Sixteenth Sydney to Hobart
By Hugh Garnham aboart Eos
Lion Class tames the Seabirds
Sydney to Hobart 1960
THIS year's Sydney/Hobart Yacht Race will surely go down in History as the easiest on record and it is hard to imagine that we will ever again see a Race with such near perfect conditions. Boxing Day dawned bright and clear and the wind showed every promise of being ta typical Nor-caster and sure enough by 10 a.m. a steady breeze had set in. The race started from Sydney Harbour amidst the usual confusion which seemed no better than previous years and possibly was worse. There has been some talk that this will be the last time the race will be started inside Sydney Harbour and I for one would be happy about any suggestion that would do away with inference caused by spectator craft. The start this year was a fairly good one with upwards of 20 boats on the line at the gun. Best away was Astor who gained the coveted windward position with Ingrid and Eos in close attendance.
The fleet was well strung out on the beat to the Hades, with Kurrewa IV being first to draw clear. Many boats encountered a lot of interference and others also found several choice holes on both Harbour shores. We on board Eos had a good run down the harbour until within a mile of South Head when the breeze just died away completely for a while and this fact coupled with a masterly piece of interference by a show boat, which just crossed our bows and then obligingly went astern when we were trying to sail around her, caused us to be almost last to clear the Heads. This lapse was to prove costly later in the race.
Once clear of the Heads all yachts set spinnakers in a 15 knot Nor'easterly and then began what can only be described as an "arm chair ride." Four days of consistent following breeze which carried the majority of yachts well down the Tasmanian Coast.
THE FIRST DAY
During the run down the New South Wales Coast the breeze gradually eased forward and found the Victorian cutter Kurrewa IV about 55 miles out of Sydney. Two miles astern was the big N.S.W. schooner Astor followed a mile further back by Solo, Winston Churchill and Archina.
Only fourteen miles separated the yachts at this stage with many of the medium sized yachts we'll back in the fleet. Last in the fleet at this period was the 3 master Victorian schooner Ile-Ola.
THE SECOND DAY
The second day dawned bright and clear with once again light winds from astern the order of the day. Many of the yachts in shore had experienced light airs and fog during the night, but those boats that had kept further to the east generally had enough wind to keep them moving along. During the night Astor moved up to take the lead from Kurrewa IV but at the same time Carol ]., Patience, Archina and Siandra were well to the east and almost level with Kurrewa IV.
Zarabanda was three miles astern and about ten miles further east was Southern Myth with Ingrid, Winston Churchill, Lass O'Luss, Brilliant and Eosstanding up to seventy miles off shore. The fleet was still well bunched with many of the smaller boats in close proximity to the leaders.
THE THIRD DAY
Once again conditions remained the same during the night with north east to North West winds with the seaward boats once again having the better of time closer in shore. An interesting feature of the day was a little bit of cross talk onthe radio between some of the yachts. The radio relay vessel "Lauriana" came on the air for the early morning schedule and in a rather gloomy voice said "Well chaps I am afraid the forecast for 'the day only predicts the same conditions as we have got at the moment." He then went on to call every boat in the fleet and after he had takenall the positions the Tasmanian yacht Brilliant came on the air and said "Pardon me Lauriana but just what conditions have you got at the moment?" As Lauriana replied "A flat oily calm, we on Eos sat bolt upright and immediately asked where she was. We were delighted to learn that she was just east of Montague Island; as we were at this time still about 70 miles out to sea and bowling along quite well in a 15 knot Nor'easter which we had had for most of the night.
During the day most boats made reasonably good speed, by nightfall the leading ten yachts had reached Bass Strait with Kurrewa IV once again in front of Astor. Solo which had been a fair way back up until now gradually improved her position during the day and was now laying third--about three miles astern of Astor. The British entry Zarabanda in a short burst moved up into fourth place followed by the big ketch Archina. The next bunch which were about thirty miles behind the leaders included Joanne Brodie, Eos, Kintail, Kaleena and Siandra. A few miles further back were Janzoon, Metung and Maris followed five miles astern by Carol J, Malohi and Lass O'Luss.
