Author: Seth Hynes
Picture: The Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge at midnight. CLICK HERE for more pictures of the day's events.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!! It's still a little strange, but we have already had our New Year's Eve celebration and will probably fully recover before the rest of the US gets down to celebrating. But at least we get to post a great picture on the 31st of December for most of you...
As could be expected, we had an amazing day. We started early by anchoring in Farm Cove at 8am, which we knew would become the boating equivalent of Times Square by midnight. And we were right. By 6pm the anchorage was packed with all shapes and sizes of boats and we found ourselves lucky to have a pretty safe zone around us. At 8pm the parade of boats went by as Roger (from La Palapa) served up a shrimp cocktail. At 9pm the "kids fireworks" went off, which were so amazing it would easily have qualified for any other cities main event. We then threw four steaks on the grill and washed it down with an excellent Australian Shiraz. Our anticipation was kept captive on the hour by short blasts of fireworks. And the wait was worth it.
At midnight a local radio station counted down to midnight and the music coordinated show started. And the whole city erupted. Literally.
Fireworks went up into the sky from the harbor barges, islands, opera house, bridge and even from buildings in the city skyline. The whole city was alight and the show went on forever. The bridge stole the show with its two towers illuminated, a LED screen in the middle and an enormous amount of fireworks both rocking up and dropping down to the water. The grand finale was so large the smoke from all the fireworks filled the sky and all you could make out was a glowing and thundering cloud of smoke. It was simply amazing...
Happy New Year World!
Picture: The start of the Sydney to Hobart Sailboat Race, where the boat ICAP crossed the line first. Despite the terrible conditions, it was a spinnaker start on the line and Elizabeth (in blue) and my Mom (in yellow) were out to witness it...
We had a great Christmas week with my family on board. In total, we sailed around the bay, opened presents moored in a national park, saw a show at the Opera House, visited the Art Gallery of New South Whales and went to many amazing fine restaurants. But the highlight of the week had to have been witnessing the start of the Sydney to Hobart sailboat race.
If you know anything about sailboat racing, you know about the 630 mile race from Sydney to Hobart. For those of you unfamiliar, it can only be described as the pinnacle of off-shore racing. Hundreds of boats participate, including some of the world's fastest and most expensive yachts. There is usually a North American entry or two, but this is mostly all about Australia versus New Zealand, and down here they take their sailboat racing very seriously.
The favored (and local favorite) was an Australian Maxi Yacht (100 feet long) called Wild Oats XI. This particular boat won the race the past four years and were the strong favorite for this year's race, but it wasn't meant to be as the New Zealand favorite (Alfa Romeo) crushed them and took line honors.
Aboard Honeymoon, we watched the chaos ensue. No further than 50 meters past the starting line, we sat defending our position on the line between two massive passenger ferrys and a few smaller water taxis as we watched the start. Then, as soon as the fleet of hundreds past the starting line we were off, racing at full speed with all the spectator boats toward the harbor entrance where the racing yachts were headed. It was a sport unto itself, avoiding collisions in order to see who took the lead.
Despite Alfa Romeo's daring strategy to cut in front of the pack before the official start, it was the maxi boat ICAP that crossed the starting line first, claiming starting honors over the two favorites. But Alfa Romeo was second, and Wild Oats third. As they passed the starting line, all the boats hoisted their spinnakers, making for a colorful start despite the rain.
It was a great thing to witness, and was certainly a highly of the week. If not the year...
Picture: Here we see the Hynes family ready to rip open some presents! Merry Christmas everyone!!!