Tribal Warrior making their way out through Sydney Heads in the madness of the start on Boxing Day. Credit CYCA | Hamish Hardy
Tribal Warrior making their way out through Sydney Heads in the madness of the start on Boxing Day. Credit CYCA | Hamish Hardy

There are 10 yachts left racing in the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this morning, with the much followed Wayne Jones-skippered Tribal Warrior the next yacht due into Hobart, currently estimated to arrive after 2pm this afternoon after a tough couple of nights at sea.

Jones and his crew are the first indigenous crew to tackle the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia race, and are joined by the race’s first indigenous owner/skipper in Rebecca Connors, who is also still at sea with her Wonderland crew with an ETA of approximately 5.30pm tonight – in plenty of time to join the New Year revelries in Hobart as the 75th running of the race comes towards a close.

This morning at 8.45am, while sailing 10 nautical miles north-west of Cape Raoul, Jones described what they have been through: “It was horrendous last night and a couple of nights ago. We went sideways late last night. We saw it coming and reefed down and put a small headsail on, but it was blowing 38-42 knots on rough seas. We got a full storm too.

“Bass Strait was horrendous too – a five-metre swell running with us in a 38 plus knot breeze. We’ve had a bit of gear failure, but we’re keen to finish. We’ve just overtaken Windrose (Ashok Mani, Tas),” he said, pleased with their handiwork.

Asked how they felt about becoming the first indigenous crew to start the race and be so close to finishing, Jones said: “It’s absolutely enormous and we’re very proud.”

Natelle Two, owned by the Tasmanian Roper family, is also left on the course, sailing 10 nautical miles south-west of Maria Island this morning. She has fallen back on her position after dropping off an injured crew member at Triabunna this morning. The crew member, who has not been named, received a hit to the head, but was well enough to go home with family.

Rogue Wave (Kevin Le Poidevin, NSW), Cailin Lomhara (Larry and Charlene Green, USA), Spirit of Freya (Joanne Harpur, Tas), Gun Runner (Reece Young, NSW), Diamach Enterprise (Nicholas Hoskin, NSW), and Take Five (Ian Gannon, Tas) are also still on the racetrack, the latter two not expected to arrive to see the New Year in on terra firma.

Hats off to all the above crews who survived the harsh conditions overnight and are still racing, with Hobart firmly in their sights. They are sure to get the warm welcome Tasmanians are famous for.

To date, only three boats have retired from the race: Hollywood Boulevard (Ray ‘Hollywood’ Roberts, NSW); Faster Forward (Matt Fahey, Vic) and Minerva (Edward Cox, NSW).