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Take Five for smallest yacht

IT may have been the last yacht to cross the finish line in the 75th Rolex Sydney to Hobart, but the 30-foot Tasmanian vessel ‘Take Five’ and her seven-person crew were greeted with a loud applause upon finishing the 628-nautical-mile blue-water classic.

Skippered by Derwent Sailing Squadron member Ian Gannon, Take Five was the smallest yacht in the fleet and completed the race in five days, 23 hours and 41 minutes – arriving on New Year’s Day.

The vessel had an excellent start, at one stage leading its category down the New South Wales coast.

“By the time we left Sydney Heads, I had a quick glance back and saw about half a dozen boats behind us, so I told the crew to keep them behind and keep running down the coast,” Mr Gannon said.

“We actually had very favourable conditions for our style of vessel, as well as shape and size, so we actually kept them behind us all the way down the NSW coast into Victoria before there was a change and the bigger boats continued on around us.”

The crew faced difficult conditions along the way and were stalled coming down the east coast of Tasmania by a large storm.

“I predicted there was a very nasty change coming, so we headed inside towards the Maria Island passage,” Mr Gannon said.

“But the storm hit before we got there, so we made sure everyone was safe and the boat was watertight before heading to the first safe anchorage, which was at Schouten Passage.”

Despite finishing last, it did not damper the spirit of Mr Gannon and his crew, who saw the longer journey as “value for money.”

“It was very cosy on the boat at times,” Mr Gannon said.

“At any one time we had three people downstairs sleeping and three people working the boat, with one extra hand.

“If situations changed and we got caught in a nasty situation then we would call those people downstairs to come up and help.”

Mr Gannon, who had competed in the Sydney to Hobart on different yachts twice before, said it had always been a dream of his to complete the race on his own vessel.

“My passion for sailing has gone for many years, ever since I was a little boy, and I’ve always wanted to do the race on my own vessel,” he said.

“It was very frustrating at times, but also very rewarding.

“After those six days you think you never want to do this race again, but once you finish and get the comradery, the people coming in around you, family and friends, it’s all worth it.

“I would absolutely do the race again, just not on a 30-foot boat.”

Caption: The crew of Take Five celebrate crossing the finish line of the 75th Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Photo credit: Hamish Hardy/CYCA.