1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
54th Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
|Date||26 December 1998 – 3 January 1999|
|Number of Yachts||115|
The 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race was the 54th annual running of the "blue water classic" Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. It was hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia based in Sydney, New South Wales. It was the most disastrous in the race's history, with the loss of six lives and five yachts. 55 sailors were rescued in the largest peacetime search and rescue effort ever seen in Australia.
The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is an annual event hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, New South Wales on Boxing Day then heading south through the Tasman Sea, past Bass Strait, into Storm Bay and up the Derwent River, to cross the finish line in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km).
The 1998 race, like every other edition, began on Sydney Harbour, at noon on Boxing Day (26 December 1998), with 115 starters heading south. The yachts ranged in size from the 24.1 metres (79 ft) Sayonara to the 10.1 metres (33 ft) Berrimilla. A favourable current running south at 4 knots with strengthening north to north-easterly winds of generally 25-35 knots prevailing off the NSW southern coast allowed a record-breaking dash south down the Australian East Coast. By early morning on 27 December, the lead yachts entered Bass Strait and began to encounter winds in excess of 40 knots. Of the 115 boats which started, 71 retired and 44 yachts completed the race.
Storm and rescue
On the second day of the race (27 December) severe weather conditions struck the fleet off the coast of south-eastern Australia. An unusually intense low pressure depression developed which resulted in unseasonal mid-summer snow across parts of south-eastern Australia. The weather system built into an exceptionally strong storm with winds in excess of 65 knots (+32.8 m/s, +118 km/h, +73 mph, Force 12) and gusts to 80 knots. The rising storm caused the sinking of five boats; seven were abandoned and 55 sailors had to be rescued from their yachts by ships and helicopters. Overall, the rescue efforts involved 35 military and civilian aircraft and 27 Royal Australian Navy vessels. It proved to be Australia's largest-ever peacetime rescue operation.
The six sailors who died were: Phillip Charles Skeggs (Business Post Naiad, drowned, 27 December 1998); Bruce Raymond Guy (Business Post Naiad, heart attack, 27 December 1998); John Dean, James Lawler and Michael Bannister (Winston Churchill, all drowned, 28 December 1998); and Glyn Charles (Sword of Orion, drowned, 27 December 1998).
On 1 June 1999 the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia released the Report, Findings and Recommendations of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race Review Committee. The report listed a multitude of recommendations and resulted in changes both for future Sydney to Hobart races and yachting events worldwide.
The results of the inquest were released on 12 December 2000, NSW coroner John Abernethy finding that the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia had "abdicated its responsibility to manage the race". He wrote: "From what I have read and heard, it is clear to me that during this crucial time the race management team played the role of observers rather than managers and that was simply not good enough." But he acknowledged the club's actions to upgrade safety precautions and sailor qualifications.
Abernethy also criticised the Bureau for making insufficient efforts to inform race officials of a dramatically upgraded weather forecast about the severe storm developing south of Eden, when it was common public knowledge the race was scheduled to begin. As a remedial measure, he required the Bureau to add maximum wind gust speed and wave height to its forecasts.
The day after the coroner's findings, the club's race director, Phil Thompson, resigned his position. According to the coroner's report, "Mr Thompson's inability to appreciate the problems when they arose and his inability to appreciate them at the time of giving his evidence causes me concern that (he) may not appreciate such problems as they arise in the future."
