Kiwi Crew has the Ride of Their Lives in Major Storm

Talk about being alone in a storm. These guys have a story to tell for many decades to come. Glad to hear that everyone was okay in the end.

A Kiwi trimaran has made it into Sydney harbor after a harrowing trip across the Tasman that included three days spent in “survival mode” in 20-foot waves. The 60-foot TeamVodafone Sailing trimaran spent 36 hours hove-to with its sails pulled in, riding out 57 mph winds and 20-f00t waves 342 miles off Sydney. When they got into Sydney on Saturday morning, they found the port had been closed for two days and locals were talking about a 60-year storm.

The boat is in Australia to launch a six-week racing campaign involving races and regattas along the east coast. The team spent Sunday surveying the damage and deciding what had to be done before the boat was ready to race in a Sydney-to-Southport, Queensland, race on July 30th.

Owner and skipper Simon Hull said when the boat left Auckland on July 16th, the forecast was “ideal,” with only a small front just before Sydney.

“The high intensified, slowing our progress, and when we got close to Sydney the front had become a significant depression,” he said.

On Wednesday night, with the breeze over 57 mph, it was no longer safe to sail. The call was made to put the boat into “survival mode” – the sails were taken down and the boat was “hove to”, to slow its forward progress. The crew contacted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to report their situation and warn ships they were stationary – only to be told that there were no ships in the Tasman due to the storm.

Worried the towering seas could flip the boat, the crew hunkered down in the middle hull while the storm battered the carbon-fiber racing boat.

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