1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race logo.jpg
54th Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Date 26 December 1998 – 3 January 1999
Defender Brindabella
Number of Yachts 115
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 Sayonara

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.[1] 55 sailors were rescued in the largest peacetime search and rescue effort ever seen in Australia.[2]


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).[3]

The race is run in co-operation with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, and is widely considered to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world.[4]

1998 Race[edit]

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.[5] 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.[1] By early morning on 27 December, the lead yachts entered Bass Strait and began to encounter winds in excess of 40 knots.[6] Of the 115 boats which started, 71 retired and 44 yachts completed the race.[1]

Storm and rescue[edit]

On the second day of the race (27 December)[7] 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)[8] and gusts to 80 knots.[9] 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.[10] 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.[2]


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).[11]


CYCA report[edit]

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.[12] The report listed a multitude of recommendations[13] and resulted in changes both for future Sydney to Hobart races and yachting events worldwide.[14]

Coroner's inquest[edit]

A coroner's inquest into the deaths was critical of both the race management at the time and the Bureau of Meteorology.[15]

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."[16] But he acknowledged the club's actions to upgrade safety precautions and sailor qualifications.[17]

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.[18] As a remedial measure, he required the Bureau to add maximum wind gust speed and wave height to its forecasts.[19]

The day after the coroner's findings, the club's race director, Phil Thompson, resigned his position.[15] 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."[20]

1998 fleet[edit]

115 yachts registered to begin the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht race. They were:[21][22][23][24][25]