|Yacht Name||Nation||Owner / Skipper||Yacht Design||Launch Year||Result / Details|
|ABN AMRO Challenge||Ray Roberts||Iain Murray IMS Racer||1997||RETIRED (lost rudder, towed to Batemans Bay)|
|Adiago||Peter Williams||S&S 36||1989||RETIRED (Bermagui)|
|Aera||Nick Lykiardopulo||Swan 46||1985||FINISHED (12 across the line, 1st CHS division)|
|AFR Midnight Rambler||Edward Psaltis / Bob Thomas||Hick 35||1994||FINISHED 10th across the line, 1st IMS & Division D|
|Alexander of Creswell||Royal Australian Navy / W. Hellwig||Swarbrick 111||1984||RETIRED|
|Allusive||John Smith||Lyons 48||1998||RETIRED (Eden - problems with retractable keel)|
|Antipodes Sydney||Geoff Hill||Taswell 56||1991|
|Antuka||Raymond Semmens||Adams 13||1983|
|Aspect Computing||D. Pescud||Radford 54||1989|
|Assassin||R. Crawford||Farr 40||1992|
|Atara||H. Cudmore / J. Storey||Lyons 43||1994||FINISHED 12th across the line, 4th IMS Division B|
|Aurora||Jim Holly||Farr 40|
|Ausmaid||G. Gjergja||Farr 47||1994||FINISHED, 3rd over the line, 2nd IMS|
|Avanti||Chris Mooney / John Mooney||First 38||1986|
|B52||Wayne Miller||Bashford Howison 41||1995||RETIRED (rolled, lost mast, structural damage, motored to Eden) |
|Bacardi||P. Cole||Peterson 44||1978|
|Berrimilla||Alex Whitworth||Brolga 33||1977||FINISHED 31st across the line, 1st PHS|
|Bin Rouge||D Hodgkinson / Christopher Bowling||Farr 31||1993||RETIRED (Eden)|
|Bobsled||P. White / G. Bush / N. Feros||Steinman|
|Boomaroo Morse Fans||J. McIntosh||S&S 34||1971|
|Breakaway||K. McDonald||Swanson 36|
|Bright Morning Star||Hugh Treharne / I. Treharne||Peterson 51||1985|
|Brindabella||George Snow||Jutson 80||1994|
|Business Post Naiad||Bruce Guy†||Farr 40||1984||RETIRED (rolled twice, broke mast, structural damage, Abandoned) |
|Canon Maris||Ian Kiernan||Tasman Seabird||1958|
|Challenge Again||Bashford 41||1995||FINISHED 24th across the line|
|Computerland||Inglis 47||1989||FINISHED 15th across the line|
|Cyclone||Germán Frers||1989||RETIRED (Eden)|
|Dixie Chicken||Elliot 36||1993|
|Doctel Rager||Elliott 56||1987|
|Elysion Blue||Yvon Berrehar||Swan 68||1996|
|Forzado||Geoff Phillips||Farr 1020|
|Foxtel Titan Ford||Farr 50||1992|
|Gundy Grey||Robert Green||Adams 40||1986||RETIRED|
|Helsal II||Keith Flint||Joe Adams Pocket Maxi||1979|
|Henry Kendall Akubra||Farr 1220||1990|
|Hi Flyer||First 40.7||1993|
|Hogsbreath Witchdoctor||Davidson 42||1979|
|Indian Pacific||Davidson 36||1986|
|Industrial Quest||Nelson Marek 43||1995|
|Inner Circle||Farr 40 IOR|
|Jack Guy||Northshore 38||1984|
|King Billy||King 38||1992|
|Kingurra||Peter Joubert||Peter Joubert - one off||1972||RETIRED (knock-down past 120 degrees, sailed to Eden) |
|Komatsu Blue Lady||Challenger 39||1989|
|Lady Penrhyn||Royal Australian Navy||Swarbrick 111||1984||RETIRED|
|Liquid Asset||Duncanson 34||1996|
|Loki||Swan 48||1997||RETIRED (knock-down beyond 120 degrees, cabin window broken, deployed sea anchor, sailed to Narooma) |
|Maglieri Wines||Jutson 43||1994|
|Margaret Rintoul II||S&S 48||1968||FINISHED, 17th across the line|
|Mark Twain||S&S 39||1971|
|Mercedes IV||Kaufman 41||1973|
|Midnight Special||Peter Baynes||Tartan / Jarkan 40||1995||RETIRED (rolled, lost mast, abandoned, sunk)|
|Miintinta||Brian Emerson||Swanson 42||1975||RETIRED (sunk, hull damage)|
|Misty||Brian Clague||S&S 34||1975||FINISHED last boat in fleet of 44, Won Division F - only yacht to finish|
|Morning Tide||A Fenwick / J Davern||S&S 34||1974|
|Nattel Adrenalin||David Bennett||Peterson 38|
|New Horizons||Cavalier 37||1985|
|Ninety Seven||Farr 47||1993|
|Nokia||Farr 75 / VO 60|
|Not Negotiable||Michael Dolphin||UFO 34||1985||Retired (Eden)|
|Ocean Designs||S. Bean||Bashford / Howison 41||1995||Retired (Eden)|
|Outlaw||Alan Quick||Sayer 44||1986||Retired (Bermagui)|
|Pippin||Farr 37||1984||RETIRED (knock-down beyond 110 degrees, window popped out, sailed to Eden)|
|Quest||Nelson / Marek 46||1997|
