Photography by Salty Dingo
29 December 2023
Duncan Hine and his international crew aboard Tasmanian entry, Alive, have kept the Reichel/Pugh 66s chances of winning a second Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race well and truly alive, having crossed the finish line at 3.19.04 hours in Hobart on Thursday 28 December, throwing down the gauntlet to the rest of the fleet.
The yacht, owned by Phillip Turner, won the Rolex Sydney Hobart in 2018 and came close again in 2019, but ultimately finished fourth in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 628 nautical mile race. Alive is in the box seat to win right now, but there are others that could topple her.
“Now, it’s a waiting game,” her skipper, Duncan Hine, said. “It’s a shame Phillip couldn’t do the race with us,” he said of the owner.
“We’re looking good though. I believe we could do it again, but the reality may be different,” Hine said of the possibility they had won the race.
“Now we wait with bated breath to see if anyone can beat our time…”
Hine believes that apart from a well-prepared boat and a race-winning crew, “a lot of luck is involved in this race: “You can be lucky and you can just as easily be unlucky. I think we had some luck.
“The main thing is, we’ve all had fun, but we’re tired and cold.”
Hine was his usual relaxed self. “It was tight competition, the ratbags were doing anything they could to stay in front of us,” he said laughing, describing Anthony Johnston’s Reichel/Pugh 72, URM Group that would just not go away. The two were in a concentrated race-long battle and were two of the early race favourites.
“We had many changes in the lead between the two of us. Moneypenny was right there too, this morning. Sean (Langman) decided to take the shorter route to the finish, but I don’t think it paid off.”
Of the crew, Hine said, “We had a good crew. The Kiwis were great and Adrienne – she’s only had 31 years’ experience at this,” he said of the navigator who has six line honours wins inclusive of two triples of line, overall and race record.
Adding accomplished Kiwi sailors Brady and Stu Bannatyne to the crew and Australian Adrienne Cahalan, to an already strong Australian line-up from Tasmania and other states, may be the secret to Alive’s success this year, although she has had her share of successes in other races and regattas over the past 18 months.
Brady and Cahalan, both described their race as “very intense.”
Brady, who won the 1997 Sydney Hobart sailing with Karl Kwok on Beau Geste, said, “It’s a long time between wins, I’m glad I came back.”
On the most difficult part of the race, he said, “The competition with URM was the hardest. To stay close enough to them was so important. We swapped places a few times. They got away from us last night and elongated the distance and then we caught them up at 6am this morning.
“What a team,” he said of URM Group, skippered by Marcus Ashley-Jones. “They pushed us hard, they are solid. We just knew we had to stay with them. It was relentless.”
The Line Honours podium in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was completed when the RP72 URM Group became the third boat in this year’s fleet to cross the finish line Thursday afternoon.
URM Group finished the 628 nautical mile race organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) in a time of 2 days 02 hours 07 minutes 19 seconds.
Owned by Anthony Johnston, URM Group’s third place behind line honours winner LawConnect and second placed Andoo Comanche signed off a brilliant race by the team.
URM Group spent much of the race in a tight tussle with two other mini maxis, Philip Turner’s RP66 Alive (Tas) and Sean Langman’s RP69 Moneypenny (NSW).
However, Thursday afternoon, URM Group managed to jump away and beat them both to the finish line, ending its campaign with a superb sail up the Derwent River into Hobart.