ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to be an Ocean Racer - Sydney to Hobart - Fight to the Finish

Updated on January 15, 2011
Sydney to Hobart Day 5 - the last day
Sydney to Hobart Day 5 - the last day

"Are we nearly there yet?"

"Only another day mate"

I have to admire the skipper's patience. By the fifth day the ocean racing novelty had worn off completely. Fed up from eating porridge from a cup, drinking water laced with other people's porridge bits, peeing into a serrated bottle, hauling sails up and down, sitting on a hard deck and leaning over the side for hours on end, being splashed with cold sea water and sleeping in conditions that make a cattle truck seem luxurious, I was sure the convicts transported to Tasmania one hundred and fifty years previously had a better time of it than me.

We were racing but seemingly in ultra slow motion. The sail that was on the horizon ahead of us the previous night seemed no closer. The Tasmanian mountains to our right appeared stationary for hours on end. We were making progress for sure, but at a little over walking pace, the time and the nautical miles dragged on like a kid waiting for Christmas. I was feeling pretty miserable for sure. But it wasn't the tedium that was getting to me. Pressure was building. Not pressure to finish as high as possible or atmospheric pressure, more a nagging downward pressure, the pressure of keeping a cork in it for four days. I'd been trying all sorts of mental distractions to take my mind off it; multiplication tables, the names of the England World Cup winning team, counting blessings, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't drown out the call of nature. My eyes had turned brown, I was never going to make it to the Hobart dockside loos. Like Luke Skywalker I descended to the bowls of the boat to confront my destiny.

caught on camera
caught on camera

The off watch were sleeping like babies, completely unaware of the bomb about to be dropped in there midst.

You may think I'm making a bit of a drama out of all this but I was worried on several counts. Jimmy from New Zealand had been the first to crack yesterday and his attempt to bomb China had backfired spectacularly when the dreaded Head refused to accept it's payload and regurgitated its contents all over the cabin floor. Nasty, but not the end of the world perhaps. But the floor boards are only loose fitting covers and anything spilled will trickle down into the bilges which run the length of the boat. So any accident in the for'ard compartment is soon shared with the rest of the sleeping crew.

But I was one step ahead. Not trusting my flushing skills I opted for the traditional bucket approach. Success! But what I'd forgotten was the walk of shame with the bucket through the sleeping crew, up onto the deck and an awkward shuffle to the back of the boat. The crew parted before me like the Red Sea before Moses. What I didn't realise was that the Skipper had caught my dreadnought launching ceremony on camera. If you like your privacy... don't go sailing!

Rounding Tasman Island and entering Storm Bay
Rounding Tasman Island and entering Storm Bay
Crossing the Finish Line in Hobart
Crossing the Finish Line in Hobart

By the time we got to the turn into the final run to Hobart at dawn on the fifth day, the sun was out and it was a pleasure to be on deck. We hadn't finished racing though. Kinetic was close on our heels and three more boats were in sight ahead. There were still places at stake. We were reeling in the boats ahead, with our spinnaker up for the first time in the race and we were pulling away from Kinetic. Then in the middle of the Derwent estuary, within sight of Hobart we hit a dead calm. The boat started to go backwards as the tide pushed us along. Kinetic had chosen to stay close to the North shore and were able to keep some wind in their sails. By the time we picked up some puff they were past us and too far ahead to catch. After five days and over 625 miles, I was amazed our race went right to the line.

A big crowd was on the dock to welcome in the boats, cheering and clapping as we motored to our berth. The Race Organisers greeted each boat with a slab of beers in true Aussie tradition. After five days at sea the beer slipped down a treat. I felt all aglow but not from the beer, it was the realisation that I'd done something unrepeatable. I'd pushed myself to the limit and come through. For the guys who had done the event many times it was just another race but for an ordinary guy who'd spent most of his life piloting an office desk this was the pinnacle of adventure, something to look back on in old age and say, "yeh, I did that".


If you would like to share your experiences or write about your interests and earn some money for it then why not join HubPages - its free!

We did it!
We did it!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Johnny Parker profile imageAUTHOR

      Johnny Parker 

      7 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      Thanks Reynold. It was an awesome adventure. Every Boxing Day I want to be out there setting off again. I guess some people never learn!!

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 

      7 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      It sounds like a great adventure. The photos really bring this to life too. Congratulations. RJ


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)