Young skipper, 18 year old Pete, was having his first ever Hobart experience aboard Maluka of Kermandie and wore a broad smile as the assembled spectators clapped the tiny gaff rigged yacht into the Kings Pier in Hobart this afternoon.
“It was good – but it was a bit tough,” Pete admitted. “Upwind for a couple of days was hard, but at the end we got two days of running, which was more pleasant. I guess the hardest was parking at Tasman Island for a few hours – flopping around – it wasn’t pleasant,” said Pete who nevertheless said he would be back next year, “but on something a bigger.”
The young sailor said the three Langmans and the rest of the crew “were very happy to be in Hobart for New Year.” He also admitted that he and dad, Sean, threw up on the first night at sea “I saw the chicken fly past after we ate it! Nicki (his older sister on her first Hobart) didn’t get sick at all – and she got better and better at sailing as the race went on.”
Asked if the long five days on the small 9 metre yacht had bonded them or made them sick of each other, Pete said: “We had plenty of laughs because the weather was so crap and we were going stir crazy, so I guess we bonded.”
There were four yachts in the battle to be the last boat home for New Year’s Eve – and all four finished the famous 628 nautical mile race in time for New Year after changing positions a few times, so close together they were in the end.
Not Negotiable, Eressea, Nemesis and Maluka of Kermandie each took a turn at the back end of the fleet in the last 24 hours of the race and places were still changing as the four reached the River Derwent, where, Pete says: “Not Negotiable got a puff and we didn’t, so she sailed away from us.” .
Sean Langman’s 9 metre gaff rigged Maluka of Kermandie from NSW, the American C&C41 Nemesis (Jeffrey Taylor), John Bankart’s Hanse 400, Eressea, from Mooloolaba in in Queensland and Not Negotiable, the UFO34 owned by John Rayner of Kettering in Tasmania, battled to the end.
Maluka of Kermandie, which turns 70 in 2012, stormed home to eighth overall in her first Hobart in 2006, then last year, owner Sean Langman skippered the 100ft super maxi Investec Loyal – boats at either end of the spectrum.
While Pete was in the skipper role, Sean, with 22 Rolex Sydney Hobart’s to his name, was the voice of reason and experience. The Noakes Rigging managing director said: “It was a tough one for a little boat, especially tough given that we were over the start line early and last boat here, and finishing on New Year’s Eve. So yeah, a few firsts for me.”
As to swapping from his super maxi last year, to this tiny boat, Sean said: “There's as much preparation, no matter what boat you’re on. The challenges are certainly different. Being on Maluka with the kids was so special.
Of daughter Nicki’s first participation in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Sean said proudly: “She went great! Nicki and I shared a watch. Last night was pretty busy with the spinnaker work. By the end of it, before I even opened my mouth, she was adjusting things, so it was good. We had a very good time.”
But did he think the trip brought them closer together as a family? “We'll see if they take off in 10 minutes,” he exclaimed laughing, as wife Cathy arrived to cart the family off.
Langman loves his pretty little boat. “Ninety nine percent of the original planking is there; she was built in 1932 out of Huon Pine by Billy Fisher in Sydney, La Perouse. We acquired her in 2005. These types of boats have always been in our family,” he said.
Tomorrow, at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, the official prize giving will take place at 1100 hours.
By Di Pearson/Rolex Sydney Hobart media team