Sydney 38 ‘Faster Forward’ takes the handicap win the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria‘s 2021 Melbourne to Hobart. As one of the smallest yachts in the fleet, the Sydney 38, won the ‘West Coaster’ Race on handicap, despite the odds.
Matt Fahey and his crew of six sailed Faster Forward across the Derwent River finish line in Hobart at two minutes past three on the morning of the 31st December, after more than three days at sea. For a race traditionally won by bigger boats, Faster Forward’s victory is a dream come true for Fahey and proof that experienced crew, very good light wind sailing and making the right course decisions, pay off.
A race-winning decision for Fahey was by picking the right wind at the right time and sailing a course west of King Island, a course west of King Island that has only been sailed very rarely before in a Melbourne to Hobart race.
“The race was dominated by light winds and our smaller boat responds well in these conditions. The crew understands how to keep the boat moving in light winds. To our surprise, we were surrounded by much bigger boats for much of the race. I love this boat, it challenges us, and we learn so much every mile we sail,” said Fahey.
Blake Anderson from Doyle Sails Melbourne has been supporting Faster Forward for a number of seasons. With a complete Doyle Stratis inventory, the yacht makes use of the high-performance membrane solution available to all racers and cruisers.
This year’s 485 nautical mile race was one of the slowest in its 49-year history with the race record set by Shortwave of 1d 17h 28m 59s never under threat.
Race Director Jeremy Walton commented at today’s trophy presentations, “The best feeling for a race director is to get all your fleet home safely, and that’s what we have done. These crews will enjoy a fantastic New Year in Hobart and they will be back next year to do it all again for the 50th Anniversary Melbourne to Hobart”.
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ABOUT DOYLE MELBOURNE // Col has been continuously involved in the sailmaking industry for over 48 years, since starting his apprenticeship with Prior sails. An Australian Championship win in the International Cadet Class in 1964 was followed in 1979 by winning the Australian Quarter Ton Title. Col developed a passion for offshore sailing after sailing in the 1973 Sydney Hobart race on Banjo Paterson, and as sailmaker and trimmer on Police Car in the winning Australian team for the 1979 Admirals Cup, Col also sailed in the horrific Fastnet Race that year. After being introduced to sailing great Lou Abrahams, and becoming his sailmaker, a long term association started, which led to 15 Sydney Hobart’s (2 wins and a second), 2 Admirals Cups and 6 Kenwood Cups. Col sailed another 17 Sydney Hobart’s with several other owners including Syd Fischer and Howard de Torres, adding another second and third overall.
When not offshore sailing, Col has continued to race competitively on Port Phillip Bay in various classes, including Yachting World Diamonds, Classic yachts, Couta Boats and he is currently sailing on the Beneteau 45 Reverie in IRC Division 1 of the Club Marine series.