"We followed Archina (fifth yacht across) all the way home in a great race, with about two hours 20 minutes separating us at the finish. At one stage, off Schouten Island, we were only two miles astern of her but could not close the gap when we hit the fickle winds which she had obviously just passed through." Guy Rex, on Mistra lV, was one of the casualties in the race. Apparently just astern of Westward off Eden and then entering Bass Strait, Mistra lV sprang a leak and Rex was forced to alter course for the Tamar River after a 34-hour battle to keep her afloat. A sandshoe was held over the hole until they reached safety. It had been a very fast, close run affair with half the fleet finishing on the fourth day: Morna (lst across), Mistral II (2nd), Sandra (3rd) Nerida (4th) Archina (5th), Westward (6th) and Seevogel (7th) had all beaten the previous record.
1949 - Waltzing in Light Airs
By now the race was establishing itself as one of Australia's premier yachting events and increasing numbers of boats were lining up to challenge for the honour of being first boat to dock in Hobart. "Waltzing Matilda had been launched the previous year at our Battery Point slipyard for Phil Davenport of Sydney, a former Qantas pilot, who was making plans for a world cruise. In 1949 he invited me to co-skipper Matilda with him in the race, which I gratefully accepted." A fleet of 15yachts sailed out of Sydney Heads for Hobart that year in mainly light winds, which put paid to any record-breaking ideas the crews had in mind. "Towards the end of the long voyage we had a terrific tussle with Margaret Rintoul all the way up the Derwent as I recall. It may have been my knowledge of these local waters that pulled us clear eventually I don't know, but we only had a minute or so to spare from her as we crossed the line." Owner and skipper of Waltzing Matilda, Phil Davenport, remembers the occasion very well: "Pre-dawn of the last day of 1949 found Waltzing Matilda becalmed off Storm Bay. A hard run the previous day had put us ahead of the Hobart race fleet. Now it was frustrating to have the sails slatting with the heave of huge oily swells while the outflow of the Derwent set us out to sea, further from the finishing line.