|Rapscallion Team Syntegra||Dick Voorderhake||Lyons 40||1993|
|Red Jacket||Radford 12.2||1995|
|Relish IV||Elan 43||1989|
|Renegade||Ron Holland 40||1981||RETIRED (rolled, sailed to Eden)|
|Ruff 'N Tumble||Cole 43||1983|
|Sayonara||Larry Ellison||ILC Maxi||1995|
|Sea Jay||Sydney 41||1996|
|Secret Men's Business||Murray 42||1996|
|(Sharp) Hawk 5||Nigel Bramwell||Sydney 40||1998||RETIRED|
|She II||Olsen 40|
|She's Apples Two||Jarkan 12.5||1991|
|Siena||Northshore 38||1983||RETIRED (Bermaguri - crew injured)|
|Solo Globe Challenger||Cole 43||1984||RETIRED (rolled to 135 degrees, lost mast, flooded) |
|Southerly||Don Mickelborough||Peel 35||1939||Retired (Eden) Oldest yacht in the fleet|
|Spirit of Downunder||Cameron / de Lange 12m||1997|
|Sword of Orion||Reichel-Pugh 44||1993||RETIRED (Rolled, structual damage, abandoned, sunk) |
|T42 Solandra||Craig Vescott||S&S 34||1982||Retired (Eden)|
|Tartan||Mark Ballard||Northshore 38||1984||Retired (Eden)|
|Team Jaguar Infinity||Farr 65||1989||RETIRED (dismasted, structual damage, towed to Eden)|
|Tenacious||Defiance / S&S 30||1979|
|Terra Firma||Murray 41||1995|
|Tilting at Windmills||Peter Joubert / John Dory||1994|
|Trust Bank Hummingbird||Farr 37||1985||RETIRED (Eden)|
|Unipro Ocean Road||K. Simpson||Adams 45||1988|
|Vagrant||Arch Waters||Magpie 34||1988|
|Valheru||Anthony Lyall||Elliott 50||1994||FINISHED, 18th over the line, 3rd IMS Division C|
|VC Offshore Stand Aside||James Hallion||Young 12m||1990||RETIRED (rolled, lost mast & coach roof, abandoned, sunk) |
|Veto||Max Crisp, Mike Crisp, Graham Brown||Robert Salthouse||1979||Retired, returned to Sydney.|
|Waitangi II||Jarkan 10||1989|
|Wide Load||Swarbrick 40||1993|
|Wild One||Co-owner Barry Main||Inglis 47||PHS All 16th, Div A 10th, line honours 35th|
|Wild Thing||Ian Murray 70 Maxi||1998|
|Winston Churchill||Richard Winning||Cloverdale 51||1942||Retired (structural damage, sunk) |
|Zeus II||Joubert / Currawong 30||1979|
Line Honours results (Top 10)
|Position||Sail Number||Yacht||State/Country||Yacht Type||LOA
|Skipper||Elapsed Time |
|1||US17||Sayonara||USA||Farr ILC Maxi||24.13||Larry Ellison||2:19:03:32|
|2||C1||Brindabella||NSW||Jutson 79||24.07||George Snow||2:21:55:06|
|3||YC1000||Ausmaid||SA||Farr 47||14.24||Kevan Pearce||3:06:02:29|
|4||AUS70||Ragamuffin||NSW||Farr 50||15.15||Syd Fischer||3:06:11:29|
|5||COK1||Nokia||CI||Farr Ketch Maxi||25.20||David Witt||3:09:19:00|
|6||SM1||Fudge||VIC||Elliot 56||17.07||Peter Hansen||3:11:00:26|
|7||6606||Quest||NSW||Nelson Marek 46||14.12||Bob Steel||3:14:41:28|
|8||9090||Industrial Quest||QLD||Nelson Marek 43||13.11||Kevin Miller||3:14:58:46|
|9||4826||Aspect Computing||NSW||Radford 16.5 Sloop||16.50||David Pescud||3:15:28:24|
|10||8338||AFR Midnight Rambler||NSW||Hick 35||10.66||Ed Psaltis
Handicap results (IMS Top 10)
|Position||Sail Number||Yacht||State/Country||Yacht Type||LOA
|Skipper||Corrected Time |
|1||8338||AFR Midnight Rambler||NSW||Hick 35||10.66||Ed Psaltis
|2||YC1000||Ausmaid||SA||Farr 47||14.24||Kevan Pearce||2:14:41:54|
|3||AUS70||Ragamuffin||NSW||Farr 50||15.15||Syd Fischer||2:16:18:17|
|4||9090||Industrial Quest||QLD||Nelson Marek 43||13.11||Kevin Miller||2:18:31:49|
|5||US17||Sayonara||USA||Farr ILC Maxi||24.13||Larry Ellison||2:19:03:32|
|6||IRL8000||Atara||NSW||Lyons 43||13.00||Roger Hickman||2:19:32:48|
|7||6606||Quest||NSW||Nelson Marek 46||14.12||Bob Steel||2:20:19:17|
|8||2170||Margaret Rintoul II||NSW||Sparkman & Stephens 48||14.63||Richard Purcell||2:20:40:54|
|9||C1||Brindabella||NSW||Jutson 79||24.07||George Snow||2:21:05:36|
|10||SM377||Bacardi||VIC||Peterson 44||13.41||Graeme Ainley
- This race is the subject of Rob Mundle's best-selling 1999 book Fatal Storm: The 54th Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. ISBN 9780071356985
- 1979 Fastnet race A Yacht race severely affected by a rapidly deepening extratropical cyclone, near Ireland.
