Nova Scotian Sailors in Australia

Cookson 50 Sistership


Jan 25, 2018

While most us here in the Maritimes are hunkered down for the winter, 6 Nova Scotian sailors are halfway around the world having just completed one of the world’s most famous and grueling offshore races. Sean McDermott, Rory MacDonald, Sandy MacMillan, John MacKay, Rob Trainor, & Will MacKay are part of the crew aboard Triple Lindy, a Bruce Farr designed, New Zealand built Cookson 50, which just completed the Sydney to Hobart race.


Triple Lindy Crew

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is an annual event hosted by the Cruising Yacht Cub of Australia starting in Sydney, New South Wales on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km). The race is run in conjunction with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, and is widely considered to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world.

The race was initially planned to be a cruise by Peter Luke and some friends who had formed a club for those who enjoyed cruising as opposed to racing, however when a visiting British Royal Navy Officer, Captain John Illingworth, suggested it be made a race, the event was born. The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race has grown over the decades, since the inaugural race in 1945, to become one of the top three offshore yacht races in the world, and it now attracts maxi yachts from all around the globe. The 2017 race was the 73rd edition.

Cookson 50 LayoutThe 1998 race was marred by tragedy when, during an exceptionally strong storm (which had similar strength winds to a lower-category hurricane), five boats were lost and six people died. Of the 115 boats that started, only 44 made it to Hobart. As a result, the crew eligibility rules were tightened, requiring a higher minimum age and experience. G. Bruce Knecht wrote a book about this race called “The Proving Ground”. A coronial enquiry into the race was critical of both the race management at the time and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. (info thanks to Wikipedia and race web site)

Having crossed the Atlantic many years ago at an average of 4 knots, the speed of these modern racing yachts amazes me. Here’s a quote from the Triple-Lindy blog:
“Racing on such a fast race boat was new to most of us – there was lots to get used to that will help greatly in the next race. We took way too much food – barely had opportunity to grab something, and meals were pretty much out of the question. Weight placement (on deck or down below sleeping) was critical. Sleeping feet first was necessary – as the boat drove into waves it would quickly slow by 10 knots or more. Driving required great concentration, but was exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure. Going forward on deck often required crawling – and it felt pretty exposed. But – 25 knots of boat speed is highly addictive”.

IRC Overall: 22nd out of 81

IRC Division 1: 12th out of 24

2nd American Boat

Lastly, if you want a good laugh check out where the boat’s name comes from by searching “Triple Lindy” on YouTube.

photo credits:
Triple Lindy crew, credit: Triple-Lindy
Cookson 50 sistership, credit: Kurt Arrigo/Rolex from

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