Coast sailing legend calls time after division win in Hobart
SAILING: Overall Sydney Hobart Yacht Race handicap honours has eluded Bob Robertson, but another division win is locked in for the Coast skipper.
The overall handicap honours went to the 70-foot New Zealand entry Giacomo and the line honours trophy and new race record to the 100-foot Perpetual Loyal.
Robertson's second division win, after taking out the trophy in 2012, is a great achievement for the 77-year-old blue water skipper who says it's "all over red rover" for him and his offshore racing days.
Five hard months of training and lots of top notch race results in the Blue Water Race Series, run by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia out of Sydney, prepared his team for the tough race south.
The goal was the overall win, but as that dream slipped away along with the wind, Robertson re-set his goal and focused on beating the yachts in his division.
His team on the 40-foot Bravo sailed their hardest every moment of the 628-mile race.
Racing with him was a mixture of youth and a handful of crew who had raced with Robertson since the '70s.
"If I was laying in the bunk, and in an hour I hadn't heard a winch being ground, I would get up and stay up all night just abusing the crew," Robertson said.
"I am stuffed. I think I have had about five hours below since I left Sydney."
The race was easy says Robertson with the winds and sea conditions at their kindest in many years, but that didn't stop the crew pushing themselves and Bravo.
"We really got into them (the competition) on the first afternoon and night when it was blowing and we were hard running," he said.
"We just pushed the boat to the limit and got a good break, then we fell into holes and the others would come up and catch us again, and you would just about go ballistic.
"Then we would take off again."
They were the first of their division to tie up at the dock, ahead of arch-rival Black Sheep with Noosa's Andrew Scott on board.
Carrying the lowest measured rating of the division and with great racing, Bravo has secured double honours of first place in both IRC Division 3 and ORCi Division 3.
"Even without the low rating, we would have brained them all," an elated Robertson said.
But then he shared an emphatic announcement. "I am not coming next year. That is my last Hobart," Robertson said as he tasted some of the local brew.
"(Deciding to do the race) it was a bit of rush of blood, but I went on with it and we did it."