Crew left to rue demise of Maximus
THE crew of retired Sydney to Hobart maxi yacht Maximus believe their dramatic dismasting has cost not only hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and a few broken bones, but also the line honours in this year’s race.
The sleek 30m New Zealand maxi yacht, which motored back in to Sydney yesterday, snapped her mast just 14 hours into the race forcing her retirement and injuring five crew, including three who had to be airlifted to hospital.
Although relieved to return safely and grateful the injuries weren’t worse, crew members said they couldn’t help but feel they were heading for victory after reeling in race leader Wild OatsXIshortly before the incident.
‘‘I thought we had it in the bag at the time,’’ said coowner Bill Buckley who was greeted by his relieved family upon the return to Rushcutters Bay.
‘‘We’d had a little bit of headsail problems earlier on but we’d tidied that up and were gaining and were side by side (with WildOatsXI).
‘‘We had the big gear for the quieter times too so we would have come in (to Hobart) strong.’’
Maximus skipper Charles St Clair Brown said the mast should not have broken in the moderate conditions and winds of around 18 to 20 knots.
‘‘We have some serious issues to resolve in terms of what happened,’’ he said.‘‘Then we’ve got to assess the cost of the repairs and how and when we do it but we have elected to take it to New Zealand and fix it there.’’
St Clair Brown said the costs would be significant and the boat could take up to five months to repair but he said the race would again be targeted next year.