Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club's Success in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2023

The Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2023 concluded with an impressive performance by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC), featuring six of its yachts in the challenging competition.

This year’s race was marked by variable weather conditions, presenting a demanding environment for sailors. The larger yachts, opting for a strategic eastern route up to 140 nautical miles off the coast, predominantly sailed on a port tack, leveraging the weather system to their advantage. This tactic played a pivotal role in their dominance over the overall standings.

Conversely, mid-sized and smaller yachts faced a crucial decision: to sail inshore or venture slightly offshore. With unpredictable weather fronts, making the right call was vital to their race strategy.

Unfortunately, two RPAYC yachts, Sticky Richard Harris and Luna Blue John Turnbull, were compelled to withdraw from the race. Sticky suffered a severe setback on the first night, losing all instruments and electrics to a thunderstorm and retiring, a significant blow given their promising position in the CYCA BWPS. Luna Blue faced technical issues with broken halyards and as Skipper John Turnbull remarked meant couldn’t repeat the success of two years ago but were proud to be representing RPAYC in the race.

However, four RPAYC yachts – Pretty Woman Richard Hudson, Insomnia  Marcus Grimes, Wings Ian Edwards, and XS Moment Ray Hudson – completed the arduous race to Hobart. Of these, Pretty Woman’s performance was particularly noteworthy. The yacht showcased exceptional skill and endurance, especially during the first two days along the NSW coast and across Bass Strait, culminating in an impressive finish:

– 1st in Corinthian IRC
– 2nd in Division 2 IRC
– 3rd in Corinthian PHS

Richard Hudson, expressing his pride, commended the crew’s proficiency, notably highlighting the contribution of the seven graduates from the RPAYC’s Youth Development program on board. The absence of damage to the yacht and its sails and excellent sail handling was a testament to the crew’s skill and coordination.

Rob Buchanan, Sailing Master, remarked on the significance of winning the Corinthian division, deeming this the actual winner of the Hobart race.

Jemma Hodgson, a Youth Development graduate and crew, reflected on the race’s challenges, emphasizing the team’s camaraderie and resilience in difficult conditions, constant sail changes, and weather fluctuations.

The boats representing RPAYC and many crew performance in the 2023 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race underlines the club’s commitment to excellence in sailing and developing skilled sailors who continue to make remarkable strides in competitive sailing.

Robert McClelland
Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club

Crew of Pretty Woman
Crew of Luna Blue
Pretty Woman - 1st IRC Corinthian