The Blake Boulton owned Van de Stadt 44 crossed the finish line on the Derwent River to record a time of 3 days 18 hours 32 minutes 10 seconds. It was the 63rd of 64 yachts that had finished at 1pm.
But for the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club registered entry, that moment was certainly not the end, but more so the beginning.
Trumpcard’s participation in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart was a dress rehearsal in preparation for next year’s 75th edition; but one that was only decided upon four months ago and required a late call out for friends and family to help clean, repair and outfit the boat in readiness for ocean racing in whatever conditions might prevail.
However, the dry run south by Trumpcard will have served the eight strong crew well for experience and knowledge for next year’s race.
Boulton, for all his experience, will go home with much to recall, including how the Sydney Hobart challenges to the end. Afterwards, he said “the last 12 hours were tricky”, particularly from Storm Bay.
But Boulton was not alone in that summation. TSA Management trimmer Julius Raithel reported after the Tony Lovett owned Sydney 38 finished that Storm Bay was the hardest stretch for them. Raithel said it was “demanding and cold” and that southerly wind towards the end made their final run “very tricky” and “a bit of a gamble.”
Trumpcard, previously named Trump Card, was launched in 1986 by Tasmanian Arthur Budd who made the mahogany boat. Even then, her Sydney Hobart appearance was against the clock. She was only completed shortly before the race in which she placed 67th overall.
Queenslander Craig Coulsen bought her from Tasmanian, Hughie Lewis, but his 2002 Hobart dramatically ended due to a collision at the start for which the crew was absolved of wrongdoing. Boulton bought her in 2015 and until now only raced her locally, including this year’s Brisbane to Keppel race in which she was sixth on PHS.
Trumpcard’s finish came as the docks in Hobart continued to fill with finishers. For the 15 boats still sailing, the weakening winds led to slowing speeds and ultimately a mentally challenging finale for all.
For those on land in Hobart, the area was awash with festivity as the race entered its fifth day since its Boxing Day start last Wednesday.
With the line honours race long fought, settled, claimed and celebrated by the super maxi Wild Oats XI – both on and off the water after an international race jury declared a protest against them invalid on Saturday - all the focus for the best part of the last day had been on the race for overall victory and the Tattersall Cup.
As sun set over Hobart on Friday evening, the outlook was that the Tamanian Reichel-Pugh 66 Alive would be the entry to win it, as it sat comfortably on first position on the leader board and with only a handful of boats having a remote chance of creating an upset – and even then, requiring a miraculous turn about of conditions to do so.
But as night set in, those chances dissipated and all that Alive owner Phillip Turner and his crew had to do was continue their celebrations for an all-but-confirmed victory and return dockside on Sunday morning to be officially informed that victory was definitely theirs.
At 11am the official presentation to Turner and his crew of the Tattersall Cup at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Hobart Village was under a glorious sun and before a mass of spectators.
Not that the end of official proceedings brought an end to the ‘party’. As race entries continued to filter into their respective moorings, crowds continued mingle on the docks to greet them as crews began washing their boats and drying out their wet weather gear.
The only off water issue for the race was the outcome of a protest lodged by Helsal 3 against Black Sheep, citing outside assistance, scheduled to be heard at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania at 2pm.
But that verdict would not impact the top places in the various classes and divisions for which all awards will be presented to the winners at 3pm on Monday at Hobart’s Grand Chancellor Hotel.
For that, the Sydney Hobart celebration was able to continue at full pace, as all that otherwise remained was to cheer in the final boats.
By Rupert Guinness, RSHYR media
Cover photo: Trumpcard