Balmain Bound for Hobart

December 05, 2014

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John Blair's Bear Necessity is flying the flag for the Balmain Sailing Club in the hot fleet for the 2014 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race.

John, our former commodore, heads his crack crew of Dave Stenhouse (navigator), Alena Abrosimova, Tony Bailey, Chantelle Hodgson, Dawn Murray, Louise Bavin and Vice Commodore, Simon Oliver.

For John and most of the crew this will be their first journey south but Dave Stenhouse, Tony Bailey and the boat itself have been before.

John is delighted that the plan he and Dave Stenhouse had spoken about for several years to have real BSC campaign for the big race has been realised.

"We wanted to get a Balmain crew that may not have a great amount of experience but was very keen," John says. "We were very keen to make it essentially a Balmain thing and we have done it. Everybody has been very enthusiastic and put a lot into it.

Bear Necessity, a C&C 115, made the trip south in 2007 and 2009 and for this campaign she has news sails, rigging and other gear.

"The boat is in really good condition." John said.

While Bear Necessity is the only Balmain boat sailing south, other participants in the race include our secretary Michael Meehan who will be aboard the Beneteau 47.7, Chancellor, and our dinghy captain, Dave Hodgson,  who, without regard for his own safety, will be watching over the fleet from the radio vessel JBW.

Hoddo is a survivor of 19 Hobarts as a crew and between 1981 and 2000 notched up an impressive haul of five line honours wins.

In his sixth trip on the JBW he promises to stay in touch with the Bear Necessity from the water but as preparation here is some advice from Hoddo's Hobart Handbook.

1. Get as drunk as humanly possible on Christmas Day*
2. Never volunteer to go forward of the mast unless it is to tie the boat up at Constitution Dock.
3. Before the start try to get your head on TV as much as possible by appearing busy and competent.
4. When sitting on the rail for long periods, never, never sit downwind of someone who looks like they are going to throw up.
5. When sitting on the rail for extended periods always, always sit downwind of someone bigger than you so they shield you from the spray.
6. If you are the for'ard hand, set the spinnaker then sneak to the back of the boat and nod wisely as the skipper and the navigator discuss tactics. Makes you look important.
7. The only time being downstairs is better than being upstairs is when someone has to volunteer to go up the mast.
8. Hide your secret stash of chocolate bars, snakes and other supplies and don't be guilty because everyone else is hiding theirs.
9. Limit your stints on the helm to light, steady winds.
10. And seriously; One hand for you, one hand for the boat is a great rule.
*Editors note: Tip 1 is ridiculous but for lots of people it's still a tradition.

Are you competing in this year's event? Please let us know so we can follow your progress and cheer you on!

Campbell Reid,


Proud Sponsors of the Balmain Sailing Club