7 February 2024

STS Young Endeavour Sydney to Hobart 2023/24

On Boxing Day 2023, the 79th Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race commenced with STS Young Endeavour dutifully following the fleet of competitors down to Hobart as a Radio Relay Vessel.

Young Endeavour has played a supporting role in the race biennially since 1993, and 2023 was no exception. Acting as a Radio Relay and Safety Vessel to help the vessels competing in the race report their positions whilst transiting through low-signal areas like the Bass Strait and far offshore in the Tasman Sea.  To ensure communications remain clear at all times, radio relay ships are placed near the front and rear of the competitor pack to monitor race communications and retransmit signals when required.  This ensures that the race is monitored at all times, so officials and fans can follow all the action and, that any emergencies will be heard and responded to in good time.

Young Endeavour departed HMAS Waterhen in the morning of 26 December and took up prime viewing position in the Harbour in vicinity of North Head. After witnessing the commencement of the race at 1300, sails were set and the ship followed the fleet from Sydney Harbour and proceeded south, aiming to remain around the back third of the dispersed racers.

For the five-day voyage Young Endeavour welcomed ‘Returnee’ crew (former Youth Crew who have participated in a voyage in the past) to assist in our transit south. Unfortunately, for the Returnee crew, the swell was unforgiving and many spent half the voyage battling seasickness. However, through 40-knot winds and 4-metre southerly swells, the Young Endeavour pushed on, with Returnees working lines to set and furl sails.

LSCIS-C Sara Turnbull described the experience “It was awesome, being among a fleet of sailors and yachts fearlessly setting sail in truly awful conditions really inspired me. I have a lot of respect for the mariners who continue to race year after year.”

After persevering through the arduous conditions, in the early hours of the morning of 31 December, Young Endeavour was able to tack to the west, rounding Tasman Island and finally placing the wind on our beam. Once we were able to use our fore and aft sails with effect, it was a quick trip up Storm Bay into the sheltered safety of the Derwent River.

Once alongside Hobart on New Year’s Eve, the crew of the Young Endeavour gave a fond farewell to the Returnee crew and joined in the post-race celebrations. With Commanding Officer LCDR Libby Newman accepting a Meritorious Service Recognition on behalf of the ship, for Young Endeavour’s “generous, professional and enduring contribution to the race”.

With all the official duties done, the crew were then free to enjoy the New Year’s Eve festivities in the beautiful Salamanca Place and Tasmania’s Taste of Summer festival.