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)[26]
Adiago Peter Williams S&S 36 1989 RETIRED Bermagui, prudent seamanship
Aera United Kingdom Nick Lykiardopulo Swan 46 1985 FINISHED 12 across the line, 1st CHS
AFR Midnight Rambler Australia Edward Psaltis / Bob Thomas Hick 35 1994 FINISHED 10th across the line, 1st overall IMS & Division D
Alexander of Creswell Australia Royal Australian Navy / W. Hellwig Swarbrick 111 1984 RETIRED sail damage[25]
Allusive John Smith Lyons 48 1998 FINISHED 43rd across the line, problems with retractable keel[27]
Antipodes Sydney Australia Geoff Hill Taswell 56 1991 RETIRED Eden, prudent seamanship
Antuka Raymond Semmens Adams 13 1983 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Aspect Computing D. Pescud Radford 54 1989 FINISHED 9th across the line, 1st PMS Div A
Assassin R. Crawford Farr 40 1992 RETIRED, prudent seamanship
Atara H. Cudmore / J. Storey Lyons 43 1994 FINISHED 12th across the line, 4th IMS Division B
Aurora Jim Holly Farr 40 FINISHED 25th across the line, 2nd IMS Div C
Ausmaid G. Gjergja Farr 47 1994 FINISHED 3rd over the line, 1st IMS Div B
Avanti Chris Mooney / John Mooney First 38 1986 FINISHED 27th across the line, 2nd PHS Div A
B52 Wayne Miller Bashford Howison 41 1995 RETIRED (rolled, lost mast, structural damage, motored to Eden)[28][29]
Bacardi P. Cole Peterson 44 1978 FINISHED 19th across the line, 2nd IMS Div E
Berrimilla Alex Whitworth Brolga 33 1977 FINISHED 31st across the line, 1st PHS & Div B
Bin Rouge New Zealand D Hodgkinson / Christopher Bowling Farr 31 1993 RETIRED (Eden, prudent seamanship)[30]
Bobsled P. White / G. Bush / N. Feros Steinman RETIRED sail damage[25]
Boomaroo Morse Fans J. McIntosh S&S 34 1971 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Breakaway K. McDonald Swanson 36 FINISHED 40th across the line, 2nd IMS Div D
Bright Morning Star Hugh Treharne / I. Treharne Peterson 51 1985 RETIRED crew injuries[25]
Brindabella Australia George Snow Jutson 80 1994 FINISHED 2nd across the line, 2nd IMS Div A
Business Post Naiad Australia Bruce Guy† Farr 40 1984 RETIRED (rolled twice, broke mast, major structural damage, two crew died, Abandoned)[29][31]
Canon Maris Australia Ian Kiernan Tasman Seabird 1958 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Challenge Again Bashford 41 1995 FINISHED 24th across the line
Chutzpah Sydney 38 1998 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Computerland Inglis 47 1989 FINISHED 15th across the line
Cyclone Germán Frers 1989 RETIRED Eden, hull damage[25]
Dixie Chicken Elliot 36 1993 RETIRED stood by Outlaw lost too much time to continue[25]
Doctel Rager Elliott 56 1987 FINISHED 13th across the line
Elysion Blue Italy Yvon Berrehar Swan 68 1996 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Forzado Geoff Phillips Farr 1020 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Foxtel Titan Ford Farr 50 1992 FINISHED 14th across the line, 3rd CHS
Fudge Elliot 56 1989 FINISHED 6th across the line, 3rd PHS Div A
Gundy Grey Robert Green Adams 40 1986 RETIRED lost liferaft[25]
Helsal II Australia Keith Flint Joe Adams Pocket Maxi 1979 FINISHED 16th across the line
Henry Kendall Akubra Farr 1220 1990 FINISHED 39th across the line
Hi Flyer Papua New Guinea First 40.7 1993 RETIRED
Hogsbreath Witchdoctor Davidson 42 1979 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Impeccable Doug Peterson 1980 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Indian Pacific Davidson 36 1986 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Industrial Quest Nelson Marek 43 1995 FINISHED 8th across the line, 3rd IMS Div B
Inner Circle Farr 40 IOR RETIRED prudent seamanship
Innkeeper Steinman 66 1987 RETIRED equipment failure (engine)[25]
Jack Guy Northshore 38 1984 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Jubilation Farr 11.6 1989 FINISHED 34th across the line, 3rd PHS Div B
Kendell Dubois 38 FINISHED 32nd across the line
Kickatinalong Adams 13 1980 RETIRED prudent seamanship
King Billy King 38 1992 RETIRED taking water[25]
Kingurra Peter Joubert Peter Joubert - one off 1972 RETIRED (knock-down past 120 degrees, MOB, crew injury, sailed to Eden)[32][33][25]
Komatsu Blue Lady Challenger 39 1989 FINISHED 38th across the line
Lady Penrhyn Royal Australian Navy Swarbrick 111 1984 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Liquid Asset Duncanson 34 1996 FINISHED 42nd across the line
Loki Swan 48 1997 RETIRED (knock-down beyond 120 degrees, cabin window broken, deployed sea anchor, sailed to Narooma)[29][34]
Maglieri Wines Jutson 43 1994 RETIRED rig damage[25]
Marchioness Lavranos Maxi 1992 RETIRED rig damage[25]
