Out of the Blue Dibley Marine Press

"Babe in the 2003 Melbourne to Hobart Race"

Babe Racing Yacht Dibley Marine Melbourne to Osaka Race
A Summary of the 2003 Melbourne to Hobart race by Babe crew member Andrew Stewart:

"A good start but as always the first 8 miles to the Heads was reaching, so given water-line length (smallest boat in the fleet), we ended up leaving the Heads mid fleet. We headed east for the first 24 hours looking and hoping for an easterly change. Unfortunately the system had slowed a little and the expected ENE came around 12 - 18 hours later than the pre-race info suggested ..."
"At the 0635 sched we were left a little confused as the bigger boats, Cav 37's etc that were doing well in the messy conditions before dark, were now 20 nm behind and in a tight bunch to the west (we later were told that al fell in a large hole during the night). So, we continued to head towards Cape Grim (NW corner of Tasmania) until mid morning, when we finally round the Cape after having to make ground against the tidal run and a little west. However, we continued to make ground against those to the west and south. The wind continued to lighten and 'Babe' kept moving while others stopped. During this day we worked our way from mid fleet up approx four places to 5th on line and started to put some miles away towards handicap honors. The night of the 28th December was a good one as the wind steadily built from the NE allowing us to further gain on the Adams 11.9m Tevake and the Inglis 37' Addition.

The forecast was now for 20-30 NW tending west by afternoon on the 29th December so the call was made to venture towards the change a little while maintaining near max VMG to SW Cape. This took us offshore by approx 15 nm before the breeze softened and we headed back inshore a little and the breeze strengthened back to the mid 20's. Popped kite for a few hours and started a run of around 8 hours with a 10 knot average boat speed. A couple of hours later the breeze started to go NW. A top speed of 15.8 knots pushed our average speed up to 11 knots.

Rounding SW Cape just on dark, we headed for Maatsuyker with masthead kite and 12 knots of speed. Around 6 nm from the finish, the S - SW front came through at 20 - 30 knots. The fractional kite is hoisted and away we go at 13 knots plus. Unfortunately we got calmed 0.25 nm from the line. What a great place the Derwent is !

So, from being nearly 10 hours in front of the pack of Farr 1020s, Farr 1104s, Cav 37 at SW Cape / Maatsuyker, the westerly change and then the S - SW brings them scooting across the bottom and up SB with kites to finish around 3 - 3.5 hours behind us.

At SE Cape we were neck and neck with the Farr 1160 Amaya (20 points below us) for PHD handicap honors. The results show how the westerly and S - SW fronts changed the handicap results bringing the "little slow"
boats home.

Overall, 5th on line and smallest yacht in the fleet. We will be back !"

First five place finishers on Line, relevant to 'Babe':

Indec Merit Volvo 60 minus 12 hours 24 minutes
Prowler Elliot 14.8m minus 7 hours 43 minutes
No Fear Cookson 39 minus 3 hours 38 minutes
Tevake Adams 11.9m minus 7 minutes
Babe Dibley 10m scratch

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