The ORCV “Westcoaster” is a legendary yacht race where tactics and sailing well can crown you as the race champion, no matter the size of boat.

Across the 435nm passage, yachts contend first with Bass Strait before taking on the wilderness and ruggedness of the West Coast of Tasmania and the long ocean swell of the Southern Ocean before turning towards the finish line and the shifting winds of the Derwent.

Congratulations to How Bizarre for winning Division 2 PHS. How Bizarre is skippered by Scott Robinson and was crewed by Glenn Bailey, Leigh Brennan-Smith, Mark Geyle, Peter Amarant and Stephen Reddish. What a great achievement!

Our very own Alex Toomey and Andrew Hibbert, co-skippers of Ryujin, were awarded the Double-Handed Perpetual Trophy for their win in that category. Congratulations to you both!

Alex Toomey and Andrew Hibbert joyous after finishing the 50th Melbourne to Hobart, Photo by Jane Austin ORCV Media

Our own member, Janet Wilks, was also interviewed by Jane Austin about her perspective of her first ever Melbourne to Hobart.

Janet Wilks, a nurse-turned-yacht rigger originally from Alabama in the United States who sailed on Tony Walton’s Reichel/Pugh 46 Hartbreaker, wore a smile from ear to ear as she recounted her experiences after a restful night.

“It was a fantastic race – we had a great start and sail across Bass Strait and were in the top six boats, but then it got absolutely hectic – we had storms all the way down the West Coast, we had 50 to 60 knots gusts, we blew a couple of sails, but we managed to bring them down and repair them and get our storm jibs up and keep sailing.

“Our team was fantastic – me and Leah Hunter got the sails down and started repairing as quickly as we could – we got the main back up and just kept going – I think that’s what really did it for us.”

Wilks has only been sailing for three years after a major career shift from nurse to yacht rigger and reflected upon her experience sailing on Hartbreaker.

“Leah is a good friend of mind – she saw some potential in me and got me onboard, and when it came to joining the crew, well, you have to ‘ask to get’ so I asked, and I when I got invited to join the Melbourne to Hobart race, I was chuffed. It’s my first Westcoaster and my first big race – it was absolutely amazing,” said Wilks.

A highlight for Wilks was the camaraderie and commitment when all hands were called on deck in the middle of the night and the sail repair.

“It just got really hectic – we all came up on deck and got on with every job – we tied everything down, got everything up, got everything down and we worked really well as a good team.”

And will Wilks be back for the 2023 race? “Oh yes, that was amazing, I would do it again in a heartbeat,” said Wilks.

Yacht rigger Janet Wilks, a very happy crew member from Hartbreaker after finishing the 50th Melbourne to Hobart Yacht Race 2022, Photo by Jane Austin ORCV Media

RMYS had six boats competing in this challenging race. Here’s how they went.

Boat Division AMS Div ORCAP Div PHS Div
Arcadia 1 21st 19th
How Bizarre 2 2nd 2nd 1st
Lord Jiminy 1 16th 14th
Ryujin 1 10th 8th 9th
Vagabond 2 7th 8th 7th