CONTENT with conquering Lake Canobolas on a canoe, Bruce Smith never contemplated the Sydney to Hobart would become his next sailing accomplishment.
“No. Never,” the 46-year-old said.
“If two years ago someone said I was going to do the Sydney to Hobart I would have laughed at them.”
However, on December 29 he was laughing all the way into Constitution Dock, Hobart.
Part of the eight-man crew on board Luna Sea, Mr Smith helped guide the 35-foot yacht into Hobart in a time of four days, seven hours, 11 minutes and 58 seconds, completing one of the most incredible yacht races in the world.
Mr Smith found it hard to describe the moment he crossed the finish line, 62nd in line honours.
“I don’t know, it’s just wonderful. It was a box I never expected to tick but I’m thrilled that I’ve done it. The amazing feeling of camaraderie and being part of a team is fantastic,” he said.
Asked by a friend to help sail his yacht back from Melbourne after the 2010 Sydney to Hobart, Mr Smith caught the sailing bug and, along with his fellow crew, spent the last 12 months getting ready for the 2012 event.
Mr Smith, a tree surgeon by trade, was in charge of radio communication and kept everyone fed on Luna Sea.
Known as a race that will test the limits, Mr Smith admits “just getting there in one piece was really the ultimate goal.”
And nowhere more than Bass Strait were the limits pushed.
The crew of Luna Sea were faced with two-and-a-half metre swells, pounded by heavy winds and, by night fall, completely lowered the main sail and bunkered down in the yacht’s hull just to make it through Bass Strait.
Still, it didn’t stop Luna Sea from becoming airborne in the notorious stretch of water.
And came down with a sound I don’t ever want to hear again,” he said, reliving the moment.
“But we made it through and got onto the Tasmanian coast and worked our way down from there.”