Margaret Rintoul II S&S 48 1968 FINISHED 17th across the line, 1st IMS Div E
Mark Twain S&S 39 1971 FINISHED 33rd across the line
Mercedes IV Kaufman 41 1973 FINISHED 23rd across the line, 3rd IMS Div E
Midnight Special Peter Baynes Tartan / Jarkan 40 1995 RETIRED (rolled, lost mast, major structural damage, abandoned, sunk)[35][33][36]
Miintinta Brian Emerson Swanson 42 1975 RETIRED (hull damage, abandoned, sunk)[37]
Mirrabooka Frers 46 1987 FINISHED 21st across the line
Misty Australia Brian Clague S&S 34 1975 FINISHED last boat in fleet of 44, 1st IMS Division F
Morning Tide A Fenwick / J Davern S&S 34 1974 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Nattel Adrenalin David Bennett Peterson 38 RETIRED prudent seamanship
New Horizons Cavalier 37 1985 RETIRED equipment failure & rig damage[25]
Ninety Seven Farr 47 1993 RETIRED sail damage[25]
Nokia Farr 75 / VO 60 FINISHED 5th across the line
Not Negotiable Australia Michael Dolphin UFO 34 1985 Retired Eden, prudent seamanship
Nouméa New Caledonia Young 11 FINISHED 37th across the line, 3rd IMS Div D
Ocean Designs Australia S. Bean Bashford / Howison 41 1995 Retired Eden, prudent seamanship
Outlaw Australia Alan Quick Sayer 44 1986 Retired Bermagui, structural damage, forward frames[25]
Pippin Farr 37 1984 RETIRED (knock-down beyond 110 degrees, window popped out, sailed to Eden)[38]
Polaris Cole 43 1970 FINISHED 30th across the line
Quest Nelson / Marek 46 1997 FINISHED 7th across the line
Ragamuffin Farr 50 1995 FINISHED 4th across the line, 2nd IMS Div B
Rapscallion Team Syntegra Australia Dick Voorderhake Lyons 40 1993 FINISHED 28th across the linr
Red Jacket Radford 12.2 1995 RETIRED rig damage[25]
Relish IV Elan 43 1989 RETIRED crew injury[25]
Renegade Ron Holland 40 1981 RETIRED (rolled, sailed to Eden)
Ruff 'N Tumble Cole 43 1983 RETIRED equipment failure[25]
Sagacious Farr 40 1987 RETIRED equipment failure[25]
Sayonara United States Larry Ellison ILC Maxi 1995 FINISHED 1st across the line, 1st IMS Div A
Sea Jay Sydney 41 1996 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Secret Men's Business Murray 42 1996 RETIRED Eden, prudent seamanship
(Sharp) Hawk 5 United Kingdom Nigel Bramwell Sydney 40 1998 RETIRED crew injuries[25]
She II Olsen 40 RETIRED equipment failure (steering chain)[25]
She's Apples Two Jarkan 12.5 1991 FINISHED 29th across the line
Siena Northshore 38 1983 RETIRED Bermaguri, rendered assistance to VCOS, crew injured[25]
Sledghammer Sydney 40 1998 RETIRED equipment failure (steering chain)[25]
Solo Globe Challenger Cole 43 1984 RETIRED (rolled to 135 degrees, lost mast, flooded)[29]
Southerly Don Mickelborough Peel 35 1939 Retired Eden, prudent seamanship, Oldest yacht in the fleet
Spirit of Downunder Cameron / de Lange 12m 1997 FINISHED 22nd across the line
Sword of Orion Australia Rob Kothe Reichel-Pugh 44 1993 RETIRED (Rolled, MOB (died), crew injured, major structural damage, abandoned, sunk)[29][39]
Sydney Sydney 60 1996 RETIRED rudder damage[25]
T42 Solandra Australia Craig Vescott S&S 34 1982 Retired Eden lost mast[25]
Tartan Australia Mark Ballard Northshore 38 1984 Retired Eden, prudent seamanship
Team Jaguar Infinity Farr 65 1989 RETIRED (dismasted, structural damage, towed to Eden)[40]
Tenacious Defiance / S&S 30 1979 RETIRED equipment failure (engine)[25]
Terra Firma Murray 41 1995 RETIRED prudent seamanship
Tilting at Windmills Peter Joubert / John Dory 1994 FINISHED 26th across the line, 2nd CHS
Trust Bank Hummingbird Farr 37 1985 RETIRED Eden, prudent seamanship
Unipro Ocean Road Australia K. Simpson Adams 45 1988 FINISHED 41st across the line
Vagrant Arch Waters Magpie 34 1988 RETIRED crew injury[25]
Valheru Australia Anthony Lyall Elliott 50 1994 FINISHED 18th over the line, 3rd IMS Division C
VC Offshore Stand Aside Australia James Hallion Young 12m 1990 RETIRED (rolled, lost mast, windows & coach roof, MOBs, crew injured, abandoned, sunk)[41][29][42]
Veto Australia Max Crisp, Mike Crisp, Graham Brown Robert Salthouse 1979 Retired, returned to Sydney, equipment failure & rig damage[25]
Waitangi II Jarkan 10 1989 FINISHED 35th across the line, 2nd PHS Div B
Wide Load Swarbrick 40 1993 RETIRED equipment failure (radio)
Wild One Australia Co-owner Barry Main Inglis 47 FINISHED 36th across the line, PHS All 16th, Div A 10th
Wild Thing Australia Ian Murray 70 Maxi 1998 RETIRED rig damage
Winston Churchill Australia Richard Winning Cloverdale 51 1942 Retired (knocked down beyond 90 degrees, major structural damage, abandoned, sunk)[29][43] (3 crew later lost from liferaft & died)[44]
Yendys Beneteau 53f5 1991 FINISHED 11th across the line, 1st IMS Div C
Zeus II Joubert / Currawong 30 1979 RETIRED lost mast[25]


