The owner/skipper of Wings tells of his epic journey to the Rolex Sydney Hobart
Wings is a one-year-old Dehler 46 launched for Ian and Lindy Edwards in November 2017 to replace their Beneteau First 40.7 Firefly. The Edwards sail her regularly out of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club as well as the Royal Motor Yacht Club Broken Bay and have just completed a 5,800+ nautical mile epic starting with the PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race.
We caught up with Ian for some final thoughts going into this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Q: What’s your aim in the 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart?
EDWARDS: To get there safely, go as fast as we can and have some fun. We’re an amateur crew who I’ve built up since returning to Sydney from overseas a few years ago. We’re competitive, but for us its mostly about just doing our very best.
Q: How are you feeling entering the race?
EDWARDS: We’re relaxed and ready to go. We’ve had a great build-up to this year’s Hobart starting off with the revived 1,064-nautical-mile PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race back in June which was an absolutely amazing experience.
From there we took on the Groupama Race around New Caledonia before heading back home via the tropical race weeks and some cruising in the Whitsundays.
All told it was a 5,800+ nautical mile epic which about half of this Rolex Sydney Hobart crew undertook with me at different stages, and the others (bar one) have done 20-40 days of racing with me.
Q: Who’s your biggest threat?
EDWARDS: There’s two boats that are pretty much the same speed as us who we’ve raced against a lot, Ken Holmes’ Beneteau First 45 Dreki Sunnan and Rob Aldis’ Azurre 46 Kayimai.
We had a first across the line bet between the three of us in the PONANT Sydney Noumea which I’m very happy to say I won! It was nice actually as the wager was a bottle of Penfolds Grange and myself, my wife Lindy as well as Ken and his wife Meg went out to dinner and shared it between us. Needless to say, it’s on again for the Rolex Sydney Hobart!
Q: How did you get into sailing?
EDWARDS: About age 10 my father and I built a Heron and sailed it off Clontarf Beach in Middle Harbour. I went through a lot of different classes then growing up.
Later in life I spent a lot of time living and working overseas where I had a lot of smaller boats including the J22, Ensign, and Lightning classes. I’ve sailed Lightnings passionately now for 20 years and have done every World Championship since 2007 – I’ll be there again in Finland 2019.
Q: Your favourite sailing memory?
EDWARDS: I’ve got so many! From sailing with my dad or sister in the heron and plenty of great times in the Lightnings – but most recently the Noumea Race was just a great experience. We averaged very close to 10 knots the whole way and we just flew there in a little over five days in a boat that’s really a cruiser. We even beat the old race record set by Brindabella!
LINDY EDWARDS: If I look back to Ian on the helm, the faster we’re going and further we’re heeling – the larger the smile that stretches from ear-to-ear on his face becomes – it’s fascinating to watch!
Q: Describe your team’s ethos…
EDWARDS: We’ve got a very relaxed ethos, we’re not a shouting boat. If we’ve got a problem, we work through it, expect who’s at the problem to look after it, help them out and let them have space and learn.
While it’s not true of this race, I always try to have a 50/50 male/female split. We’re a friendly boat and try to make sure everyone gets along. One thing that I always make sure of is that everyone eats well, we always have the best boat food!
Q: Apart from your on-board crew, who else are you racing for?
EDWARDS: My wonderful wife of 40 years Lindy.
LINDY EDWARDS: almost 42 now!
Q: What’s the best thing about the Rolex Sydney Hobart?
EDWARDS: The history and the challenge. For years I lived overseas and would come back to Sydney for our summer holiday, I would always get out on a spectator boat to watch the race and get as close as is can. It’s a great thing for us to participate in and hopefully we get there safely and as fast as we can.
Q: In 2019 the Rolex Sydney Hobart celebrates its 75th race – will you be entering?
EDWARDS: Let’s do this year first! We’ll most-likely enjoy ourselves enough to turn up again though.
LINDY EDWARDS: I think we might just take it one day at a time!
Make sure to use and follow #RolexSydneyHobart to keep up with Wings and all competitors during this year’s Great Race. Yacht Tracker technology will also once again be used to follow the race in real-time, with the Standings page providing projected outcomes race-long. Stay locked right here for all the latest news and information, and visit the Yachts page to see all the entrants making up what is touted as the toughest fleet in Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race history.
Interviewed by DJ MUNRO