Monday, December 27, 2010

We were in the midst of mayhem yesterday when we anchored to watch the start of 66th running of the Sydney-Hobart Race. Barry thought we anchored well out of the channel in a tranquil spot, little did he know we were in the middle of the traffic lane when the spectator fleet followed the racing boats out to the headlands of Sydney Harbour. This was our view of the start.

We picked a spot well down the harbour where we could see the start when we anchored at 10:00 A.M. When the race started at 1:00 P.M. our view was obscured by a myriad of vessels. There were huge motor vessels, four stories high, commercial vessels crammed full of spectators, small sailboats and normal sized motor boats zooming about, it was unbelievable. Unless you have experienced this, it would be hard to explain. We could see the top of the sails of the huge racing sleds. Once the starting gun went off the spectator fleet went flying by us. The wash buffeted the boat, rocking us to and fro. We just hung on and hoped no one would hit us. I sat on the side of the boat and tooted on our horn to contribute to the mayhem. Then the leaders went sailing by, their speed was fantastic, I loved the boat with the zebra on its sails. There were eleven helicopters circling around. The rest of the fleet went by and we watched them set their spinnakers as they made the turn to head out to sea. The race will take approx. 4 days for the leaders, they have to cross the notorious Bass Strait between Australia and Tasmania, for which there were gale force winds forecasted.

When we planned to be in Sydney Harbour at this time of year this is one of the things I had my heart set on. The experience topped my expectations, awesome!