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'Alive' With Irish Navigator Adrienne Cahalane on Board wins Rolex Sydney Hobart for a Second Time in Five years

29th December 2023
Duncan Hine spraying his crew with champagne after his overall win of the 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race
Duncan Hine spraying his crew with champagne after his overall win of the 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race Credit: Kurt Arrigo

Alive, skippered by Duncan Hine, has been declared the overall winner of the 78th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, securing the Tasmanian boat its second victory in five years.

Hine lauded his 14 crew which included Irish-born navigator Adrienne Cahalane, for whom it was a 31st Sydney Hobart (a record for women), and New Zealanders Gavin Brady and Stu Bannatyne and the rest of the crew.

The win is also Tasmania’s fifth in the 628 nautical mile Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race after Hine skippered Phillip Turner’s Reichel/Pugh 66 to her first victory in 2018.

Alive’s win adds extra polish to the pedigree of the boat that its owner, Philip Turner, bought the former Black Jack in 2014, with a view to winning the race.

After it’s victory in 2018, Alive came close again in 2019, but placed fourth. Last year, she finished 10th.

Asked how he felt to win a second Sydney Hobart, Hine laughed and said: “It goes to prove finally that it [2018] wasn't a fluke.” Then he added: “I'm very lucky, really. Phil has such an amazing boat to start with. We’ve got a really good crew. And the weather was good for us.”

Alive’s win is the highlight of an extraordinary year for the boat. This year, Alive also claimed overall honours at Hamilton Island Race Week, the Brisbane to Hamilton Island Race and Bruny Island Race, as well as line honours in the King of the Derwent Regatta.

“It’s been a remarkable year for the boat,” said Hine adding that while Turner did not sail on Alive this year unlike in 2018, he has celebrated with him over “quick chat or two” by phone.

The result also signs off on a terrific performance for Reichel/Pugh in the race, as the top three overall came from their design board, with the RP72 URM Group finishing third over the line for second overall and RP69, Moneypenny, taking third place overall.

“Reichel/Pugh designs are proving to be a pretty lucky for many of these races,” Hine said.

Asked what was the key point of the race that shored up Alive’s victory, Hine cited the last stretch up the Derwent River to the finish and their nail-biting tussle with URM Group.

The skipper said, “It was a cliffhanger right up to the bloody finish, wasn't it? The Derwent River always pulls something out of the bag.

Alive near the Organ Pipes in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Photo: Kurt ArrigoAlive near the Organ Pipes in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Photo: Kurt Arrigo

Hine and his crew had to play a waiting game until this morning when the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia declared Alive the winner of the prestigious Tattersall Cup.

Hine said he felt more at ease during the “waiting game” for that confirmation than in 2018.

“I felt a lot more confident about it than in 2018,” he said. “I thought it was going to be hard to lose from where we were. If someone had knocked us off, they would have deserved it.”

“We worked so hard all the way through that race. Everyone put in 100 per cent,” Hine said.

“You don't always walk away feeling like you've done the best you could have personally, but I don’t think anyone would have hopped off the boat feeling they could have put more in.”

The Alive crew:

Skipper: Duncan Hine, Sailing Master: Gavin Brady, Navigator: Adrienne Cahalan, Darren Jones, Shane Gaddes, Stu Bannatyne, Sam Tiedemann, Dean Van Teylingen, Silas Nolan, Brad Farrand, Sean O’Rourke, Logan Andersen, Christopher Cowan

Benoit Falletti (Rolex) and Arthur Lane (Commodore CYCA) present the Tattersall Cup to Sydeny hobrt Race winner Duncan Hine, skipper of Alive  Photo: Kurt ArrigoBenoit Falletti (Rolex) and Arthur Lane (Commodore CYCA) present the Tattersall Cup to Sydeny hobrt Race winner Duncan Hine, skipper of Alive  Photo: Kurt Arrigo

Published in Sydney to Hobart Team

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The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is an annual offshore yacht racing event with an increasingly international exposure attracting super maxi yachts and entries from around tne world. It is hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, New South Wales on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km).

The 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starts in Sydney Harbour at 1pm (AEDT) on Monday 26 December.

