1993 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

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49th Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race Sydney to hobart yacht race route.PNG
Date 26 December 1993 – 3 January 1994
Defenders IMS – Assassin, IOR – Ragamuffin
Number of Yachts 104
Coordinates 33°51.35′S 151°12.40′E / 33.85583°S 151.20667°E / -33.85583; 151.20667Coordinates: 33°51.35′S 151°12.40′E / 33.85583°S 151.20667°E / -33.85583; 151.20667-
42°52.7′S 147°19.58′E / 42.8783°S 147.32633°E / -42.8783; 147.32633
Winner Ninety Seven

The 1993 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race was the 49th annual running of the Australian "blue water classic" Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. It was hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia based in Sydney.

The 1993 race, as in every year, began on Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), at noon on Boxing Day (26 December 1993) before heading south for 630 nautical miles (1,170 km) through the Tasman Sea, past Bass Strait into Storm Bay and up the Derwent River to cross the finish line in Hobart, Tasmania.

"While racing the distance of 630 nautical miles (the equivalent of over 1100 kilometres) under sail is in itself daunting, the unpredictable and often treacherous seas encountered, particularly in crossing Bass Strait make the Sydney-Hobart one of ocean racing's classic challenges. ----- it is the toughest middle distance ocean race in the world. ----- In yachting circles, a sailor who has 'done the Hobart race' commands considerable respect" [1] Those that survived and completed the 93 Hobart deserve mention.

Race calamity[edit]

The 1993 fleet comprised 104 starters. Of those 104 starters, only 38 of them completed the race due to severe weather conditions which struck the fleet near the south-eastern Australian coast as they entered Bass Strait at night. This race was arguably the toughest in recent history as the lowest number of completing yachts attests as does a staggering attrition rate. Fortunately there were no fatalities (in contrast to the 1998 yacht race, in which six died).

An unusually strong low pressure depression of 986 hpa developed, that a CSIRO Oceanography satellite photograph (unusual at the time) revealed as a spiral cloud stretching down the Queensland coast across the Tasman sea to the south island of New Zealand back across to Tasmania and corkscrewing in to the storm center in Bass Strait, where the fleet were centred. The weather built into an exceptionally strong storm (which had similar strength winds to a lower-category hurricane reaching up to 70 knots and estimated 12-meter seas, resulting in two yachts abandoned and a man overboard incident. Additionally a record 66 yachts retired from the race or sank. The winning yacht Ninety seven recorded 78 knots (144 km/h) of wind either side of the eye of the low off Gabo Island on the night of the 27th. Dec.

The April/May 1994 edition of Offshore (the official journal of CYCA) contained articles in a retrospective analysis of the 1993 Hobart race. David Lyons, the designer and crew aboard Cuckoos Nest, the IMS handicap winner, made the following personal comment, when asked why so many yachts had failed to complete, he said; 1. Yacht structural designs being inadequate for the conditions. 2. A misunderstanding of ABS approval processes. 3. Refined rig designs that fail to meet the race loads. 4. Poor maintenance. 5. Yachts pushed beyond design limits. 6. Crews retiring due to own limitations when tired and seasick, which goes to adequacy of experience. [2]

In an article on helmsmanship during the race, John Gray an AYF Offshore Yachtmaster aboard Sea-U-Later a 12m admirals cup yacht, described how they discovered only 3 out of 8 crew were capable of helming in those conditions at night, without endangering the boat or crew, and then for only one hour at a time. Early recognition of this and altering watches to cater was central to their survival and completion of the race. Only one of the three had previous Hobart experience, but all three were seasoned offshore racers.

They were also critical of the races on water weather forecasting, which during the three days of storm, did not alter its forecast for a following SE wind change, which never eventuated. But probably lured yachts further south and away from Tasmania than necessary before tacking due west to close the coast. Sea-U-Later along with other yachts tracked down the 151-degree east longitude, becoming becalmed for 20 hours around 42 degrees south, in the centre of the weakened low, that all weather reports had said had moved well into the Tasman Sea. Whilst a respite the delay cost them dearly, Sea-U-Later was 37th to complete the race. The official explanation of the meteorology during the period was in the same edition, but somehow this was not communicated to yachts at sea at the time. [3] [4]

As a response to the record retirement rate the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia issued an extensive questionere to yacht owners seeking comment on suitability of storm sails, adequacy of radio communications and suitability of CYCA's standard safety equipment. They were also asked to comment "As a result of your experience in this race is there anything you would do before starting, in say, the 1994 race to lessen the possibility of retiring should the same weather and sea conditions be anticipated'’. [5]

