Never ever underestimate mother nature. Time and time again I see athletes stretching the limits of their bodies and equipment to achieve the ultimate prize,the winners medal. Sadly in 1998, sailors found that out the hard way eventually paying with their lives at a yacht race known as the Sydney-Hobart race which takes place down under.
The race which takes every year starting from Sydney,Australia ending in Hobart,stretches 1170 km and is considered one of the most difficult yacht races in the world. Each boat’s time is recorded and adjusted according to it’s expected speed bases on it’s size and other specifications. Now on Boxing Day 1998,115 yachts set off for Hobart in search of glory.The weather was clear but forecasts had predicted low pressure system at the east coast. Well rough weather wasn’t anything out of the norm,in fact most sailors relish it. Its more of a test of ability.
The leader after a day had covered a surprising distance for such a short space of time. But storm clouds were forming in the sky above and the temperature was dropping. One such boat was the Midnight Rambler.This boat eventually won the race but others were not so fortunate. As the storm ravaged through south east Australia with winds reaching 40 knots, 5 boats sank,7 boats abandoned and 55 sailors needed rescuing. 6 sailors died. But this blog is not about how brave the 44 yachts who finished the race were. Any win under such circumstances would be hollow anyway. But this blog is about when to call it quits when conditions are untameable. In the case of the race,it was better to be a living coward than a dead hero. Pride is a dangerous and huge thing in sport. It made 44 captains sail in one of the worst storms to hit ever hit Australia so they could win. It made the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia put sponsors and their interest first ahead of the sailors’. When faced with such scenarios,as an athlete you should ask yourself if you would be celebrating your win or throwing out your trophy in disgust.