The man who holds the record for sailing the most consecutive Sydney-Hobart races is ready to extend his amazing sequence back on the water, after finding a novel way to celebrate the event last year despite its cancellation.
Highly-regarded veteran navigator Lindsay May had sailed south in the great race for 47 successive years before COVID-19 scuppered the 2020 event.
May, who will again be aboard the 1971 line honours winner Kialoa II, was determined not to let December 26 pass without some reference to his traditional Boxing Day activity.
“Last year I dressed myself up at one o’clock (the traditional Sydney-Hobart start time) in my full wet weather gear and all the bits and pieces,” May told AAP.
“I rigged up a little bit of sail on a broom and I happen to have a spa on my deck, which I’ve never ever used.
“I sat in the spa with a can of Cascade and my wife took a photograph at one o’clock and we posted it on Facebook and it got a lot of comments.
“It was a really bittersweet moment obviously.
“The sweet part of it I suppose is a bit selfish and that was nobody was going to Hobart, so we weren’t really missing out on anything.
“My concern had been that if certain areas were in lockdown and certain boats could go.
“Because (Kialoa II co-owner) Paddy Broughton lived in the northern beaches which was in lockdown and we had seven crew from that area, so we would not have been able to go and other boats would have gone.
“I’m sure that people would have gone with COVID, there were people doing all sorts of things to try and move from where they were living.”
May said he didn’t miss the more physical aspects of the race and 2020 was the first time he’d seen the Sydney fireworks “in a zillion years”.
Of the sailors in this year’s event, Michael Green, sailing master aboard Quest, has the next longest streak of consecutive Sydney-Hobart races at 40.
“Christmas Day (2020) was a lot more enjoyable, I could relax and enjoy the day instead of worrying what the weather was going to do and try to remember if we covered every possible mistake,” Green told AAP.
“Round about start time I started to think it would be nice to be going south and the weather would suit the mighty Quest.
“It was just a change of venue. I guess I was looking at the fact that this is what retired life is going to be like.
“What it did make me realise is I had a lot more and I didn’t want to give it away.
“It actually got my juices flowing a bit more, missing last year.”