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Irish Navigator Adrienne Cahalan First Woman to Complete 25 Sydney–Hobart Races

30th December 2016
Irish Navigator Adrienne Cahalan Irish Navigator Adrienne Cahalan Photo: Daniel Forster

Irish Navigator Adrienne Cahalan who is, one of Australia's most celebrated yachtswoman, arrived in Hobart aboard the Brenton Fischer skippered TP52 Ragamuffin this week, to cement her place as the first woman ever to compete in 25 Sydney Hobart Yacht Races.

And like all the others, this 25th race has been a mixed bag. No real terrors this year, and mercifully brief time working to windward, but if ever there was a race of two halves this has been it.

Blisteringly fast running and reaching most of the first half, and frustratingly slow in the second half for yachts in the 50 to 65 foot range.

"I prayed for an exciting race and this was that," Cahalan says. "We knew there were going to be some tricky bits, particularly at the end. It was fast, wet and wild at first, particularly on these boats."

Unfortunately it was a little too fast for one crucial moment on the first night. Ragamuffin dove into a wave and emerged with a shredded spinnaker.

"After that, we were playing catch-up, but without that sail we were down a couple of knots. We worked hard though, and eventually recovered.

"Actually we were quite happy with the second half of the race, it suited us. We sailed well through the transition zones and caught back some time. Because we had that sail problem, we missed the gate into Bass Strait, and after that there were three distinct fleets.

"It's worked well for me before - and sometimes it hasn't, but I'm philosophical - some of it is out of your control."

Adrienne was part of the Cheyenne crew which broke the Round the World World Speed Record in 2004, she has circumnavigated the globe on several projects, and has had four World Yachtswoman of the Year nominations.

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