1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Remembered

  • Racing
  • NEWS
  • By Jennifer Crooks
  • 31 Dec 2008 18:16:00
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CYCA Commodore Matt Allen and RYCT Commodore Clive Simpson placing the commemorative wreath into the water for the 6 sailors lost in 1998 and for all others lost at sea as a result of undertaking a Hobart race.

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Threatening skies complemented a sombre mood as skippers, crews and volunteers gathered together dockside to pay tribute to the six sailors who have lost their lives during the Sydney to Hobart ocean racing classic ten years ago

Threatening skies complemented a sombre mood as skippers, crews and volunteers gathered together dockside to pay tribute to the six sailors who have lost their lives during the Sydney to Hobart ocean racing classic ten years ago.

Joining them were family members of Bruce Guy, skipper of the ill-fated Tasmanian yacht Business Post Naiad, and crew member, Phillip Skeggs.  Both perished during the storm that engulfed the yachts off Gabo Island in the 1998 race.

Matt Allen, Commodore of the CYCA, recalled that 10 years ago a severe storm resulted in the biggest ever maritime rescue conducted in Australian waters.  25 aircraft, six vessels and approximately 1,000 search personnel braved gale force winds and dangerous seas to rescue 55 sailors.  5 yachts sank and only 44 of the 115 starters make the finish to Hobart.  He paid a sincere tribute to all search and rescue personnel who continue to assist sailors when in need.

Allen also remembered all those who have perished during and because of this race since 1945, and acknowledged the presence of family members of the five crew of the Tasmanian yacht Charleston which perished in Bass Strait when heading for the start of the race.

"The 98 race is a poignant reminder that the sea always holds the trump card,” Allen said.  “Ocean racing, like many other pursuits in life which contain a level of excitement, will always have an element of danger and risk.”

Commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Clive Simpson, joined Matt Allen to lower a wreath the waters of the Derwent harbour.  This was followed by one minute’s silence to reflect and to remember those who had lost their lives.

Family members were visibly moved by the ceremony.  Mark Guy, son of Bruce, said that “I never forget my Dad and he is truly missed every day.  Today’s tribute was a very special way to remember our Dad and others who lost their lives during this race.  It is a lasting legacy to my father that safety changes were implemented after the race.”

Ros Guy, wife of Bruce, believed the memorial service was especially important for the grandchildren.

As the service concluded, Polaris of Belmont was welcomed safely to its marina berth, leaving just one yacht still racing, the Tasmanian 30 footer, Nest Property, which is due to finish during the afternoon.

Father Brian Nichols recited 'A Sailors Farewell'
    We will miss you always
    We will remember you always
    We will learn from the tragic circumstances of your deaths
    May the everlasting voyage be blessed with calm seas and gentle breezes
    May you never have to reef or change a headsail at night
    May your bunk always be dry
    To us you will always be family and we wish you farewell.

CYCA Commodore Matt Allen and RYCT Commodore Clive Simpson laying the commemorative wreath for the 6 sailors lost in 1998 and for all others lost at sea as a result of undertaking a Hobart race. Image: ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi

CYCA Commodore Matt Allen and RYCT Commodore Clive Simpson laying the commemorative wreath for the 6 sailors lost in 1998 and for all others lost at sea as a result of undertaking a Hobart race.

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