Line Honours results (Top 10)[edit]

Position Sail Number Yacht State/Country Yacht Type LOA
Skipper Elapsed Time
1 US17 Sayonara USA Farr ILC Maxi 23.80 Larry Ellison 2:19:03:32
2 C1 Brindabella NSW Jutson 75 22.85 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
Bob Thomas


Handicap results (IMS Top 10)[edit]

Position Sail Number Yacht State/Country Yacht Type LOA
Skipper Corrected Time
1 8338 AFR Midnight Rambler NSW Hick 35 10.66 Ed Psaltis
Bob Thomas
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 23.80 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
John Williams


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "1998 Race and Weather". Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b Mundle 2008, p. xv
  3. ^ "Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race". About. Archived from the original on 12 July 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Tough legacy of a Sydney classic". BBC News. 29 December 2001. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  5. ^ Bruce, Peter (2016). Heavy Weather Sailing (7th ed.). Bloomsbury. pp. 35–37. ISBN 9781472928207. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  6. ^ Knecht, Bruce (2001). The Proving Ground. Fourth Estate (London). p. 97. ISBN 1-84115-265-X. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  7. ^ Mundle 2008, p. 99.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Mundle 2008, p. 116.
  10. ^ Knecht 2001, p. 266.
  11. ^ Abernethy 2000, pp. 16–17
  12. ^ Mundle 2008, p. 343.
  13. ^ Mundle 2008, pp. 343–346.
  14. ^ Mundle 2008, pp. 346–349.
  15. ^ a b 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - The Tragedy of Deaths at Sea
  16. ^ Abernethy 2000, p. 118.
  17. ^ Abernethy 2000, p. 10.
  18. ^ Abernethy 2000, pp. 124–125.
  19. ^ Abernethy 2000, p. 296.
  20. ^ Abernethy 2000, p. 139.
  21. ^ "The Yachts: 1998". Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  22. ^ "NSW State Coroner's Inquest - 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race". Equipped To Survive. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ "1998 Telstra Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race - List of Entries" (PDF). Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac van Kretschmar 1999, pp. 108–110
  26. ^ "Incident Debrief Report - Rescue of ABN Amro Challenge" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  27. ^ "Interview with Owner" (PDF). Equipped. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  28. ^ "Interview with crew of B-52" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g Bruce 2016, p. 34.
  30. ^ "Ben Rouge" (PDF). Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  31. ^ van Kretschmar 1999, p. 112-116.
  32. ^ "Interview with Peter Joubert - Owner & Designer of Kingurra" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  33. ^ a b Bruce 2016, p. 37.
  34. ^ "Interview with crew of Loki" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  35. ^ "Statement by Part Owner "Midnight Special"" (PDF). Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  36. ^ van Kretschmar 1999, p. 123-125.
  37. ^ "Interview with Owner of Miintinta" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  38. ^ "Interview with crew of Pippin" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  39. ^ van Kretschmar 1999, p. 118-121.
  40. ^ "Interview with crew of Crew Team Jaguar" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  41. ^ "Interview with Owner of VC Offshore Stand Aside" (PDF). Equipped to Survive. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  42. ^ van Kretschmar 1999, p. 121-123.
  43. ^ van Kretschmar 1999, p. 116-118.
  44. ^ van Kretschmar 1999, p. 129.
  45. ^ "Results - 1998 Race - Line honours". Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  46. ^ "Results - 1998 Race - IMS All". Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Retrieved 26 July 2017.

Sources cited[edit]

External links[edit]