Leading another large bunch a few miles further in-shore was Southern Myth which had in close company Wild Wave, Southefly Buster, Patience, Brilliant and Winston Churchill. Further in-shore again and well back for her size was the Halvorsen Brothers' new yacht Norla. Tam O' Shanter and Four Winds were another 20 miles astern in close company and Ile-Ola once again a further 30 miles astern was in last place.
Once again all boats had a good following breeze during the night and the leaders Astor, Kurrewa IV and Solo had run well into Bass Strait and were by now abeam of Flinders Island.
The good run continued during the day and with all boats making good progress and at nightfall Astor had regained the lead and was off St. Patrick's Head. She was followed five miles astern by Solo with Kurrewa IV six miles astern and Archina in close proximity. Zarabanda was twenty-one miles astern of Kurrewa IV with Janzoon, Carol J, Rival, Kaleena, Kintail, Norla and Joanne Brodie all within 10 miles of each other.
During the night conditions became very light in shore but those boats further out to sea continued to make good time and close up on the leaders.
This proved to be the crucial day and there was a change in the pattern of the race for the first time.
The leaders Kurrewa IV, Astor and Solo had by this time run well down behind the Shouten Islands and at this stage the Nor'easter was backing round to a southerly however, these three boats managed to get around Tasman before the breeze strengthened to a south and despite patches of agonizing calm in Storm Bay all three ended up with a brisk run to the finishing line with Kurrewa IV picking up the first breeze and clearing right away to cross the finishing line at 11 minutes past 7 on Friday night with an elapsed time of four days eight hours eleven minutes and fifteen seconds. Solo finished about two hours 'later at 9.23.42 followed almost two hours later by Astor-11.29.47, however, this same southerly which gave them such a good run to the finishing line made things difficult for the small boats as they had to beat down to Tasman Isle. The tail enders by this time were strung out all the way up the Tasmanian Coast with patches of wind alternating from east to sou'east to south interspersed with flat calm, rain and heavy fog. Many of the boats were uncertain of their exact positions at this stage of the race.
During the early hours of the morning dense fog shrouded the East Coast from Maria Island to Tasman Light across Cape Raoul and into the Derwent. At times visibility from Tasman Light was reduced to a few hundred yards.
First boat to finish on this day and fourth home was Trygve and Magnus Halvorsen's 38ft. cutter Norla, which arrived at 6.57 a.m. At 11.53 a.m. Siandra crossed the finishing line to be ninth home and proved the eventual winner on handicap. Others to finish in the morning were the 52ft. ketch Archina at 9.58 am., the former Tasmanian yacht Winston Churchill, now representing Victoria, at 11.13 a.m., the 4-2ft. New South Wales sloop Janzoon at 11.21 a.m., the Victorian 48ft. ketch Metung at 11.44 a.m., the 39ft. New South Wales sloop Carol J. at 12.56 p.m., the 35ft. New South Wales sloop Malohi at 12.58 p.m., and the 41ft. New South Wales sloop Kaleena at 12.59 p.m. The yachts continued to finish at longer intervals during the day with Zarabanda finishing shortly after Kaleena, followed a few hours later by Thurloo, Lass O'Luss and then at regular intervals by Patience, Joanne Brodie, Southern Myth, Romava and Maris which finished just before midnight and Ingrid, crossing the line just after midnight.
At this stage Ailsa could have taken handicap honours but once again during the night, thick fog and light airs were encountered and she was becalmed for four hours off Betsy Island and then again in the Derwent, which ruined her chances for handicap honours.
Ailsa finished at 6.49 a.m. in the morning and then came a real battle among four of the tail enders Brilliant beating Kintail home by nine seconds followed about two minutes later by Southerly with Tam O'Shanter a further four minutes behind. Kintail had been in a good position early in the race but lost all chance of victory when she got slightly off course in Saturday night's fogs and made her landfall at the Friers on Brumi Island, which cost her many places. Eos finished at 10.33 a.m. after being becalmed for about eight hours off Cape Raoul during the night, followed at 2.58 p.m. by Southerly Buster who was unable to round Tasman during the night and did not pick up a breeze until 6.30 in the morning. Last yacht to finish was the tiny sloop Four Winds, which finished early on Monday morning. The only boat to retire was Ile-Ola, who started her engine when becalmed off Schouten Island, when it was obvious that it would take her quite a long time to drift through the calms which were between her and the Derwent.