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Remembering Edward Heath's Sydney to Hobart victory

by David Felton 18 Aug 2019 13:49 BST 5 September 2019
(l-r) Anthony Churchill (left), Sammy Sampson (rear), Owen Parker, Jean Berger, Ted Heath, and Duncan Kay celebrate their win in the 1969 Sydney Hobart Race, by one of the smallest boats in the fleet © George Layton

In 1969, as Leader of the Opposition, Edward Heath sailed his first "Morning Cloud" yacht over the finishing line at Battery Point, Hobart, Tasmania, to win the famous Sydney to Hobart Race. Including Heath at the helm, the boat had a crew of six.

Designed by Sparkman and Stevens, and built in GRP, at 34ft LOA, she was the smallest boat out of a starting line-up of 79 in the race.

This was an epic achievement, and a first for Edward Heath, which spurred him on to more glorious racing achievements in four subsequent, and larger offshore racing yachts, all named "Morning Cloud". Edward Heath is the only serving Prime Minister to have won a major international sporting event, which he did when he led the British team to victory in the Admiral's Cup in 1971.

A Celebration Event, to commemorate Heath's remarkable Sydney-Hobart feat will take place on Thursday 5th September in the gardens of his beloved home, "Arundells". It will include talks by two outstanding yachtsmen who have also had tremendous success in this prestigious race.

Jeremy Robinson: one of Britain's most experienced young yachtsmen. He has taken part in five Sydney to Hobart races, including Class wins in 2003, and 2009, and winner overall in 2004. He will talk about his experiences of being on a winning yacht in the race.

Mike Austin: his sailing career began in earnest when in 1994, he competed in the Sydney Hobart and the Sydney-Mooloolaba races while undergoing chemotherapy for Lymphoma, for which he is an ongoing patient. He will describe his racing adventure in Rounding Cape Horn.

There will be an opportunity to talk to several of the Morning Cloud crew members, including Duncan Kay, who was on the winning boat.

A special Sailing Exhibition is now in place at Arundells featuring Edward Heath's participation in the Sydney- Hobart. In addition to exhibits that tell the story of the triumph, cartoons that show the political impact of his triumph and pieces of memorabilia the display includes video footage of Morning Cloud crossing the line.

Tickets £30 each from or call 07921 800533 (includes a buffet lunch, informal tour of the House, to view and appreciate the sailing memorabilia, and art collection, and entry to the Exhibition).

Arundells, 59 The Close, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 2EN
Organised by "The Friends of Arundells"
Hosted by the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation Trust

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