After an 18 year hiatus from the Sydney to Hobart, the crew of Navy One has proven that the Navy belongs in the world-famous yacht race.
In July last year, the decision was made to re-enter the Royal Australian Navy in the iconic event. At that stage, there was not yet a boat or a crew.
Navy wasted no time to achieve in just a few months what would normally take a year: selecting a ten-person crew, sourcing a suitable boat from HMAS Creswell, training to competition standard, and qualifying for one of the world’s top three most challenging offshore yacht races.
Navy One’s Captain, Lieutenant Commander Nathan Lockhart said the crew were incredible in how they were able to come together and undertake the challenge.
“For all of us it was one of the proudest things we’ve ever done outside of joining the Navy,” Lieutenant Commander Lockhart said.
“I have never seen ten people, in basically what was the size of a small caravan, not get upset or raise words with each other throughout the months of training, or the race.
“Most ranks were represented in the crew, from Able Seaman to Commander, but it was always a level feeling, we all pulled together regardless of rank and that’s a credit to the entire crew,” Lieutenant Commander Lockhart said.
The varied weather and changing conditions made for a mentally exhausting trip according to Lieutenant Commander Lockhart, but it was all worth it when at the end a large welcoming party with a few surprise guests greeted them alongside.
“We arrived alongside at 5am and 50 people were there to greet us, including family who had secretly flown down and other Navy-connected supporters,” Lieutenant Commander Lockhart said.
“The typical celebration for the Sydney to Hobart is to go to Customs House for a few beers, and when we did this the crew was overwhelmed with pride at the amount of people who came up and said how much they supported the Navy.
“I’ve never seen public support for the Australian Defence Force like I did with this race,” he said.
Public support was also shared with Navy One’s friendly rival, the Australian Army’s Gun Runner who placed 152nd (line honours) and won the York Trophy (fastest yacht under 9.5 metres).
Navy One took out the coveted ‘Oggin Cup’, which is given to the fastest boat crewed by military personnel on corrected time. The team completed the 628 nautical miles race in three days, 16 hours, 16 minutes and 44 seconds.
The Navy Sailing Team plan to enter the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race again this year and encourage any personnel interested in sailing to get involved.
“I encourage people to give it a go and join the Navy Sailing Association. I’ve found being on the water is really great for mental health and helps immensely with resilience-building, so come and give it a go,” Lieutenant Commander Lockhart said.
Navy One was crewed by:
Captain: LCDR Nathan Lockhart
Skipper: CMDR Anthony Burrows
Navigator: LEUT Darren Watkins
Watch Captain: CMDR David Prentice
Crew: CPO Rob Creswell, LEUT Emma Cook, SBLT Tracey Magyar, CPO Kieran Davis, PO Nick Greenhill, AB William Sherman
Development Crew (return trip)
Skipper: CMDR Paul Garai
Watch Captains: PO Stuart Dawe and WO Brendon Blank
Crew: LCDR Kirstin Norris, LS Kellie Nash, LS Michael Leahy, AB Joshua Towle, AB Jilanna Clarkin
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: