Solveig competes in last year’s Bluewater Classic (AAP image/Salty Dog)
Sydney Hobart race stalwart Ed Psaltis will link up with one of his crew members from their overall win in the infamous 1998 race, with both men preparing to celebrate a significant milestone.
Psaltis will this year become just the 12th person to chalk up 40 Sydney Hobart races.
He will be skipper on the 36-foot Midnight Rambler, one of seven boats he has named after a 1969 Mick Jagger-Keith Richards composition.
“I’m a Rolling Stones tragic,” Psaltis explained when asked why he kept using the same name for all his different boats, one of which took overall honours in the 1998 race in which six people died.
The 1998 boat renamed Stella Polaris by another owner, was scheduled to contest this year’s race, but was withdrawn from the fleet last week.
While he brings up race 40, Psaltis will welcome back to his crew Michael Bencsik who will make his 25th appearance in the race.
Bencsik hasn’t done a Hobart with Psaltis in recent times as the latter moved from Sydney to Tasmania four years ago.
He was originally listed to do this year’s race aboard Cinquante, which contains some of Psaltis’s old Sydney-based crew, but has now hopped across to Midnight Rambler.
“We’ve got a great association over the years and I’m really chuffed that the moons have aligned and he’s now come back to the boat,” Psaltis said.
Another of their long-term crew-mates Bob Thomas, who has co-owned a number of Midnight Rambler boats with Psaltis, will do his 30th Hobart when he heads south on Cinquante,
“We’re having a quite little drink at the Shipwrights Arms in Hobart on December 31, if we all get there,” Psaltis said
“Very close mates, we have our moments at sea, we yell at each other and abuse each other at sea, but we can get over that when we get on land and seem to keep liking each other.
“They were both there in the ’98 race as well with me, which is a race that we will never forget and we got through that, which was pretty horrendous conditions.”
He was looking forward to his amateur crew going up against professional sailors.
“It’s always a great thing when you get out there as a Corinthian crew and give some of these guys that are pros a bit of curry, that makes us very happy,” Psaltis said.
With “crook knees,” Psaltis said he was considering retiring from the race, but was also contemplating moving to the event’s newest division, the two-handers.
“It’s either retire and go and grow roses which I don’t really want to do, or potentially two-handed,” Psaltis said.