The last yacht to cross the finish line in the Sydney to Hobart has beaten the new year down the Derwent River by just 18 minutes after five days at sea.
Currawong was the 100th boat to finish with nine having retired in the 109 strong field, 27 hours after the 99th finisher Gun Runner.
But while the line honour winners Andoo Comanche and overall winner Celestial got all the plaudits, Currawong got the best welcome into Hobart.
Helmed by NSW sailors Kathy Veel, 70, a retired teacher, and Bridget Canham, 62, a retired nurse, they were welcomed by thousands of New Years revellers chanting their names as they come into port on their 48-year-old 9.1m yacht.
“I expected there’d be a bunch of our friends to welcome us, [but] then the fireworks, and this roar … I didn’t know what it was, then I worked out they were saying ‘Currawong, Currawong’,” Veel told the ABC.
The pair were joined by a cruise ship and other boats as they approached Hobart.
Arriving at 11.42pm, the pair also achieved their dream of completing the race before 2023.
“Our race was to get here before midnight, and that’s what really kept us pushing so hard to get to that stage,” Ms Canham said.
“We couldn’t have had a better entry.”
Veel added that despite the pair needing to take shelter at Eden before attempting to cross the Bass Strait due to strong winds, they had never considered retiring from the race.
“We’re finishers,” Veel said.
“We’ve already shown in other races that we’ve done, that we’ll see something through.
“That’s what’s hardwired into each of us, that once we commit to something we’ll commit to it and just do it.”