Dr Sam Haynes of Sydney Animal Hospitals says the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is “unpleasant and uncomfortable” but he can’t wait to do it again
“I started ocean racing about 10 years ago. In that time I’ve owned three boats but the biggest is my current yacht, Celestial. She’s a carbon-fibre 46-footer, designed specifically for ocean racing. I’ve competed in four Sydney to Hobart yacht races in Celestial. The conditions were so challenging during our first race that we destroyed a mainsail and had to retire. It’s pretty heartbreaking when something like that goes wrong.
“The crew stuck together, however, and in 2012 we won our division and did well overall. Last year, in the 2013 edition, Celestial came third overall on handicap. That has been our best placing and we’ll be back again next year. To win the Sydney to Hobart is a dream for any yachtie. Each one is challenging, arduous, unpleasant and uncomfortable. Last year it took 72 hours of sailing and we were totally exhausted when we arrived. We sailed into Hobart at lunchtime and received a huge heroes’ welcome. The roar of the crowd is pretty phenomenal, especially when you’re so tired you’re nearly having an out-of-body experience.
“The Sydney to Hobart is not for everyone. Carbon-fibre boats are one of the least comfortable boats on the water. During the race, it’s noisy, wet and cold. But you see some amazing sights and the camaraderie of shared hardship pulls everyone together and makes the race very special. You just don’t get that in your normal life.”