In the 1993 Offshore race issue the CYCA had been "predicting a massive fleet of 200 yachts from around the world to mark this nautical milestone in yachting history". (the 50th. anniversary race) The commodores message expanded " I hope that all owners and skippers will back up again at the end of 1994 to make the 50th. Anniversary bash to Hobart one of the largest long ocean race fleets in the history of yachting, we believe a fleet in excess of 200 yachts is highly likely." [6]

As the official Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race records now show there were 371 starters and 309 finishers in 1994. It was not until 1998 that similar weather conditions returned with devastating results. Some of the lessons of 1993 had apparently not been learnt.[7][8][9] has been the occasion for many sailboat capsizes, turtlings and fatalities.[7][10]

Race progress[edit]

The race began with an enticing spinnaker run, once out of the Sydney Heads increasing to about 20 knots (37 km/h) for the first 8 hours until around Port Kembla. There was a south bound current running at about 2 knots (3.7 km/h) off the NSW coast so when the southerly change came through it raised peaky seas and as the effect of the low increased the waves had no backs in them. South westers that had been blowing in Bass strait for several days cancelling the start of the Melbourne to Tasmania yacht races, had lumped up big seas that awaited the Hobart yachts. Through 27 December, the day after the start 29 boats retired, two of them abandoned sinking and a man lost overboard after the webbing of his harness snapped. Many yachts broke off racing to answer flares and three Mayday distress calls, some of the drama of the race included;

John Quinn 49 owner/skipper of the J/35 yacht MEM went overboard without lifejacket, about 11–30 pm when a wave flattened the yacht, and was miraculously rescued by an oil tanker the Ampol Sorrel who heard his crews radio call. In the dark of night in horrific conditions, they steamed to the search area then turned on a Searchlight and found him almost immediately. After being in the water 5 and ½ hrs He was picked up by the yacht Atari who had joined the search after losing her mast, and was nearby. [11]

The crew of Adjuster abandoned her in sinking condition for the life raft which overturned and they spent the last hour clinging to it before rescue by Kingurra. The yacht Clwyd was swamped and eventually overturned when the keel fell off, the crew were rescued by Nynja Go then transferred to the radio relay vessel. The NZ yacht Swuzzlebubble VIII was rolled 360 degrees by a breaking wave, turtled, dismasted and swamped. On deck crew harnessed on were all recovered. The crew then cut the rig off, put out a No 3 headsil as a sea anchor and bailed her out while other yachts stood nearby. They managed to start the engine and motored into Eden. Meanwhile, Prime Factor of Adelaide came off a big wave at speed when the mast and the main bulkhead to which it was fastened pulled straight out of the deck of the boat and disappeared over the side. Two crew members of Advantaged were injured when the yacht capsized, snapping the mast off at the base, four crew were flung overboard but quickly recovered. The navigator was thrown through a bulkhead, head first. On Atara the mast slammed through the port side and it began taking water, but reached Eden where many sought shelter and carried out repairs. Brindabella a new Jutson 75 was retired with delamination at the bow, possibly after hitting a whale. By the end of 28 December 56 yachts had retired, a further 11 by the 30th see list below. At least one of the smallest yachts sheltered in NSW ports during the worst conditions and managed to complete the race within time.

This left Ninety Seven out in front with Cuckoos Nest a 40 footer crossing tacks during the race several times, Ninety seven eventually crossed 2 hours and 1 minute ahead of her rival. The IOR winner was Wild Oats. [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]


Only 38 of the 104 yachts which started in the 1993 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race finished. These yachts are listed below: [17]

