AFTER a year off, She’s The Culprit is back for another crack at Sydney to Hobart silverware.
READY: She’s The Culprit and crew members Glen Picasso, Richard Hooper, Glenn Bulmer and Kris Anderson at Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club on Friday. Picture: Marina Neil
And at the top of the Lake Macquarie/Newcastle crew’sinventory list will be their lucky charm.
A set of dividers, a navigational mapping tool, weregiven to the crew by Sydney to Hobart veteran Jim Holley andhave been on She’s The Culprit for its three successful voyages in the race while under the ownership of Glen Picasso, Glenn Bulmer and David O’Dowd.
She’s The Culprit, anInglis/Jones 39, was third on handicap in PHS division twoin 2015 and 2013 and in between won the category outright while claiming the division two title.
Co-skipper Picasso, the most experienced Hobart sailor in the crew, said a gift from Holley had been part of the success.
Newcastle skipper Holley made it to Hobart every year from 1998 to 2012 and his wife, Mary, was on board for 16 trips with their boat,Aurora.
“He gives us a little good luck charm each year,” Picasso said of Jim Holley.
“First year we said to him, ‘Your boat always makes it, and we would really appreciate it if we could take something from your boat’. He gave us some dividers, that you use for doing map work, and we take those with us now. They also gifted us a couple of beanbags from their boat and we’ll be taking them to Hobart as well.”
Picasso saidthe crew needed a rest last year after three Hobart voyages but “everyone is keen again”.
Picasso, O’Dowd and Bulmer will be joined this year byKath Hall, Kris Anderson, Richard Hooper, Steve Robinson, Trent Butler, Geoff Benson, Mark Graham, Bob Jarvie andTristan Hough.
“The big core of people who sail with us, there’s always some that can’t sail with us at this time of year for whatever reason,” Picasso said.“Luckily, we’ve never been in a position to say, ‘no, you can’t come’ to someone.
“The crew of the boat is really nine but we take 12 because otherwise there would be people who would not get an opportunity.
“For abit of extrafood and weight, I’d rather take all my friends.”
Although expectations will be high again on She’s The Culprit at the start line on Boxing Day, Picasso said the goal was always just to get to Hobart safely.
Picasso was swept overboard and broke ribsin the 1998 edition of the race, in which six people died.
“You get it right or you don’t out there,” he said.“There’s a bit of luck, a bit of skill and then there’s the weather, if it suits us and the boat.
“Our priority is to get there, and we sail the boatnot pushing it too hard to win a division.
“The partners fly down there and enjoy the party atmosphere, so I’d hate for them to be there and us not make it.”
Also in the fleet is Sibby Ilzhofer’s Farr/Cookson 47, Dare Devil,and Dr Richard Lees’ wooden Atkins Ingrid, Freyja, which both sail out of Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club. Dare Devil has failed to finish the past two years because of rudder damage and Freyja’s first trip to Hobart last year ended in Sydney Harbour with a blown headsail.
As usual, there is a wide spread of Hunter sailors across the fleet. They include Will Howard,Luke Easy and Lachlan Hornsby(Celestial), Wade Morgan (Ichi Ban), Ben Lamb, Tom Braidwoodand Iain Jensen (Infotrack),Richard Grimes,Richard Howard, Gary Van Dijk,Tony May, Gary Telford, Ricky Bridge (Koa), Jeremy Tilse (LDV Comanche),Jack Goluzd, Jamie Woods, Paul Morish and Greg Torpey (Triton) and Tom Addis (Black Jack). Mick Martin’s TP52 Frantic will sail as Sonic for a South Korean charter.