A Hard Chance: The Sydney-Hobart Race Disaster
When 114 sailing yachts set out from Australia's Sydney Harbor on Boxing Day, December 26, 1998, for the 43rd Annual Sydney-to-Hobart ocean classic the mood was festive.
Crowds jammed the harbor and headlands in the midsummer heat to watch the yachts tack east to the Sydney Heads, set colorful spinnakers and run with the wind, south, for the finish line 630 miles distant in Hobart, Tasmania.
None knew they were being stalked by a deadly storm.
In the next 48 hours, the monster storm would strike, destroying yachts, washing scores of sailors overboard into 80-foot seas, killing six and spurring the largest sea rescue ever mounted by Australians.
In the style of A Perfect Storm and Into Thin Air, A Hard Chance traces the fateful collision course between a violent storm at sea and the world-class sailors and racing yachts that would bear its full and deadly fury.
As the storm unleashes its power, A Hard Chance amplifies the sea of terror that individual rescuers and racers overcame through skill and raw courage to save their boats and crew and pluck 55 doomed yachtsmen from the Tasman Sea.
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Chronology of Events
aboard aircraft AMSA Aspect Computing AuSAR Badham Bass Strait boat's Brindabella Business Post Naiad cable CareFlight Club of Australia coast crew members crewman Cruising Yacht Club CYCA damage deck disabled dismasted distress Ellison EPIRB feet finish line Force Gabo Island going heading helicopter Hobart fleet Hobart race huge wave hull injured Kingurra knew knockdown Kothe line honors mainsail mast maxi Mayday Melbourne Midnight Rambler Midnight Special miles minutes Moira Elizabeth morning Mowbray night ocean racing overboard Pescud pilot port Psaltis pull racer raft retires rigging sailors Sayonara shelter ship Skeggs skipper smaller boats Solo Globe Challenger South Wales speed Stanley starting line storm Sunday Sword of Orion Sydney to Hobart Tasman Sea Tasmania Team Jaguar Traynor Tyler veteran weather forecast Wild Thing winched wind Winning Winston Churchill yacht race yachtsmen Young Endeavour