Last week RCFC took advantage of “stay-at-home” technology with a live, long-distance presentation from Lane Cove, Australia.  Following an on-point inspiration from Larry Kunter  (the metaphor of sailing and life), we enjoyed a presentation on the 75 year old Rolex Sidney - Hobart Yacht Race by Lindsay May.  Lindsay, speaking to us from his home in Lane Cover, Australia, is a veteran of 47 consecutive Sydney to Hobart races as well as many other sailing events around the world.

The race origin goes back to 1945 when Captain John Illingworth suggested that a planned cruise to celebrate VJ Day be conducted as a race. This 638 nautical mile race occurs annually on Boxing Day and was won that year by naval officer, Captain Illingworth.
Lindsay shared several videos during his presentation.  The first showed rescue efforts during the disastrous 1998 race.  Fifty crew evacuations were successfully done but 6 lives were lost.  This lead to a number of safety regulations making this the one of the most regulated races.  Weather and sea conditions vary year to year.  Pictures of the calm seas of 2002 contrasted with those present in 1998.
A second video highlighted the start of the race in Sydney Harbor where thousands turn out to see the launch on Boxing Day afternoon following a morning cricket match.
Lindsay’s boat is the “Love and War”. This is a timber ship built in 1973. In 2006 it won in its’ handicap.  Yachts (we call them sailboats) can be from 33 to 100 feet long and crews come from many countries, training together in the weeks before the race.  Preparation before the race includes weather reports, water current information and wind charts.  Technology (Expedition Hardware) using sophisticated mathematical models provides velocity predictions for the ship but experience like our speakers’ remains vital to a successful race.
The next segment, illustrated by photos and videos, took us “on board”.  We watched a change of the spinnaker sail and took a tour of the navigator’s office which combines all the information available for wind and water in real time.
The final video of the entry into Hobart Harbor, accompanied by German music in honor of the famous yacht racer, Peter Kurts, included iconic photos of previous races.
Zoom technology allowed a robust Q & A which demonstrated that landlocked Colorado Rotary members know something about sailing.