Yacht / LOA Nation Skipper Crew Overall, Division, Place
Ninety Seven, 14.3m NSW Andrew Strachan J. de Sevier, P. Hutcheon, M.Green, S. Kulmar, D. Ellis, B. Stephens, R. Jacobs, J. Guluzd, P. Gale, N.Vidal, P. Morgan. 1st, IMS A, 1st.
Micropay Cuckoos Nest, 12.2m NSW Nigel Holman P. West, G. Hyde, H. Treharne, D. Lyons, Andrew MF Miller, others TBA 2nd, IMS C, 1st.
Wild Thing 14.8m Vic. Grant Warrington N. Abbott, S. Gilbert, S. Ruse, J. Graham, D. Evans, M. Mattson, T. Brown, P. Atkins, G. Cropley, N. Williamson, M. Auotti, D. Thorne. 3rd, TPHS A, 3rd.
Sword of Orion, 13.3m Vic. Peter Sajet / Charles Mehrmann J.Collings, P. Dowdney, G. Rose, N. Drennan, S. Holding, J. Pelkovsek, W. Mehrmann, R. Bath, M. Malony, R. Grimes. 4th, IMS A, 2nd.
Bobsled Societe Generale, 20.7m FRA Kerry Spencer Y. Pajot, R. Bird, R. Jones, A. Fox, G. Dews, P. Hermann, D. Evans, R. Galliot, J. Nevd, F. Xavier, F. Postel, E. Cordelle, C. Mody, C. Mathey, E. Croc, L. Cossais, M. Studer. 5th. TPHS A, 5th.
Solbourne Wild Oats, 13.1m NSW Bruce Foye/Roger Hickman/Lance Peckman K.Batt, L. Wilson, D. Richards, A. Crowe, S. White, S. Hunt, C. Knox, P. Goldsworthy, L. Jamison. 6th, IOR A, 1st.
Hartz Mineral Waters, 13.3m NSW Robert Mulkearns M. Spies, A. Roxburgh, J. Ogalvie, D. O'Rooke, M. Chatarnoskvi, T. Clear, J. Hurley, G. Harland, K. Hansford, G. Kohn, J. Gibson, D. Barnhill. 7th, IMS B, 2nd.
Liberator, 11.9m SA Doug Curlewis P. Kane, G. Melody, J. Mooney, T. Alcott, M. Wilson, M. Critchley, R. Tyson, P. Dorien. 8th, IMS C, 2nd.
Mirrabooka, 14.3m Tas. John and Peter Bennetto P. Foster, H. Bain, P Weatherhead, S. Wilson, L. Nibbs, S. Firth, T. Richardson, M. Grainger, G. Linacre. 9th, IMS B, 3rd.
Collex Onyx, 15.6m NSW Alyn Ovenden P. Hewson, R. Gallimar, Others TBA 10th, IMS A, 3rd.
Team Fujitsu NSW Gunns & Zanelli 11th, IOR A, 2nd.
Helsal II, 20.0m SA Keith Flint I. Flint, J. Howell, C. Wall-Smith, J. Champ, T. Cudmore, N. Smiley, T. Deslandes, P. Strangway, R. Knill, B. Magor, L. Doston, N. Butcher, B. Weatherall, N. Fleming, B. Moore, J. Butler. 12th, IOR A, 3rd.
Bacardi, 13.3m Vic. Graham Ainley/ John Williams S. Charles, others TBA 13th, IMS B, 1st.
Bright Morning Star, 15.5m NSW Ian Treharne P. Murray, F. Holmes, N. Easton, C. Henson, G. Bussell, B. Thomas, G. Hartley, D. Mair, R. Tedder, B. Waipole. 14th. TPHS A, 2nd.
Pilgrim, NSW Des Quirk J. Murrant, C. Quirk, R. Lewis, P. Fletcher, S. Kent, others TBA 15th, IMS B, 4th.
Iceberg, 15.9m NSW Graham Gibson J. Forbes, J. Holley, G. Morgan, P. Sainsbury, R. Kellet, M. O'Dea, P. Heinonen, D. Notley, M. Konopka, H. Peper, J. McCulloch, M. Capon. 16th. IMS B, 5th.
