed fourth.

Further information:

Peter Campbell

Media Director - 2000 Telstra Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

0419 385 028 or 03 6234 1015

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