This is the 77th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart. The inaugural race was conducted in 1945 and has run every year since, apart from 2020, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

88 boats started the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart, with 50 finishing.

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - FAQs

The number of Sydney Hobart Yacht Races held by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia since 1945 is 75

6,257 completed the Sydney Hobart Yacht race, 1036 retired or were disqualified)

About 60,061 sailors have competed in the Sydney Hobart Race between 1945 and 2019

Largest fleets: 371 starters in the 50th race in 1994 (309 finished); 154 starters in 1987 (146 finished); 179 starters in 1985 (145 finished); 151 starters in 1984 (46 finished); 173 started in 1983 (128 finished); 159 started in 1981 (143 finished); 147 started in 1979 (142 finished); 157 started in 2019 (154 finished)

116 in 2004 (59 finished); 117 in 2014 (103 finished); 157 in 2019 (154 finished)

Nine starters in the inaugural Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in 1945

In 2015 and 2017 there were 27, including the 12 Clipper yachts (11 in 2017). In the record entry of 371 yachts in the 50th in 1994, there were 24 internationals

Rani, Captain John Illingworth RN (UK). Design: Barber 35’ cutter. Line and handicap winner

157 starters, 154 finishers (3 retirements)

IRC Overall: Ichi Ban, a TP52 owned by Matt Allen, NSW. Last year’s line honours winner: Comanche, Verdier Yacht Design and VPLP (FRA) owned by Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant, in 1 day 18 hours, 30 minutes, 24 seconds. Just 1hour 58min 32secs separated the five super maxis at the finish 

1 day 9 hours 15 minutes and 24 seconds, set in 2017 by LDV Comanche after Wild Oats XI was penalised one hour in port/starboard incident for a finish time of 1d 9h 48m 50s

The oldest ever sailor was Syd Fischer (88 years, 2015).

As a baby, Raud O'Brien did his first of some six Sydney Hobarts on his parent's Wraith of Odin (sic). As a veteran at three, Raud broke his arm when he fell off the companionway steps whilst feeding biscuits to the crew on watch Sophie Tasker sailed the 1978 race as a four-year-old on her father’s yacht Siska, which was not an official starter due to not meeting requirements of the CYCA. Sophie raced to Hobart in 1979, 1982 and 1983.

Quite a number of teenage boys and girls have sailed with their fathers and mothers, including Tasmanian Ken Gourlay’s 14-year-old son who sailed on Kismet in 1957. A 12-year-old boy, Travis Foley, sailed in the fatal 1998 race aboard Aspect Computing, which won PHS overall.

In 1978, the Brooker family sailed aboard their yacht Touchwood – parents Doug and Val and their children, Peter (13), Jacqueline (10), Kathryne (8) and Donald (6). Since 1999, the CYCA has set an age limit of 18 for competitors

Jane (‘Jenny’) Tate, from Hobart, sailed with her husband Horrie aboard Active in the 1946 Race, as did Dagmar O’Brien with her husband, Dr Brian (‘Mick’) O’Brien aboard Connella. Unfortunately, Connella was forced to retire in Bass Strait, but Active made it to the finish. The Jane Tate Memorial Trophy is presented each year to the first female skipper to finish the race

In 2019, Bill Barry-Cotter brought Katwinchar, built in 1904, back to the start line. She had competed with a previous owner in 1951. It is believed she is the oldest yacht to compete. According to CYCA life member and historian Alan Campbell, more than 31 yachts built before 1938 have competed in the race, including line honours winners Morna/Kurrewa IV (the same boat, renamed) and Astor, which were built in the 1920s.

Bruce Farr/Farr Yacht Design (NZL/USA) – can claim 20 overall wins from 1976 (with Piccolo) up to and including 2015 (with Balance)

Screw Loose (1979) – LOA 9.2m (30ft); Zeus II (1981) LOA 9.2m

TKlinger, NSW (1978) – LOA 8.23m (27ft)

Wild Oats XI (2012) – LOA 30.48m (100ft). Wild Oats XI had previously held the record in 2005 when she was 30m (98ft)

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