Now a little time has passed it has been possible to receive a brief account from Sam Haynes, the owner of Pirelli Celestial, as to what caused their gut renching retirement from this year‚Äôs Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
It blew up from about 20kt to 47/50 kt in no time, on the afternoon of the second day. We were reefing in about 25kt when the leech tore out. We took off the main and then the wind kicked in. It was about 4pm and we were expecting the second front at about 6 to 8pm. We went to storm sails and were effectively still racing as the other boats around us were similarly configured. At this stage we were with Vamp ‚Äì a Corby 49 and Titania of Cowes ‚Äì a Swan 68. So the R46 goes up hill pretty well! Eventually we had to go in to shore to try and get a calmer sea state (5m breakers not being good for major sail repairs). We did this and did manage to repair the sail but not well enough to risk the next front which was due for us in Bass Straight. So, the decision was made to retire.
At least we were able to experience the real potential of the Rogers 46 and downwind in about 12-15kts we had no trouble keeping up with Cookson 50 and Corby 49 and only just behind the TP 52 Calm (which also ended up retiring).
There is little doubt it was a hard Hobart with 18 retirees, so Pirelli Celestial and her crew were in good company! Sam vows to return for the 2011 Hobart but in the meantime, they look forward to an exciting campaign this year, starting with the Audi Victoria Week (20 -26th January 2011).