- UFO 34 (yacht)
- "1998 Race and Weather". Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- Mundle, Rob (2008). Fatal Storm: the 54th Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Harper Collins. p. xv. ISBN 9780732288341. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
- "Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race". About. Archived from the original on 12 July 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
- "Tough legacy of a Sydney classic". BBC News. 29 December 2001. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
- Bruce, Peter (2016). Heavy Weather Sailing (7th ed.). Bloomsbury. pp. 35–37. ISBN 9781472928207. Retrieved 21 June 2017.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Knecht, Bruce (2001). The Proving Ground. Fourth Estate (London). p. 97. ISBN 1-84115-265-X. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
- Mundle 2008, p. 99.
- Lawrence, Mark. "Crew "Not Negotiable" (Helmsman)". Equipped To Survive: NSW State Coroner's inquest - 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - Volume 9 - Yachts without Incidents. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
- Mundle 2008, p. 116.
- Knecht 2001, p. 266.
- Abernathy, John (2000). "Coroner's Findings NSW State Coroner's Inquest 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race" (PDF): 16–17. Retrieved 26 July 2017. Cite journal requires
- Mundle 2008, p. 343.
- Mundle 2008, pp. 343-346.
- Mundle 2008, pp. 346-349.
- 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - The Tragedy of Deaths at Sea
- Abernethy 2000, p. 118. sfn error: no target: CITEREFAbernethy2000 (help)
- Abernethy 2000, p. 10. sfn error: no target: CITEREFAbernethy2000 (help)
- Abernethy 2000, pp. 124-125. sfn error: no target: CITEREFAbernethy2000 (help)
- Abernethy 2000, p. 296. sfn error: no target: CITEREFAbernethy2000 (help)
- Abernethy 2000, p. 139. sfn error: no target: CITEREFAbernethy2000 (help)
- "The Yachts: 1998". Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
- "NSW State Coroner's Inquest - 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race". Equipped To Survive. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
- "Who's Heading for Hobart?" (PDF). Offshore - The Magazine of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia: 53 to 68. December 1998. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
- "1998 Telstra Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race - List of Entries" (PDF). Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
- "Incident Debrief Report - Rescue of ABN Amro Challenge" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
- "Interview with Owner" (PDF). Equiped. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
- "Interview with crew of B-52" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
- Bruce 2016, p. 34.
- "Ben Rouge" (PDF). Retrieved 17 January 2021.
- "Interview with Peter Joubert - Owner & Designer of Kingurra" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
- Bruce 2016, p. 37.
- "Interview with crew of Loki" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
- "Statement by Part Owner "Midnight Special"" (PDF). Retrieved 14 January 2021.
- "Interview with Owner of Miintinta" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
- "Interview with crew of Pippin" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
- "Interview with crew of Crew Team Jaguar" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
- "Interview with Owner of VC Offshore Stand Aside" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
- "Results - 1998 Race - Line honours". Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
- "Results - 1998 Race - IMS All". Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
- ABERNETHY, John (12 December 2000). "NSW State Coroner's Inquest 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race". Equipped to Survive.
- Kennedy, Alan (3 April 2004). "Race storm ends for maligned skipper". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Lamont, Leonie (12 October 2005). "Families vindicated as yacht club settles race case". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Turner, Chris (10 March 2000). "Report To The Coroner: 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race Yachting Harnesses and Lines" (PDF). WorkCover New South Wales.
- van Kretschmar, Hugo (May 1999). "Report of the 1998 Sydney Hobard Race Review Committee (Cover to page 86)" (PDF). Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.