Sheraton Hobart, 12.2m Tas. Ian Smith Others TBA 17th. IOR B, 2nd.
Telecom Mobilenet, 12.2m NSW Kerry Goudge J. Torney, C. Caffery, A. Carr, C. Josling, K. Ewels, M. Kotecki, J. Gribble, B. Ryrie, B. Canham, W. O'Neil, A. Sherry, K. Holtz. 18th. IOR B, 4th.
Impeccable, 10.2m NSW John Walker G. Cramp, R. Moore, D. Thomas, P. Beales, J. Nixon, F. Nelson, N. Elliot. 19th. IOR B, 1st.
Marara, 10.3m NSW Bill Ratcliff B. Simpson, P. Taylor, J. Smith, G. Johnston, B. Lee. 20th. IMS D, 1st.
Mark Twain, 11.8m NSW Hugh O'Neil B. Mills, B. Kenyon, C. Maclurcan, S. Gray, others TBA 21st. IMS D, 3rd.
Nynja Go, 11.0m NSW Dennis Pomfret R. Howard, J. Howard, G. Marsden, G. Coolam, R. Hughes, others TBA 22nd. IMS D, 4th.
Witchdoctor, 12.2m NSW Rum Consortium M. Cameron, C. Troup, J. Dodd, P. Reuter, T. Craven, J. Wuhrer, L. Meyer, B. McPherson, P. Franks, S. McBurnie. 23rd. IMS B, 8th.
Courtesan, 11.8m SA Graham Williams A. Love, R. Greig, C. Pearman, C. Williams, M. Dennis, A. Leitch, A. Brinkworth. 24th. IMS B, 7th.
She II, 12.2m NSW T. Seccombe A. Reed, J. Miller, A. Gruzman, T. Hannah, D. Ellis, C. Burges, K. Williams, F. Muirfield, P. Rodgers. 25th. IMS B, 6th.
All That Jazz, 12.0m NSW James Davern D. Williams, V. Dudley, C. Oh, T. Osborne, S. Kelly, L. Tomaszewski. 26th. IMS D, 9th.
Fly By Night, 10.1m Vic. John Drake R. Case, J. Last, C. McLean, C. Martin, A. Leape, G. Higgins. 27th. IOR B, 3rd.
Zeus II, 9.2m NSW Jim Dunstan G. Thornton, P. Kerrigan, R. McConnell, P. Colvin, A. Robertson. 28th. IMS D, 2nd.
Charisma, 13.0m NSW James M Lawler J. V. Lawler, R. Lawler, T. Cosh, P. Robinson, B. Loudon, K. Radford. 29th. TPHS A, 1st.
Utopia, 17.0m QLD John Fletcher M. McLeod, S. Carter, others TBA 30th. TPHS A, 6th.
Take Time, 10.2m NSW Graham Smith Daryl Holmes, Wayne Holmes, Dave Stock, P. Strusnel, John Clarke. 31st. IMS D, 8th.
Scorpio II, 10.4m Vic. Michael Haller, K. Shimmin, L. Higgins, C. Higgins, O. Tuxan, A. Cousens. 32nd. TPHS A, 4th.
The Old Lion, 12.2m SA William Gryst D. Strudwick, M.Woodard, S. Schmidt, P. Knott, T. Goldsworthy, D. Costa, W. Gryst, G. Shorland. 33rd. IMS D, 10th.
Katinka, 9.2m NSW Des O'Connell Paul O'Connell, Peter O'Connell, others TBA 34th. IMS D, 7th.
Tiercel, 9.2m Tas. John Copeland P. Bird, R. Beaumont, others TBA 35th. IMS D, 6th.
Boomaroo Morse Fans, 10.1 QLD John McIntosh G. Alexander, T. Avery, A. McIntosh, others TBA 36th. IMS D, 5th.
Sea-U-Later, 12.1m QLD John Mawer Dave Irvine, John Gray, Richard Ames, Lester James, Ian Lydiard, Mark Irwin, Max Raabe 37th. IOR B, 5th.
Kingurra, 13.1m Vic. Peter Joubert I. Plum, T. Vautin, C. Oldfield, D. Rout, W. Anderson, R. Broomhall, D. Parish, B. Waters, J. Scott. 38th. IMS B, NRR


