Two of our Clipper Race skippers this year have previously competed in the iconic Boxing Day race,Henri Lloyd’s Eric Holden and PSP Logistics and Sydney resident, Chris Hollis.
Looking ahead to the race, Chris says:
“G'day everyone! Christmas is fast approaching, and in Australia, if you are a sports fan, it means two great sporting events are just around the corner:
“1. The Melbourne cricket test and 2; The famous Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race - both which start on Boxing Day.
“When I applied for the skipper job with the Clipper Race back in September 2012, I had a fleeting thought, wouldn't it be fantastic if the new fleet of Clipper 70's had a stopover in my home town of Sydney, and just maybe, we may be able to compete in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race?! That would be something special. Well, all my sailing dreams have come true and the stars have aligned, we are going to Sydney, and the new Clipper Race fleet will be competing in this year’s Rolex Sydney to Hobart.
“This is a bluewater classic that every yachtsman should endeavour to compete in. It is a race held in high esteem by sailors around the world, renowned for its camaraderie, testing weather conditions, endurance and a hero's welcome in to Hobart.
“This race can be one of the most challenging racing around, with hard running conditions, big southerly buster cold fronts often meeting the fleet as they cross Bass Strait, bring bitterly cold winds and mountainous seas. Sometimes, you question yourself when you are in one of these storms, what the hell am I doing here? Then you finish the race, and all the crew war stories are told in the bars of Hobart, before you know it, you are back the following year, doing it all again.
“So what can the Clipper Race crews expect? Although this is a sprint compared to the races we have completed to get to Sydney, it will be one of the overall most challenging and rewarding races of the entire Clipper Race.. We are racing on the world stage, against some of the best boats and best crews the world has to offer. On the Start Line we can expect no mercy from our fellow competitors, jostling to be the first boat out of Sydney Harbour harbour and turn south. Our skills will have to be sharp and our tactics bold.
“This is all well within the capabilities of each Clipper Race crew member, team and skipper. We will have just sailed close to 20,000 ocean racing miles, in some of the most trying conditions known to man. Let me recap:
“- There was the baptism of fire of the Biscay and Cape Finisterre gale very early on in Race 1?
-The Doldrums, who could forget that? (Do watch out though, The Rolex Sydney-Hobart race can also be very light at times)
- The mighty Southern Ocean, producing some of the strongest storms we have ever seen. As I write this now, we are preparing for our second 70 knot severe gale.
“We have seen the weather, we know our boats and we are all very tight knit teams oozing with experience and talent.
“As skipper of PSP Logistics, and a local boy, I am very proud to skipper my team to Hobart this year. Having competed in this race twice already, I know from experience how tough it will be. It will be three days of pedal to the metal. It will be cold, it will be rough, it will be one of the most rewarding racing we will compete in. I know that every Clipper Race skipper will agree with me on that, though maybe not the fact that PSP Logistics will win this year’s Rolex Sydney to Hobart...
“Just a little tip for the other teams out there, from memory, you exit Sydney Harbour and turn left!”