Preparing mentally and physically for the worst is a good way of making sure you do best. In this video, you get to follow the fleet during the disastrous 1998 RSHYR. Here, you'll see some haunting stories. But learning from earlier mistakes (own or others') is the only way to become better.
The video starts with crew members who explain why the sail the Sydney-Hobart race. "That's the only reason to do it" - it's the toughest one of them.
Frankly, I would say that Volvo Ocean race or Clipper Race can be tougher, and that single-handing races are in a class for themselves. But you cannot miss the statement from the narrator: "The Sydney to Hobart is now internationally recognised as the world's toughest ocean-going race."
The rest of the video is gripping and tells about lives saved and lives tragically lost. It will leave you adrenaline-pumped, slightly seasick, and very happy to be alive. That was an extreme year, and of course the conditions are much milder otherwise, but still the statement stands - "Just making it to Hobart has become a feat in itself".
Every year, boats bail out, breaking the race and turning to safe shore. The worse the weather, the more boats break. In 2015, three boats collided at the start, none of them made it all the way. This year, the nature forces are already affecting the race - one of the former champions, the Supermaxi Wild Oats XI, has been stricken by lightning while on the hard, knocking out much of the electronics. Other boats are helping them to get on track again. A lot of others are struggling too, the harbour is filled with crews and yachts trying to finish all the jobs, stressed by time. Our boat is finished thanks to the excellent project management, good follow-up on the jobs, - and naturally, the collective effort of the crew and the supporters.
I will be flying out soon. I am trying not to check the weather reports every hour, keeping it to a couple of times per day since I anyway cannot affect it. Seems like there may be a fair deal of W wind just when we are near the Bass Strait, where the westerlies can whip up very tricky steep seas. In case of high and steep seas, I will be counting on my accumulated endurance and strength. I wish I could have been on the water regularily before to secure the sealegs. But it will be straight from the forest into the seas. Just like I usually do.
To any of you concerned about the safety, here is a link to a summary (in Swedish) that I wrote for Cornucopia?, to highlight how safety has been extended and what it will mean in practice.
But to once again quote the video: "You can never be too well prepared."