New Zealand yacht Giacomo has been declared the overall winner of the 2016 Sydney to Hobart and awarded the Tattersall’s Cup.
Skippered by wine magnate Jim Delegat, the 70-footer placed second in line honours.
The win was a family affair for the Kiwis, with Delegat’s sons Nikolas, 19, and James — who at 18 was the race’s youngest participant — being part of the crew.
Although crossing the line in second, Giacomo still beat the previous race record set by Wild Oats XI in 2012.
“We’re ecstatic. We’re delighted. It’s beyond belief,” Delegat said.
Delegat first sailed the race in 2013 and finished sixth and in 2014 his boat demasted off the Tasmanian coast.
“This is story and a journey of learning and understanding what it really takes to achieve astonishing success over what really is an incredibly short period of time for such a regatta as this one,” he said.
“We’re not really sure how we feel.
“The enormity of it is beyond our comprehension at this stage.”
‘This might be our time’
Having taken 2015 to rebuild, Delegat said he had his hopes up before this year’s race as he studied the weather conditions.
“Yacht racing is an incredibly fickle business,” he said.
“Two days outside form the race, Steve [Cotton, sail master] and I were having a discussion, and … we could see the nor’easterly and we could see the anticyclone and we could see the pressure building.
“We looked at each other and thought, you know, the Volvo 70 is a brutal boat, and we just think that this might be the time for us.”
After finishing on Wednesday, Delegat said his crew worked tirelessly throughout the race to keep the boat moving at optimum speed.
“We used every sail in our wardrobe and we took every chance with every shift, so we never relaxed at all,” he said.
Door shut on chasing fleet
Giacomo could have effectively been declared the winner on Wednesday morning as the Derwent doldrums killed the hopes of all chasers.
The favourable winds that had carried the first three placegetters home in record time had vanished.
Boats approaching Hobart found themselves becalmed on the river and barely inching towards the line.
The gate was shut — any chance of dislodging Giacomo’s grip on the cup disappeared in those listless hours spent on the fog-shrouded river.