|SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-(16-12-2005) When it comes to ocean racing experience in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht, the Howard family of Newcastle ranks well: 35 races between them, mostly on boats from Lake Macquarie Yacht Club.
Rob Howard has raced to Hobart 15 times; his wife Jan is a veteran of 13 races to Hobart and holds the status of being the first woman to reach 10 Hobarts. Their sons, Richard (24) and Will (22) have done three and four races south respectively.
While Rob and Jan are not sailing south this year - “we are going cruising” they say - Rob and Jan will have a vested interest as their elder son Richard will be aboard Prime Time in the 628 nautical mile blue water classic.
“The race in 2003 was our biggest family event – we all raced to Hobart, Rob and I were on Aurora, Richard and Will, he’s now 22, on other boats,” Jan recalled with pride.
It was also a home going to Hobart for the Tasmanian family who now live in Newcastle. Rob and Jan have retained their island State heritage by calling their cruising boat, a Beneteauu 40.7, Schouten Passage, after the narrow waterway between the Freycinet Peninsula and Schouten Island on the East Coast of Tasmania.
“Richard is a graduate of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Youth Sailing Academy and that has opened up excellent sailing opportunities for him,” Jan added.
Prime Time is a Beneteau 44.7 owned by David Mason from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. The boat won the IRC division of the 2004 Savills Regatta and was 3rd in this year’s Sydney Gold Coast Race.
Jan is one of 10 women who have sailed in 10 or more Rolex Sydney Hobart Races and was the first to reach 10 when she sailed on another Lake Macquarie boat, Inner Circle, in 1995. Her first race was aboard the Cole 43 Star Wars in 1978.
She sailed two races on Star Wars in 1978 and 1998, seven on the Farr 1104 Nynja Go from 1987 to 1994, three on the Farr-designed 40-footer Inner Circle between 1995 and 1998, and then on Aurora in 2003. All have been from the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club.
“I’m sure I’ll be back for another race to Hobart and we are already talking of cruising south in Schouten Passage,” Jan added.
“This year we will be cruising but tuned into the progress of Richard on Prime Time. Will is not racing this year, either as he will be surfing in Mexico.”
The 10 women who have sailed in 10 or more Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races to date are:
Adrienne Cahalan – 14
Jan Howard – 13
Amanda Wilmot – 12
Audrey Brown - 12
Vanessa Dudley – 11
Gail Hyland – 11
Sally Gordon – 11
Felicity Nelson – 11
Kerry Goudge – 10
Lea Myer – 10