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Tasmanian Yachtsman Set to Equal Record in 2000 Telstra Sydney to Hobart

by Peter Campbell on 17 Nov 2000
Tasmanian Yachtsman Set to Equal Record in 2000 Telstra Sydney to Hobart

Veteran Tasmanian yachtsman John Bennetto is set to equal the record of
competing in 40 Sydney to Hobart ocean races when he skippers his 47-footer,
Mirrabooka, in the Telstra 56th Sydney to Hobart Race.

Until this year, Sydney navigator Richard 'Sightie' Hammond has headed the
list of individual participation in the Bluewater classic, but is not
competing this year.

'It is not my aim to equal the record holder, in fact if Sightie Hammond was
short of a ride I would love to take him' said John Bennetto said at the
Tasmanian launch of the Telstra Sydney to Hobart.

'I still enjoy the fellowship and challenge of going to sea', he added,
speaking at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

Eight Tasmanian yachts are among the 89 nominations for the Sydney to Hobart
which starts from Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day, December 26, 2000.

Bennetto, a Hobart businessman who admits to being 'seventy-plus', sailed
his first Sydney to Hobart aboard the Tasmanian yacht Kintail in 1947 - only
the third race held.

The following year he crewed aboard another Tasmanian boat, Westward, when
it was the overall winner of the Sydney to Hobart and in 1949 he was aboard
line honours winner Waltzing Matilda.

Since then he has raced aboard Wild Wave, Southerly, Wathara II, Mercedes
II, Norla, Renegade, Maria, Brer Fox, Fortlet, Vanguard, plus five races
with his first Mirrabooka, and the last 13 races with his latest Mirrabooka,
a Frers 47.

By the time he completes this year's race, he will have logged some 50,000
or more nautical miles between Hobart and Sydney, in delivery trips north
and in the 630 nautical mile race.

Bennetto, a member of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania since 1947, this
evening will skipper Mirrabooka in the Club's annual Maria Island Race, the
Tasmanian qualifier for the Telstra Sydney to Hobart.

Most of his regular crew are racing with him again and between them they
have notched up 140 Sydney to Hobart, with Lester Nibbs having sailed in
29, Simon Firth 26, Bob Watson 23 and Peter Foster 13.

One missing from his usual line-up this evening is Rod Jackman who has
elected to join his father, Roger Jackman, aboard Doctor Who, for what will
be Rod's 25th Sydney to Hobart.

Most of the other eight yachts nominated for the 2000 Telstra Sydney to
Hobart will also be competing this evening including:

B52, Hughie Lewis, Sydney 41, Bellerive Yacht Club
Cyclone, Stephen Keal, Frer 50, Royal Yacht Club o Tasmania
Hot Property, David Hansen, Farr, Bellerive Yacht Club
Interum, Craig King, Lyons 41, Bellerive Yacht Club
Valheru, Anthony Lyall, Elliot 43, Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania
Why Do I Do It, Wayne Banks-Smith, Jarkan 38, Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania &
Derwent Sailing Squadron

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