Navy officers prepare for Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

Published on LEUT Dean Gilbert (author), Bow Caddy Media (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney Harbour, Hobart, TAS

Topic(s): Sailing

The ‘Naval Group’ yacht participating in the Sydney to Hobart qualifying race ‘Bird Island Race’ where it placed fourth. (photo: Crosbie Lorimer)
The ‘Naval Group’ yacht participating in the Sydney to Hobart qualifying race ‘Bird Island Race’ where it placed fourth.

Three Royal Australian Navy personnel will be among the French-Australian crew of the 70 foot yacht ‘Naval Group’ entry in the 74th annual Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. With the iconic yacht race less than a month away, the Naval Group team are well into an intensive training program, which includes multiple overnight short haul races and harbour events.

Commodore Lee Goddard, whose day job is Branch Head, Prime Minister and Cabinet, brings extensive sailing experience and leadership to the crew.

Two junior maritime warfare officers, Lieutenant Ed Bramich and Sub Lieutenant Tori Costello, embarked in Naval Group, regularly represent the ADF as skipper and crew in high-profile civilian sailing events. 

“Sailing is a core mariner skill, and is at the heart of understanding maritime conditions,” said LEUT Bramich.

Through taking part in regular races onboard the Navy yacht ‘Scarborough’, SBLT Costello has been able to build the skills and confidence to take part in the iconic Australian sporting event.

“As a kid, growing up in Wollongong it was a Boxing Day tradition to watch the fleet sail past.

“With Navy sailing, I train on the harbour a number of times a week and take part in coastal passages and races, which has given me the opportunity to earn my place aboard Naval Group for the gruelling race to Hobart,” said SBLT Costello.

The ‘Naval Group’ yacht participating in the Sydney to Hobart qualifying race ‘Bird Island Race’ where it placed fourth.

The ‘Naval Group’ yacht participating in the Sydney to Hobart qualifying race ‘Bird Island Race’ where it placed fourth.

The yacht will be skippered by 27-time Sydney to Hobart veteran Sean Langman and comprise crew from Australia and France. The yacht is considered a  good chance of a podium finish for the Tattersall Cup, the overall winner’s trophy once handicap has been applied. 

Also in the handicap race is the Army’s Gunrunner, skippered by Lieutenant Colonel Reece Young and the smallest yacht in the fleet at just 9.3 metres. 

LEUT Bramich says he is not concerned about the possibility of the Army beating the Navy in this iconic race.

“At the end of the day, we will arrive in Hobart before New Year’s Eve, and that’s all that matters.”

When the cannon fires at 1pm on Boxing Day this year, an international fleet of 91 yachts will commence the annual 628nm journey to Hobart.

Catch the live start on Channel 7 and follow Naval Group and Gunrunner’s progress via the official website’s Yacht Tracker - http://www.rolexsydneyhobart.com/