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, prudent seamanship|
|Aera||Nick Lykiardopulo||Swan 46||1985||FINISHED 12 across the line, 1st CHS|
|AFR Midnight Rambler||Edward Psaltis / Bob Thomas||Hick 35||1994||FINISHED 10th across the line, 1st overall IMS & Division D|
|Alexander of Creswell||Royal Australian Navy / W. Hellwig||Swarbrick 111||1984||RETIRED sail damage|
|Allusive||John Smith||Lyons 48||1998||FINISHED 43rd across the line, problems with retractable keel|
|Antipodes Sydney||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)|
|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||D Hodgkinson / Christopher Bowling||Farr 31||1993||RETIRED (Eden, prudent seamanship)|
|Bobsled||P. White / G. Bush / N. Feros||Steinman||RETIRED sail damage|
|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|
|Brindabella||George Snow||Jutson 80||1994||FINISHED 2nd across the line, 2nd IMS Div A|
|Business Post Naiad||Bruce Guy†||Farr 40||1984||RETIRED (rolled twice, broke mast, major structural damage, two crew died, Abandoned)|
|Canon Maris||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|
|Dixie Chicken||Elliot 36||1993||RETIRED stood by Outlaw lost too much time to continue|
|Doctel Rager||Elliott 56||1987||FINISHED 13th across the line|
|Elysion Blue||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|
|Helsal II||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||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)|
|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|
|Kingurra||Peter Joubert||Peter Joubert - one off||1972||RETIRED (knock-down past 120 degrees, MOB, crew injury, sailed to Eden)|
|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)|
|Maglieri Wines||Jutson 43||1994||RETIRED rig damage|
|Marchioness||Lavranos Maxi||1992||RETIRED rig damage|
|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)|
|Miintinta||Brian Emerson||Swanson 42||1975||RETIRED (hull damage, abandoned, sunk)|
|Mirrabooka||Frers 46||1987||FINISHED 21st across the line|
|Misty||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|
|Ninety Seven||Farr 47||1993||RETIRED sail damage|
|Nokia||Farr 75 / VO 60||FINISHED 5th across the line|
|Not Negotiable||Michael Dolphin||UFO 34||1985||Retired Eden, prudent seamanship|
|Nouméa||Young 11||FINISHED 37th across the line, 3rd IMS Div D|
|Ocean Designs||S. Bean||Bashford / Howison 41||1995||Retired Eden, prudent seamanship|
|Outlaw||Alan Quick||Sayer 44||1986||Retired Bermagui, structural damage, forward frames|
|Pippin||Farr 37||1984||RETIRED (knock-down beyond 110 degrees, window popped out, sailed to Eden)|
|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||Dick Voorderhake||Lyons 40||1993||FINISHED 28th across the linr|
|Red Jacket||Radford 12.2||1995||RETIRED rig damage|
|Relish IV||Elan 43||1989||RETIRED crew injury|
|Renegade||Ron Holland 40||1981||RETIRED (rolled, sailed to Eden)|
|Ruff 'N Tumble||Cole 43||1983||RETIRED equipment failure|
|Sagacious||Farr 40||1987||RETIRED equipment failure|
|Sayonara||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||Nigel Bramwell||Sydney 40||1998||RETIRED crew injuries|
|She II||Olsen 40||RETIRED equipment failure (steering chain)|
|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|
|Sledghammer||Sydney 40||1998||RETIRED equipment failure (steering chain)|
|Solo Globe Challenger||Cole 43||1984||RETIRED (rolled to 135 degrees, lost mast, flooded)|
|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||Rob Kothe||Reichel-Pugh 44||1993||RETIRED (Rolled, MOB (died), crew injured, major structural damage, abandoned, sunk)|
|Sydney||Sydney 60||1996||RETIRED rudder damage|
|T42 Solandra||Craig Vescott||S&S 34||1982||Retired Eden lost mast|
|Tartan||Mark Ballard||Northshore 38||1984||Retired Eden, prudent seamanship|
|Team Jaguar Infinity||Farr 65||1989||RETIRED (dismasted, structural damage, towed to Eden)|
|Tenacious||Defiance / S&S 30||1979||RETIRED equipment failure (engine)|
|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||K. Simpson||Adams 45||1988||FINISHED 41st across the line|
|Vagrant||Arch Waters||Magpie 34||1988||RETIRED crew injury|
|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, windows & coach roof, MOBs, crew injured, abandoned, sunk)|
|Veto||Max Crisp, Mike Crisp, Graham Brown||Robert Salthouse||1979||Retired, returned to Sydney, equipment failure & rig damage|
|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||Co-owner Barry Main||Inglis 47||FINISHED 36th across the line, PHS All 16th, Div A 10th|
|Wild Thing||Ian Murray 70 Maxi||1998||RETIRED rig damage|
|Winston Churchill||Richard Winning||Cloverdale 51||1942||Retired (knocked down beyond 90 degrees, major structural damage, abandoned, sunk) (3 crew later lost from liferaft & died)|
|Yendys||Beneteau 53f5||1991||FINISHED 11th across the line, 1st IMS Div C|
|Zeus II||Joubert / Currawong 30||1979||RETIRED lost mast|
Line Honours results (Top 10)
|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
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||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
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- UFO 34 (yacht)
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