Alive skipper Duncan Hine holds aloft the Tattersall Cup presented to the overall winner of Syd-Hob. Image by Ethan James/AAP PHOTOS
  • sailing

Alive clinches second Sydney to Hobart overall win

Ethan James December 30, 2023

A first-day “blow out” of their best sail wasn’t enough to stop Alive from clinching a second overall victory in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. 

The Duncan Hine-skippered 66-footer arrived at Constitution Dock on Thursday atop the leaderboard on corrected handicap time. 

With no competitors able to beat their mark, Alive’s crew was presented with the prestigious Tattersall Cup on Saturday morning.

Alive, handicap winner in 2018, becomes just the second Tasmanian yacht with two overall titles after Westward in 1947 and 1948.

 Overall Sydney to Hobart winner Alive is seen near the Organ Pipes during the iconic race. Image by HANDOUT/CRUISING YACHT CLUB OF AUSTRALIA 

“I think she is probably the best mini-maxi around. She hasn’t dated,” Hine said.

“She is still as solid as a rock. Most of the modern ones, they sustain a fair bit of damage.

“This girl, she’s built for it.” 

Hine said there were some anxious moments after a decision to sail further off the coast following the Boxing Day start.

“We were one sail down and the best sail for the race, we blew it out on the first day,” he said.

“It had done its life, we probably should have replaced it before this race.”

Hine said experienced navigator Adrienne Cahalan, who now has three overall wins to go with six lines honours victories from 31 Sydney to Hobarts, was “colossal”.

“She’s got a meteorology degree … and has more of an idea of what is happening in the systems (than others),” Hine said.

“I can’t think of many guys I know that have done 31 (races). She’s stoic, she’s tough.” 

 The crew of Alive celebrate after arriving at Constitution Dock in Hobart. Image by HANDOUT/CRUISING YACHT CLUB OF AUSTRALIA 

Alive was fourth past-the-post with a time of two days, two hours, 19 minutes and four seconds, about seven hours behind line honours winner LawConnect. 

LawConnect pipped fellow 100ft supermaxi Andoo Comanche by just 51 seconds in the second closest finish in race history.

There were 41 yachts across the finish line at 2pm (AEDT) on Saturday from a starting fleet of 103. 

The casualty list had grown to 17 with Helsal 3 pulling the pin after diverting to Port Arthur in southern Tasmania with unspecified damage. 

The fleet has battled squally conditions with a gale wind warning in place for waters off Tasmania’s lower east and southeast coast on Saturday. 

 Mistral is tipped to take out the honours in the two-handed division of the Sydney to Hobart race. Image by HANDOUT/CRUISING YACHT CLUB OF AUSTRALIA 

Mistral is in the box seat to take out honours in the two-handed division – yachts crewed by just a pair of sailors. 

Skipper Rupert Henry, who also won with Mistral in 2022, said conditions had been brutal. 

“It was very cold and we had strong winds of up to 43 knots in Storm Bay,” he said. 

“Bass Strait was upwind. This race has thrown everything at us.”

Gunshot, a 52-footer skippered by NSW’s David Walsh, was towed by a police vessel on Friday night after earlier retiring due to mainsail damage.

The crew of 10 was heading to Cape Barren Island off the northeast coast of Tasmania when they asked for a tow because they could only sail at one knot. 

The yacht was safely anchored off Flinders Island on Saturday morning awaiting more favourable weather.

Two-handed yacht Sylph VI, featuring skipper Bob Williams and his cat Oli, is bringing up the tail of the fleet and is not expected to arrive until the new year.