The following is known of the 66 other yachts (listed in order of retirement date) that started but did not finish:

Yacht name Owner/Charterer Nationality Date of retirement Reason for retirement
Oz Fire J. Wertheimer 27th. rigging damage
Philips Lightning J. Veeneklaas 27th. sail damage
Star Ferry J. Conroy 27th. dismasted
Clwyd J. Hyslop 27th. abandoned and sank
Surefoot D. Millikan 27th. mast problems
Morning Mist III A. Neate 27th. damaged mast
Cassiopeia C. Burnett USA 27th. gear damage
Kings Cross - Sydney R. Stone 27th. cracked mast
Dictator R. Fidock 27th. mast damage
Devil Woman I. Griffiths 27th. structural damage
Second Term K. Court 27th. no reason known
Amazon P. Walker 27th. torn sails
Salamanca Inn J. Fuglsang 28th. hull damage
Swuzzlebubble VIII I. Gibbs NZ 28th. dismasted
Hammer of Queensland A. Bloore 28th. dismasted
Atara J. Storey IRE 28th. dismasted
Fast Forward P. Meikle 28th. rudder damage
Innkeeper Petaluma Wines A. Short 28th. damaged headfoil
Toxic Waste H. Hertzberg 28th. no reason known
Adantedge R. Egerton 28th. no reason known
Assassin R. Crawford 28th. torn sails
Amacon Raw Talent J. Simpson 28th. no reason known
Flying Colours J. Lake 28th. no reason given
Georgia Express J. Farmer 28th. no reason known
Cadibarra 7 N. Jones 28th. no reason known
Once More Dear Friends J. & M. Stephen 28th. no reason known
Mem John Quinn 28th. man overboard
She's Apples II David Strong 28th. hull damage
Rager P. Bush 28th. no reason known
Telecom Flexi Plans P. Hansen 28th. no reason given
Transocean Rookie III B. Woods NZ 28th. rigging damage
Alona T. Woodward 28th. no reason known
Cougar J. McCarthy 28th. no reason known
Sir Thomas Sopwith Ocean Youth Club of Australia 28th. hull damage
Maglieri Wines Prime Factor G. Vercoe 28th. hull damage
Lindemans Ultimate Challenge Lou Abrahams 28th. hull damage
Adjuster L. Emerson 28th. sank after being abandoned
Hall Chadwick Nuzulu Psaltis, Ward & Bencsik 28th. rig failure
Silhouette G. Hogarth 28th. hull damage
Freight Train Damien Parkes 28th. minor problems
Ragamuffin Syd Fischer 28th. sail damage
Alexander of Cresswell Dept of Defence (Navy) 28th. mast damage
The Regency Heights Gambler I. Kenny 28th. no reason known
Savage B. Eddington 28th. no reason known
JLW Chutzpah B. Taylor 28th. dismasted
Double or Nothing J. Bush 28th. structural damage
CUB Sangaree G. Creese 28th. broken forestay
Elusive G. Lavis 28th. rigging problem
Maxi Ragamuffin A. Starling 28th. damaged mast
Never a Dull Moment Colin Wilson 28th. no reason known
Antira V Sir G. Barwick 28th. torn sails
Apollo II J. Duffin 28th. torn sails
Raptor A. Eichenauer 28th. mast damage
Rising Sun N. Sneddon 28th. hull damage
Shenandoah III J. Charody 28th. no reason known
Kingurra Peter Joubert 28th. cracked mast
Brindabella George Snow 29th. bow damage
Easy Touch R. Green & P. Newman 29th. no reason known
The Alice Alice Springs Yacht Club 29th. no reason known
Herman Miller Peter Stronach 29th. no reason known
Icarus A. Ridley 29th. dismasted
Myuna T. Stokoe 29th. no reason given
Magic B. Rawson 29th. no reason known
Rapaz A. Petit 29th. no reason known
Adria G. Gjergja 29th. mast damage
Wang J. Saul 30th. keel problems
City Limits M. Carr 30th. no reason known


Line Honours LH (Elapsed) Time
Handicap Winner HW (Elapsed) Time
Australia Ninety Seven 4:00:54:11 Australia Micropay Cuckoos Nest 4:02:54:59

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Editorial (December 1993), "A Boxing Day Tradition", Offshore Yachting Magazine Official Race Issue, pp. 12–13
  2. ^ Lyons, David (April – May 1994), "Some safety aspects of Ocean Racing Yacht Designs, a Personal View", Offshore Yachting Magazine, pp. 15–16
  3. ^ Gray, John (April – May 1994), "Hell Low to Hobart", Offshore Yachting Magazine, pp. 17–18
  4. ^ Stockdale, David (3 January 1994), "Better Late than Never Sea-U-later", The Mercury, p. 40
  5. ^ Campbell, Peter (April – May 1994), "CYCA Looks at High Retirement Rate", Offshore Yachting Magazine, p. 11
  6. ^ Minehan, L P (December 1993), "Commodores message", Offshore Yachting Magazine official race issue, p. 15
  7. ^ a b Rousmaniere, John (January 2000). "Revisiting Lessons from the Fastnet". SailNet.com. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  8. ^ Rousmaniere, John (17 April 2000). Fastnet, Force 10: The Deadliest Storm in the History of Modern Sailing (Paperback). New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 304. ISBN 0393308650. ISBN 978-0393308655
  9. ^ "Fastnet 79: The Disaster that Changed Sailing (Eye witness accounts)". Yachting World. Archived from the original on 23 December 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  10. ^ Forbes, Sir Hugh; Laing, Sir Maurice; Myatt, Lt. Col. James (1979). "1979 Fastnet Race Inquiry" (PDF). Blur.se, Royal Yachting Association, Royal Ocean Racing Club. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  11. ^ Henderson, Craig (29 December 1993), "Miracle Man", The Mercury, p. 1
  12. ^ Ross, Bob (February 1994), "A Low Blow", Australian Sailing, pp. 28–35
  13. ^ Campbell, Peter (28 December 1993), "Tassie boat goes belly up", The Mercury, p. 48
  14. ^ Haines, Catherine (29 December 1993), "Mayday, its hell on the high seas", The Mercury, p. 54
  15. ^ Jones, Allun (30 December 1993), "The Graveyard of Eden, 1993", The Mercury, pp. 42, 43, 44
  16. ^ Liftout, Supplement (1 January 1994), "Roughie Wins a Roughie", The Mercury, pp. 29–52
  17. ^ Editorial (December 1993), "Who's Heading for Hobart", Offshore Yachting Magazine, pp. 34–44