Sydney to Hobart - Navy gets back in the race

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Ryan Zerbe (author), CPOIS Kelvin Hockey (photographer)

Location(s): Rushcutters Bay, NSW

Topic(s): Sailing

The crew of Navy Sailing racing yacht 'Navy One' remove headwear in a mark of respect to their patron, Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, AM, RAN, during a sail past in Rushcutters Bay, Sydney. (photo: CPOIS Kelvin Hockey)
The crew of Navy Sailing racing yacht 'Navy One' remove headwear in a mark of respect to their patron, Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, AM, RAN, during a sail past in Rushcutters Bay, Sydney.

The Royal Australian Navy is getting back in the fight for first place in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race for the first time since 2001.

Navy One - a Beneteau First 40 racing cruiser - will take part in the annual Australian institution for the first time in 18 years with a seasoned Navy crew experienced in offshore yacht racing.

Navy One was blessed by Fleet Chaplain Murray Lund at the Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association at Darling Point recently, following her name change from Franklin II.

She was also issued with an Australian White Ensign flag, which she will fly like all commissioned Australian warships.

Navy Sailing Team Captain, Lieutenant Commander Nathan Lockhart, said Navy One had already proven herself a formidable racing craft.

Navy One is based on the Farr 40 racing boat design and is made as a crossover racer and cruiser. Her dual-purpose design makes her an excellent boat for an International Rating Certificate handicap,” Lieutenant Commander Lockhart said.

“She has previously finished the 2011 Sydney to Hobart under another name and performed well, coming 12th on handicap.”

While Navy people are career mariners, Navy One’s crew also have diverse race sailing experience behind them.

“The crew come from significantly different sailing backgrounds, from performance yacht racers, with Sydney to Hobart and Transatlantic experience, to coastal racers and dinghy racing,” Lieutenant Commander Lockhart said.

“Importantly, men and women of Navy One represent most ranks from Able Seaman through to Commander - united in a common goal.”

The crew of Navy One has already been put through her paces this year in preparation for the Sydney to Hobart, including a Division 2 win in the Sydney Regatta in March and recently completing the Newcastle Bass Island Race in mid-October in Navy One.

“This was an excellent opportunity to get to know how Navy One handles, settle into a watch system and prove our systems and processes in a challenging and competitive environment,” Lieutenant Commander Lockhart said.

“We’ll continue training all the way up to the Sydney to Hobart through the Cabbage Tree and Bird Island races in November and daily training from early December.”

“The crew feel immense pride in the opportunity to represent the Royal Australian Navy in this international event.”

“They understand the significance of the Sydney to Hobart and the challenge of taking on one of the toughest ocean races in the world,” he said.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20192715.

 Navy Sailing Yacht Navy One sails through Rushcutters Bay following a renaming and blessing ceremony.

Navy Sailing Yacht Navy One sails through Rushcutters Bay following a renaming and blessing ceremony.